Nobody is sure when the first dog biscuits were made, but in 1828 Charles James Apperley, an English gentleman who wrote a column under the name of Nimrod for The Sporting Magazine, extolled the virtues of Mr Smith’s dog biscuits.
Undoubtedly Nimrod a shill for Mr Smith but from this and similar letters and posters, it seems that the Georgians were as interested in pet food as we are.
Cheap dog biscuits in those days were made from wheat and oat flour, and some manufacturers added premium ingredients such as vegetables, blood and minced meat.
Today we still argue over the pros and cons of dog diets from BARF or Biologically Appropriate Raw Food fans to pure kibble lovers.
Where you stand is up to you, however, here are some useful pros and cons of adding dog biscuits to your pet’s diet.
First, the pros.
#1 Dogs need to chew, and small dogs who may not be able to handle a standard dog bone, can benefit from a jumbo biscuit.
#2 A biscuit after a meal of wet dog food can help remove little bits of meat left clinging to teeth.
#3 Dogs know biscuits are treats and like us, they adore knowing they’re special. So when we have a cookie, they like to have theirs too.
Now some cons.
#1 Wild dogs don’t eat flour products. Many dogs tolerate biscuits are well as we do but some get tummy upsets and allergic reactions.
#2 Treats are often loaded with artificial flavourings and additives. While these are considered safe, are they really good for our pets?
#3 There have been several scandals where contaminated products, particularly from China, have poisoned and killed pets.
The verdict: a biscuit now and then is a good idea. But if you can, make your own!