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News and Information about Dogs, Cats, and Pet Products

 

Top Tips and Products for a Clean Start this Spring

We love this time of year. The days are longer, our walks with our pets are longer (and warmer) and for whatever reason, Spring makes us want to clean!

As you plan your Spring Cleaning projects, include your best friend in your planning.

Here are some great tips and great products to freshen up your pet’s life – and yours as well!

 

Wash it!

Your pet’s “stuff” could use a good cleaning. All of it. Toys, beds, dishes, collars, winter clothes, carriers, you name it.  Most of your pet’s products should be washed frequently, and Spring is a perfect time to start fresh.

Toys –  Clean ‘em off, spruce ‘em up. Wash most soft, plush toys in your laundry with a mild, unscented detergent, and hard toys in either the dishwasher or sink (try a 50/50 mix of vinegar and water or water and a mild dish soap).

Too many toys? Time for a few new ones? Consider donating your used-but-nice toys to pets who aren’t lucky enough to have a Two Bostons pet parent. Your pet probably deserves a new toy or two, anyway, right? (Bring your clean, used toys to any Two Boston store and we’ll make sure they find a good home.)

Collars and Leashes – Clean nylon web and cloth collars and leashes by soaking in a bowl with warm water and a tablespoon of your dog’s shampoo for 15-20 minutes. Rub the collar against itself to remove ground-in dirt. (Need a new look? We have a rainbow of fun colors and styles to match your pet’s personality. Stop in and see what’s new for Spring).

While you’re at it, be sure to check your pet’s tags as well to make sure they’re secure and readable.

Beds & Clothes – Wash removable bed covers and clothes in the washing machine with an unscented detergent (and much more frequently than once a year). Bed still looking or smelling a little suspect after washing? It’s time for a new one. She’d love a comfy new crib from Two Bostons.

 

Out with the old, in with the new

Check your pet’s wellness and grooming products to make sure they’re there and you’re ready when the time calls. Out of date medications and wellness products? Toss them and get new. Set with shampoos, wipes, and conditioners? Stock up – Spring means rain and rain means mud.

Our customers love our line of Bobbi Panter shampoos  Good selection of delicious scents, tear free, gentle, and made with natural ingredients for clean, thick, soft coats.

Want a quick, easy way to keep your pet clean and smelling great between baths? Our Earthbath Dog Grooming Wipes provide a convenient waterless touch-up solution for muddy paws, removing dander, pollen, and dirt, and leaving your pet smelling fresh and clean. Great for cats as well. Be prepared – have them on hand for when you need them.

Do a quick check of your other grooming products – toenail clippers, ear and dental wipes, brushes and whatever else you use – even occasionally. You should also take a gander at your treat drawer and toss any old treats.

Keep your space clean

Dog Gone Smart Brown Dirty Dog Doormat

 

Our versatile Dirty Dog Doormat isn’t just for inside or outside the door anymore (although you’ll want one there for muddy paws). Our customers tell us they love them under water/food bowls, in crates, in their cars, or even just to lay on (well, not the customers, but their dogs love to lay on them). The plush, velvety-soft microfiber is super absorbent, sucking up 7x its weight in water, mud, and mess, and its non-skid backing keeps it where you want it. It’s a great product, is available in five colors, and it’s even machine washable.

 

Spring is the perfect time of year to do a comprehensive clean of your pet’s stuff and make a list of what you need for the summer ahead. You’ll feel great for being a good pet owner and your best friend will certainly appreciate having everything looking and feeling and smelling clean and fresh.

When you’re done with your Spring cleaning and summer prep, celebrate the season! Take your best friend out for a long walk, and feel free walk in to any Two Boston store so you can treat your buddy to a new toy, natural chew, or a yummy Spring-themed cookie from our gourmet bakery.

And we’d love to see you again, both of you.

Preppy Puppy Bakery Tulip

Springtime is a lovely season that means blooming flowers, budding trees, and the fresh scent of morning dew. It can also mean mud, dirt, mulch, bugs, and pollen; with occasional whiffs of skunk or lawn fertilizer thrown in for variety.

