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News and Information about Dogs, Cats, and Pet Products

Happy Holidays!…or were you a bit embarrassed by your dog’s behavior at Thanksgiving and now anxious about Christmas? Your dog was probably anxious too with all the smells of incredible food and the extra carousel of visitors coming and going.

Now with Christmas in sight, in addition to the foodie smells and visitors, the whole house seems to have changed decor too! There are 4 levels of anxiety that you can quickly figure out how stressed out your dog is and if Fido should stay to hangout or if your visitors should be letting Fido have a solo holiday in the other room.

Amber Walker, KPA CTP, Owner & Trainer, Animal Intuitions, LLC. You can contact Amber at 630-53-PUPPY (630-537–779),  Amber@aitrainers.com or www.aitrainers.com

 

Before the crowds, dropped food crumbs, and Holiday dinners and parties..stop and pick up some pumpkin for your pup! Why pumpkin you may ask, well pumpkin has three grams of fiber per one-cup serving and only 49 calories. It is loaded with antioxidant-rich Vitamin A and beta carotene, energizing potassium and iron, plus Vitamin C!

And while it is amazing for us, it is also amazing for our pets, I don’t mean the actual raw pumpkin that you dig out on Halloween, but the canned, natural unsweetened pumpkin; pumpkin seeds; and cooked fresh pumpkin have numerous benefits for our furry friends. The same goes for plain, pureed sweet potato. These powerhouse foods can help “squash” a variety of pet-related issues and ailments and support the following areas:

Digestive Health: Thanks to the fiber content, pureed pumpkin and sweet potato (again, not pie filling, but plain with no added sugar or spice, like the can from Fruitables) can help dogs and cats with bouts of constipation and diarrhea. Adding a tablespoon or two to their regular meal (in proportion of your pet’s size) has been proven to help keep them regular. Both is also very effective with it comes to calming upset stomachs in puppies and kitties.

Skin, Coat, and Urinary Health: Pumpkin seeds are high in essential fatty acids and antioxidants, so they help support overall healthy skin and fur. According to several vets that we have talked with, the oils in pumpkin and its seeds can help support urinary tract health over time as well.

Weight Management: If your dog has put on an extra unwanted pound or two, just simply reduce a portion of her breakfast and add in some plain canned pumpkin or sweet potato (such as Fruitables Sweet Potato SuperBlend). They will love the flavor and it will keep them full, all while helping she a couple of extra pounds (I wish it was this easy for us!!).

If you would like to learn more about the pet-related benefits of pumpkin or sweet potato, ask any of our team members and they can give you insights and suggestions specific to your dog and cat. We also have a range of treats, snacks and supplements that feature pumpkin and sweet potato.

 

 

When I told my Mom I was writing a blog about giving pets as gifts, she said, “You are preaching to the choir. Your blog followers already know this.” She’s right. So I ask that if someone mentions in passing you that they are “getting so-and-so a dog for a present,” please share this information!

I have 3 short stories to open with:

Story #1: My friend Kim adopted a German Shepherd puppy from Chicago Tails. This 5-month puppy was relinquished because a first time grandpa gifted it to his daughter. She had just had a baby 5 months earlier and he wanted the puppy and baby to grow up together as the same age.

Story #2: My friend Meredith has her dog because a woman gifted her father a Labrador as a companion while he was recovering from knee surgery.

Story #3: A vet-tech friend is helping to re-home a sweet pit bull puppy that was given as a baby gift at an 18 year old’s baby shower.

As an outsider, all of these stories are obvious that a dog isn’t a good match for these life circumstances but every one of these dog presents is a sweet gesture with genuine intentions. No one went in (I assume) and said with an evil laugh, “Ha! Ha! Ha! I will gift you a dog to make your life difficult!” They truly believe it’s a great idea.

The only time a pet is an acceptable gift is if the recipient is fully aware that they are being gifted a dog and have consented. In that case, it may still be a gift but it’s not a surprise. The only time a dog surprise is an acceptable gift is if you, yourself, are personally going to be hand on with the dog, such as a gift to the family member inside your home.

