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News and Information about Dogs, Cats, and Pet Products

MelissaG_profile
Hello again – Melissa and Shenzi here! As you know by now, my little princess can be quite the picky eater, so we’re always trying new foods to get a feel for what she likes. One of her favorites that we carry right here at Two Bostons? Sojos Freeze Dried Dog Food!

Similar to Stella and Chewy’s or Grandma Lucy’s, Sojos dog food is freeze dried and made with grain-free ingredients. To prepare Sojos, you simply add water to the mix and allow it to sit for 15 minutes. This is just a bit longer than some of the other foods we have, but it’s well worth the wait! What I especially like about Sojos is that it has the consistency of a nice, thick, chunky stew — you can literally see all the ingredients you’re giving your pup, including the chunks of real meat. Shenzi isn’t a big fan of soupy foods either, which makes Sojos a fantastic choice. It’s also a great food topper, because you can sprinkle it over kibble to help picky dogs get more interested (now can you see why I gave this a try with Shenzi?).

Since we love Sojos so much, you can imagine how excited I was when Sojos introduced a new line of freeze-dried “Simply Meat” dog treats. The best part about them? They are, in fact, 100% MEAT! When you read lamb on the bag, that’s it – there are no other artificial ingredients or additives! I haven’t seen Shenzi go this crazy for a treat since Stella and Chewy’s introduced the Carnivore Crunch line. Plus, because these Sojos treats come in small little bite-sized pieces, I can feel good about giving her a few treats at a time without worrying about the extra weight gain.

Sojos_FoodOptions

For those of you who like to prepare fresh, cooked meat for your pup, Sojos also makes a fantastic veggie pre-mix to ensure that pups are getting the essential nutrients they need in addition to protein. Just mix the Sojos with liquid as normal, add the meat of your choice, and voila! You’ve got a pure, complete, and balanced meal that’s ready to serve in just minutes.

Finally, for all you cat moms and dads out there – Sojos makes a wonderful freeze dried cat food as well, so both canines and felines have access to fantastic, biologically-appropriate foods.

Next time you’re in one of our Two Bostons stores, ask any Team Member about awesome Sojos foods and treats. In addition to the “Simply” treats, Sojos also makes biscuits and teeny tiny bone-shaped cookie treats for pups as well. So try adding some Sojos to your pup’s or kitty’s diet today, and soon they’ll never want to be without it!

 

 

MelissaG_profile
As a life-long allergy sufferer, I know how frustrating it can be to love animals, yet experience horrible allergy symptoms in their presence. We talk a lot here at Two Bostons about what to do if your pet is having allergy problems. But what if you’re the one with unbearable animal-related allergies? Rather than give up all hope of having a canine or kitty companion – or even worse, wrestling with the difficult decision to give them away – take heart knowing that there ARE things you can do to give yourself some relief during allergy season and all year round!

What causes allergies? Pet allergies, contrary to popular belief, aren’t caused by long or fluffy fur. They’re actually caused by animal dander, which is a fancy word for the flakes of skin pets shed along with their hair every day. That’s why some people with allergies will break out in hives if a dog licks them, even without petting the pup. Dogs lick their skin; therefore, dander is present in their salvia as well! However, some pet breeds are still just naturally better suited to allergy sufferers, due to the fact that they shed less. After all, less hair on your furniture = less dander sticking to it, and getting on you throughout the day.

Through extensive field research (i.e., playing with lots of puppies!) I’ve found that there is no go-to “hypoallergenic” breed that every single allergy sufferer will be able to tolerate. For example, Shelties should drive my allergies nuts – yet I don’t usually have a reaction to them. But then there are Poodles — often promoted as a “hypoallergenic” breed — and they drive my allergies insane! In reality, it all depends on the individual animal. Some pets just release more dander than others, even across breeds. So do your own research: play and interact with lots of pets and breeds to see what you’re allergic to. This is the best way to find out which breeds can work best with your specific allergies.

Go Grain Free! – Here at Two Bostons, we always stress the importance of feeding many pets a grain-free diet, especially if you have a pet with lots of allergies. Study after study demonstrates that controlling grains – and often, reducing carbs — can greatly improve the quality of life for many dogs and cats. This is because our pups and kitties are natural carnivores with digestive systems that aren’t designed to process carbs and grains the same way we humans do. What I bet you didn’t know is that feeding your pet grain-free food can actually help your allergies as well!