Come to think of it, all of these are great reasons to check out the award-winning Bobbi Panter line of pet shampoos, sprays, and conditioners. If you consider your pet family, these products are an ideal way to return some of that unconditional love while keeping your pet looking (and smelling) fantastic. Originally developed for Bobbi’s blind dog Bobo following eye surgery, the Bobbi Panter line is custom-blended according to very specific guidelines. Each variety – the Signature Line, Bobbi Panter Natural, and Bebe & Cece Dog Shampoo — is made in the USA with high percentages of natural ingredients and essential oils. Plus each one is safe for cats!

Bobbi Panter bathing products are also completely SALT FREE. I’d never stopped to consider why this could be a benefit, until a dermatologist asked me to think about how an ocean swim dehydrates human skin and hair. That’s when I considered what salt could do to pet skin, fur, and eyes. Most shampoos contain sodium chloride and/or sodium laurel sulfate as cheap, effective thickeners – but essentially, these agents have the drying and stinging effects of table salt. Because Bobbi Panter formulas don’t contain salts, they’re completely pH-balanced and tear-free. The essential oils can penetrate skin and fur more deeply; and the gentle detergents rinse away more completely.

Bobbi Panter Products

Bobbi Panter pet products are salt-free, skin-softening, and even safe for cats — though she makes kitty-specific products as well. Ask any Team Member for details!

 

Bobbi Panter has also selected some common-sense names that make it easy to choose just the right formula. Her Signature Line, for example, includes products like Itchy Dog, Stinky Dog, and Baby Bebe Puppy Shampoo – all pretty self-explanatory. I often suggest that pet owners try using the Itchy Dog and Stinky Dog formulas together, because many skin conditions that lead to itching can often cause odor as well. Other favorite products include Gorgeous Dog, which contains natural coat brighteners and leaves behind a fresh, peachy fragrance; Bad Hair Day Dog, a convenient shampoo and conditioner in one; and Charlie Dog, which contains clove oil, lavender oil, cedarwood, and citronella to naturally repel fleas, ticks, lice, and mosquitoes.

Stop by any Two Bostons store for a complimentary sniff today. We’ll be happy to recommend some of our favorites (and don’t forget to ask about the super-convenient dry spray, too)!

MBB_Profile
The other day a friend of mine started talking about “hot spots,” and given our current arctic-blast weather conditions – plus the fact that there are still about 7 weeks to go until Spring, which translates to about 3 months for Chicago – my frost-addled brain immediately began daydreaming about balmy places like Key West and Cozumel.

But when she mentioned her 6-year-old poodle mix, Russell, I realized this was actually a pet-related conversation and (admittedly, with some difficulty) abandoned my imaginary beach. I made us both another cup of hot tea, which we held between our frozen fingers while she asked me if I’d ever encountered these on my own pups.

The answer, of course, is yes – in fact, most of us who’ve owned dogs long enough have had the unfortunate experience of discovering a “hot spot” at least once or twice. The official vet name for these is acute moist dermatitis, which conjures up just the right amount of “ick” factor. Hot spots can occur almost anywhere on your dog’s body, but common sites include the neck, cheeks, flanks, and thighs. They can be as small as a half-inch in diameter, or the size of a saucer. The affected area often appears red and irritated, bald, moist, weepy, swollen, sometimes even oozing. Needless to say, hot spots are kind of gross-looking – but more importantly, they’re extremely uncomfortable for the afflicted dog. Most pups experience intense itching, which often causes them to lick, chew, and scratch the area. In fact, hot spots can itch so badly that they often drive pups to self-mutilate as they frantically strive to find some relief. Unfortunately, this leads to pronounced (and sometimes rapid) worsening of the condition.

