The history of dog treats
While evidence points to the use of dog treats of some kind as far back as Roman times, we really have American James Spratt to thank for the invention of the modern dog biscuit. An entrepreneurial electrician and lightning rod salesman, Spratt was visiting the UK when he had his crunchy epiphany.
The story goes that Spratt witnessed dogs eating ships biscuits on Liverpool docks. Hardtack as the biscuits were known, were and are a simple type of almost indestructible biscuit made from flour, water and salt.
Hardtack was used in survival scenarios where perishable food was not an option. It was at the time considered survival food for the likes of long sea voyages and long-lasting military campaigns. Even today hardtack is popular with campers and experienced survivalists.
In this case however, Spratt’s epiphany ultimately gave birth to his patented “Meat Fibrine Dog Cakes”. They were launched in Holborn, London, around 1860. They contained blended wheat meal, beetroot and other vegetables, and meat.
Spratt’s of Holborn
Spratt’s went on to become the world’s first large-scale manufacturer of dog biscuits. So successful was the company and its product, it’s said that during World War I alone, the company supplied no less than 1,256,976,708 biscuits to military dogs.
Now that, let me tell you, is a lorra, lorra dog biscuits!
The birth of Crufts
Incidentally, one of Spratt’s earliest employees was another enterprising young man, a young clerk named Charles Cruft. Name sound familiar?
Cruft not only went on to take Spratt’s to world dominance as its general manager, he also subsequently went on to found a rather well-known dog show you might just have heard of. Crufts!
Today, the ever-evolving history of dog treats continues today with my dog treat baking mixes for healthy and natural homemade dog treats!?!