PetAllergies_Diet

When pets have allergies, their skin gets flaky and itchy. And every time they itch, they release more dander into the air. As I said before, dander is the real culprit behind pet-related allergies. So if you have pet dander allergies and your pup or kitty is suffering, you’re probably suffering as well. However, grain-free diets can often help to alleviate your pet’s allergies tremendously — and if your kitty or canine has clear, healthy skin, there will be less dander (and less stress) on you!

At Two Bostons, we carry a broad range of grain-free, lower-carb, and limited-ingredient diet options that can be a great help to virtually any pet with allergies. Our Team Members have extensive firsthand experience using these products with their own pets; and they’re specially trained to help you select the ideal combination of food, treats, and supplements for your furry friend. Just a few of our Team favorites include:

  • Weruva food for cats, which is totally grain-free and full of high-moisture, high-quality meat.
  • Nutrisca food and treats, which are super low-glycemic and packed with healthy protein — making them a great choice for many older, allergy-prone, overweight, or diabetic pups.
  • Stella & Chewy’s Carnivore Crunch treats, which are made from raw, freeze-dried, USDA-inspected meats and totally free of grains, fillers, and additives.

So stop by with your pet soon for personalized suggestions. In the meantime, watch for a future post, where we’ll talk about shampoo and grooming options that can really help pets (and pet parents!) who struggle with allergies.

HeatherD_Profile

Planet Dog is one of my favorite toy brands that we carry at our Two Bostons stores — and lucky for us (and you!), we have their amazing new toy, the Orbee-Tuff Snoop.

One of my favorite things about U.S.A.-crafted Planet Dog toys is that they’re completely guaranteed … 100% of the time, every time! They’re made with a special Orbee-Tuff rubber that is designed to help a dog’s teeth rebound off while they’re chewing (instead of sinking in or puncturing the toy). With my border collie Ahsoka chomping all day on her Soccer Ball toy, I’m definitely thankful for this. So far, she loves the Soccer Ball, the Tennis Ball, and the Snoop from the Planet Dog line.

The Snoop is translucent, blue or orange, and squishy. Although it’s definitely tough like other Planet Dog toys, it’s specifically designed for puzzle play that can stimulate your pet’s natural intelligence and curiosity. It has a deep crevice in the center that can conceal a treat on the inside to create a fun challenge for your dog. I always recommend using Stella & Chewy’s Carnivore Crunch, because it’s so tasty and healthy — my girls (like most dogs) will do anything to get it!

 

PlanetDog_OrbeeTuffSnoop

Whichever treats you choose to use, pups will nudge the Snoop with their nose, their paws, their forehead, and/or their mouth trying to get those yummy morsels out (which can not only be smelled, after all, but seen right through the toy!). All this activity helps deliver the mental and physical stimulation every dog needs. For even more puzzle fun, take that Orbee-Tuff Tennis Ball or any other 2.5” Orbee-Tuff ball, stuff it into the concave center of the Snoop, and challenge your dog to remove it. Since the Snoop is intended for interactive play, it isn’t necessarily designed to stand up to those dedicated toy-destroyers out there – but it will still be a great way for them to release energy! Just be sure to use with appropriate supervision.

It’s easy to see why the Orbee-Tuff Snoop won the Gold Medal in “Product Innovations” at the 2013 HH Backer Total Pet Expo, which Two Bostons attended last year in Rosemont, IL. It’s fun, durable, cleverly designed, and easy to clean: just fill with hot water, shake vigorously, and rinse. Plus, with every purchase you make from Planet Dog, you help support canine service programs. 2% of every Planet Dog toy sale goes toward the company’s unique grant-giving and product donation programs. More than $850,000 in grants and product donations have already been shared with exemplary non-profits nationwide. That makes these toys an even better choice for your pups at home!

Remember that every Planet Dog and Orbee-Tuff toy — including the Snoop — is non-toxic, made in the U.S.A., and 100% guaranteed any time, every time! Just bring the toy back if it gets damaged or destroyed, and we’ll be happy to replace it. So stop by with your furry friend soon, and our Team Members will be happy to show you the Orbee-Tuff Snoop. You’ll never be puzzled for a playtime solution again!

