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News and Information about Dogs, Cats, and Pet Products

Is your dog always scratching or licking a specific spot on his body? Have you gotten x-rays, ruled out allergies, and even tried meds for relief with minimal results? If your dog is paying attention to a particular area of the body, i.e. licking the elbow or wrist, this could be a location of discomfort due to tight muscles. Why? Un-stretched, overused, and taut muscles put stress on the joints all over the body. When joints are stressed, they become painful and eventually damaged.

Dogs have a very unique way of trying to heal sore areas of concern on their own. They will frequently lick or even scratch their sore spots repeatedly. The idea is when they do this to an aching site, it will increase circulation allowing for freshly oxygenated blood flow to repair the area. If they have a tight upper back muscle after say, playing too hard, you may notice them rubbing their back on the floor, or they might use their rear leg to scratch at it. They instinctively know how to self treat, but human hands can do it much better!

If dogs have uncomfortable joints, gentle nibbling and licking stimulates blood flow and warmth, therefore providing temporary comfort. Having a massage therapist check for muscle tightness or imbalances can help alleviate the constant need for them to try to help themselves. Stretching can also help with tight muscles they cannot stretch on their own.

Passive range of motion occurs during massage. When your dog receives massage, the therapist will typically take your dog’s limbs through a comfortable range of motion. When this happens, synovial fluid lubricates the joints making movement there more flexible and less painful.

 

If you feel your dog is otherwise healthy, ruling out flea infestation and skin allergies, here are some common things to look for on your dog if you’re wondering if he might need some soft tissue work:

  • Reddish-brown stains over wrists, ankles, or other joints
  • Frequent nibbling over a specific muscle or joint
  • Scratching a difficult-to-reach area

Keep in mind, if your dog has allergies and is always scratching at an itch, this can generate muscular imbalances. Additionally, if you have a puppy, he is growing at a rapid rate. This makes him feel itchy allover his body! Massage is great for alleviating growing pains and keeps skin and fascia supple and ready for another growth spurt. Remember, massage allows us to focus on whole body health and well-being. It should be utilized as one of your tools in the toolbox to always facilitate healing.

Always be sure to look for a Nationally Certified Canine Massage Therapist to work on your dog. Check out nbcaam.org for a list of practitioners near you or head over to myvitalitychiropractic.com to schedule an appointment with Kristina!

 

We have two NEW products at Two Bostons that I am very excited about, raw turkey necks and chicken backs from Primal!

Raw meaty bones are a natural toothbrush for dogs and cats; when they tear, crunch and rip the meat off of bones it cleans their teeth and massages their gums. The chewing and tearing action also provides mental stimulation, jaw exercise and increased muscle tone. The connective tissue in raw meaty bones promotes joint health.  Which is why my four Bernese Mountain Dogs enjoy raw meaty bones throughout the week.

Turkey necks are thick, bendable and crunchy, they are the perfect size for a medium to large dog. Primal’s turkey necks are raised in the United States without antibiotics or added hormones. They are a great natural source of selenium and zinc. Selenium improves joint health, boosts the immune system and keeps the skin and coat healthy. Zinc is essential for skin and coat health.

Chicken backs are small with soft small bones, they are a great size for small to medium dogs and cats. I give these to my large dogs, but I am fortunate not to have any gulpers. They are not recommended for a dog that would be likely to swallow it whole. Primal’s chicken backs are raised in the United States without antibiotics or added hormones. They are a great source of glucosamine and chondroitin making them great for joint health.

Primal’s raw meaty bones are of benefit to dogs and cats no matter what diet you are currently feeding. They provide teeth cleaning benefits when they eat raw or freeze dried patties or nuggets. When added to a kibble or canned diet, important naturally occurring vitamins, minerals, enzymes and amino acids are provided.

As with any chew, always supervise your pet while they are chewing!

Stop into any Two Bostons store and one of our Team Members can help you pick out the perfect raw bone for your dog to try today. Purchase Primal between 9/17 – 9/23/17 and receive an extra 50 entries into the drawing for the Shopping Spree! For more information about the Shopping Spree visit twobostons.com/spree.

 

 

The statistics are staggering: Between 25%-35% of cats in the United States are overweight or obese. And this epidemic is more than just a cosmetic issue. Cats are more likely to suffer from arthritis, respiratory disease, and diabetes, among the conditions. These ailments lead to a worsening quality of life, shorter life span, and more expensive medical bills. As the adage goes, ‘an ounce of prevention is worth a pond of cure’, so is true in providing the proper nutrition to your cat. But, with so many options available, choosing the right food for weight management or loss can be daunting enough.