If a dog is being gifted, it’s likely that the recipient does not already own a dog so let me remind you about being a first time dog owner or first time in a long time owner. And if you are the gifter, you probably aren’t donating your time or money to the dog’s new family!

Last year, Americans spent $62.75 billion dollars on their pets. The first year of new supplies for a dog can be about $500-$1000. The first year of new puppy vet bills can average around $1200. Training is required and necessary. Working with a certified trainer in group classes or private training in your home will be hundreds, even thousands of dollars. If you are training your dog without a professional, then swap thousands of dollars for thousands of hours! The first year, for some owners, can average up around $6,600! In addition to the cost, the time needed to invest into a new dog is 24/7. 24 hours a day because with a new puppy or dog, your overnight hours are likely being committed to the dog also in potty training or acclimation to the new home. Just like with children, the dog owner doesn’t get a day off.

Talk to your recipient before you gift a dog or any other living being!

Amber Walker, KPA CTP, Owner & Trainer, Animal Intuitions, LLC. You can contact Amber at 630-53-PUPPY (630-537-8779),  Amber@aitrainers.com or www.aitrainers.com

 

 

If you have thought about adding a new furry-friend to the family, you might think that getting a puppy is the only way to go. Puppies are so adorable and fun, but you can go to a local shelter and look at adopting a senior (usually 6 or 7 years old) dog.

Here are 10 benefits of adopting and adding a senior pet to your family during Adopt a Senior Pet Month this November.

  1. What you see is what you get: Older dogs are an open book – you know what their full-grown size is, what their eating and grooming requirements are, and they will have established their temperament and personality. This will help ensure that this is the right dog for you and your family!
  2. They have MANNERS: Most senior pets are already house trained; unlike a puppy; and are familiar with the basic commands (come. sit. stay.) that will make your life easier, especially if your house has young kids! Older dogs are eager to please and enjoy the mental stimulation, they also have experience in reading humans which will help them quickly figure out how to do what you are asking.
  3. An older dog is past the chewing phase: Anyone who has had a puppy that chewed furniture, shoes, rugs, and anything and everything they can get to…you can now relax, you won’t have that phase when adopting a senior dog.
  4. A senior dog requires less exercise: You might be experiencing this already…as we age, we all slow down a bit. Same goes for a dog, they will be less frisky and rambunctious than a puppy, so the requirement for exercise will be far less.  (They still enjoy walks and exercise, just not as often!!)
  5. They are not a 24-7 Job: Dogs in their older years will not require the constant monitoring like puppies do. You will have more freedom to do your own thing.
  6. Just Add LOVE: An older animal will adapt to a new family given love and time. You might not be this dog’s first family (or even second or third), but once you adopt and shower him with love, you will be his only family!
  7. Great for all ages: Senior pets have a more relaxed temperament which makes them excellent companions for the young and elderly. More mature people benefit with an older dog companion that is aligned with their energy level and lifestyle, and children can benefit from an animal who is more tolerant and may already be well socialized with them.
  8. They know they have been given a second chance: Talk to anyone who has adopted a mature dog and they will tell you that they are convinced their pet knows they have been saved. Just one look in their eyes and you can see that they are saying, “Thank you for saving my life.”
  9. Be a HERO: At shelters and rescues, older dogs are more than always the last to be adopted. Taking one home will give you an emotional return on your investment, and you will feel the rewards every day you spend together!
  10. They are Cute…do you need any more than that?!?!

If you are interested in visiting our local shelters to meet some adoptable senior pets here are some of the local shelters that we would recommend visiting first.  A.D.O.P.T. Pet ShelterHinsdale Humane SocietyNaperville Area Humane Society and West Suburban Humane Society.

