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News and Information about Dogs, Cats, and Pet Products

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!

 

 

 

In my family, Halloween is one of our favorite times of year. The trees are colorful, the kitchen smells like apple cider, and the cutest little ghosts and goblins wander around the neighborhood doing the best to look frightful!

10431249_791800060866672_1675487833336778634_oBut while we humans are having such a fun time, that’s often not the case for our furry friends.  The sound of a repeatedly ringing doorbell can send some dogs and cats scrambling for cover. Unfamiliar holiday visitors can cause excessive anxiety. For these situations, the Thundershirt and Happy Traveler, by Ark Naturals can be a huge help! See our past blog: Thundershirt + Happy Traveler = Stress Free Summer to learn more about these two products.

The scarier aspect of Halloween, from a pet perspective: the fact that tiny trick-or-treaters may decide to “share” some of their Halloween goodies with your four-legged friends. Even when the trick-or-treaters aren’t so tiny, their treat baskets can often wind up unattended, or in easy-to-reach places.  I can tell you, that when this happens the frantic trip to the emergency vet is NOT pretty.

So, as Halloween is just around the corner, it is worth remembering some especially menacing food culprits to keep away from our beloved pets:

Chocolate ~ In ANY form, this is extremely toxic to your dog or cat. It contains high levels of caffeine and theobromine – both of which are hard for cats and dogs to process.  The darker the chocolate, the more dangerous.

Grapes and Raisins ~ Humans often think of these as healthy Halloween alternatives. But for dogs and cats — they will cause kidney failure.DogToxins

Xylitol ~ This no-calorie sweetener is often used in sugar-free gum and certain baked products. In many dogs and cats, it can cause a sever, and sudden, life-endangering drop in blood sugar levels.

Ethanol (including Ethyl Alcohol, Grain Alcohol or Drinking Alcohol) ~ Even small amounts of this compound can cause life-threatening toxicity in dogs and cats – and don’t forget, flavor syrups and raw yeast bread dough often contain it too.

At Two Bostons we have several pet-safe alternatives for your dogs and cats to still enjoy Halloween Festivities.  Check out our bakery case, Puppy Kisses or other sweet treats!

Did you know that you can ADD 3-4 years to your pet’s life by providing good oral care?  This fact is why I want to make sure that you know about all of the amazing and EASY products that we carry to add those years to your furry family member!

In last weeks Blog: Brushless Oral CareI told you about our Zymox products.  Today, I am going to tell you about another Brushless option for you that you pup will love…because it is a treat!  It is a win-win for everyone.

This yummy treat is a very easy and convenient brushless toothpaste…The Breath-Less Brushless-ToothPaste from Ark Naturals is a dental chew that has effective ridges that will clean all areas of your dog’s mouth.  Here are all of the reasons that make this product so great:ArkNaturals-Brushless

  • They have a patented toothpaste on the inside that takes care of plaque, tarter and bacteria control
  • They smell fresh because of the fresh flavor ingredients of chlorophyll, cinnamon, vanilla and clove
  • Ends brushing
  • Helps reduce bad breath and stained teeth
  • No: Wheat, corn, soy, yeast, artificial colors, flavors or preservatives
  • Easy to chew, easy to digest
  • These chews come in three different sizes, Mini, Medium, and Large
  • They are safe for cats too!
  • Made in the USA

oral-health-say-cheese-dog-toothbrushThat list is pretty impressive…I should also tell you about a product that we get a lot of questions about that we DO NOT carry.

Most of you have probably seen a commercial or have heard of Greenies. They are one of the best selling dental treats in the country…but you will never see them at a Two Bostons store.  These chews have caused many dogs to have blockages in the stomach and intestines because of ingredient that creates a gooey substance called wheat gluten. Intestinal blockages = sick pets, possible surgery and possible death.  Not good.

So I hope that you will stop in and try one of the Brushless Oral Care Options that we have today.  Our team members will make sure that you get the right product that fits your pets and your lifestyle and needs!

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Hi everyone, it’s Christin here! As much as I hate the fact that my two dogs Joey and Henrey are getting older, I want to help them stay as active and comfortable as I possibly can. I use Joint Rescue by Ark Naturals to keep their joints feeling good, so they can enjoy a more energetic and active lifestyle. Although they don’t have any noticeable issues with their joints at the moment, this is a great proactive way to ensure they’re getting beneficial support and not feeling the effects of their age. Joint Rescue is also an excellent supplement for any cat or dog — even those who aren’t in their golden years — during our brutally cold winter months (which are predicted to be pretty bad again this year).

