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News and Information about Dogs, Cats, and Pet Products

We’ve all been there. We find the cutest little dog toy. It’s fluffy and colorful and looks at you with big cartoon eyes that just seem to say “don’t worry, your dog could never destroy someone as adorable as me!” Then you bring it home, and sure enough, the toy does, in fact, get destroyed. But what if we were to tell you that we knew of a plush toy that can withstand your pup’s jaws…and what if we told you it was also…machine washable??? Too good to be true? We thought so at first, too.

Meet Fluff & Tuff, one of our favorite plush brands that opened a very new, very cuddly door of playtime opportunities for our dogs!

First and foremost, Fluff & Tuff values safety above all else. One of the biggest issues with many plush toys is that you don’t know what they’re made of or where they come from. Dogs have been known to get sick from ingesting the materials of cheap toys, or choke on the squeakers inside them. There have also been issues with foreign objects like plastic or metal accidentally getting stuffed inside, leading to illness and even fatality. That’s because the safety standards for dog toys are typically much lower than human-grade products. Needless to say, we find that unacceptable, you probably find that unacceptable, and Fluff & Tuff definitely finds that unacceptable.

All the materials used are American-made and non-toxic, right down to the polyester filling and squeaker inside. To avoid choking hazards, every detail (eyes, mouths, etc.) are embroidered on, rather than using plastic that could fall off. The squeaker has also gotten a safety upgrade by being sewn in a little pouch, so you can rest easy knowing that your pup won’t choke. They’re also double scanned individually for any foreign objects, and fit the same tough standards that human toys do.

It’s those little ways of going the extra mile that make Fluff & Tuff such an amazing brand. It almost feels as if you were the one who designed the toy, because if we’re being honest with ourselves, we can all be a little neurotic when it comes to making sure our furry friends are kept safe! That’s because this family-owned company is headed by pet parents, just like you, and their quality testers are their own canine companions since nobody knows what dogs like better than dogs!

But what exactly makes Fluff & Tuff so “tuff”? The secret is in the extra layer of Tuffweb™ mesh lining and double-stitched seams. In short; everything is super reinforced and ready to withstand a whole bunch of tugging, tossing, and snuggling. Our very own Beamer and Sassy actually have several Fluff & Tuff toys of their own, and we’re proud to report firsthand that they definitely live up to their expectations!

That being said, it’s important to remember that a plush toy is still a plush toy and therefore not indestructible (nothing is when is comes to a dog with a goal!). A common misconception we’ve run into is that people mistake them for chew toys since they’re marketed as a durable brand. They’re definitely durable! But not for extended chewing. That’s why it’s always important to know what types of toys your dog prefers, and to always supervise them during play.

If you still aren’t sold on why we love Fluff & Tuff as much as we do, you should come by Two Bostons and feel one for yourself. “Fluff” isn’t half their name for nothing! There’s a reason dogs love them so much, and we’ve even had reports from pet parents who find typically “un-cuddly” dogs asleep with their fuzzy friends. They’re so soft, you’ll have trouble believing they’re actually dog toys, and with the huge selection of animals to choose from, you might even end up wanting one for yourself. We’d be lying if we said we didn’t!

At Two Bostons this weekend (5/17 – 5/20) we are having our Annual Toy Buy Back.  For each gently-used toy you bring in you can get up to $5.00 credit to purchase a new toy that day. (click here to see all of the details)  Here are a few toys to consider for Summer Fun!

Orbee GuRu by Planet Dog ~ This new interactive, super durable toy is perfect for the dog that needs a new challenge. Fill each of the 5 openings with something different like kibble, bully sticks, carrots, apples, Planet Dog Treats (like the Turkey Gobbler or Barkin’ Blueberry), peanut butter or a your dog’s favorite treat. The GuRu is designed for your dog to get the treats when enough pressure is applied for them to pop out. It scores a 5 out of 5 on the Durability Scale!

American Classic Plush Toys by P.L.A.Y. ~ Let your dog indulge with an amazing plush burger, drumstick, hot dog and fries this summer! And don’t forget the milkshake for them to wash it down…They are all have crinkly paper inside and most have detachable parts to keep your dog entertained for hours!