This article, however, will not focus on what is the best food to feed. Creating an ideal feeding plan might be more important than the food choice itself. Consider some of these ‘cat-raptions’:

 

  • A measuring cup can be the simplest tool available to help guide your cat on the pathway to weight loss and takes the ‘guesstimate’ work out on how much to feed. Filling the bowl to the brim and approximating with a ‘handful’ are not acceptable options!  You may be surprised by how much you are really overfeeding your cat. 
  • An automatic feeder can be your best friend, especially if you are not home for hours at a time, or if your cat is an early-riser who pesters you for breakfast. Instead of filling the bowl with a copious supply of kibble, precise amounts of food can be released at various intervals making sure your can does not go hungry. Placing the feeder in an empty bedroom or extra bathroom will make you feel less guilty as your cat ‘pesters’ the automatic feeder rather than you for food.
  • A variety of commercial ‘food puzzles’ (even homemade ones) may be used to not only provide your cat with physical stimulation during feeding, but also contribute to their emotional well being. These puzzles are essentially an object that releases small amounts of food when your cat interacts with them. Cats are natural predators in the wild and will eat multiple small meals per day. Allowing your cat to express their natural instincts at the same time they are ‘foraging’ for food might be as beneficial to their welfare as it is for weight loss.
  • Having multiple cats should not be a roadblock to weight loss! Consider these options: meal feeding, feeding in separate rooms or at different heights, or using a NekoFeeder. This neat device provides ideal weight cats consistent access to their food while keeping those ‘dieting’ cats away. Only cats that wear an electronic key collar are allowed access to the feeder. For more information visit www.nekofeeder.com.

Finally, don’t forget to ask your cat’s veterinarian for advice, an often underutilized resource in feline dietary management! Your veterinarian is also a trusted source to determine the best diet as he/she has received formal training in nutrition as part of their medical education.

Wheatland Animal Hospital is located at 24041 W. 103rd St., Naperville, IL 60564. They can be reached at (630) 904-2020 or visit their website at www.wheatlandanimalhospital.com.

 

 

 

A common concern I receive from parents is their dog ignores their small child (from toddler through grade school, even high school). Whether it is the dog pulling on sleeves and pants or jumping on the children, the bottom line is the dog isn’t listening to anything the child is saying.

Most kids only know how to be kids. Kids are loud, fast, darty, bouncy, goofy, and confusing. All of this is interpreted by the dog in a million different ways. Here are a few of the biggest mistakes I see kids making:

Run Away. Of course a kid isn’t standing there while his dog jumps, nips or chases. The child is going to do what his DNA says to do. Run Away! However, this speaks as more fun for the dog! Instead, we teach children to Be A Tree, while calling or counting loudly. A cue to a parent to intervene quickly. Stop, look at your feet, fold your hands. Start calling loudly to parent. Dogs don’t chase trees. Be A Tree.

Yelling. I frequently hear kids yelling. First they are yelling just because kids can be naturally loud. But that turns into yelling cues to the dog or yelling at the dog to stop the unwanted. Or yelling louder because the dog is ignoring them, but the dog has tuned out the yelling.

Rapid Fire Cues. I hear parents faulty of this but I hear nearly 100% of kids rapid fire at their dog. “Fido! Sit Sit Sit Sit Sit Sit. Fido! Sit. Sit. Sit. Sit. Sit!” Usually including a finger point or sometimes a sharp finger to the dog’s shoulder. The dog tunes out the rapid fire cues, I would tune you out too, if you said, “have a seat on the couch, have a seat on the couch, have a seat on the couch.”

What a dog trainer’s kid does: I started guiding my Little on proper training and interactions around 18 months old with our Hadley, our Yellow Labrador. Up until this point, there was non-stop management and re-direction to keep both kid and dog safe.

Height helps. I used a 2 level step stool. The height helps the kid have some confidence and keeps safe distances from dog to eliminate silly kid reactions if the dog does something unexpected. She would run through our dog’s behaviors with my guidance. Kids love to help with training sessions because they think its magnificent when the dog listens to them. The height also helps the dog learn high value kid treats are tossed to the floor so dog will learn to keep space from kid and turn focus to floor once kid is on the floor.

Delivering cues. She uses both hand cues and verbal cues together. Then she would use only hand and then only verbal. Then she would squeal when Hadley would respond. Ha!

Ask/Wait. My Little learned on the first training session from her stop stool, We ask Hadley ONCE then count to 5 before we ask again. We never rapid fire cues.