The special USA-made formula contains a powerful combination of glucosamine, chondroitin, natural herbs, and antioxidants; along with vital minerals such as calcium, zinc, copper, selenium, and magnesium. It’s an all-natural way to protect cats and dogs from the joint wear-and-tear they can experience due to long walks, jumping around, hiking, climbing, running, and age-related degeneration. It also helps provide relief for pets who already experience mobility issues and morning stiffness/soreness.

Better yet, these super-strength chewable tablets are made with yummy chicken liver … so my dogs think they’re getting an extra treat! Be sure to stop in before the snow starts flying, and ask any Team Member about Joint Rescue and other great (and great-tasting) Ark Naturals joint care and mobility products!

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After the looooong Chicago winter we’ve had, everyone’s excited to start spending more time outdoors – and our pets are leading the charge! It’s important to remember, though, that a number of pesky parasites start popping up in the warmer springtime weather. It’s even more important to realize that your pet can be exposed to some of them without setting a single paw outside. Some of the top offenders are shown beneath the photo:

Springtime Pests

Unfortunately, by the time you have an itchy or uncomfortable pet, a pest infestation may be well underway. Arming yourself with information is always the best defense.

 

Fleas & Ticks
My vet once described the tick population as “the world’s tiniest freeloaders.” This is because they hang out on flower stems and grass blades, just waiting for an unsuspecting pup tummy or human leg to happen along. And once they’ve hitched a ride, they’re easily brought into our homes on fur or clothing. A tick that has attached itself to a host can transmit dangerous ailments to pets and people, including Lyme disease and Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever. Remember, too, that unseen flea eggs and larvae can cause an infestation before you’re even aware they’re present.

Heartworm
A recent study found that nearly a third of cats diagnosed with heartworm were indoor-only kitties with zero access to the patio or backyard. Why would this be? Because carrier mosquitoes can easily meander indoors whenever somebody cracks a window or opens a screen door. That means all of our pets are at risk.

Intestinal Parasites
Pets can be exposed to these in a variety of ways: via contaminated water, soil, or plants; even through contact with the fur or feces of infected mice, chipmunks, or other wildlife. Giardia, for example, is a single-celled parasite that occurs worldwide and can be spread from pets to humans. Pups often pick it up through harmless-looking puddles or the unpleasant and dreaded inclination to sample “goose poop paté” from the lawn. For this reason, it’s best to discourage curious sniffing in these types of areas.

Fortunately, your vet can assist with parasite testing, preventive measures, and treatment. But it’s also reassuring to know there are a range of totally natural, gentle, eco-friendly products that can discourage (and sometimes even prevent) certain pest infestations. One of our Team favorites is Vet’s Best Natural Flea & Tick Spray, which contains no harsh cedar oil or pyrethrins. Instead, it uses aromatic peppermint oil and clove extract to repel ticks, fleas, and mosquitoes. Another is Flea the Scene by Happy Tails, a handy 3-in-1 spray containing natural botanical extracts, aloe vera, and sunscreen to discourage fleas and ticks while soothing and sheltering sensitive skin. Environmentally friendly Flea Flicker! Tick Kicker! by Ark Naturals is yet another. The fresh-scented formula leaves no oily residue and it’s extremely easy to use: you simply spray it on, and massage it in.

So as you’re stepping out with your best furry friend to enjoy sunnier springtime weather, just remember that an ounce of awareness (paired with a pound of prevention) can be worth its weight in gold. Stop by any Two Bostons store, and ask our Team to tell you more about these and other safe, natural pest products!

 

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Does your pet suffer from excessive shedding, itchy/flaky/dry skin, excessive licking and scratching, hot spots, bald patches, or dandruff? My Grant and Maizy have had these kinds of problems, and it doesn’t always depend on the season.  As we mentioned recently, many pet parents wind up going to the vet and putting their furry friends on medication. But as we’ve also mentioned, diet changes and dietary supplements can be a huge help! That’s why it’s always good to know about Ark Naturals Royal Coat Express.

Royal Coat Express is one of our Team’s all-time favorite pet supplements! Ark Naturals calls it their “Omega Mender ~ Itch Ender” because its veterinarian-developed formula contains a blend of Essential Fatty Acids (EFAs) like Omega-3s that all pets require, but can’t actually make by themselves. Because Omega-3s are so perishable, even the very best pet foods sometimes can’t deliver quite enough. Royal Coat Express provides your pet with a perfectly balanced amount of Omega-6s (via borage oil), Omega-3s, EPA, and DHA (via fish oil) – all of which have been medically proven to help cats and dogs develop clear, healthy skin and a thick, shiny coat. Royal Coat Express is also a great source of Vitamins A, D, and E. Ark Naturals doesn’t cheapen or dilute their product by adding vegetable oil “fillers” like soy, wheat germ, or safflower – only the veterinarian-recommended Omega 3 and 6 oils.