 

Tether Tug ~ Check out Beamer trying out the Tether Tug!  This is the perfect outdoor toy to keep your dog busy and active!

 

Breath Right Fetch Ball by Chuckit! ~ The Breath Right Fetch Ball is designed to allow your dog to run farther and fetch longer during playtime. The hollow, mesh-like design allows breathing and airflow while running and fetching. It is great for the pool or lake, because it floats! It is compatible with all Chuckit! Launchers and is available in two sizes.

Ultra Ball Launcher by Chuckit! ~ With this ball launcher you won’t have to worry about arm fatigue, because it will allow you to throw up to 140 feet with the flick of the wrist! Plus, no more getting your hands all slobbery, you can pickup the ball without touching it!

There are several other toys that are sure to keep your dog entertained this Summer, indoors and outdoors!  Check out our full selection online or at any of our stores!

 

 

The Easter Bunny will be hopping in to leave a basket full of goodies in a couple weeks…do you have everything you need to fill your favorite furry-friends basket? Here are our favorite items to fill your pups Easter Basket with this year!

Petlou Easter Toys – These plush toys are perfect for your pup to cuddle, toss, or just carry around! They are made from extra soft plush materials and will crinkle, and squeak.

Bows – Dress her up in bows! They are the perfect accessory for Easter or any special day!

Long & Lovely Spring Toys – The Rooster, Duck and Bunny are sure to give your pup hours of fun with 5 squeakers! They are super durable with no external seams and machine washable.

Easter Bunny Bakery Treat – Every pup has to have their own over-sized Easter Bunny Treat to munch on for a few days!

Hide-An-Egg Burrow – Dogs will love burrowing into the Hide-An-Egg to retrieve colorful little squeaky eggs.

Ruff-Tex – If you have a chewer at home, this is the toy for them! Flexible, stretch-able, bounce-able and durable for hours of fun.

Bakery Treats – These Easter themed bakery treats will add a fun to any Easter Basket, and your dogs will be thanking you for the sweet treats!

Hatchables – This toy is about to hatch! This is two toys in one…your pup can play catch with the egg or work the animal out of its fuzzy shell. You can also keep this egg-cellent toy in full form and use it as a treat dispenser.

Long & Lanky Spring Toys – These animals are ready for Spring! The Long & Lanky Duck, Bunny and Rooster are full of squeakers. Constructed with a 3 layer design and double reinforced seams. Designed perfectly for tug time.

Egg-Noggins – This colorful squeaky plush egg toy comes in six fun designs!

 

All of these fun Easter and Spring products can be found on our website by clicking here!

 

For puppies and dogs that like to snuggle, soft plush toys provide a sense of security and help relieve stress.

Choosing starts with observing
Dog toys come in all shapes, sizes, colors, and types. Choosing the right one for your pet depends on your particular pet and what you’re trying to accomplish. Are you going for exercise? Mental stimulation? Something to chew on to occupy their time? Or just to snuggle with?

If you’ve ever been in a Two Bostons store, you know of our impressive variety and wide selection of dog toys. Because we’ve been where you are, we know that looking at an expansive wall of colorful and diverse toys that you know little or nothing about can be overwhelming.

Relax. We know toys. We did the research, tried and tested thousands of toys over the years, and have the knowledge, training, and experience to help you find the very best toy for your best friend.

Rubber toys relieve anxiety and boredom and can help prevent destructive behavior.

Quality is king when it comes to toys because safety is paramount. We carry the top toy brands in the industry – Kong, Planet Pet, West Paw Design, Tuffy’s, and many others – who have established strong reputations for using quality materials in products that are well designed and made well.

Avoid cheap toys. First, they won’t last. More importantly, in an industry that has minimal regulatory oversight – especially in developing countries overseas – cheap toys are often unsafe toys. The most common hazards are choking and stomach obstruction, but the risk doesn’t end there. Too often we read about recalls of imported toys due to toxic chemicals or hard metals used in the production process or found in the components of the toys themselves.

