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News and Information about Dogs, Cats, and Pet Products

Here’s the thing about Ziwi Peak: it’s so good that your pet most likely thinks they’re getting a bowl of treats for dinner! This is definitely one of our go-to foods for picky eaters. Most pets LOVE the taste and if they eat just a little bit, you know they are getting a mouthful of super high nutrition. The jerky-like consistency is great to use as a food topper or as an entire meal.

 

All Ziwi Peak food comes straight from, you guessed it, New Zealand! We know that might be a little confusing since we usually stick close to American-made food, but New Zealand actually carries some of the highest quality livestock in the world. In fact, a lot of the brands we carry source their lamb from New Zealand for that very reason. All of their animals are free-range, and eat only high quality organic food. They also tend to be generally healthier than animals in other areas of the world since New Zealand is virtually free of diseases like rabies; one of the many benefits of living on a remote island!

Speaking of living on islands, Ziwi Peak fully utilizes both the land and sea to source their ingredients. Fresh green tripe is used to make food more palatable and support healthy digestion while green-lipped mussels add in an extra boost of natural glucosamine for joint health! Even though they only make up about 4% of what’s in the actual food, it’s still good to know that Ziwi is making every last ingredient count.

What’s the other 96%, you ask? Meat, organs, and edible bones. That’s it! No grains, legumes, fillers, or nonsense. Just delicious New Zealand protein that goes through a natural air drying process to become the food your pets can’t get enough of. It’s the closest you can get to feeding raw without actually feeding raw! In fact, it’s so close that we even suggest pet parents who exclusively feed fresh use it as a “backup” for when they’re out of town and trying to make feeding as easy for the sitter are possible.

Whether you’re thinking of switching over completely, using it as a fresh feeding backup, or simply looking to add a little New Zealand flavor to your pet’s bowl, it’s always good to have a bag or can on-hand!

Have you caught the bowl boosting bug? Check back with us every Wednesday to learn easy new ways to pack some extra nutrients into every meal!

 

My name is Mary Ann and I’m a Team Member/lifelong cat parent at Two Bostons! About two years ago, I moved out into an apartment for the first time and shortly after, I rescued my very own cat. Her name is Clarice and she is a spoiled princess. But here’s the thing…even princesses poop. And my princess poops a lot.  By no means am I saying that was a surprise, but the only place her litter box can fit in my apartment is about three feet away from my bed so it’s less than ideal. I’ll spare you the smelly details.

Before working at Two Bostons I was using the same “big box” brand of litter I’d always used with my prior cats, and frankly, it was the worst. I felt like I was constantly choking on litter dust, and every time Clarice used her box my entire place stunk for a good fifteen minutes. Naturally she also tracked it everywhere, including my bed, because for some reason she just loves to snuggle after a good poop.

Then I tried Boxiecat and my life was changed forever.

Obviously I was skeptical after 20+ years of using the other stuff. It just sounded too good to be true. Easy to scoop, non-tracking, and minimal smell? There was no way, but I still figured it was worth a shot. I opted to go for BoxiePro which has all the aforementioned benefits plus probiotics to make it self-cleaning. That part was extra important to me because of the close proximity to my bed. So I grabbed a bag and hoped for the best.

One of the initial things I noticed was that there was virtually no dust. With the other brand it felt like ages for my room to not smell like litter after changing it, but with Boxiecat I could actually breathe! To any readers and/or cats out there who have any sort of breathing issues like asthma, allergies, or even a general sensitivity to dust, I HIGHLY suggest checking out Boxiecat for this reason alone! You really don’t realize how much dust your litter has until you use something without any.

The tracking was also reduced substantially. On top of Clarice’s box being in my room, my apartment is also completely carpeted, so I went the whole nine yards to do what I could to prevent tracking (covered box with high walls, a mat to catch the litter as she left, etc.), but there was still always litter everywhere. Now there is almost none. I think it’d be impossible to eliminate tracking entirely, but Boxiecat has made it pretty minimal. I also have more peace of mind knowing there are anti-bacterial properties so it feels a little less disgusting to roll over in the morning and find a litter grain stuck to my cheek (I said a little).

Boxiecat is also saving me money. With the other brand, I was going through about 20+ lbs a month. I got to the point where I was scooping multiple times a day which contaminated the unused portions of the litter because the clumps would break apart which meant things got smellier faster which meant I was changing it bi-weekly. Sometimes even weekly! With Boxiecat, the clay they use is ultra absorbent, so it creates what they call “flat top clumps”. Essentially the quick absorption catches the liquid upon contact, rather than letting it seep down to the bottom of the box. It’s easier to scoop and doesn’t fall apart! I’m back to only scooping once daily, plus I only have to completely swap litter once a month*.

Now let’s talk about odor control because that’s arguably the most important thing.

It works! There is still a little odor, but like litter tracking, I don’t think it’s possible to 100% eliminate everything. I like that it neutralizes the odor, rather than just covering up the scent with a different scent. When Clarice uses her box there’s not even a 5 minute window where I’m plugging my nose, then afterwards it’s as if I didn’t even have a cat as a roommate!

