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News and Information about Dogs, Cats, and Pet Products

Anyone who knows us at Two Bostons understands we’re cat-level-picky about what we choose to put on our shelves. If it’s not good enough for our pets then it’s definitely not good enough for yours. We all go above and beyond for our furry family, so wouldn’t you expect the brands you buy to do the same? That’s why we love working with companies like Zignature Dog Food–not only is their food great, but their philosophies are, too!

First and foremost, everything Zignature makes is done from the intention of mirroring a dog’s ancestral diet. That means meat, meat, and more meat! Fruits and veggies do tend to make an appearance, but meat is always the first ingredient, just like it should be. They understand that a dog’s natural instinct and body structure is what should always be listened to–and they do their best to remind consumers of that. There’s a concerning new trend of pet parents trying to give their animals vegetarian and vegan diets due to misinformation being spread around the internet; but Zignature, like many other brands, are making their beliefs explicitly clear: just because you’re a vegetarian doesn’t mean your dog should be. Yes, dogs can definitely benefit from fruits and vegetables, but there is no way they can get all the proper nutrients needed from just those things alone. They need quality meat–just like what Zignature provides.

Transparency is important when it comes to picking the right food for your dog, and in addition to Zignature’s open stance on vegan/vegetarian diets, they also make it easy for users to understand where their food comes from and why it’s great for their dog. We especially love the “ingredients” section of their website, where they have an easy to navigate grid of everything they use in their truest form and brief paragraphs detailing its dietary importance. While web-design might seem like a nit-picky detail, it’s actually a pretty important tool to the pet parents who like to do a little extra research.

Another thing that’s cool about Zignature is its wide variety of flavors. Between their wet and dry foods, there are over 30 different recipes to choose from, ranging from traditional meals such as turkey and pork to dishes a bit more exotic, like kangaroo. We know 30+ recipes might sound daunting, but Zignature food is actually made with the intention of having your dogs sample as many flavors as possible without getting a tummy ache! That’s because having variation in a pet’s diet is crucial…so yes, we know you’re totally curious about the kangaroo, and yes, your dog can give it a try without risking digestive issues!

Thinking about switching to Zignature, now? We don’t blame you! They’re such a great brand and certainly perfect for pups who love it when you switch things up.

As April and National Canine Fitness Month is coming to an end, I thought I would give you some canine fitness tips and ideas to keep your dog active all year long!

First, the most important thing with canine fitness is maintaining a consistent routine! It is not only good for our dogs, but for us too. So, you might ask, what does consistent look like? Well, I think that it is different for everyone. Getting a daily exercise in might be almost impossible because of our busy lives, but it is recommended that our four-legged companions get 3 – 4 workouts per week.

Here are some fitness activities to try out:

Get Walking!  The most obvious and easiest exercise for most.  The fresh air is always good for you and your dog! Check out our Weekly Walks that start on May 3, 2018 at Two Bostons, Downtown Naperville!

Active Play. Throw a ball, Frisbee, or another fetch toy in a safe environment.  Run or jog with your pet to retrieve it to get some exercise yourself!

Hide and Seek. Place your pet’s daily allowance of treats behind doors, under bowls and chairs or around the yard for them to run and find.

Yoga! While doing Yoga, incorporate some of your pet’s obedience skills. When you go into cobra, ask your dog to lie down, when you move into downward dog, have him sit.

Obstacle Courses. Creating an obstacle course inside or outside with a small amount of equipment, like using cones, chairs, pool noodles will create a fun workout for both you and your dog.

Shadows. Many of our dogs are our shadows, following us around everywhere we go. Take advantage and encourage them to participate when you put on a cardio or yoga video. When you shuffle across the room, grab a toy and lure them to do the same.

The key is to make movement fun for both of you, to develop a healthier lifestyle and bond with your four-legged family members!

 

Dr.ErinGuestBlogIf your dog is currently experiencing or recovering from an injury, rest can be invaluable to their recovery. While it can be difficult with high energy breeds or young dogs, restricting intense activities can help.