Tug toys mean playing with you, which is what your pet really wants most of all.

The best tip we can give you when you’re thinking about buying a new toy is to observe how your dog plays now with his toys and what kinds of toys he gravitates toward. Does he choose hard or rubber toys to chew on? Or soft plush toys to toss or carry around. Is he an aggressive chewer? Does he enjoy tugging games with you or is fetch more his style? Does he like the challenge of treat toys or puzzle toys? Or perhaps prefer the squeak and texture of squishy vinyl toys.

Once you have a good feel for what he enjoys and how he interacts with his toys, come in and tell one of our team members what you observed in his play and what kind of “personality” your dog has. With your insight into your dog, and our team members’ training and knowledge of toy types and brands (and dogs!), we’ll help you find the perfect toy for your pet’s individual preferences and needs.

Does your dog have a Fluff & Tuff Plush Toy? Not yet? Well, let me tell you why you should give one of these tough plush toys to your pup!fluff-tuff-logo

First the company itself is fantastic!  They were founded in 2010 and are still family owned and operated in their home state of Michigan.  They have very high standards, which is why we love them so much, because as you know we have very high standards for all of our products. They are committed to the quality and safety of their products, providing exceptional customer service and giving back through product donations.  They are proud of the superior quality of our the products and go to great lengths to maintain those high standards for the retailers and customers.

Ok so now about the toys…All of the Fluff & Tuff toys feature:

  • Custom designs
  • A stitched pouch inside the toys holds the durable squeaker and some with multiple squeakers to keep dogs entertained even longer!
  • Unique, ultra-plush outer fabric
  • Thick, durable TuffWeb™ mesh liner to make it durable against your tough chewer.
  • All seams are concealed, generously folded and double stitched
  • New, non-toxic poly fill placed for optimal shaping and play-ability
  • For safety, the eyes are embroidered
  • Machine Washable – please check over first for any small holes or tears and wash in a moderate temperature.  Air dry or machine dry on low.

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They don’t claim to be indestructible – no plush toy can be – their goal is to simply combine superior quality materials with proven construction specifications to create the most durable plush toy on the market today!

Fluff & Tuff toys come in many shapes and sizes…so there is sure to be one for your chewing, playing machine!

Pick up a Fluff & Tuff toy during the week of Sept. 11 – Sept. 17, 2016 and get an additional 50 entries per toy purchased to WIN the $1,000 Shopping Spree at Two Bostons!  See you soon!

If you want to find out more solutions to help out your heavy chewer, join us for our Heavy Chewers Seminar on Sunday, Sept. 18th at 1:00 pm at Two Bostons-Burr Ridge or at 4:30 pm at Two Bostons-Springbrook.  Visit our Events Webpage for more information.

 

Melanie WaszkowskiDoes your dog love puzzle toys? Do they love Himalayan Chews? Do you love when your dog is out from under your feet while you’re cooking dinner? If you answered YES to any of the above, your new best friend will be the Animiganza’s NEW AnimaTwist 4 in 1 toy.

I have never found a toy that I had to immediately buy fresh off the truck for Sherman before…Then one day last week I opened a box of stock to put out on the floor and saw a brightly colored toy and Himalayan chew combo, the AnimaTwist!  I immediately knew I needed to purchase one…and it was worth every penny!

The AnimaTwist is a puzzle toy that encompasses the popular Himalayan chew, just like a DNA toy for a bully stick that makes a short lasting chew turn into hours of mind stimulating activity.  I was anxious to try this with Sherman since he’s able to go through a Himalayan in 20 minutes or so.

Sherman-AnimaTwist

When I brought the AnimaTwist home, I let Sherman check it out, and he wasted no time trying to get the Himalayan chew out.  At first he licked at it, then he carried the whole toy around a bit frustrated that it didn’t just come out so he could easily enjoy it.  I was able to catch up on my TV shows for the evening, and when it came time for bed, Sherman hadn’t really gotten through any of the Himalayan.  The AnimaTwist itself had a few teeth marks on it from where there was some chewing, but the toy passed the 20-minute test for him, so it was already a winner in my book!