Royal Coat Express

Royal Coat Express doesn’t use vegetable “filler” oils to round out its formula — just vet-recommended Omega 3 and Omega 6 oils. It’s so highly concentrated that a little can go a long way.

 

What makes Royal Coat Express extra-awesome is that it’s:

  • all natural
  • human-grade
  • made in the USA
  • highly concentrated
  • administered orally and easy to use

The high-potency formula is also pretty cost-effective, because a little bit goes a long way. You can use it at mealtime or all by itself. Just squirt a small amount over your pet’s food once a day. Some pets will even lick it off a spoon, a treat, your finger … or their own paws!

If your house is plagued by fuzzy fur tumbleweeds, snowy pet dandruff, or an extra-itchy pooch or kitty, stop by any Two Bostons store and ask us to tell you more about Royal Coat Express. It’s a tasty, healthy, vet-recommended supplement that can make a big difference for many cats and dogs.

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Every once in awhile, an item comes along that not only does wonderful things for our pets, but is nearly as beneficial for us humans. A prime example is Ark Naturals BREATH-LESS Brushless Toothpaste. This unique product helps reduce plaque buildup on our pets’ teeth, without requiring us pet parents to do much more than open a convenient bag. As a side benefit, it’s also a fantastic aid for our enunciation skills (say “breathless brushless” out loud to yourself ten times fast each day, and see if your diction doesn’t improve).

BREATH-LESS Brushless Toothpaste has won multiple awards for effectiveness because it’s actually two products in one. Its patented, made-in-the-USA design features an all-natural, rice-based chew on the outside; wrapped around an inside core that contains edible pet toothpaste along with other products known to freshen breath, prevent decay, and support dental health. Our Maizy, who tries to eat pretty much everything, wants you to know that the entire chew is safely digestible.

According to veterinary studies, between 80-85% of all dogs and cats will begin to experience some type of dental decay by the time they’re 2-3 years old. That’s why we pet parents need to be so proactive when it comes to safeguarding our best furry friend’s healthy smile (which can have a huge impact on overall wellness and ability to chew). Manual brushing is one of the most effective ways to protect against damage on a daily basis, and we discuss how fast, easy, and fun this can be in a previous blog. But for those times when you’d like to give your canine or kitty a little added protection – or the kids are having a meltdown, or you’re simply running late for work — BREATH-LESS Brushless Toothpaste is a highly effective (and tasty) option.

The outer shell of each BREATH-LESS Brushless chew is made with natural breath-freshening ingredients that include chlorophyl, cinnamon, vanilla, and clove. Other ingredients include rice flour, honey, and flax oil. These are all mixed, shaped, and hardened into a crunchy chew with clever ridges that help massage gums and remove food debris. The inside is made with L-ascorbyl-2-polyphosphate (“Stay-C”), a source of vitamin C considered to be a key nutrient in dental health. BREATH-LESS Brushless does NOT contain any wheat, corn, soy, animal protein, artificial colors, or artificial flavors. Each bag is also re-sealable, and no refrigeration is required. Once opened, just store the package in a cool, dry place.

Breathless Brushless

BREATH-LESS Brushless combines a unique, ridged outer chew texture with breath-freshening ingredients and an inner toothpaste core. Together with regular toothbrushing at home, it’s an effective way to help reduce plaque and gum inflammation in your pet.

 

Another nice thing about BREATH-LESS Brushless is that you can choose from multiple sizes. There’s a “Mini” size that’s great for cats and puppies; plus a “Small/Medium” and a “Medium/Large” size. Ark Naturals recommends its product for dogs and cats 12 weeks and older; and the chew is designed to break down relatively quickly (in other words, it’s not like an antler chew), so it’s a good idea to keep an eye on pets while they enjoy it. Check out this recent video from our Two Bostons owner, AdreAnne, in which she talks about some of her favorite product features (you can also see it on Pinterest).

If you’d like to try BREATH-LESS Brushless Toothpaste, we suggest that you begin slowly as with any new food or treat. Try giving your pet a “Mini” chew once or twice to make sure it’s well-tolerated, and then increase to 1-2 chews per day based upon your pet’s size, response, and general diet. Again, the most effective way to safeguard your pet’s dental health is to adopt some type of regular at-home brushing routine as well. There are also additional products and dietary changes that can make big improvements to overall tooth and gum health. We’ll talk about a few of these in upcoming blogs — but in the meantime, ask any Two Bostons team member for firsthand insights and suggestions!

