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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.

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.)