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News and Information about Dogs, Cats, and Pet Products

HeatherD_Profile

Hey all! Heather here (along with Lilu and Ahsoka). If you’re anything like me when I first brought Lilu into my life, you might be craving a little insight and information on key puppy essentials — things you’ll need right away when bringing home your new furry family member! I encourage you to stop into one of our locations and ask any Team Member for a copy of our detailed New Puppy Checklist, which they’ll be happy to review with you. In the meantime, here’s a short sampling to help you get started:

  • Two Ceramic or Stainless Steel Dishes. One for food, one for water. Stay away from plastic bowls, as they can get microscopic tears and scratches that harbor bacteria – which can then be transferred to your dog’s food or snout.
  • Rubberized Food Mat. A rubber mat is fantastic for easy cleaning and keeping bowls in place. Lots of puppies can get overexcited with their food, and push their bowls around while eating. This kind of mess is minimized (and cleaned up way more easily) when you have a rubber food mat.
  • Durable Collar. You’ll most likely get a few collars over your dog’s lifetime, but a good sturdy one will last and last – and a super-cute pattern makes it so much more unique! Up Country offers some great choices that satisfy both needs at once.
  • Leash. My favorite is the Slackline Leash by RuffWear. Check out my blog from last year to see why my girls and I love it so much!
  • Sturdy Harness. We always recommend a harness, right from the start. Why? Because when a puppy is rambunctious and bounding every which way, he can pull very hard on the leash. Collars can put tremendous pressure on the neck and windpipe — and this can lead to chafing injuries, windpipe collapse, or choking. A properly fitted harness does the trick when it comes to easing pressure off the neck area. Check out the Up Country Step-In — awesome patterns, great functionality!
  • Comfy Bed. A bed is enormously soothing to a nervous new pup in a brand new space. Ahsoka has been using her Bowser Bed since day one. She’s turning five this year, but has considered this bed her safe haven since her very first day in our house. Bowser Beds are fully machine washable and made to be extremely tough — up to 8 times more durable than most other beds. You can even use the center part of the bed as a snuggly liner to make your pup’s crate feel safer and more comforting.
  • Smart Starter Toys! Start your pup off with at least one sturdy chew toys, like our Jax and Bones Rope Toys or even an all-natural bully stick. As a really nice bonus, you can actually wet and freeze Jax and Bones toys to create a soothing chew solution for teething issues. Also consider at least one interactive, intelligence-stimulating toy like the Ourpets IQ Treat Ball, the Planet Dog Snoop, or an awesome Nina Ottosson Puzzle Toy. These will keep your curious canine busy and happy while you’re cooking dinner or doing the dishes!

NewPuppy_Essentials

This is just a small sampling of the key items you should have on hand when you first bring your new pup home. Stop by any Two Bostons with your brand new furry friend, and we’ll gladly give you a complete copy of the New Puppy Checklist along with our own firsthand suggestions. Remember that our Team Members are specially trained and certified to measure and fit your pup for the precise gear he needs to keep him safe and comfortable as he continues to grow!

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.

StephanieD_Profile

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.