Allowing your dog to continue doing intense activities like fetch and frisbee can dramatically slow down their healing time.  When a dog is highly driven by these two things, they will do all that they can to get the ball or frisbee. This means contorting their body out of natural postures, face planting, stumbling, and sliding.  They have one goal and that is to get the ball or frisbee in their mouths as quick as they can.6-21705-top-10-family-friendly-dogs6c-1350065750

Another activity to avoid while your dog is recovering from an injury is tugging. This is especially important for neck injuries. When your dog tugs, they are pulling and jerking with their neck.  If you or another dog pulls against that, it can setup the stage for re-injury or make current symptoms worse.

Other activities you may need to restrict, especially if you have a small dog, is jumping on and off of furniture and stairs. Jumping up is more problematic for a rear limb or back injury, as your dog will be pushing off from the rear.  Jumping down is more worrisome for a neck or front limb injury, as they will be landing on their front legs and the force from their landing will travel up the legs and into the upper back and neck.

If your dog participates in sports like agility, flyball, dock diving, etc. it is wise to also take time off from these activities while your dog heals.

More than likely, your dog will be able to get back to their usual activities, however, restricting these activities while your dog is healing is important.

dog-chasing-ball

Once your dog looks back to their normal self, wait a little bit longer; simply to ensure that everything has healed and stabilized. Many times when dogs start to feel better, they want to do all of their favorite activities again when they are not fully ready.

When they are fully healed, ease back into their normal activities. Whether it’s been a couple weeks or a couple months, going back to a 3 mile walk, their usual jump height in agility, or playing for hours at the park, for example, will cause problems.  Start small and if they do OK, you can gradually increase the intensity or length of the activity.  Many dog owners get really excited once their dog is feeling better, but for your dog’s benefit, you want to take it slow getting them back to their usual activities.

It may take some effort on your part, but it is worth it that your dog rest and then eases back into their activities so that they can fully recover.

If you’re not sure where to start prior to that in the beginning to help heal an injury, I may be able to help with the animal chiropractic.  It’s a great treatment method to restore musculoskeletal and nervous system health.

If you have any questions about Animal Chiropractic, you can contact Dr. Erin O’Connor at drerinoconnor@myvitalitychiropractic.com or visit myvatilitychiropractic.com

 

Keeping up with your pets can be exhausting at times…it is normal to spend a great deal of time trying to prevent problems such as fleas, worms, ear infections, and much more.  Yet, one problem often goes unnoticed….Canine Obesity, and it is estimated that nearly 34% of all dogs are overweight.  The reason for this is that many pet owners are not aware of the severity of obesity symptoms, or aware of how to tell when their pet has reached an unhealthy weight.dog-on-scale

There are many harmful symptoms of canine obesity including:

  • Musculoskeletal problems
  • Inability or lack of desire to exercise
  • Cardiovascular problems
  • Weakened immune system
  • Sensitivity to heat

Clearly, overweight animals are only cute on the Internet, in real life the reality of their condition is anything but…How do you know when your pet has reached an unhealthy weight?  Often times it is hard to determine what the ideal weight of your pet should be, as well as specifically what is causing their condition.

Causes of Canine Obesity:overflowing-dog-food-bowl-9506814

It may sound harsh, but often times the cause of a dogs weight problem is their owner.  The owner is mostly in control of when and how much a dog eats, as well as how much exercise they get on a daily basis. Making sure that a dog is being fed the proper amount of food, as well as getting plenty of exercise every day is extremely important.  It is easy to cut the amount of weekly walks down, but doing so could have serious repercussions for your pet.

 

How to Tell:

The easiest way to tell whether or not your pet is overweight is to look down at them from above.  Ideally you will be able to feel their ribs but you will not be able to see them.  If you can see their ribs then they are too thin, but if you cannot feel them at all then they are most likely overweight.

