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News and Information about Dogs, Cats, and Pet Products

In my family, Halloween is one of our favorite times of year. The trees are colorful, the kitchen smells like apple cider, and the cutest little ghosts and goblins wander around the neighborhood doing the best to look frightful!

10431249_791800060866672_1675487833336778634_oBut while we humans are having such a fun time, that’s often not the case for our furry friends.  The sound of a repeatedly ringing doorbell can send some dogs and cats scrambling for cover. Unfamiliar holiday visitors can cause excessive anxiety. For these situations, the Thundershirt and Happy Traveler, by Ark Naturals can be a huge help! See our past blog: Thundershirt + Happy Traveler = Stress Free Summer to learn more about these two products.

The scarier aspect of Halloween, from a pet perspective: the fact that tiny trick-or-treaters may decide to “share” some of their Halloween goodies with your four-legged friends. Even when the trick-or-treaters aren’t so tiny, their treat baskets can often wind up unattended, or in easy-to-reach places.  I can tell you, that when this happens the frantic trip to the emergency vet is NOT pretty.

So, as Halloween is just around the corner, it is worth remembering some especially menacing food culprits to keep away from our beloved pets:

Chocolate ~ In ANY form, this is extremely toxic to your dog or cat. It contains high levels of caffeine and theobromine – both of which are hard for cats and dogs to process.  The darker the chocolate, the more dangerous.

Grapes and Raisins ~ Humans often think of these as healthy Halloween alternatives. But for dogs and cats — they will cause kidney failure.DogToxins

Xylitol ~ This no-calorie sweetener is often used in sugar-free gum and certain baked products. In many dogs and cats, it can cause a sever, and sudden, life-endangering drop in blood sugar levels.

Ethanol (including Ethyl Alcohol, Grain Alcohol or Drinking Alcohol) ~ Even small amounts of this compound can cause life-threatening toxicity in dogs and cats – and don’t forget, flavor syrups and raw yeast bread dough often contain it too.

At Two Bostons we have several pet-safe alternatives for your dogs and cats to still enjoy Halloween Festivities.  Check out our bakery case, Puppy Kisses or other sweet treats!

Almost everyone knows that chocolate is bad for dogs…But is it really true, and what does it really do?  Well with Valentine’s Day is just around the corner, I thought I would clear the air for you!

YES, Chocolate really is poison to dogs.  I know that it is difficult to believe that something so amazing could be so deadly to our four-legged friends.

So why is it so bad you ask? Chocolate contains theobromine.  This is a naturally occurring stimulant found in the cocoa bean, and that is what is poisonous to dogs.  Theobromine affects the central nervous system, the heart muscle and it increases urination.dog-eating-chocolate

What are the signs? First know that the longer the chocolate is in your dog’s system, the more theobromine they will absorb.  Within the first few hours, the symptoms includes vomiting, diarrhea, or hyperactivity. You will begin to see an increase in heart rate, this is bad because it causes arrhythmia, restlessness, hyperactivity, muscle twitching, increased urination or excessive panting.  These symptoms can lead to hypothermia, muscle tremors, seizures, coma and even death.

But how much Chocolate? Just like most things…Not all chocolate is created equal.  The age and relative health of your dog is going to be a factor on how severely your dog will react to eating chocolate.  Here is a breakdown of the different types of chocolate poisoning for a generally healthy, average age dog:

 

  • White Chocolate: 200 ounces per pound of body weight.  It takes 250 pounds of white chocolate to cause signs of poisoning in a 20 pound dog; 125 pounds for a 10 pound dog.
  • Milk Chocolate: 1 ounce per pound of body weight. Approximately one pound of milk chocolate is poisonous to a 20 pound dog; one-half pound for a 10 pound dog.  The average chocolate bar contains 2 to 3 ounces of milk chocolate.  It would take approximately 2-3 candy bars to poison a 10 pound dog.
  • Semi-Sweet Chocolate: has a similar toxic level.  Sweet cocoa: 0.3 ounces per pound of body weight.  One-third of a pound of sweet cocoa is toxic to a 20 pound dog; one-sixth of a pound for a 10 pound dog.
  • Baking Chocolate: 0.1 ounce per pound body weight.  Two one-ounce squares of bakers’ chocolate is toxic to a 20 pound dog; one ounce for a 10 pound dog.  Source

 

two-bostons-carob-puppy-kissespawsitively-gourmet-hearts-pink-and-brownWe do have a SAFE alternatives to satisfy your dogs chocolate cravings on Valentine’s Day and everyday! Our Bakery Treats and our most popular treat, Puppy Kisses, that look and taste like chocolate actually are made with, Carob.