Kiss A Hip. My Little always offers our pup love in the morning when she wakes and in the evening before bed, but she will always kiss/hug Hadley’s hip. Never Hadley’s face or mouth. Never her nose or feet. She shows respect to our dog by kissing the least offensive or intimidating part of the dog. The back end!

Stranger Dogs. My daughter would never run up to any dog. She knows to ask permission from the owner before touching. She know to let the dog approach her because not all dogs want to be pet. She knows to pet on the shoulders or hips.

As soon as your child is old enough to understand what you are communicating to them in life, teach them to properly communicate to a dog!

You can contact Amber Walker at (630) 53-PUPPY, amber@aitrainers.com or visit her website www.aitrainers.com.

It’s pretty amazing how often we at Two Bostons hear about dogs with digestive issues. From pickiness and anal gland problems to vomiting and diarrhea, almost every dog is bothered by at least one of these problems at some stage of their lives.

If your dog has digestive issues, or if you are looking to be proactive in preventing them, a quality diet is a great place to start. Talk to any Team Member at Two Bostons and find out why the foods we carry, from kibble to dehydrated and raw, are some of the best available. Plus, our Free Food Faster™ program can save you money on pet food!

In addition to feeding your dog a high-quality diet, consider adding a new supplement with some pretty astonishing digestive benefits. Introducing Flora4 100% Raw Organic Sprouted Seeds! Sounds like crunchy granola, right? But just wait till you hear about what this stuff can do!

  • First, Flora4 contains NO synthetic enzymes or probiotics. All enzymes and probiotic strains are food-based and occur naturally. So, you’ll see a very short and pronounceable ingredient list on the bag, which we always like!
  • If you serve your dog plain raw meat or meat you’ve cooked yourself, adding Flora4 will complete the vitamin and mineral profile dogs require.
  • It can help with scooting, constipation and diarrhea, because of its combination of soluble fiber and intense levels of LIVE probiotics.
  • Flora4 can help with skin and coat conditions due to therapeutic levels of Omega-3 fatty acids.
  • If your dog has recently had surgery or has gone off solid food, Flora4 can be added to goat’s milk or bone broth to help restore balance of good gut bacteria. It’s also very effective in re-establishing healthy gut bacteria levels after an antibiotic treatment.
  • If your dog is diabetic or has yeast issues, Flora4 is a great alternative to pumpkin for a digestive aid, since it’s a low glycemic and low sugar product.
  • Flora4 can also help reduce hairballs in cats with its enzymes and fiber.

This product is suitable for grain-free diets, and you can try it out in a 1.5 oz packet or an 18 oz bag. The small packets are great for travel, and Flora4 itself is a ground, powder-like product that’s easy to sprinkle onto pet’s food. Come try it soon and see what it can do to keep your pet’s digestive system running smoothly! It’s Maple-approved, too!

national_pet_fire_safety_dayFIRE.

No one wants to think about it, but you really should take the time today. Our pets are so important to our lives; however, they are the most helpless in a fire.

Did you know that pets can actually be the cause of many fires?

It’s true. They are curious and can accidentally start a fire. Simple changes can make huge differences such as:

  • Pets can knock over cooking equipment and stove knobs can be bumped and turned on. Remove stove knobs or protect with stove knob covers.
  • Consider having flameless or battery-operated candles.
  • Some pets (especially puppies) are chewers, watch to make sure they don’t chew through electrical cords and securing loose wires is another great preventative measure.
  • Keep pets away from a chimney’s outside vents.  Have a “pet-free zone” of at least 3 feet away from the fireplace.  Glass doors and screens can stay dangerously hot for several hours after the fire goes out.  Consider using metal or heat-tempered glass screen on a fireplace and keep it in place.
  • Beware of water bowls on wooden decks.  Don’t leave a glass water blow for your pet on a wooden deck.  The sun’s rays when filtered through the glass and water can heat up and ignite the wooden deck beneath it.  Choose stainless steel or ceramic bowls instead.

FACT: Pets and wild animals have a part in starting about 700 home fires per year.  Roughly three-quarters of these fires were started by cooking equipment, fireplaces or chimneys, lighting, or candles.

fire-logoHaving an escape route is an excellent idea for your family and pets. Keeping collars and leashes near exit points is also a good idea. Not only will it help you find them quickly should you need to escape, it is also a great help to firefighters should they need to rescue your pet.

We have stickers available at our store that you should consider affixing to your windows to alert firefighters about your pets.  Since they cannot escape on their own, it is just one more measure you can take to help them in the event of a fire.

