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They say every dog has his day. Well, at our center for dog training in Reno, we like to make sure every day is for the dogs.

But today–February 23, 2016–we’re not the only ones! Why? It’s International Dog Biscuit Appreciation Day aka National Dog Biscuit Day!

While dogs (and their taste buds) certainly have plenty to be thankful for, we humans also ought to paws a moment and recognize the value dog treats have added to our own lives, from training and rewarding to simply showing a little extra love for our best pals.

Here’s some bark-ground and tasty morsels of info to help you and your furry friends celebrate this howl-iday!

A Century of Paw-gress

Dog treats of yesteryear looked–and tasted–a whole lot different than those of today. A canine “treat” could be moldy bread, rotten leftovers, or stale grain chunks. In fact, the idea of a “biscuit” made just for dogs didn’t even occur until the late 19th century, let alone aisles, boutique bakeries and websites dedicated to whole cornucopias of them.

There are a couple different “tails” about how this changed.

One tells of a mid-1800s English butcher whose attempt at a tasty new biscuit for his London customers came out so terrible that he fed it to the street dogs. When they loved it, he decided to sell them to dog owners.

History then points to an American lightning rod salesman named James Spratt, on a mid-1860s visit to England, watched some hungry strays scavenging for scraps, felt sympathy, and got an idea. Soon he’d come up with a cake-like biscuit made of grain, veggies, and meat, which he named “Meat Fibrine Dog Cakes.”

But it wasn’t until 1908 that doggy biscuits took on the (literal) shape that so many dogs now know and love, when an American inventor named Carleton Ellis set out to help slaughterhouses make money getting rid of “waste-milk.” He came up with a now-famous recipe for dog treats.

But, as we all know, some members of the litter are a bit picky … his dog wouldn’t even touch the things until he cut them into the shape of a bone! A few years and a patent later, New York’s F.H. Bennett Biscuit Co. introduced the woofing world to its very first Milk-Bone!

Treats of the Day

Nowadays, our pets have thousands of choices at their claw-tips that not only taste great, but offer medical advantages from clean teeth to parasite prevention. But all those choices can make it hard to choose the best one for your pup.

For tips, check out the Dog Gone Amazing guide on What to Feed Your Puppy. For the more culinary-inclined, check out this list of home-made doggy treat recipes. Fresh veggies make good alternative treats (especially high-fiber, low-calorie options like carrots, green beans or broccoli).

And remember, no matter how much you love your dog … don’t overdo it! Always check the calorie count of any brand of treats, and factor them into your dog’s daily dietary needs so your pooch doesn’t wind up obese. (Yep, American dogs have the same problem as American people).

Happy National Dog Biscuit Day!

Hope you enjoyed this little lesson. (But hey, we’re a dog trainer in Reno; teaching dogs and people is just what we do.)

Feel free to share this article with all your dog-loving friends and have a delicious day!

And don’t miss Milk-Bone’s own history of dog treats … and their commercials!