 

 

Open Farm is one of the newest brands we started carrying at Two Bostons!  They offer your cats and dogs with the highest quality kibble along with dog treats and they just introduced their Freeze-Dried Dog Food.  We wanted them in our stores, not only because your pets will love their product but also because of their very high standards. Here is why you should give them a try today! (Added bonus: All products are 20% off until 11/22/17)

  • Nutrition ~ Premium nutrition, delivered naturally. Open Farm is a family-run business, so they choose farmers that share the same exceptional quality.  The grain-free recipes focus on a limited set of premium proteins, fruits and veggies that are raised naturally, responsibly and humanely.They stay away from unhealthy fillers:
      • All Open Farm recipes are 100% grain-free
      • They never use any corn, wheat, soy or rice
      • Absolutely NO animal byproducts
      • Free from meat meals – using only ocean-caught fish
    • Nutritious ingredients in every recipe:
      • Non-GMO fruits and veggies
      • Include generous portions of nutritious coconut and fish oils
      • Use prebiotic fibers in every batch to support healthy digestion
      • Their recipes are designed for rotation
      • Options that are 100% poultry free and potato free
  • Animal Welfare ~ Raising the bar for farm animal welfare. They source all of their meat from animals that are raised with kindness and respect. Not only does this result in happier and healthier farm animals, it leads to a higher quality of meat for our pets!
  • Sustainability ~ Better food from a sustainable source. Sustainable Fishing, Farming and Packaging!
  • Partners ~ Partnerships that make a difference. Open Farm partners with third party organizations that are leaders in humane and sustainable sourcing practices, so you can trust that your pet’s food is coming from a good place.
  • Transparency ~ Pet food you can trust. Where your pet’s food comes from shouldn’t be a mystery. That is why they provide detailed information on every ingredient used in the recipes. 

Open Farm freeze-dried dog food is an upgrade to their already amazing kibble. The freeze-dried raw recipes are made with humanely raised meats, organic fruits and veggies, topped with superfoods like organic coconut oil and tumeric. You can use their freeze-dried raw food as a meal, or a mixer to kibble.  Just scoop add water and serve! You can get a bag of Open Farm freeze-dried in a variety of recipes: Grass-Fed Beef, Homestead Turkey, Surf & Turf and Harvest Chicken.

Try Open Farm today and receive 20% off until 11/22/17!

Halloween can be a really stressful time for many dogs. They’ve already had to learn to maneuver an environment dominated by humans and then we have these random days throughout our lives where we do really weird stuff! From loud booms on July 4th to totally creepy creatures during October 31st, our dogs endure a lot of potential stress. A ton of dogs will be dressed up for Halloween as they march in pet parades and accompany their humans door-to-door.  There are good, better, and best ways to dress your dog and there are a few things we just shouldn’t do at all.

I would like to add in a really important one I intended to mention but did forget (you’ll see why in the video!). Please do not ever ride your dog. No matter how large the dog, no matter how small the child. This will set the dog up for a lot of potential mental stress and future health issues.

Happy Halloween!!

 

Amber Walker, KPA CTP, Owner & Trainer, Animal Intuitions, LLC. You can contact Amber at 630-53-PUPPY (630-537-8779),  Amber@aitrainers.com or www.aitrainers.com

 

 

Halloween is such a fun time of year, especially if you have little human-kids…carving pumpkins, making costumes, buying candy and seeing all of the other costumes. Kids get so excited to see how much candy they can collect and then the sorting of it and trading with friends or siblings (this was the best part)! Our fur-kids, on the other hand, might not like any of this. Below are safety tips to make sure that your pet has a fun Halloween too.

The Candy Bowl ~ The candy bowl is for little human goblins, not our four-legged goblins. Several of those treats that are handed out are toxic to our pets. ALL Chocolate – especially dark and baking chocolate – can be dangerous, even lethal.  Symptoms of chocolate poisoning may include vomiting, diarrhea, rapid breathing, increased hearth rate, and seizures. Sugar free candies containing the artificial sweetener xylitol can also cause serious problems in pets. Even small amounts of xylitol can cause a drop in blood sugar, causing loss of coordination and seizures.  The number for the 24-hour ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center Hotline: 888-426-4435 (the hotline charges a fee of $65 per case).

