Begging for a biscuitJan 29, 2024 04:07PM ● By Marti Benson
International Dog Biscuit Appreciation Day is February 23. In my lifetime with dogs, these toothsome temptations have been a staple—and a godsend. I have done it all with the help of dog biscuits: trained, coaxed, lured, rewarded and bribed. Small, medium and large; plain and flavored; fancy or whatever is on sale—my dogs have never been picky. Even on occasions when a pooch has sniffed reluctantly at a meal, there always seems to be a hidden reserve of hunger for a “treat” or “cookie.”
James Spratt, an Ohio electrician, is credited with the first patent for dog biscuits. In the mid-19th century, during business travels to London, Spratt frequently watched “quayside mongrels” feeding on hardtack—a dense cracker made from flour and water. Sailors relied upon these wafers for sustenance during their long voyages.
Inspired by these observations, Spratt conceived the notion of creating a biscuit intended as a staple food for dogs. This biscuit, named Spratt’s Patent Meat Fibrine Dog Cakes, consisted of a blend of grains, beetroot, vegetables and “the dried unsalted gelatinous parts of prairie beef.” However, the iconic bone shape was designed by Carleton Ellis, the American inventor of modern-day margarine, varnish, and paint remover, in 1907.
Our household gatherings typically include homemade treats for the canine guests. On Thanksgiving, I used a recipe that claimed to be “so tasty, you’re gonna want some too.” They were a hit with the four-legged crowd!
I mentioned to our visitors that I had sampled a few of them myself. Without prompting them to “sit” or “roll over,” several of the curious ones tried the handcrafted dog biscuits and later begged for the recipe.
The variety of commercial dog biscuits on the market is staggering. Flavors run the gamut from blueberry and coconut to burgers and fries. Milk-Bone even has a birthday cake-flavored biscuit—complete with confetti sprinkles and a vanilla-flavored yogurt coating.
Growing up, I thought giving our scruffy mutt Frisky a red (beef), yellow (chicken) or green (unspecified vegetable) Milk-Bone was an epicurean adventure. The doodles and chiweenies today have no idea how rough their predecessors had it.
I imagine the perros, hunde, chiens and inu around the globe would be happy to show off their favorite tricks for their beloved dog biscuits on February 23. Or maybe all it will take is one look from those beautiful eyes and a wag of the tail to score a treat. After all, nothing says “I love you” like a dog biscuit.
Peanut Butter Banana Dog Treats From “Organic Dog Biscuit Cookbook from the Bubba Rose Biscuit Company,” 3rd Edition
“So tasty, you’re gonna want some too!”
- 1 1/2 c. oat flour
- 1 1/2 c. brown rice flour
- 1/2 c. peanut butter (make sure it’s without xylitol, as it’s extremely toxic to dogs)
- 1 large banana (extra ripe, mashed)
- 1/2 c. water (add slowly)
Preheat oven to 375Åã F. Combine all ingredients, except water. Add water slowly and mix until a dough forms (if too dry, add more water; too wet, add a bit more flour). You may not need all the water to reach the desired consistency.
Use a cookie cutter or knife to cut the dough into the desired shapes. Roll out on a lightly floured surface to 1/4-inch thickness. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper and place the cookies on the sheet (they can be rather close together as they don’t expand much while cooking).
Bake 18-25 minutes or until golden brown. Transfer and let cool completely on a wire rack. Store the cookies in an airtight container in the refrigerator.