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News and Information about Dogs, Cats, and Pet Products

Is your dog going for the gold during meal-time?  Have you been looking for new fun ways to help slow down their eating of kibble or treats? We have 4 NEW interactive toys and feeders for you to try out today!

The Outward Hound toys and feeders come in fun colors and unique designs. All of the products below are:

  • Made with durable food-safe plastic
  • BPA, PVC & phthalate free
  • Promotes fun healthy eating
  • Helps prevent bloat, regurgitation & canine obesity

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Lucky Dog Slots™ ~ 3 Chambers of Jackpot Treat-Winning Fun!

Is your pup lucky? This treat-dispensing slot machine-style game features a kibble-releasing paw press and 3 chambers of jackpot treat-winning fun! When your dog pushes down on the treat release, Lucky Dog Slots™ make it rain with fun.  Fill it up with your dogs favorite treats or slow down meal-time with kibble.

 

rc7_4783_4Fun Feeder™ ~ Healthy Non-Slip Slow Feeder

Does your dog think he is at an eating contest at meal time? This Fun Feeder™ will help your dog slow down their race to the finish! Featuring meal-lengthening ridges and mazes, this feeder keeps pups engaged for up to 10x longer at meal time, which improves digestion while helping furry friends eat at a fun, healthy pace!  The Fun Feeder™ comes in 3 different colors and designs, it also features a slip-resistant base to prevent sliding and food spillage. Fun Feeders™ are dishwasher safe, and available in mini (2 cups) and regular (4 cups) sizes.

 

treat-twisterTreat Twister™ ~ The Treat Ball Chase That Goes Round & Round!

Once your pup tries this treat toy, there is no going back!  Featuring a treat-hiding ball, super-fast track & treat ball release, the Treat Twister™ will keep your dog engaged and entertained!  Your pup will paw and nuzzle at the treat-hiding ball to push it through the release.  Once removed, the treat ball dispenses treats.  Just fill the ball with treats or kibble, place it on the track and watch your furry friend go crazy!

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Treat Chaser™ ~ Interactive, Treat-Seeking Fun!

Your dog will be chasing around fun with this interactive, treat-dispensing ball game!  It features 2 treat chutes with rolling and sliding action that keeps dogs engaged.  When your dog paws and nuzzles the Treat Chaser™ across the floor, treats or kibble are released through the 2 treat chutes!

 

Come in a check out these new products by Outward Hound and their entire line of toys!  Our team will help pick out the perfect one for your dog.

 

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!

MelissaG_profile
Puzzle toys (as we’ve talked about numerous times before, including here, here and here) are fantastic ways to exercise your pet’s brain. Not only do they serve as a fun treat dispenser, but they can even be used to feed pups who gulp their food too quickly so they’ll slow down. As great as they are, however, occasionally we’ve had customers come in with a slight problem: their dogs have figured out the puzzle toy! Once certain dogs figure it out, not only will they complete the puzzle in a matter of minutes, but they might not even be interested in the toy – even WITH the treats inside! If that happens to your pup, what’s an owner to do?

Luckily, the JW Pet Company makes a number of SUPER-awesome pet toys that can double as puzzle toys. JW is a unique company that has a number of very specific toys you won’t find anywhere else. One of my favorites, which we’ve covered before, is the DNA Dogs-In-Action toy. Not only could this be used as a tug toy, but I LOVE to use it as a puzzle toy by placing Shenzi’s bully sticks inside! It slows her down and forces her to maneuver around the toy to get at the bully stick. This makes each stick LAST much longer than just allowing your dog to chew away uninhibited.

Another awesome toy that doubles as a puzzle toy? The Hol-ee Roller! Some people see this toy and wonder how exactly dogs can play with it, besides just throwing it around like a hollow soccer ball. Well, it’s actually a fantastic hide-and-seek game in disguise! Many owners love hiding treats inside little strips of cloth, which are then tied up and wrapped around the openings in the ball (see an example, below left). This gives your dog something to work for: a tasty reward for using innate problem solving skills! Another plus to these toys? If you’re a fan of the Curly Q dog chews, these can easily fit inside the openings of the Hol-ee Roller. Again, this slows pups down by adding an obstruction to the chew. See how versatile these toys are? They’re amazing!

