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News and Information about Dogs, Cats, and Pet Products

Katie R. horizDeciding which dog food to buy can be quite stressful and confusing. Colorful packaging and popularity aside, the magic words and the key component to a great healthy dog food is GRAIN FREE.  Although extremely important, it is not the sole deciding factor.  The less ingredients the better! 

Dogs are instinctively carnivores, therefore the main component of their food should be meat! (You wouldn’t find Fido walking around munching on wheat or corn stalks naturally, so why put it in their food?!) Potatoes are also another unnecessary additive to dog food.  Potatoes are a high glycemic food, basically meaning it creates sugars in the body that don’t have any business there.

ScarlettSo which food would fit all of these demands? Let me share my journey with you…My rescue Scarlett (pictured) was an itchy mess for 2 years. Besides being on a grain-free food, I wasn’t really sure why she was in this constant state of misery.  She would constantly get ear infections, bite and chew her paws until they were raw, and had uneven bowel movements.  Then I walked into the lovely store by the name of Two Bostons, and mine and Scarlett’s lives changed!  As I was accepted into employment, my extremely knowledgeable coworkers and management team gave me the wisdom I previously was not aware of.

So what does this have to do with finding the perfect solution? Everything!! After many hours of research on all our foods, Zignature was my choice. Just like magic, in about 3 weeks Scarlett’s paws weren’t dark brown and stinky, she wasn’t chewing away at her poor feet, and her chronic ear infections ceased!

Zignature_Group5_Mixed_smRemoving that grain and common allergen proteins was the perfect fix. Zignature is a grain free, chicken free, potato free, soy free, gluten free, egg free, tapioca free and finally corn free kibble.  Now you may be asking why is it necessary to eliminate all of those ingredients, like chicken or eggs? It has been proven that chicken is the main allergen in dogs, because you can find it in just about EVERYTHING. The more you expose your dog to a single protein, the more likely they may develop allergies! Meaning, that the more you switch up the flavors of your buddies food, the better!  This ties into another amazing aspect of Zignuatre, the Variety!  The diverse flavors is extremely unique and makes it that much easier to change it up for Fido (or Scarlett)! From trout and salmon, to kangaroo, or venison, your pet can experience exotic tastes without compromising quality!

Zignature is closer to the canine’s natural diet, due to eliminating fillers and by-products.  Zignature also is classified as a “limited ingredient food”, meaning the protein pictured will be the only source of meat in the food, something that is quite rare in most food.  This again is an amazing quality for allergy pups or just dogs with sensitivities! Have I also mentioned that Zignature is proudly made in the USA as well?

So, if your curious about trying this amazing food with your pet, stop by Two Bostons!  Myself, or one of our other helpful team members would be delighted to share our stories and knowledge with you.

Elizabeth McClellan2

 

 

 

Tillyylylyllyyl

This is Tilly, and she approves this message!!

 

 

Spring is just around the corner!  So, I figured it was time for Tilly’s “Spring Sprucing.” When the warm weather rolls around, she is ready to be outside and that means it’s time to stock up on some grooming products!  I have gathered a few of my favorite products from Two Bostons, that I truly believe in full heartedly…from on true and trusted dog lover to another, allow me to elaborate on these amazing products that your pets will simply love!

Blueberry Facial Dog Shampoo by South Bark:

DSC06274Oh my goodness, gracious, blueberry galore!  I’ve had my eye on this shampoo for about a year…some call me indecisive, and they are probably right.  I’m an analyst, I want the facts, no assumptions allowed.  After hearing so many great things about this shampoo, I decided to give it a go!

I was amazed…Trust me, you want to try this one!

Blueberry facial is gentle, soothing and it brightens all coats.  It did not leave any residue at all and she actually licked the shampoo from her face while I was lathering her up.  What makes this shampoo so tasty? Well, lets take a closer look shall we? Blueberries, Jojoba, coconut oil, avocados and aloe.  Jojoba oil, the ONLY oil that resembles sebum (naturally produced by the oil glands below the skins surface) making it INCREDIBLE for your pets skin and coat.  Coconut oil, fights yeast and fugal infections.  Best of all, it is incredible for soothing joint pain.  It gets better, avocados and aloe: two ingredients that soothe and moisturize at the same time!

Mineral Spa Shampoo by Reliq:

alll the gooooddsLet’s talk about Reliq for a moment…this is a shampoo with NO oil residue, leaving the coat moisturized and soft.  Think clay masks but for dogs. The benefits of Aztec clay masks are endless, many naturopaths use clay masks for healing skin aliments and even arthritis.  Reliq has a nano-enhanced mineral which acts as a medicinal powdered clay.  The clay absorbs excess oils, toxins, dirt, etc. It’s no wonder this shampoo stimulates your pups skin and removes odors instantaneously.

Zymox Enzymatic Shampoo by Pet King Brands:

Last by certainly not least, Zymox.  Unlike humans who start sneezing and coughing during Seasonal changes, dogs usually get itchy dry skin. Zymox works tremendously well for itchy skin.  It is safe for puppies and kittens as well as adult dogs and cats.  If you notice your dog itching and he is already on a healthy grain free food, it’s possible that the seasonal changes got the best of him.  Zymox will help soothe and moisturize the skin.  There is absolutely NO harsh chemicals, steroids or detergents used in Zymox, also refferred to as the naturalistic approach to medicated shampoos.