Solutions:dog-need-exercise

One simple way to help your companion shed pounds quickly is to cut their daily amount of food by 25%.  Often times the problem can be as simple as overeating so make sure to actually measure the amount of food that you’re giving your pet.  You should give your pet the amount of food that it says on the bag, that your pets weight is SUPPOSED to be, not what they currently weigh. You can also help by increasing the amount of exercise they get a day.  The ideal amount of exercise per day is about two – half hour walks.  If your pet is not currently getting this much, it is best to slowly build up to the ideal exercise level.

Canine obesity is a fairly serious problem, affecting around 1/3 of all dogs. Thankfully though it is not a difficult problem to solve.  With a little bit of dedication you can get your pet back to a healthy weight very quickly!

If your dog has a few pounds to shed…you and your pup can participate in the Two Bostons Lose Pounds with Your Hounds Challenge.  It is a 6-week weight-loss challenge with your pup! The program starts the week of April 25th and runs until June 11, 2016.  For more information visit our website or email Lisa at lisa.s@twobostons.com!

 

 

It’s Springtime and dog-holding-shoestoday is National Take A Walk in the Park Day!

I would have to assume that we are all happy to see the cold weather be gone. This includes our pets too!  They get cabin fever and pent-up energy just like us.  Now that we can get out more often for walks, let’s talk about a few pointers to get your pup out of the house and make it a relaxing enjoyable walk.  We all know that a tired dog is a happy dog!

Most complaints about dog walking revolves around them pulling…If the question, “Who’s walking who?” has ever been thought, this is for you!

1. Collars, Leashes and Harnesses:  You want to find a collar that is an appropriate width for the size of your dog.  You will also want a leash that is easy for you to hold and handle. We have all kinds of different leashes to choose from! We strongly recommend that you use a standard leash instead of a retractable leash for several reasons.  Read about retractable leashes in a previous Blog: Do you know why you can’t find retractable leashes at Two Bostons?

Using a harness to walk your dog is safer and healthier for any breed, but especially the short-faced breeds like the Boston Terrier, Pug, Boxer or Bulldog.  These types of breeds tend to have necks that are more susceptible to damage when they pull on their collars.  Placing them in a well-fitted harness will be much better for them and will give you more control as well!  sporn_mesh_harness

If you have a dog that REALLY pulls (or maybe you want a very well-mannered walker)  we suggest trying the No-Pull Dog Harness by SPORN. This is the best no-pull system that we have found!  The SPORN fits just like a regular harness but pulls up on the dogs’ armpits, which is a pressure point, when the dog pulls.  This doesn’t hurt the dog at all, but it does make it uncomfortable if they continue to pull.  The best thing about this is that you don’t have to correct your dog, he will correct himself!

2.  Poop Bags:  Let’s face it, they do it!  So be prepared…We have several different poop bags and poop bag holders to choose from.  There are the regular plastic bag cylinder shaped bag holder that hold a roll of plastic bags, or the more fashionable poop bag carriers that look just like cute cell phone holders!  Both kinds will attached to the top of the leash so they are out of the way but there when you need them!

WalkingBlog

3.  Hydration:  If you are just going around the block you may not need to worry about taking water with you…but if you are on a longer walk or it is in the middle of a hot summer day you will want to make sure you keep your pup hydrated!  We have a couple of different options for you to choose from.  One of those is the Gulpy Water Dispenser by Kyjen.  It is easy to use, doesn’t leak and you can easily carry it with the built-in belt clip and it fits into bicycle water bottle holders!

The most important thing is to have fun on your walks!  Stop into any Two Bostons store and we can help you find the right walking gear for you and your pup!

Two Bostons will be starting their Weekly Walks on Thursday, April 7, 2016 at the Downtown Naperville and Burr Ridge stores.  For more information visit our website at twobostons.com/pages/events.

With all of this rain that we have had, most yards are already almost all GREEN, which is awesome…but, do have some of those nasty burnt spots? Are you asking your self how it is possible that your dog is burning your yard all year round?