Carob has the same great chocolate taste to our dogs, without the fear!  Carob is actually a nutritious alternative as it contains 8% protein and traces of vitamin A, B, B2, and B3 and D.  Carob is high in phosphorous, potassium, magnesium, iron and calcium. These vitamins and minerals are vital in the promotion of healthy bones, teeth, eyes and coat.

I hope that this will clear up any questions about Dogs and Chocolate…if you have any other questions always feel free to ask one our Team Members! Happy Valentine’s Day!

I’ve been a vegetarian for maybe 12 years. Just a personal preference, but in some ways a health decision too. So there have been times I’ve wondered about my pets. Would vegetarianism also be a good option for dogs and cats?

One day I asked a friend of mine who’s a Vet Med professor at the University of Illinois (my alma mater, GO ILLINI). He explained that, for many reasons, dogs and cats are really designed to be meat-eating carnivores. When I gave him my best “skeptical salad-eater” look, he described a whole bunch of physical clues that back this up.

Let’s take teeth. Humans are omnivores, meaning we can eat a range of foods. Our saliva is designed to break down carbohydrates and simple sugars before they go through our digestive tract; and our teeth include squared, flat molars that are good for crushing (think about a flat potato masher creaming parsley and steamed potatoes). But my friend said that dog saliva is actually formulated to break down proteins — and showed me how a dog’s teeth are very sharp and pointy, all the way back. These teeth are designed to tear and slice (think about a wolf taking down and devouring prey). He also told me that scientists now realize dogs are only .02% genetically different from their direct ancestors, wolves. So a dog’s body is actually optimized to process and thrive on the amino acids, fatty acids, and enzymes found in meat-based proteins – and a cat needs many of these compounds just to survive.

 

Humans are omnivores, and our flat molars (left) are optimized to crush and mash. Dog and cat teeth (right) are all sharp and pointed -- designed for tearing meat proteins.

Humans are omnivores, and our flat molars (left) are optimized to crush and mash. Dog and cat teeth (right) are all sharp and pointed — designed for tearing meat proteins.

It made sense, and we started feeding our dogs a raw diet of Stella & Chewy’s. This company stood out because it places such a strong emphasis on holistic pet nutrition. Stella & Chewy’s has been in business for ten years, and their formulations are minimally processed. They’re made with organic produce; raw, free-range, USDA-inspected meats; wild-caught fish; plus added vitamins, minerals and probiotics.

I spent years nursing multiple rescue dogs through a series of health and allergy woes. I finally started checking labels, and realized that commercial pet food is some of the most hyper-processed stuff on the planet. Heating food above 117 degrees Fahrenheit breaks down much of its nutritional value. Stella & Chewy’s natural dinners and treats are made in the company’s own Wisconsin plant, but they aren’t cooked like most commercial pet foods. They’re either frozen raw, or freeze-dried using Hydrostatic High Pressure (HHP) processing. This is a heat-free method used with many human-grade meats and cheeses. It kills bacteria that can cause spoilage and food-borne disease, while preserving natural flavor and nutrients.

Not to sound too overjoyed, but feeding freeze-dried has made pet parenting WAY easier. Stella & Chewy’s freeze-dried patties are great as a food-topper for picky eaters (even mine). They come in a lightweight bag that’s super-easy to take along on trips, and you can serve them dry or add water for a complete, balanced meal. I’ll admit that early on, I was still unsure about food safety – I’d see the word “raw” and picture scary microscopic squiggly things, like E. coli and salmonella.

So I did a little more checking. Did you know that Stella & Chewy’s is the only national pet food brand that has never had a recall? Their dedicated cleaning crew comes in for 8-10 hour shifts to dismantle and disinfect ALL of their equipment EVERY DAY. You can read more about their strict food safety protocols here . This patent-pending process made me feel a lot better – and Stella & Chewy’s makes my pets feel a lot better.

 

The small freeze-dried patties are easy to break or crumble, so they're even great as treats or food-toppers.

The small freeze-dried patties are easy to break or crumble, so they’re even great as treats or food-toppers — and they’re lightweight, because liquid has been removed.

Want to see for yourself? Stop by any Two Bostons store and ask a Team Member about their favorites, plus handy single-serve packs (we might even sneak you a sample or two)! Take it from this vegetarian – when it comes to doing what’s best for your best furry friends, it’s never too late to turn over a new “leaf.”