So is Boxiecat worth it? Yes! Yes, yes, yes, yes three thousand times YES! I cannot get over how big of a difference this product has made. My entire place just feels so much cleaner, and now when I have guests over, my anxieties of having them walk into a stinky apartment are gone! I truly can’t recommend this product enough.

We currently carry four varieties of Boxiecat litter so you can find what’s perfect for your unique feline family! Grab some in our stores or order it online!

If you read our last blog, you’ll already know the basics about what to expect when you’re trying to get your pets through TSA security and on the plane. If you missed it, you can check it out here (x).

Keep in mind, knowing what’s expected of your pets by airports and airlines is only half the battle. Yes, you need your pets to be in carriers, but what type of carriers? What about leashes? Harnesses? I.D. Tags? It all seems overwhelming, especially since you don’t want to bring “the wrong thing” and get denied entry. Here’s the good news: it’s not as hard as you think.

The Right Leash

Remember that no matter what size your pet is, at some point they’ll need to be on a leash to make it through security; even if they’re in a carrier. With all the extra stimuli airports have, you need to be especially cautious about things that could spook your pet–the last thing you want is your furry friend running wild through an airport! The key is having something reliable and short so you have firm control at all times. Do not use a retractable leash. You can check out our blog about why we never recommend them, but the shorthand is this: they’re at a higher risk of breaking, and also there is no reason to allow your pet to have “extra space to roam” when keeping them close to you needs to be a top priority.

That might sound a bit harsh, but we cannot stress enough that this is way different from a walk in the park. As we said before, your pet could bolt, but also keep in mind that despite your dog being friendly and harmless, there could be people who are afraid of them or simply don’t know how to properly greet a dog. Not only are leashes a matter of safety, but common courtesy, as well.

We’re proud to say that all of the leashes we carry are safe and dependable. For this specific situation, we love the “Flat Out Leash” by Ruffwear because it’s strong, durable, and the perfect length for keeping tight control over your dog. It can be held like a regular leash or buckled around your waist for hands-free control. This option also has a short traffic handle that can be used when you need to keep your pet extra close. We also have a great selection of leads by Up Country and The Worthy Dog with fun patterns and matching collars to travel in style! Which brings us to our next point…

Harnesses and Collars

A harness, in general, is great for taking your dog out. Since it wraps around the chest and torso, it relieves pressure on the neck vs. using a collar and leash alone. In short: you have more control and your dog feels comfy, it’s a win-win for both of you!

Remember that just because your dog is in a harness doesn’t mean they shouldn’t have a collar as well. It’s crucial for all pets to have a collar since that’s what’ll hold the I.D. tag, which should have your pet’s name, address, and best phone number to reach their “pawrents”.

Don’t let the name fool you–Worthy Dog also makes cat collars!

Carriers

When finding the right carrier, always make sure it’s “TSA Approved”. Typically, this is going to be a collapsible carrier that gives your pet enough room to stand up, lay down, and turn around. This allows for easier storage on the plane under the seat–plus, it can be a little more comfy for your furry friend! When in doubt, look for the “TSA APPROVED” seal of approval when you’re out shopping and always check the guidelines of your specific airline.

Let us know in the comments if you’ve ever traveled with your pet and how it went! And be sure to check back next Wednesday for our final installment of Surviving Airports With Pets!

cat-and-dog-snuggling

 

My husband and I work with abused rescue dogs — and we’ve noticed that the addition of another pet in the family can really help each animal’s true personality “bloom.” In fact, most studies show that adding a new pet can be rewarding for animals AND humans – and through tons of trial-and-error, we’ve found that there are easy steps anyone can take to help ensure a smooth family expansion. We’re big advocates of the “Pet Parent 3-P’s” – be prepared, persistent, and patient. Here are a few insights we’ve learned along the way:

Introductions
It’s a good idea to have your new pet and existing pet(s) meet outside the home first, on neutral territory. Then, try to bring your new addition home when you can be around for the first few days. Remember that pets can feel jealous too, so it helps to plan quality TLC time with all the kids AND “furkids” in your family!

Supplies
Try to get the main supplies you need before coming home with your new friend. We’ve done this on the way home from the shelter, or a couple days before. Don’t forget a durable leash and collar (or harness, which puts less pressure on the windpipe), a high-quality food plus food/water dishes, and a sturdy ID tag. We also like to get a few new toys and a comfy bed. In certain cases, a security crate helps too.

Health
Make sure your existing dogs or cats are up-to-date on shots and in good basic health before bringing a new pet home. The first week after adoption, take your new guy or gal to the vet for a wellness check, and ask if he or she has been microchipped.

Expectations
Trust us … there are a few questions that are really helpful to work out in advance. For example: Who walks the dog at 6 a.m.? Who changes the litter box, and how often? Who’s in charge of feeding — how much, where, and when? Is the couch (the Tempur-Pedic mattress, Aunt Ethel’s heirloom rug, etc.) fair game, or off-limits?