Hot spots can actually be caused any time of year – even in the dead of winter — by several initial triggers. These can include:

  • seasonal, environmental, or food allergies
  • underlying yeast infections or overpopulation
  • mite, flea, tick, or insect bites
  • superficial skin wounds
  • prolonged coat dampness after bathing, swimming, or playing in snow

The problem with hot spots is that bacteria can easily overtake the patch of irritated skin, which then becomes painfully inflamed and can even take on an unpleasant odor. Once the condition becomes this entrenched, your vet may be forced to use potent systemic treatments like antihistamines, antibiotics, and corticosteroids (i.e. prednisone) to break the cycle and calm the inflammatory response.

So as pet parents, is there anything we can do about hot spots? The best treatment is actually prevention, if at all possible. If your pup seems prone to hot spots, consider the foods and treats he’s eating. Are they dry, baked, or in kibble form? Do they contain a lot of starches, like rice or white potato? These can be cornerstones of a high-carb diet, and for many pets (particularly dogs, who are close cousins to wolves), a long-term, high-carb intake can lead to yeast overpopulation and other problems. In cases like these, adjusting your pup’s diet can often help dramatically – our Two Bostons team can provide some helpful guidance in this area. Similarly, adding Omega-3’s to the diet can be a huge help, because they naturally quell inflammation. High-quality fish oils like Ascenta Omega 3, Wholistic Pet Wild Deep Sea Salmon Oil, or Grizzly Salmon Oil deliver an abundant level of natural Omega-3. Since most dogs adore the taste, these products are especially great for picky eaters and can be drizzled right over your pet’s regular meal.

Hot Spot Remedies

Hot spots are an aggravating problem for pet parents, and an uncomfortable affliction for our pups. Fortunately, there are things you can do to help reduce their occurrence and minimize painful itching.

 

If your pooch already has a hot spot lesion, you can often help to relieve the itch by clipping the surrounding/overlying coat very short, then applying soothing topical agents. Often a bath with Zymox Shampoo is a helpful first step (we’ve blogged about this phenomenal product before) – provided you dry your pup immediately and very thoroughly. Another good option for more generalized itching is Bobbi Panter’s Itchy Dog Shampoo. You may also want to ask your vet to recommend a simple, over-the-counter antihistamine that can help make your pet more comfortable.

After this, you can try treating the affected area(s) with a range of proven topical agents. Pure virgin coconut oil like Coco Therapy (another one of our blog posts)  is very soothing and moisturizing, with natural antibacterial and antifungal (i.e, yeast-destroying) properties. You can also feed coconut oil directly to achieve similar benefits. But because dogs usually love the taste of coconut oil, be aware that you may need to use a cone (or at least close supervision) if you apply it topically to discourage licking. Another good option is Itchin’ for Relief by Happy Tails, which is an anti-bacterial serum that contains natural neem and aloe. It comes in a handy nozzle sprayer for targeted application – and because many dogs naturally dislike the rather pungent aroma of healing neem oil, they’re more likely to leave the area alone. Bowwow Butter Balm is another great Happy Tails product that’s super-emollient. Keep in mind, though, that if your dog has underlying yeast overgrowth, a product containing oat as a top ingredient can often compound the problem. Again, our Two Bostons team can offer specialized guidance.

One particularly effective remedy for managing hot spots is Zymox topical cream and/or spray, both of which are also excellent for basic wound care. These products contain hydrocortisone for inflammation relief, and can be applied one or more times per day. Zymox is made with a unique triple-enzyme blend, which naturally reacts with the infection to form antimicrobial properties. So one advantage of Zymox is that there’s no need to pre-clean the area before application – the cleansing process can actually disrupt this biological enzyme reaction. Both products are gentle and non-toxic, so you don’t need to worry if your pup licks the application site. The topical cream also features a catheter tip, which makes it easier to target hard-to-reach areas or skin folds.

If you’re vigilant about hot spots – evaluating your dog’s diet and surrounding environment, clipping/cleansing/treating any inflamed areas at their earliest appearance – you may often be able to avoid a vet visit altogether. Careful and regular examination of your pet’s coat can help detect these nuisance areas before they become totally unbearable for your pup. Ask anyone on our Two Bostons team for additional dietary, grooming, and management recommendations!