Hopefully you will never have to worry about a fire in your home; however, with these hot days recently, it is always better to be prepared.

 

Forget about Christmas, this is the actual best time of the year. The smell of fresh cut grass, the beautiful colors in our gardens, the warm weather, the list goes on and on for us.

For our pets, mainly dogs, this time of the year is great too! Longer walks, more time at the dog park, all the squirrels running around and OH WAIT, WHAT WAS THAT? FIREWORKS?!?!?! To us loud unexpected noises are little more than a nuisance, but to our furry family members they can be extremely scary. Many try to run and hide in a dark corner of the house, jump on their owners lap for protection or even scarier – run out of their own yard because they are so disoriented.

My Moe, at the first sign of a thunderstorm or fireworks, will get up from wherever he is and hide under the desk in our spare room if I forget to give him Happy Traveler beforehand. I give it to him about an hour before the storm hits or before I know fireworks will be starting. Since it helps keep him calm for 4-6 hours, I usually only have to give him one dose. If there is a storm all day I give him a dose every 5 hours. Happy Traveler calms my guy down without making him groggy or out-of-it. L-Tryptophan, Valerian root, chamomile and St. John’s Wort are the natural calming ingredients that are safe for cats and dogs 12 weeks and older. On stormy days Happy Traveler naturally helps my Moe stay calm and confident.

For stronger storms I give him a little extra Happy Traveler to keep him calm and make sure his favorite penguin toy is nearby for added comfort. That’s what is so awesome about his product! Since it’s all natural you can adjust the dose as needed after an hour if the recommended dose isn’t quite enough for your pet.

Happy Traveler is such a versatile product because it can help in situations that you might not have thought of. I give my Daphne Happy Traveler before nail trims to keep her calm. Nail trims still aren’t her favorite, but the process is quicker because she isn’t as scared of the situation. If you avoid car rides with your pet because they get sick, Happy Traveler can help with their motion sickness. Your pet’s anxiety of being left alone while you’re at work can also be relieved by Happy Traveler. That means your pet could be a good boy or girl and not chew on your furniture while you’re gone because they don’t know how to relieve their anxiety any other way.

If you’ve noticed situational anxiety in your pet, Happy Traveler is a great product to try out. Many team members here at Two Bostons use it for our own pets and we would be happy to share our experiences with you! We hope you and your pets have a great anxiety-free summer!

 

 

 

Hello and happy Summer! We all hope that the new season brings you sunshine and long walks with your dog! Speaking of walks, we have our weekly walks at Downtown Naperville and Burr Ridge stores. Just meet us with your dog on a standard leash at 6:30 pm every Thursday for a walk with fellow dog lovers.

Whether it’s a Two Bostons weekly walk with other pups or just a stroll with me, after I get back from a walk with my Maple, she immediately leads me to her treat tin for some Bocce’s Belly Aid treats, Bare Bites, or Honest Kitchen Proper Toppers (all of which she highly recommends!). Then, since she’s a senior citizen, she typically goes right to her bed for some rest.

A dog’s bed is a special place for her. It’s a sanctuary, a safe place, and a relaxing retreat. And one thing that makes a dog feel extra secure is a reminder that her pack (or family) is nearby. Cue the Molly Mutt pet bed!

This fun new product at Two Bostons combines style with earth-friendliness! Here’s how the Molly Mutt bed works. It comes in two parts, the stuff sack and the duvet. You dig out some old clothes, towels, pillows, or blankets, and pack them into the stuff sack. Then just zip the duvet around the stuff sack and your dog has a cute bed that smells like one of their favorite things: YOU!

Molly Mutt duvets are machine washable. There’s an optional moisture barrier that keeps the contents of the stuff sack dry in case your dog has an accident or something gets spilled on the duvet. The duvet comes in several cute patterns that you can change with the seasons or whenever you feel like redecorating. Another bonus: when you fill the stuff sack, you’re re-purposing old clothing AND you get to decide how firm or squishy you want your dog’s bed to be! You get a lot of control with the Molly Mutt bed, and the best part is you can always change your mind! No one knows your dog better than you do, so make the bed as personal as you’d like. If we don’t have the duvet style in the size you’re looking for, we’d be happy to special order it for you. That’s what we do here at Two Bostons, we make pets happy!

Watch this cute video of the Molly Mutt bed being assembled, then come see us at any Two Bostons store and we can talk about beds! Or we can talk about grooming products, treats, chews, toys, or our new Free Food Faster program! Have a wonderful week.