JWToy_Examples

Finally, my favorite treat toy is the Treat Tower by JW. This one is shaped very similar to the Dog Pyramid — but it can be more challenging than the pyramid or certain other beginner treat toys we sell. The tower has three adjustable levels through which your dog must maneuver the treat before being rewarded. Plus, each separate level spins on the cone, so you can adjust the size of the holes inside. Not only will it be harder for dogs to get a treat out the smaller holes, but those treats will change position as well, throwing your dog for a loop and making for a unique experience every time. This is one of Shenzi’s personal favorites (see her playing with it, above right), and I love that she can’t seem to figure out just how the toy works!

Not only will you notice your dog getting smarter (just as with humans, exercised brains = smarter brains!) — you’ll see your dog having a blast with challenging, unique JW puzzle toys. It’s great watching your pup get excited at the chance to play each and every time. Don’t forget to stock up on some Cloud Star Tricky Trainers as a tasty, healthy way to fill them up — then let the fun begin!

BriannaM_Profile

As pet owners, we always want to find great ways to entertain our furry friends. We’ve talked about interactive games and fun puzzle toys in past blogs as ideal winter boredom or busy-day alternatives – but these same options are also a perfect choice during the “dog days” of summer! Interactive games and puzzle toys capture interest and exercise curious minds any time of year. Part of the fun is that they incorporate your pet’s favorite food or treat in a way that challenges them to keep playing.

Food is a prime motivator for my dogs. It encourages them to play with a toy and then play some more, putting in the extra effort to figure out how it works. They love pushing, biting, rolling, and experimenting with different strategies – trying to find the fastest, most efficient way to get at that food! Then they return to the toy again and again, because you never know when there might be a few more yummy rewards in there, just waiting to be found.

As we’ve mentioned before, many interactive games and puzzle toys can be used for entertainment while you’re busy doing other things. Knowing our pups are productively engaged while we’re otherwise occupied gives many of us pet parents extra peace of mind. It also makes the time pass more quickly for our pets – and that means less chance of destructive behavior!

Now your pet is not going to love every single interactive game or puzzle toy out there. So luckily, our Two Bostons stores carry a great variety of options to suit pets of all shapes, sizes, and personalities. Some of these products are durable plastic puzzle games, including several excellent options from Nina Ottosson. These include the Dog Tornado (my dogs’ special favorite), the Dog Twister, Dog Magic, and Dog Treat Maze. We also carry a range of plush puzzle games. These include Kyjen’s squeaky Hide-A-Squirrel, Hide-A-Bird, and Hide-A-Bee, which let your pet hunt for a fuzzy friend. Last but not least are treat balls, which come in lots of different shapes and sizes. Popular customer picks include the Omega Paw Tricky Treat Ball and the IQ Treat Ball by Ourpets. Don’t forget that many puzzle toys go all the way from a beginner to an advanced level. This is a big bonus, because it means your pet can stay engaged with the same toy over time — even as they master each new level. Ask anyone on our Team for suggestions.

 

PuzzleToy_Party

What’s the best thing about a puzzle toy party? Technically, you only need ONE hors d’oeuvre because those hungry pups just keep trying … and trying … and trying to get at the treat!

 

Like I said earlier, I use the Nina Ottosson Dog Tornado with my three dogs (see pics above) and they love it! The Tornado looks like a giant blue bone with four spinning layers. Inside each layer, there are little pockets to put treats, food, peanut butter, even frozen tidbits (the toy is freezer-safe). To get to the yummy reward, dogs have to turn the layers of the bone. I especially love this toy because my pups don’t usually find all the rewards right away. This keeps them highly entertained as they keep trying to figure out how to get those last few morsels! I would say the Tornado is considered a beginner interactive game, and it’s a great starter option if your dog has never tried this kind of toy before.

Remember that you should never give your pup or kitty a new toy for the first time without supervision. Always watch to see how they react, and if there are parts they might try to gnaw, claw, or pull off. Also, make sure there are no loose pieces that could be chewed apart or swallowed when you’re out of the room.

Stop by any of our locations today, and bring along your furry friend! We’ll be happy to introduce you to our favorite interactive toys, and suggest a few options that are perfect for your pet.

JenJohnsen_Profile

Ever have a day where you weren’t able to play with your pooch as much as you’d like?  Maybe a day when it’s been way too frigid and icy to play outdoors? Or perhaps you live in a smaller apartment or house, a topic we addressed in a previous blog? I know I’ve had some pretty busy days myself with working and holiday activities, and I’ve found a great solution: interactive puzzle toys.