Well first, do you know what causes these patches? Dog urine contains a variety of nitrogen compounds and too much nitrogen will burn the grass and thus create those yellow patches in your year.  And guess what? One of the main ingredients in lawn fertilizer is nitrogen.  So when your dog relieves himself in the same spot over and over again – it’s like putting a handful of fertilizer on that spot over and over.180px_h_ProductShot

So how can you fix the problem, you ask?  We have two ways to help you with this…1. Make sure your dog is on a high quality food so that they are processing their nutrients correctly.  2. Dog Rocks® – yes…it’s real, Dog Rocks®!

Dog Rocks® are a 100% Natural Australian product that will save your lawn from those nasty burn patches.  They work by binding the excess nitrogen in the drinking water your dog a better quality of water.  (that will help your lawn ~ remember the main ingredient in fertilizer?) The rocks contain zeolite traces which are often used in aquariums to filter water safely and naturally.

All you have to do is put them in your dogs water…yes it really is that simple!  Just open the bag, rinse the rocks off, place in your dog’s water dish and top off the water to refill rather than start fresh every time.PicMonkey Collage

And if you have a dog that loves to take them out and play with them…no worries!  Just fill a pitcher with water and put the rocks in there.  That way you can use the water from the pitcher every time you fill the bowl and you will still be able to reap the benefits of the rocks.

They work rather quickly…usually within the first 24 hours you will notice your pet will stop leaving new lawn burns.  (Your current brown patches will not go away overnight…you will still need to nurse those back to health, but at least you won’t have any NEW ones!)

Dog Rocks® are safe for any pet sharing your dog’s water bowl (such as cats, rabbits, etc.).  And again, they are all natural…no yeast like in other lawn burn prevention products.  Landscapers have been known to endorse Dog Rocks®, because the appropriate level of nitrogen in your dog’s urine can actually help your lawn!

We carry Dog Rocks® two package sizes.  The small package is a 2 month supply and the large package is a 6 month supply.  You should use the rocks year round too, since your dog will continue to burn your lawn in every season…you just don’t always see your lawn!

You can also visit the Dog Rocks website for more information and some great tips!

So….it is almost the New Year! And with the new year we all want to strive to be the best we can be!  This year we want you also to make sure that your pets live the best and most healthy life possible. Each month in 2016 we will be having a different educational focus to make sure you can be the best pet parent possible…here are five things that you can start to do today to make that happen, and a preview of what you can expect to learn more about this year from us!

  1. Running-With-Dog-1Exercise, Exercise, Exercise ~ It is important for us…it is important for them too!  The best way to maintain a healthy weight is exercise.  That could mean walking more, running, chasing, anything that gets the heart pumping. An unhealthy weight can lead to many health issues…so it’s time to break out that leash and get moving.
  2. 5a2f0fcddb77f334c8ef41df3963f895Feed Appropriate Diet & Supplements ~ Make 2016 the year your pets eats the best diet possible…this means a diet that closely resembles what a dog would eat in the wild.  We recommend raw diets; however, we know that is not doable for everyone, so more importantly a grain free diet is extremely important.  Much like our lives, your dog’s diet can’t be expected to cover every need his or her body has, so we recommend supplements that fits your dogs lifestyle and needs.
  3. dogs-playing-at-dog-parkBe Social ~ Can you imagine going through your life never talking to another human being?  I can’t!  Let your dog get out there and make friends.  Check out some of our local dog parks and let your dog be a dog.  There are many ways to help your dog socialize…and you’ll have fun too!
  4. nina-ottoson-dog-finder_c-g Play More ~ All work and no play makes Fido a dull boy…or at the very least a naughty boy, because he is constantly getting into things he shouldn’t.  Go through your dog’s toys and weed out the ones that are worn, broken, or simply are not played with.  If you haven’t done so yet, get a puzzle toy to stimulate your dog’s brain.  Or, get a toy that you can play with together.  We have many to choose from that are just the right size and durability for your pooch.  Let us help you pick the perfect toy!
  5. 25666036-origpic-7cf762Hydration Station ~ Fresh water is key to keeping your dog healthy.  Whether that is in your home, on a walk or on the road, it is important that you always have a supply of fresh water available to your pooch.  A raised feeder is the perfect way to offer your dog water (and food) that promotes a healthy posture and ease of swallowing.  The Drinkwell is another great way to offer your dog fresh water.  And for when you are on the go, portable drink dispensers are the way to go!