Be Careful with Costumes ~ For some pets, putting them in a costume will cause undue stress. If your pet loves being in a costume, make sure it does not limit their movement, ability to breathe, bark or meow. Make sure to check for small, dangling or easily chewed-off pieces that could present a choking hazard. Make sure to have your pet try on the costume before the big day, to make sure they enjoy it and for them to get used to it.

Protecting Your Pets ~ Having a doorbell constantly ringing and too many strangers can be scary and stressful for our pets. Keep them in a separate room away from the front door during trick-or-treating hours. If you would like something to help your dog calm down during this stressful time, stop in and ask a team member about Happy Traveler (this is an amazing product that will help in all kinds of situations that brings on anxiety for our pets). If your dog is social and doesn’t get stressed with visitors, be sure that your dog or cat doesn’t run outside. And always have the proper identification – just in case they do escape – a collar with ID tags and/or microchip can be a lifesaver for a lost pet.

Decorations ~ Pets can easily knock over a lit pumpkin and start a fire and a curious kitten are especially at risk of getting burned or singed by candle flame. Keep glow sticks away from your pets, the liquid in the sticks are thankfully not toxic but it tastes awful if you pet does chew on one. This can cause them to paw at their mouth, become agitated, and sometimes even vomit. If you think that your pet did chew on a glow stick offer some water or treat to help clear the liquid out of their mouth.

We hope that you and your families have a fun and safe Halloween and if your pet does like to be dressed up, stop in so they can trick-or-treat too!!

 

Every morning around 6am my dog, Polly wants to eat and every morning at 6am I am officially woken up by her bowl scraping against the tile as she pushes it around while she eats. Can anyone relate? The sound is unbearable; especially at six in the morning! There simply must be a better way!!

Thankfully, at Two Bostons we carry Ono’s Good Bowl. The base of these bowls are a mat that suction to the surface making it near impossible for any dog to push the bowl or tip the bowl. The silicone base does not harbor bacteria and has a small lip that makes it challenging for paws (or tiny hands) to move. The mat provides easy clean-up for dogs that are messy drinkers or eaters as well. The bowl itself is a stainless steel, doesn’t wear, and is removable from the mat. The mat is 100% silicone, BPA/BPS/PVS/phthalate free, and is dishwasher safe. It even comes in multiple colors and sizes! The three sizes available are, single small (10 x 10 x 1.6), single medium (11.5 x 11.5 x 1.9), and double small (18 x 10 x 1.6). The small bowl holds 16 ounces, while the medium bowl holds 32 ounces. This bowl is great for cats and for dogs! While the mat is dishwasher safe, the company recommends hand washing the bowl.

I have a small single bowl for Polly and at first she was confused that she didn’t need to push the bowl around. But, after a couple of meal times she embraced this bowl and we have never gone back since! The bowls look really modern, making it a great purchase for people who want their pet’s items to blend into the home’s decor. I am certainly considering purchasing a second one of these for the communal water bowl just because of how sleek they look! I certainly recommend this product to anyone who needs a new bowl or just wants a better looking bowl.

Lastly, the company stands behind their bowls, they are made to endure the lifetime of the pet. If there is any concern or issues with the product, Ono encourages the consumer to contact them to fix the problem. What a fantastic company! I certainly will be coming back for more bowls.

 

Do you find yourself getting tired of drinking plain water? I know I do! I can often be found with a cup of tea or coffee in hand. I want to stay hydrated, but also want some flavor. I think our furry companions feel the same way. Served plain or as a meal topped, bone broth is an excellent way to boost dog and cat hydration.

Many cats and dogs are dehydrated when fed a kibble based diet due to the low moisture content of kibble. An easy and nutritious way to increase the palatability of food. Not interested in offering bone broth at meal times? No worries, it can be given as a treat! At only 9 calories per quarter cup, pet parents can feel great about giving this low calorie yet nutrient dense treat to dogs of all sizes. You can even freeze it to make a low calorie and fun summer time treat! 