My dog, Hunter, has a lot of energy. So I needed to find a fun way to occupy his time when I was getting the laundry done or cooking dinner —  and that’s when we discovered puzzle toys.  Hunter and I especially love Nina Ottosson puzzle toys. You can also introduce a similarly interactive element at breakfast or dinner time with Aikiou dog bowls and food stations. These provide some mental stimulation while dispensing your pup’s food.

 

PuzzleToy_Options

There are so many great interactive puzzle options for your pet! Shown here are the Nina Ottosson Tornado and Casino puzzle toys, plus one of several Aikiou interactive food stations.

 

If you have a dog (or a cat!) at home with unused energy and a sharp mind, then puzzle toys are perfect for you – and there are so many options available. What I specifically love about the Nina Ottosson toys are their differing levels of difficulty. They’re designed to match your pet’s intelligence, challenging pups and kitties all the way up to the “genius” level. Plus, each puzzle has different variations that help to increase its degree of complexity. So far, Hunter has been able to get through all the different levels and has gradually mastered each one (at some of the harder levels, you actually need to demonstrate so your pup can learn).

Right now, when I leave the house or need a few minutes to myself, our collection of interactive puzzle toys really comes in handy. I set the toys up for Hunter, so he’ll have a fun and constructive activity to keep him occupied. One of his favorites is the Dog Brick by Nina Ottosson.

 

Hunter_BrickFillers

Hunter highly recommends the Nina Ottosson Dog Brick, which (like most puzzle toys) can be filled with a range of your pet’s favorite treats and even kibble. Sardine & Kelp treats are especially great for skin during the cold months ~ but Hunter just knows they taste yummy!

 

There are endless benefits to using these types of toys. Here are some we’ve discovered:
1. They help prevent boredom. I’m sure many of you have really smart pets who seem to get into everything — but a lot of times, this happens because your furry friend is simply bored or trying to get your attention while you’re doing chores around the house.
2. They actually stimulate problem-solving skills. I have found (and Hunter would tell you) that letting him play with a puzzle makes him happy and keeps his mind busy while he’s using his paws and his snout to slide and flip things around on his Dog Brick.
3. They’re a lot of fun for your pup. Hunter is one happy camper when I set these up for him.  It’s funny how much he’s grown to like these puzzles. Now, when he finds himself feeling bored, he’ll actually bring me the puzzle to set up!
4. They’re multi-purpose. This is one of my favorite things about puzzle toys. They can be set up as a fun activity that provides great mental stimulation. Yet they can also help pets (especially dogs) slow down while eating. Does your pup bolt his food or gobble it down in a couple big mouthfuls? Puzzle toys are a great solution.  In the morning, I fix Hunter’s bowl of food but I only put a little bit of his Zignature Kibble in the bowl. The rest goes into one of his puzzle toys. This way, he has to work a bit for his food. This slows him down and prevents things like choking or bloat from happening.

Some pooch parents may feel bad about putting food in a puzzle toy, because they don’t want their dog to get frustrated or go hungry. But rest assured, this is typically not an issue. In the wild, wolves spend a good chunk of their day attempting to obtain food. For them, this facilitates physical exercise and mental stimulation.  So domesticated dogs who rely on us for food can really benefit when we find creative ways to occupy their mind and prevent unwanted behaviors. Using puzzle toys can provide some of the critical (and necessary!) mental stimulation they need.

When it comes to filling your puzzle toy with treats, you have many different options. Hunter’s favorites are Sardine and Kelp Treats by American Natural Premium, which are great for his skin (but shhhhh, don’t tell him that). Since he has allergies, I tend to stick with limited-ingredient treats. So I (and Hunter) also like PureBites Beef Liver Treats, which are easy to break up. Of course, as I mentioned before, you can always just use some kibble each day to help cut back on calories.

Oh, and I almost forgot another awesome advantage of the Nina Ottosson puzzle toys: they’re dishwasher-safe! This makes cleanup really quick and easy. So if you’re considering puzzle toys for your smart canine or kitty, just stop by your local Two Boston’s and ask any team member for additional suggestions. Remember, puzzle toys also make a fantastic holiday gift for all the other pet lovers on your list!