Discipline
Just like humans, pets prefer some order. Let them know from the start who’s in charge. When you have to discipline, stay calm and use a stern, disapproving voice. But mostly, reward your pet when he or she does well! Many pets – especially those who have been without a loving home – respond amazingly well to enthusiastic praise. Once in awhile, sneak in a healthy treat too!

Housetraining
Just assume any brand new pup is NOT housetrained – so setting up a predictable routine (same time, same place, even a “cue word”) is absolutely key. Some pet parents really like the convenience of Poochie Bells, which hang from a doorknob so your pet can alert you when he or she needs to “go.” Ask anyone on the Two Bostons team to show you how they work!

What other special steps, tips and tricks have worked for you? We’d love for you to share YOUR comments below!
And don’t forget, the Two Bostons team can provide expert guidance when it comes to picking out the right homecoming items for your new pet.

Our pets depend on us to make the right food choices for them!

Our pets depend on us to make the right food choices for them!

As pet parents, we have SO many options when it comes to feeding our furry friends! Package labels can be vague, confusing – and in some cases, downright misleading. But in the case of Nature’s Variety, the product name means exactly what it says! This natural pet food company is heartland-based in Lincoln, Nebraska. It’s staffed with proud pet parents (just like us, just like YOU!) who are passionate about providing a wide range of balanced and whole-food-based dog and cat nutrition options – which, by the way, our pets find totally delectable.

Nature’s Variety Instinct raw foods are made with pure, simple, raw meats and vegetables – the kind many of us would chop up and mix ourselves, if we could spare the extra time — either frozen, or in convenient freeze-dried form. They provide all the nutrients and benefits of a natural whole-food diet, in convenient shapes and formulations that are quick and easy to serve. You can choose from frozen miniature medallions or patties that make meal preparation a snap; or bite-size frozen nuggets that thaw within minutes and offer the speed and convenience of kibble. The freeze-dried Meal and Mixer formulas can be stored at room temperature, so they’re super-easy to take on trips or use on-the-go. All varieties are totally grain-free and gluten free, and are offered in specific formulas for both dogs and cats.

Since we’re pet parents too, we totally get it: Life can get crazy, and some people like the convenience of picking up their pet food where they buy their own groceries. The thing is, dogs and cats are natural carnivores — their instinctive nature is to eat a much higher proportion of meat, poultry, or fish protein in relation to grain. Grocery store cans and kibbles contain a lot of filler to keep them price-competitive – but that also means a whole lot of grain. Nature’s Variety Instinct raw foods are minimally-processed and uncooked, so every bite is extra-appetizing and packed with whole-food energy.

This week, we did a quick, unrehearsed comparison between a box of Milk Bones, a box of Beneful Baked Delights, and a package of Instinct Raw Bites. Here’s how the first five ingredients stacked up:

MILK BONES:
Wheat flour, wheat bran, wheat meal, bone meal, poultry by-products (we couldn’t pronounce most of the stuff that came after these)
Okay, some food for thought: Wheat is a grain, and a common allergen in dogs and cats. Wheat gluten, difficult for many humans to digest, is extremely challenging for your pooch’s system to process – causing everything from gastro-intestinal irritation to blockages. Plus, do you know what animal by-products are? They’re what’s left after the parts that are approved for human consumption are removed. They often include diseased tissue, parts that have been left unrefrigerated, and other elements declared unfit for human intake. And you’ll find them used extensively in most store-bought pet foods – just look on the label.

BENEFUL BAKED DELIGHTS:
Wheat flour, ground corn, glycerin, sugar, corn gluten
A couple more notes: Wheat and corn are two of the top allergens for dogs and cats. They can cause itchy skin, dry coat, eye discharge, ear and digestion problems, plus a range of other issues. Glycerin adds no nutritional value. Sugar is added because it’s tasty to your dog, but it can be as damaging to your pets as it is to your kids. The ingredients that come after these first five include chicken by-products and artificial food dyes.

INSTINCT RAW BITES:
Chicken, turkey, turkey liver, turkey heart, pumpkin seed
Notes: These are natural whole foods and high-protein organ meats. No irritating grains, no by-products. Pumpkin is great for an animal’s coat and digestive tract. We should also mention that the rest of the ingredient list is comprised of apples, carrots, butternut squash, flax-seed, broccoli, lettuce, spinach, dried kelp, vinegar, parsley, salmon oil, citric acid, rosemary, blueberries and other fruits and vegetables. That’s it, plain and simple – and it can make a world of difference to the well-being of your pet.

Want to give Nature’s Variety Instinct raw foods a try? Or perhaps you already know that your best furry friend adores them? Either way, stop by today – we can help you pick the flavor and ingredient mix that’s just right for your pet! (Psssst … and don’t forget: Through the end of September, you can SAVE $4 on a 4-pound bag of Instinct Raw Bites at any Two Bostons store.)