 

Wow it has been HOT, especially for the beginning of Summer…and I am sure that it will continue to be hot throughout the summer. I thought that this would be a great time to remind you about the very real dangers of Heat Stroke to our four-legged friends. Could you imagine wearing your winter coat right now? That is what it is like for them during the summer.

 

What is Heat Stroke? 

Heat stroke is a term used for hypothermia or elevated body temperature. If your pet’s body temperature is at 103°F or above that is considered abnormal or hypothermic. When the body temperature reaches 106­°F without previous signs of illness and is most commonly associated with exposure to excessive heat that is often referred to as heat stroke.

What Causes Heat Stoke? 

Many people believe that heat stroke is limited to when a dog is confined in a small or enclosed place during high temperatures, such as a car. Yes, this can be the most common cause but there are also many others. Your dog can be affected by moving from cool places (like the A/C in the house or car) to outside. Extreme exercise and outdoor play can induce heat stroke as well.

What are the Symptoms of Heat Stroke?

  • Unexplained Restlessness
  • Excessive Panting
  • Fluctuating Panting
  • Excessive Drooling
  • Foaming at the Mouth
  • Dry or Tacky Gums
  • Difficulty Breathing
  • Agitation, Whining, Anxiety

If you notice any of the signs listed above, work quickly to cool your dog and get in touch with your Vet as soon as possible.

How to Prevent Heat Stroke?

The number one way to prevent heat stroke is PLENTY of WATER! Shade is also a must if you are outside in the heat for extended periods of time. It is also important to limit your walks and play outside to the early morning and late evening hours. Having a Gulpy Water Dispenser by Kyjen is a easy way to keep your pup hydrated while out on hot days!

Remember dogs don’t release heat from their bodies as well as humans do. Heat stroke is a very real (and sometimes fatal) risk this time of year. By keeping your furry friend cool, giving access to plenty of water, and taking care to limit large fluctuations in temperature, you will help avoid the dangers of heat stroke this (and every) summer.

 

Best Treats for Puzzle Toys

Treat-dispensing puzzle toys are all the rage – and for good reasons! If you don’t know why, we’ve written about the many benefits of treat-dispensing toys many times, including here, here, and here.

The configurable Orbee Link lets you change the challenge whenever you want

If you don’t have a treat toy and aren’t sure about the best kind to start your pet on, or if your dog has figured out the one puzzle toy you own, stop in to a Two Bostons store for a little show and tell. We’ll listen, show you your best options, and help you pick out the best one for your particular pet.

Remember, it’s always better to have a few different puzzle toys and alternate them. Variety is the spice of life and with puzzle toys it’s also a good way to keep the interest high for a long time.

Choosing the Best Treats for Puzzle Toys

We’re often surprised how many pet parents make good, informed, healthy decisions about the kind of food they feed their pet, but turn around and buy unhealthy, highly processed, and chemical-filled treats to give their pets or fill their puzzle toys.

Buy healthy treats for your pet and for your pet’s treat-dispensing toys. No junk food. Good food only – that tastes good and is good. Our philosophy for buying treats is similar to what we look for in the foods we buy – as few ingredients possible, and we know the ingredients listed.

Take our Vita-Essentials line of treats that are a perfect choice for puzzle toys. We offer six varieties – Rabbit, Beef Nibs, Beef Tripe, Turkey, and Chicken Breast.  The ingredient list on the Chicken Breast reads:  “Boneless, skinless chicken breast.” That’s it. For the turkey: “Turkey heart, turkey liver.” You can’t beat that…just freeze-dried healthy protein that tastes as good as it smells.

We also like Wild Meadows Minis for treat toys, especially since there are a variety of flavors. The best thing you can do to keep your dog engaged is to put different flavored treats in your treat ball. Duck for one reward, then Bison, then Beef…I gotta keep playing with this to get another one of those Bison treats!

Tricky Trainers are another good treat with a shape and size that make them perfect for a wide variety of treat toys. Plus they come in a lot of fun, interesting flavors, like cheddar, and salmon, and liver, so you can mix it up and keep your dog stimulated for hours.

Speaking of liver…

Of all the treat flavors or types available, the one treat that has almost universal appeal to dogs is liver. Dogs love liver. They love the smell, they love the taste, and they’ll do whatever it takes to get at it. We’ve got lots of great live treat options so stop in and let us find the right one for the toy you have.

There are options galore for puzzle and other treat-dispensing toys – even a bully stick works with some toys to make the bully stick last a lot longer. The best option is the one your pet loves the most – as long as it’s healthy. The second best treat is the other one you put in that toy because that one makes this game really interesting.