Eventually the Himalayan was licked away so much that it broke in half, and Sherman was able to enjoy each half of his delicious treat.  To get to this point, it took him THIRTEEN hours!  What an amazing improvement on time from 20 minutes!  The AnimaTwist shows a bit of wear, but otherwise is incredibly durable for a heavy chewer.product1
The lifespan of the Himalayan isn’t the only great feature of the AnimaTwist!  The green (with or without the rope) and blue pieces fit together to make a treat ball; great for treats or kibble feeding. Expansion orange pieces are also sold separately to hold multiple or longer Himalayans.   While you could try to put any Himalayan chew inside the AnimaTwist, Animiganza’s 2 packs of Himalayans are guaranteed to fit inside the standard toy.

If you’re looking for the BEST new puzzle toy on the market, you need to pick up an AnimaTwist!

Learn more about all of the different ways you can use this toy from the video below!

In last week’s blog: Keep Your Pup Busy this Winter, I told you about a starter puzzle toy to try out with your dog this winter.  Did your pup figure it out already? Or is your pup just so smart that you need to try out some puzzle toys that are little more difficult?  Well, we have them for you!!  Here are some of our favorite puzzle toys to try today!

  • Dog Twister by Nina Ottosson ~ Skill Level – Hard. Spin to reveal the treats! This puzzle toy encourages your pup to learn to dislodge the bones and move the compartments to earn the treat hidden inside.  You can make your dog work even harder by hiding less treats or even locking some of the compartments.  This is great for cats too!

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  • Hol-ee Treat Ball by JW Pet ~ Skill Level – EASY.  It Rolls, Slides, Rotates and out come the TREATS! Holey moley…this is an awesome dog toy!  All you have to do is unscrew the top and fill it with our dog’s favorite treat!  It is made from durable, non-toxic natural rubber.

 

  • $T2eC16d,!zkFJJwSE2bJBSZR2Vfm,!--60_35Dog Magic by Nina Ottosson ~ Skill Level – EASY.  Remove the bones to reveal the treats! This is a relatively easy game, where your pup has to dislodge the bones to get the hidden treats.  You can choose to put the treats under one, several or all of the bones, to vary the difficulty of the game. Great for Cats too!

 

 

  • Tornado by Nina Ottosson ~ Sill Level – HARD.  Rotate the layers to reveal the treats! The idea behind the ‘Dog Tornado’ is for the dog to dislodge the removable bones, then turn the revolving sections to reveal hidden treats.  It has many variables to increase the level of difficulty as the dog’s skill improves.  This one is good for Cats too!COA-054_1z
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  • Bob-A-Lot by StarMark ~ Skill Level – EASY.  The Bob-A-Lot’s innovative design dispenses treats or food as your pup uses its nose or paws to tip it over.  The top and bottom chambers can have the dispensers adjusted to make it easier or harder to get the treats out.  The Bob-A-Lot is also a great way to stop your quick eaters from gobbling down their food too quickly.

Celebrate National Puzzle day by stopping in and picking up one of these or any of the other several puzzle toys that we have!  Your fur-kid will be thanking you this weekend!

Amber WalkerAs much as we don’t want to hear it…winter is around the corner.  That means more indoor play with your dog.  Amber Walker, owner and lead trainer at Animal Intuitions, LLC has provided us with this great blog that teaches and reminds us of some rules and boundaries when playing with your pups.

 

We love to play with our dogs!  But just like kids on the playground, dogs have a style of play, preferred time length of play, and particular games they enjoy.

Some dogs love to retrieve, while the other dogs can’t wait for you to throw the ball so they can leave it in the grass.  Some dogs will thrive in a good chase game but it can quickly turn into a game of nipping and squealing.dog-chasing-ball

As in any civilized community, there are important rules to good play.