1de3189bbc6a24d16df518a7e6e3d994So here are the five easy ways to start the year off right for you and your dog!  We are looking forward to providing you with the best year yet…it is going to be jam packed with information to help you be the best pet parent you can be, you will get it from Seminars, Blogs, Events, Newsletters, Social Media and other fun activities and community partnerships!

 

During the Holidays everything gets a little more chaotic than normal…you may not be able to watch Fido or give him as much attention as normal. Which means he may get into some items around the house that may cause him harm and you don’t even realize it.  Here is a quick list of some items to look out for this holiday:poinsettia

  • Poinsettias – they may cause irritation to the mouth, vomiting and/or diarrhea
  • MistletoeMistletoecauses digestive upset, but can potentially cause cardiovascular problems
  • Hollygastrointestinal no no!
  • Batteriescontains caustic, corrosive materials that can result in chemical burns if chewed or ingested
  • Alcoholic beverages and/or chocolateincreased heartbeat and it can make your pet very very sickwaterinbowl
  • Christmas tree watercontains fertilizer or preservatives that can be toxic to pets and over time it becomes moldy, stagnant, and not fit to drink
  • tinselElectrical lighting cordssome dogs consider them a chewing toy which can result in severe burns in and around the mouth and gums
  • Christmas tree tinsel or ribboncauses intestinal blockage and can actually cut into intestinal tissue
  • Potpourriliquid or dry may have toxic flowers in the mix so keep up high just for safety

 

Here are some other Winter Pet Hazards that you will start to come across as we start to get into the cold, snow and ice:

  • AntifreezeIt has a sweet, pleasant taste, and even the smallest amount can be fatal.  Keep out of reach, and check your local automotive shop for a pet safe brand…clean any spills the best you can.
  • Ice-melting productsthey can be irritating to the mouth and skin, ingestion may include (depending on the ingredients) vomiting, depression, or excessive drooling.
  • Rodent killersas it gets cold outside mice will move indoors for warmth causing us to get a pesticide to keep them out.  Keep these out of reach of the pets, you don’t want an unexpected vet visit.

37fef05e03447118e5be51de834c2bf9The one thing that I will say is…be observant of your pets behavior, and make sure all hazardous items (to the best of your knowledge) is out of Fido’s reach this holiday season! We all know it is hard to communicate with our pets, so they might get into SOME trouble…with that, please always keep your vet’s phone number in an accessible spot just in case of an emergency.

Wow…I feel like that was a lot to take in!  Now, let’s have a safe, happy and stress free holiday.

This time of year you see pumpkin in everything: drinks, side-dishes, pasta, cookies, bread, and of course pie! For as much pumpkin we eat this time of year we can all be grateful that it  good for us!  You are probably wondering how eating pumpkin pie can be good for you…well it has three grams of fiber per one-cup serving and only 49 calories.  It is loaded with antioxidant-rich Vitamin A and beta carotene, energizing potassium and iron, plus Vitamin C.

gettyimages-492269311Guess what?!? Pumpkin is also good for your dogs and cats! It is probably best not to have them eat actual raw pumpkin but canned, natural, unsweetened pumpkin; pumpkin seeds; and cooked fresh pumpkin have numerous benefits for our furry friends.  The same goes for plain, pureed sweet potato.  These powerhouse foods can help “squash” a variety of pet-related issues and ailments and support the following areas:

Digestive Health: Thanks to their fiber content, pureed pumpkin and sweet potato (again, not pie filling, but plain with no added sugar or spice, like the canned variety made by Fruitables) can help dogs and cats with bouts of constipation and diarrhea.  Adding a tablespoon or two to their regular meal (in proportion of your pet’s size) has been proven to help keep them regular.  Both is also very effective when it comes to calming upset stomachs in pups and kitties.

fruitables-pumpkin-switch-canFood Transition: If you’re transitioning your dog to a different or healthier food, you definitely don’t want to risk upset tummies or messy stools.  Fruitables Pumpkin Switch is a great transition aid that provides a calming digestive “buffer.” It calms the stomach and eases digestion to make the transition much easier.  Simply add a spoonful or two to your pet’s bowl as you begin to include higher proportions of the new food.

