National Dog Biscuit Day

Origin of the Special Day

Did you know that February 23 is National Dog Biscuit Day?  Until recently, neither did I! 

I’ve seen references to National Dog Biscuit Day, International Dog Biscuit Day, National Dog Biscuit Appreciation Day, as well as other variations, but, to tell you the truth, it doesn’t seem like anyone actually knows the origin of this Special Day.  They all occur on February 23, so I’m thinking they’re all the same thing.  What do you think?  

What we do know for sure is that dogs really love dog biscuits – no matter what day it is! 

Southern Biscuits

Now, when I think of a biscuit, I think of a mouth-watering piece of homemade pastry (is a biscuit “pastry”?) that’s about an inch tall, has layers of flaky dough, is kind of lightly browned on top – and, in some cases – is drenched with butter.  And sometimes syrup – or honey.  I can see it on my plate, right now, with fluffy scrambled eggs, crispy bacon and sliced tomatoes.  OMG! 

A pan of freshly baked biscuits

Dog Biscuits

That, however, is not the picture of a typical dog biscuit.  Although they are made in much the same way as those on my breakfast plate, dog biscuits are a hard, dry, (sometimes crunchy), canine food product, typically composed of carbohydrates, fat, protein, and fiber.

Dog Biscuits

In the Beginning . . .

Have you heard how dog biscuits came to be?  Here are a couple of stories . . . 

A Fortunate Accident 

One story is that, in an effort to expand his business, a butcher or shop owner in London was trying to create a new kind of biscuit for his customers.  The batch he baked was so “terrible” he gave one to his dog, who wolfed it right down.  Seeing that, the shop owner/butcher got the idea that making biscuits for dogs might be the way to go.  He supposedly made some in the shape of a bone, and they were a big hit! 

The story goes on to say that some time later – in 1908 – an American businessman bought the butcher’s/shop owner’s recipe and brought the product to the United States. 

F. H. Bennett Biscuit Company 

Could it be that the “American businessman” was named F. H. Bennett?  The Milk Bone website says, on a page called “Explore Our Heritage,” that in 1908 “The first Milk-Bone dog biscuits are made in New York City by F. H. Bennett Biscuit Company in a small bakery on the Lower East Side.” 

If F. H. Bennett (as in F. H. Bennett Biscuit Company) was the buyer of the butcher’s/shop owner’s recipe, and that company today is Milk Bone, well, the rest, as they say, is history. 

An Observant Electrician in London 

Here’s the other origin story: 

James Spratt was an electrician from Ohio, who went to London in 1860, with the intention of selling lightning rods. 

It is said that he watched stray dogs devouring hardtack.  He probably reasoned that, if hardtack was sufficient to feed sailors on long voyages, and those dogs at the dock were “lovin’ it,” it was likely a good idea to make a similar product exclusively for dogs.  So, that’s what he did. 

He went on to create Spratt’s Patent Meat Fibrine Dog Cakes, which were comprised of a mixture of grains, beetroot, vegetables and an ingredient the company referred to as “the dried unsalted gelatinous parts of Prairie Beef.”  What does that even mean? 

He promoted Spratt’s Patent Meat Fibrine Dog Cakes as a dog’s primary food.

General Mills bought James Spratt’s business in the 1950s. 

Pretty easy to guess Spratt quickly let go of the “selling lightning rods” plan.  Right? 

Look here and here to see a couple of examples of Spratt’s advertisements from the 1800s.  (Take note:  they are for sale, if you’d like them.) 

Show Some Love

National Today reports that “No one quite knows the origin of this wagtastic holiday.” 

We may not know how the day came to be, but we certainly DO know how to celebrate it:  Let the dog biscuits and other treats RAIN! 

Treat Bruno and Milly to their favorite flavors. 

Bake some special treats especially for them. 

Explore some never-had-it-before treats. 

Use the treats for training or just for spoiling. 

After all, it is National and/or International Dog Biscuit Appreciation Day! 

#DogBiscuitAppreciationDay

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Resources

Happy Days 365, https://happydays365.org

National Today, https://nationaltoday.com

Made How, http://www.madehow.com

Milk-Bone, https://www.milkbone.com/our-story

National Today, https://nationaltoday.com

Photo Attributions:

Biscuits, 23 August 2019, Own work, Willy Bearden

Biscuits:  A pan of freshly baked biscuits. Southern goodness.

I, the copyright holder of this work, hereby publish it under the following license: This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International license.

Dog Biscuits:  Mmmm.  Dog Biscuits! 

This image, which was originally posted to Flickr, was uploaded to Commons using Flickr upload bot on 12 March 2014, 10:42 by Frei sein.  On that date, it was confirmed to be licensed under the terms of the license indicated.

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