There are quite a few health benefits your dog receives when they drink the bone broth; similar to the health benefits offered to us when we drink tea. Bone broth is a natural supplement to aid in joint health. The broth contains glucosamine, chondroitin, and hyaluronic acid. Even more importantly, these health benefiting properties are not digested, but rather absorbed through the pet’s body. Bone broth also aids in liver detoxification. Glycine is a naturally occurring chemical that aids in liver detox. Chances are your pet has been exposed to some things that have taken a toll on their liver (think flea and tick preventatives, home cleaning supplies, lying on fertilized grass, etc.). Thankfully, bone broth contains lots of glycine which naturally cleanses the liver. The health benefits associated with bone broth are endless!

A favorite bone broth at Two Bostons is Caru’s grass-fed beef bone broth. Costing only $12.99, this product is made in the USA with 100% human grade ingredients. This broth is free of grain, gluten and genetically modified ingredients! Containing only 9, very readable ingredients, this is a product that you can feel good about giving to your pet!

I tried bone broth warmed as well as frozen with my pups. My dogs joyously yet anxiously wagged their tails waiting for the bowls to come out of the microwave. When I put the bowls down they licked the bowls dry! Since it has been warm in the Chicagoland area, I thought it would be fun to try the product frozen as well. It was a huge hit with my dogs. Maybe now they will not stare at me when I eat a frozen treat because they will have their own to enjoy!

Stop into any Two Bostons and ask a team member to point out this amazing product!

 

Many people think that animal chiropractic is best suited for older dogs. While senior dogs can receive great benefits, in areas such as increasing their mobility and decreasing pain, the very best time to start care is in the developmental stages…puppyhood!

Animal chiropractic can help give puppies the best start towards great health. Think about it. If you’ve had a puppy, they are energetic, clumsy, zooming around, play rowdy, have inevitable slips and falls, are developing coordination and learning body awareness. This is also when they are quickly growing.

Animal chiropractic during this stage in their lives can be beneficial to achieve proper bone and joint development and movement, as well as reaching optimal health early on in life, which can help set the stage for the health they experience throughout their lifetime.

For example, it can lessen the likelihood that a puppy slip or fall will lead to flexibility or mobility issues later in life. In addition, anecdotal evidence has found that puppies who receive chiropractic care are less likely to be diagnosed with dysplasia when compared to litter mates who received no adjustments.

Animal chiropractic for puppies is very gentle and effective to be sure that all of their joints are achieving proper motion as well as position. Most puppies quickly figure out that their animal chiropractic visit is something positive. It makes their body feel good!

A little care goes a long way. Most healthy, normal puppies can achieve great benefit from only 2-3 adjustments before they mature. It is then a good idea to continue chiropractic check-ups every few months to help maintain wellness. Extra active dogs, giant sized breeds, dogs in activities that place extra stress on their joints may need a little more care. If any problems or symptoms arise, frequency of care can be modified accordingly.

When it comes to health, it is best to start making good choices to support the body early. It is also much easier to be proactive in health to prevent problems from happening in the first place.

So, the next time you think, “my dog is young,” and “they don’t have any problems yet,” just remember that all dogs, regardless of their age, can benefit from periodic animal chiropractic check-ups. This is especially true of breeds that are known for certain health issues of the spine and other joints such as dachshunds, shih tzus, Labrador retrievers, and German shepherds, as well as fast growing breeds such as Great Danes and Saint Bernards.

Consider animal chiropractic as a complement to your puppy’s regular veterinary care to achieve a higher level of health.

Dr. Erin O’Connor is an AVCA Animal Chiropractor and ACAN Naturopathic Carnivore Nutrition Consultant. She sees patients out of her clinic, Vitality Chiropractic Center in Aurora, as well as Autumn Green Animal Hospital in Geneva. For further information, visit myvitalitychiropractic.com or email Dr. O’Connor at drerinoconnor@myvitalitychiropractic.com.