February 23 is International Dog Biscuit Appreciation Day, one of many odd holidays set aside (ok, often overlooked) for dogs and their owners. But we're not ones to overlook any reason to give dogs special attention! So how shall we celebrate this pet holiday? Well first, to appreciate something as humble as dog biscuits, we should find out where they came from.
Dog biscuits have possibly been around since at least Roman times, though they were far from the kind of dog treats we pamper our furry friends with today. The earliest dog biscuits were actually very old, hard, stale bread. Back then "bad bread" was considered "dog's bread." To be honest, dogs of the time were probably quite happy to get them. It's not like they were used to getting a chewy, smoky, meaty Beggin' Strip!
By the 19th century hunters would give sporting dogs hard barley meal biscuits for energy on a hunt. Grain-only biscuits were slowly upgraded to include vegetables, meat and bone meal. These were homemade and, of course, did not come in any fun shapes or flavors.
According to legend, in the late 1850's, an electrician from Cincinnati named James Spratt saw a bunch of dogs crunching on the cheap, rock-hard biscuits sailors of the day would eat on ships. That sparked an idea for Spratt and in 1860 he created Spratt's Patented Meat Fibrine Dog Cakes. They were made with meat and sold as dog food.
Even with Spratt's patent and refined manufacturing technique of his day, his humble dog biscuits got no respect. They were once classified in the same category as soap! Delicious!
Alas, as dogs evolved from guards and workers to beloved companions and family members, so has the humble dog biscuit evolved. There are still plain dry dog biscuits around, but the dog snacks and treats that really show the love are far more intriguing to a dog's sense of taste and smell, and desire to chew. Today's dog treats and snacks reward good behavior. They motivate dogs to do tasks or perform entertaining tricks. Dog treats communicate your love and affection in a language all dogs understand. Long way of saying they provide a nutritionally appropriate way to spoil your dog rotten!
We are so advanced in the way we care for our dogs that no one dog biscuit, snack or treat could possibly meet everyone's needs! Some people want the super premium ingredients and top nutrition. Some dogs want something chewy and or have a flavor and texture extravaganza. And some people want to give their dogs a long-lasting gnawing experience that keeps them from being bored when they're home alone.
Purina has many separate brands of dog treats and snacks, and each brand has multiple varieties and flavors. Hey - they keep begging for them, and we can't resist those big wanting eyes! (We're not just talking about the dogs either!) Why else would we put peanut butter flavored centers in our Beneful Snackin' Slices or make Beggin' Strips look, smell and taste like real bacon? Dogs love the treat and their owners love to treat them. Of course, Purina also makes traditional biscuits under its Pro Plan and Purina ONE brands.
So, how do you celebrate International Dog Biscuit Appreciation Day? There are probably as many ways as there are treats. Give your dog an old favorite or try something innovative and new. Teach a new trick. Or just enjoy watching your dog's body going on full alert in anticipation when you open the treat package! Yep, this is about the easiest holiday there is to celebrate!