 

 

 

 

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At Halloween, many pets experience an increase in stress, and no wonder. Visitors ring the doorbell at unexpected times throughout the evening. Parties and get-togethers bring strangers in and out of the house at random intervals. Scary movies on AMC Fearfest include booming, startling sound effects. But if you think about it, these types of factors are in play all year long. Thunder, fireworks, neighborhood barbeques, motorcycles, marching bands, birthday parties – to a pet with an extra-keen sense of hearing (like our dog Grant), any one of these elements can provoke a disabling anxiety attack. Fortunately, there are solutions available that don’t require harsh sedatives.

ThunderShirt
Remember when you were a little kid, and you got really upset over something, and Mom or Dad would give you a great big hug? To humans of all ages, hugs can be very calming and reassuring — in fact, experts highly recommend swaddling as an effective calming aid for infants and even certain young children. But did you know that this very same principle can actually apply to your dog or cat?

Pet parents who have witnessed an anxiety attack know exactly what happens – your pet pants, and drools, and shakes uncontrollably, sometimes trying to crawl into or underneath or behind things in a panicked attempt to flee the scene. If you’ve ever tried to calm an animal in the midst of a full-on anxiety attack, you know how futile it can be. Often they won’t even respond to your familiar voice. In these kinds of cases, the ThunderShirt works like a big, snug hug.

ThunderShirt Swaddling Approach

Ever wonder why doctors recommend swaddling to calm a fussy baby? The same principle applies to the ThunderShirt (which maybe they should consider re-naming “WonderShirt”)!

Not exactly, of course, but the idea is pretty close. In our house we call Grant’s ThunderShirt his “Huggie Shirt” (as in “Hey Grant, let’s get your Huggie Shirt on!”) and he’ll run right over to it. The ThunderShirt uses the same principle as swaddling an infant or hugging a crying child. Its effects can be dramatic – the first time we put it on Grant, he flopped down on the carpet and dozed off in the middle of a bad storm (while the rest of us did a quiet little happy-dance). In fact, studies show that the ThunderShirt has an 80% success rate among pets experiencing a range of stressful situations.

So what is it? It’s a lightweight, machine-washable spandex and Velcro wrap that’s extremely quick and easy to put on. It works by exerting a gentle but constant pressure all around your dog’s rib cage. Many anxiety experts believe that this pressure helps release stress-relieving hormones like endorphins, but it also provides direct feedback to your pet’s brain. With Grant, we’ve found that hyperventilating turns into its own a vicious cycle – once he starts panting rapidly, he can’t stop, and that makes him even more agitated. The ThunderShirt helps calm this rapid-breathing feedback loop; and as breathing eases back to normal, your pet gradually calms down as well. It’s one of the smartest pet investments we ever made.

ThunderShirt Fitting

Once you purchase a properly-fitted ThunderShirt, it’s extremely easy to put on. Our dog Grant runs right over to his like it’s some kind of prize. Which, in a way, it is.

 

Happy Traveler
That brings us to Maizy, our sweet puppy mill dog. Maizy is generally fine with loud or sudden noises – it’s people and situations that provoke her anxiety. Being around strangers, going to the groomer or kennel, taking an unfamiliar car trip – all of these things can get Maizy pretty freaked out. So for her, we use Happy Traveler products from Ark Naturals. These are all-natural, non-habit forming, calming botanical remedies designed by a holistic veterinarian, and formulated specifically for dogs and cats. They’re similar to Bach Rescue Remedy (which we’ve also used with great success). But the thing we especially like about Happy Traveler is that it comes in both capsule form and a super-handy chewable form as well. Maizy LOVES the taste of these little chews, and sees them as her “treats.” So right off the bat, they make any situation seem less stressful – after all, she’s getting something yummy! But this treat also happens to calm her throughout the experience – it doesn’t knock her out like a sedative, it just gently mellows her general mood.

When dealing with an anxious pet at Halloween or any time of year, I should add one thing that we’ve been told by Narnia, the amazing pet behavior school in Plainfield, IL. When pets begin to seem anxious, Narnia reminds us pet parents that it’s important to act as calm, matter-of-fact, and unruffled as we can. Often we want to run to our furry friends, scoop them up to cuddle them, tell them how sweet and good they are. According to Narnia, though, making a “big deal” with our pets when they begin to show signs of stress often reinforces the very behaviors we’re trying to calm and re-shape. This advice has helped us tremendously!

To see the ThunderShirt in action, help your dog get fitted properly, or learn more about wonderful Ark Naturals products, just visit any of our Two Bostons stores!