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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!

Whether you’re a newcomer or have been with us for years, you’ve probably caught on that we’re pretty picky about what we sell at Two Bostons. If you ask any of our Team Members what we look for in a product, you’ll always get the same answer: we don’t sell anything we wouldn’t feel 100% comfortable giving our own pets. But that’s just the shorthand answer. We love brands that are more than just brands. If you dig a little deeper, you’ll find that just about everyone we work with shares our same core values of improving the lives of pets and their people, and Green Juju Kitchen is certainly no exception.

So what is Green Juju? Well, aside from being fun to say, it’s sort of like a health smoothie for dogs that’s great for their immune systems, joint health, coat, and overall bodily health. Simply take a spoonful and mix it with their usual meal (it’s a topper, not a replacement for what they usually eat!). There are two different blends to choose from:

The “Just Greens Blend“, which contains 100% organic celery, zucchini, kale, dandelion greens, parsley, bison bone broth, coconut oil, lemon, turmeric, and ginger.

The “Baily Blend“, which contains 100% organic cucumber, green cabbage, broccoli, turkey bone broth, cilantro, chard, coconut oil, blueberries, turmeric, and lemon. 

Everything is sourced from local farmers, and every cup is prepared by hand for a little touch of love and care. When you open it up, you’ll even see that you recognize pretty much everything in there, so it won’t feel like you’re giving your dog some sort of mystery mush.

The next question is: will dogs really eat this stuff? Yes! We definitely understand why you might feel skeptical, and the truth is, even we were a little at first, too. After all, when you think dogs you think steak, not organic cucumbers, broccoli, and green cabbage. At the same time, you don’t exactly think kids + broccoli, cucumbers, and green cabbage, either, but we still manage to get them to eat it! All jokes aside, a lot of our Two Bostons regulars have come in and told us what their dogs thought, and the majority were pleasantly surprised. 

Green Juju is so successful because it wasn’t developed by humans who one day decided to give their dogs some veggies and see what happened. It was developed by pet parents with extensive professional experience in canine nutrition for owner Kelley Marian’s dog Bailey, who had just been diagnosed with cancer. Since Bailey was already weakened from her illness, Marian knew she most likely wouldn’t survive the surgeries and treatments needed to get healthy, so she decided to take a holistic approach instead. The fruits and vegetables provided the extra vitamins she needed that couldn’t be obtained from meat alone, and soon, Bailey’s immune system was strong enough so she could get the surgery to be cancer-free. After having such great success with her own dog, Marian knew she couldn’t keep it to herself, and thus Green Juju was born.

That’s what puts the “Juju” in Green Juju. Its a product and brand whose roots go deeper than soil–it sprouted from love and has been made with heart ever since.

Image courtesy of greenjujukitchen.com

 

Anna Payton, Executive Director at the Naperville Area Humane Society shares how becoming a Foster Parent can make a difference.

Anna%20and%20Gulliver%20web“Every day we are inundated with emails and phone calls from people wanting to rehome their animal and high volume shelters needing help with placing animals in their care.  This is one of the hardest decisions staff faces daily.  Which animals do we have room to take in and help and which ones will have to wait for space to become available.  The Naperville Area Humane Society (NAHS) is a small but mighty shelter with only 18 dog kennels and space for about 40 cats.  Our staff and volunteers provide the animals within our walls great care and love daily.  One of our goals is to increase the number of animals we help per year.  With our space being limited, we cannot do that without your help.

By becoming a foster parent, you can make a big difference for the animals in our community by truly saving a life.  On a temporary basis, you will provide a warm, loving environment, or kittens that are not quite old enough to go up for adoption.  NAHS is here to support you throughout the foster process and answer any questions you may have along the way.  When we have an animal in need that is a match for you, you will be contacted to see if you are available to help.  In the middle of painting your house or getting ready to go on vacation?  No problem.  We will contact you next time we have an animal looking for a foster home.

The length of time you foster depends on the needs of the animal.  We do our best to accommodate foster families and their time available.  There is an initial $50 fee to become a foster ($25 foster license through the Illinois Department of Agriculture and $25 general volunteer program fee through NAHS).  For all the details about the NAHS foster program, please visit our website.

As someone who has fostered many animals over the years, I can honestly say that being a foster parent is a very rewarding experience for adults and families alike.  Please help us increase our capacity for care of animals in need and become a foster parent today!”

20150730_095300Does this make you want to find out more or sign up to be a Foster Family?  As part of the Two Bostons 10 Year Anniversary Celebration we are searching for NEW Foster Families.  The first 10 new families (per shelter) to contact, and be accepted as a foster family before August 31, 2015 in this rewarding program will receive a “Foster Hero Basket” valued at over $500.  As you generously open your heart and home you will find you have everything you need to feed, treat and entertain your Canine Foster Friend. Contact one of these shelters today to find out more information: A.D.O.P.T. Pet Shelter, Hinsdale Humane Society, Naperville Area Humane Society, or West Suburban Humane Society.

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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.

 

Moe_andDaphne_two

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.

Multiple pets make great family members.

If you’re reading this, odds are good you’re already a pet lover — so you appreciate the benefits of having “furkids” in your family! Pet companionship is proven to reduce stress; increase feelings of contentment; even lower blood pressure. That’s a lot of advantages from one devoted, fluffy friend.

It’s a fact that multiple pets are good for each other, too. Dogs and cats take cues from others in their “pack,” and even entertain each other while we’re away. Adding another cat or dog to a single-pet household can help the existing pet feel less separation anxiety – and a younger pet can spark new energy in the life of an older one.

What about for us pet parents? Most vets agree that owning multiple pets can give us:

Greater peace of mind.
When we have to work a long day or be away for an evening event, it’s reassuring to know that our pets have each other for company.

A better understanding of each pet.
It’s amazing how many aspects of a pet’s personality only surface around other animals! Our Maizy is a puppy mill dog who’s very shy and scared around people – but quite an impish instigator when it comes to her brother Grant.

Personal insight.
If we pay close attention, each animal can teach us something different about ourselves and those we care about. Grant, for example, just needed lots of time and space before he was willing to trust others – but the wait was totally worth it. Sitting with my good old dog Sparky as we nursed him back from a lengthy illness helped me appreciate my own capacity for love.

A greater sense of gratitude.
Watching animals romp and play reminds us how much they live for (and in) the moment – and encourages us to let go of worries about the future or guilt about the past.

If you’re thinking of adding another pet to your household, consider the type and breed that would represent the best “fit” for your lifestyle. Then take your existing pet(s) along to meet whichever new pet you’re considering. Neutral, non-territorial settings can help you get a better feel for general temperament, as well as food and sharing issues. And experienced rescue and shelter personnel can offer invaluable insights that can help you all enjoy a smooth transition!

Don’t forget: Our fourth annual Adopt-A-Rama happens this Saturday, October 5th from noon – 3p.m . at our Springbrook location. Come out and see us!

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.)