February used to be a gloomy month, halfway between the major holidays and green shoots peeking up from the ground. We fixed that by making it a month to celebrate, among other things, past presidents, football, African-American history, new television shows, the human love of your life, and the appearance of an extra day every four years.
But what about pet lovers? Well, February is National Pet Dental Month and Responsible Pet Owners Month. It’s the month the Westminster Dog Show occurs and National Spay Day happens.
Pet lovers are all for responsibility, but what about just plain fun and good lovin’?
February 23 is also International Dog Biscuit Appreciation Day! Here’s how pet parents celebrate around the world:
- In France, give your dog a “biscuits pour chiens”
- In German-speaking countries, a “Hundekuchen” is what dogs prefer
- In Mexico or Spain, gather the “galletas para el perro” and spread some dog cheer
- In Italy, dip a biscotti in your own “caffe”, but give a “biscotto per cani” to your dog
Have you ever wondered when it was that humans started realizing that dogs will do what we want, or that we can make dogs happy (which dog lovers adore!) by simply giving them a small piece of food?
As social beings, we break bread with other humans, in part, to bond. Dogs are social creatures, too. When you give your dog a dog biscuit you are helping cement that already-tight bond of love and trust between your dog and yourself.
Dogs have eaten and enjoyed discarded bread since the Roman Empire. In mid-1800 Great Britain, dog treats made of grain and baked were given to hunting dogs for extra energy.
Commercial dog biscuits were first “invented” in the late 1800s by a man from Cincinnati who saw dogs scavenging on hardtack (a long-lasting sailor’s bread) disposed of at the docks in London. He patented the idea and sold the biscuits as dog food. At the beginning of the 20th century, another brilliant American inventor, whose dog biscuits were not selling well, decided to make the biscuits in the shape of bones, and that’s where we get the familiar treat we give our canine companions today.
Biscuits, though an old-fashioned treat, remain a healthy favourite. Biscuits made with quality ingredients not only taste good, but the scraping action most dogs use to chew them help remove debris from their teeth that could cause dental problems later.
Remember, treats should not constitute more than 10% of your dog’s daily diet, even on this day devoted to the familiar bone-shaped treats.
Well, I know that tonight I will go home and try, once again, to balance a biscuit on Rudder’s big snout. Trouble is, I’m not very strict, and when eyes start crossing and drool drips, I just end up handing it to him and calling it a day. But today at least I can call it an “International Dog Biscuit Appreciation Day”!