Skin, Coat, and Urinary Health: Pumpkin seeds are high in essential fatty acids and antioxidants, so they help support overall healthy skin and fur.  According to several vets that we have talked with, the oils in pumpkin and its seeds can help support urinary tract health over time as well.

fruitables-sweet-potatoWeight Management: My dog has put on an extra pound or two over this past year because she has a toddler that likes to give her the food he doesn’t want…I have simply reduced a portion of her breakfast and added in some plain canned pumpkin or sweet potato (such as Fruitables Sweet Potato SuperBlend).  She loves the flavor, and it keeps her feeling full all while helping shed a couple extra pounds.

If you would like to learn more about the pet-related benefits of pumpkin or sweet potato, ask anyone of our Two Bostons team members.  They can give you their insights and suggestions specific to your dog and cat.  Don’t forget that you can also try a range of treats, snacks and supplements that feature pumpkin and sweet potato, like Fruitables.

This weeks blog is from Amber Walker, lead trainer and owner at Animal Intuitions, LLC…I hope you get some good tips to help your dog be Halloween ready!

Hisk and Hark! Draw close and tremble! This is the night when ghosts assemble!

Halloween season is here with crazy costumes and scary decorations everywhere we look.  Many dogs have no issues with them and others 10-2015 Halloween with Leowill be petrified.  It’s so important to me that a puppy is able to brush off a scary situation, that in my puppy classes we have Halloween night every 6 weeks all year long!

I can’t tell you how many owners purposely scare their dogs with creepy masks or devilish costumes because their dogs freak out and it makes the owner laugh…and it drives me crazy.  I already dislike jokes, pranks, and April Fools on humans but to do those things to an animal that doesn’t have an understanding of what Halloween or any joke concept, is just sinister!  If I just described you…I wag my finger.

So! For those of us that want to make sure our new puppies or adult dogs are ready for this season, there are a few things you can do.

***TRAINING TIP: Anytime you can take a neutral situation (nothing bad or good is happening) and turn it into a positive one, you are setting your dog up for future success!

  • Get Halloween decorations out on the floor (if safe and won’t be destroyed by dog) or low and still in your hand in the “off” position, for those with sound and lights.  Allow your dog to investigate it on their own.  Treat or pet your dog for being brave.
  • If the decoration or costume moves or lights up, turn it on from this low/still position and pet or treat your dog for being brave again, now with lights and noise.  You may have to start from many feet away at first.  Bring the object closer as the dog is showing signs of being relaxed or curious.
  • As your dog becomes comfortable with the object, move it around or allow self-moving objects to move at this time.  Pet or treat your dog for bravery and curiosity.
  • If your kids are going to be wearing their costumes all the time, allow your dog to see it in pieces or flat on the floor before the kids are flying around the house in them.  For puppy class, we allow the dog to get rewarded for the mask, gloves, cape, and head piece all separate before the trainer dons the entire outfit as one costume.dogeatingcandy
  • Doorbell!!  Since your doorbell will be ringing every 90 seconds, consider bringing your dog to the front door on a leash, standing there, and ringing it over and over again with a cookie each time it rings.  Allow them to see no one is there, nothing is happening, and the doorbell is actually really boring.  Up til now, there’s a good chance your dog thinks that a pizza rings the bell every single time.  Or for simplicity, put the dog in a different room with Through A Dog’s Ear music, some lavender diffused oil and a white noise sound machine and let them sleep the night away!
  • Keep all chocolate and candy out of reach of dogs especially counter surfing pets.  And keep hydrogen peroxide on hand in case they do get into the candy bowl.

Halloween is one of my favorite holidays.  Make it your pets’ favorite too!!