 

If you’ve been to our Naperville Downtown store, odds are good that you’ve already seen Anna in action! If you haven’t, please stop by soon to say “hi” and ask her about her sweet pup Dixie.  In the meantime, here’s our “Top Ten Team Member Tidbits” list to help you get acquainted:

Q: At which Two Bostons store do you work, and what type of role do you play?
A: I work at our Naperville Downtown store on the sales team. So you can normally find me out on the sales floor, helping customers find the best possible products for their furry friends!

Q: Do  you have any pets at home?
A: Yes, I have one dog named Dixie. She’s about 7 years old, and we think she’s a rat terrier/cattle dog mix — but since we rescued her, we aren’t completely sure. She loves to sit in the path of sun beams. She basically follows the sun beams coming in through our window all morning long, and sleeps in the rays of light. She also likes to explore outside when it’s nice, chasing voles in our yard. When it’s cold, she likes to play hide-and-seek inside. Dixie gives the best high-fives and is such a smart, fast learner. People are her favorite thing. When she sees anyone coming toward her, she gets so excited and has such a waggy tail and butt that her whole body moves!

 

Dixie Pictures

Meet Anna’s adorably photogenic pup, Dixie. Products Dixie digs include Charki-O’s, Carnivore Crunch Duck, Sam’s Yams sweet potato chews, and Bravo Duck Feet (which she’s enjoying above, right, as a Kong toy waits patiently in the background).

 

Q: What first got you interested in working at Two Bostons? How long have you been on the team?
A: When I first got Dixie, I came into Two Bostons and loved the atmosphere! I absolutely love dogs, so the idea of working in such a fun place – one that lets me help animals live the best lives possible — was really appealing. I started in November of 2013.

Q: If you had to pick one “top favorite” Two Bostons product, what would it be?
A: I love Bravo Duck Feet – Dixie cannot get enough of these! Like all Bravo treats, they’re made with natural ingredients … without preservatives, grain, or other additives. They’re easy to digest, and also provide calcium plus other key vitamins that dogs need. Plus, they keep Dixie busy and happy for several minutes while she’s chewing them! We also have several “runner-up” favorites: Charki-O’s, Carnivore Crunch Duck, Sam’s Yams, Go Dog dinosaur plush toys, any flavor of Fruitables, Texas Taffy, Hare Sausage, and Plato Farmers Market chicken and vegetable treats.

Q: What’s  your very favorite type of pet?
A: DOGS! It still amazes me how much love we can have for our dogs, and how much love they give us in return. They’re such great companions, and always there to provide comfort. I think it’s one of the greatest human/animal relationships there is … because while you’re taking care of your dog, your dog is taking care of you—sometimes more than you realize!

Q: What are some of your favorite petrelated activities and locations?
A: We love walking through Seager Park in Naperville — and we also like just sitting in our yard and enjoying the sun! We haven’t had Dixie through the really warm months yet, so I hope to explore some great local dog parks this spring and summer.

Q: What other things can you tell us about yourself? What are some common pet-related terms that describe your personality?
A: I was born and raised in Naperville, and I’ve always loved living here. I think downtown Naperville is the perfect place all year round! I’m currently attending Benedictine University in Lisle, majoring in Communication Arts. I love video editing, playing my ukulele or guitar, and baking. After a tea-tasting at Adagio Teas this past winter, I am a tea addict. I have one older sister who goes to college in town. Chicago is my favorite city, and I love taking the train downtown when the weather is nice! Pet terms that describe me would be loyal, stubborn, snack-loving, excitable, and friendly.

Q: If  you could be any breed of dog or cat, which one would you choose?
A: I would be a Collie. They are just so elegant and beautiful — not to mention smart and a great dog for any age group. I’ve loved Collies since I was a child.

Q:  Who  is your favorite famous /celebrity dog or cat (either living or historical)?
A: Mr. Winkle! Mr. Winkle was big when I was in school at Ellsworth Elementary in Naperville — he was an Internet sensation that came before Boo the Dog. He was so adorable, with his tongue always hanging out. One of my teachers and I would always discuss Mr. Winkle-related things and check his website for updates. I even had his calendar.

Q: What’s the most helpful petrelated piece of advice you ever received?
A: You need a dog.