First, the dog must understand some basic cues such as Drop It, Leave It, Take It, and All Done.  A great way to teach these cues is through the art of play however it is the pet parents’ responsibility to monitor closely while the cues are being taught.  Using something like a piece of chicken to trade for a Drop It cue is crucial for the learning process through shouldn’t be needed down the road.

dog-playing-tugSecond, the pet parents (and especially children!) must have a relationship with the dog before they can dive into safe play.  Sometimes I’ll see a family dog that will listen to Dad with 100% attention but ignore little 6 year old Kayla when she asks the same thing.  It’s really important for our kids to be a part of the training process so the dogs learn that the kids are more than just a play object that squeals, flails, and runs!  This helps facilitate safe play.

Third, recognize the style of play your dog likes best and learn to read their behaviors during play.  It’s not uncommon to see proper and fun dog-dog or dog-kid play turn sour quickly when dog’s signals are not read correctly.

Fourth, follow these general play tips:

  •  ALWAYS supervise play.
  • Don’t push a dog past a play limit if he is communicating that he’s finished.  Look for lip licking, head turning, yawning, and body shakes (like shaking off water).
  • Give lots of breaks during play for water and potty and catching of breath.  Breaks happen naturally but there may need to be forced breaks too.
  • Play should always be fair: no pinning, no cornering, no chasing if the run is to get away.
  • For a child, if play gets out of hand, STOP, cross arms in front of body and stare at feet.  The supervising adult will notice the tree stance and immediately stop in to help.  Instead of screaming, the child can loudly say the parents name or count loudly to get a parent’s attention if they are distracted.
  • Running, squealing, flailing, and yelling will increase the intensity of play and sometimes encourage inappropriate or unsafe dog behaviors.

A couple of rules go a long way…Now go to Two Bostons, pick up a NEW toy and have some fun with your dog!

StephanieD_Profile

Let’s talk about how smart our pups are for a minute. We all love to brag about how intelligent our dogs are, and how we can’t believe what they have been able to get into. The only problem is that your furry companions are most likely getting into things they shouldn’t be to keep themselves busy. This is where the IQ Treat Ball (made by OurPets) comes into play. It has worked wonders for keeping my guys busy with something they should be playing with. You’ll be amazed at how smart your pups have to be to get all the treats out of this ball!

There are tons of awesome treat balls out there, but the IQ Treat Ball is the only one allowed in my house. Let me explain. I have two big dogs, dogs that like to chew things apart. This is why soft treat dispensing toys aren’t allowed in my house. The IQ Treat Ball is made of hard plastic that makes it difficult for dogs to pick up, which is good. Since they have a hard time picking it up, they have to find other ways to get the treats out. This means they have to roll and paw at the ball for their treats.

Now we believe in team work at my house; therefore, we only have one IQ Treat Ball for our Daphne and Moe. I know we could always get another one, but honestly they like to play with it together. One gives it a roll — maybe a treat falls out, or maybe it doesn’t. Either way, the other one takes over and they both get to enjoy the treats eventually … because you never know when one will fall out.

 

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Moe and Daphne are big pups who use their natural canine smarts — and a creative teamwork approach — to score some well-earned treats from that tricky IQ Treat Ball.

 

That is the beauty of the IQ Treat Ball: treats NEVER fall out all at once!  The reason is the interior design of the ball. The treats have to go from one interior chamber to another interior chamber, and then out to the floor. This means there is no magic way to tilt the ball to get all those tasty treats out.

 

IQTreatBall_Graphic

The IQ Treat Ball has a special interior design that makes it tougher to get at the treats inside. This keeps even the smartest pet more engaged, for longer lengths of time.

 

Since the IQ Treat Ball never releases all the treats at once, it is a great toy to give your dog to occupy anywhere from 5 minutes to an hour (depending on how many treats you put in). If you have a pup at home with unused energy who’s in need of mental stimulation, the IQ Treat Ball is for you. It comes in two sizes and colors, small or large and orange or blue. So stop by your local Two Bostons and find out how easy it is to keep your pup mentally and physically busy with the IQ Treat Ball.

P.S. You will need training-sized treats for the IQ Treat Ball. Some of my pups’ favorites are Zuke’s Wild Rabbit, Nature’s Variety Instinct Raw Boost Minis Duck, and Cloud Star Tricky Trainers Liver Treats.