No bath, No problem…Earth Bath Grooming Wipes:

greeeeeeenBath time is not always doable.  Earth Bath Grooming wipes are gentle on your dogs coat because they are hypoallergenic (my favorite word)! The wipes come in scented and unscented depending on your preference.  This is a great item to pack in your doggy diaper bag for trail hikes, overnight stays and the dog park!  They are also safe for humans.

 

 

Come on by to any of our Two Bostons stores and let the spring sprucing begin!

Springtime is a lovely season that means blooming flowers, budding trees, and the fresh scent of morning dew. It can also mean mud, dirt, mulch, bugs, and pollen; with occasional whiffs of skunk or lawn fertilizer thrown in for variety.

Come to think of it, all of these are great reasons to check out the award-winning Bobbi Panter line of pet shampoos, sprays, and conditioners. If you consider your pet family, these products are an ideal way to return some of that unconditional love while keeping your pet looking (and smelling) fantastic. Originally developed for Bobbi’s blind dog Bobo following eye surgery, the Bobbi Panter line is custom-blended according to very specific guidelines. Each variety – the Signature Line, Bobbi Panter Natural, and Bebe & Cece Dog Shampoo — is made in the USA with high percentages of natural ingredients and essential oils. Plus each one is safe for cats!

Bobbi Panter bathing products are also completely SALT FREE. I’d never stopped to consider why this could be a benefit, until a dermatologist asked me to think about how an ocean swim dehydrates human skin and hair. That’s when I considered what salt could do to pet skin, fur, and eyes. Most shampoos contain sodium chloride and/or sodium laurel sulfate as cheap, effective thickeners – but essentially, these agents have the drying and stinging effects of table salt. Because Bobbi Panter formulas don’t contain salts, they’re completely pH-balanced and tear-free. The essential oils can penetrate skin and fur more deeply; and the gentle detergents rinse away more completely.

Bobbi Panter Products

Bobbi Panter pet products are salt-free, skin-softening, and even safe for cats — though she makes kitty-specific products as well. Ask any Team Member for details!

 

Bobbi Panter has also selected some common-sense names that make it easy to choose just the right formula. Her Signature Line, for example, includes products like Itchy Dog, Stinky Dog, and Baby Bebe Puppy Shampoo – all pretty self-explanatory. I often suggest that pet owners try using the Itchy Dog and Stinky Dog formulas together, because many skin conditions that lead to itching can often cause odor as well. Other favorite products include Gorgeous Dog, which contains natural coat brighteners and leaves behind a fresh, peachy fragrance; Bad Hair Day Dog, a convenient shampoo and conditioner in one; and Charlie Dog, which contains clove oil, lavender oil, cedarwood, and citronella to naturally repel fleas, ticks, lice, and mosquitoes.

Stop by any Two Bostons store for a complimentary sniff today. We’ll be happy to recommend some of our favorites (and don’t forget to ask about the super-convenient dry spray, too)!

MBB_Profile
The other day a friend of mine started talking about “hot spots,” and given our current arctic-blast weather conditions – plus the fact that there are still about 7 weeks to go until Spring, which translates to about 3 months for Chicago – my frost-addled brain immediately began daydreaming about balmy places like Key West and Cozumel.

But when she mentioned her 6-year-old poodle mix, Russell, I realized this was actually a pet-related conversation and (admittedly, with some difficulty) abandoned my imaginary beach. I made us both another cup of hot tea, which we held between our frozen fingers while she asked me if I’d ever encountered these on my own pups.

The answer, of course, is yes – in fact, most of us who’ve owned dogs long enough have had the unfortunate experience of discovering a “hot spot” at least once or twice. The official vet name for these is acute moist dermatitis, which conjures up just the right amount of “ick” factor. Hot spots can occur almost anywhere on your dog’s body, but common sites include the neck, cheeks, flanks, and thighs. They can be as small as a half-inch in diameter, or the size of a saucer. The affected area often appears red and irritated, bald, moist, weepy, swollen, sometimes even oozing. Needless to say, hot spots are kind of gross-looking – but more importantly, they’re extremely uncomfortable for the afflicted dog. Most pups experience intense itching, which often causes them to lick, chew, and scratch the area. In fact, hot spots can itch so badly that they often drive pups to self-mutilate as they frantically strive to find some relief. Unfortunately, this leads to pronounced (and sometimes rapid) worsening of the condition.

Hot spots can actually be caused any time of year – even in the dead of winter — by several initial triggers. These can include:

  • seasonal, environmental, or food allergies
  • underlying yeast infections or overpopulation
  • mite, flea, tick, or insect bites
  • superficial skin wounds
  • prolonged coat dampness after bathing, swimming, or playing in snow

The problem with hot spots is that bacteria can easily overtake the patch of irritated skin, which then becomes painfully inflamed and can even take on an unpleasant odor. Once the condition becomes this entrenched, your vet may be forced to use potent systemic treatments like antihistamines, antibiotics, and corticosteroids (i.e. prednisone) to break the cycle and calm the inflammatory response.

So as pet parents, is there anything we can do about hot spots? The best treatment is actually prevention, if at all possible. If your pup seems prone to hot spots, consider the foods and treats he’s eating. Are they dry, baked, or in kibble form? Do they contain a lot of starches, like rice or white potato? These can be cornerstones of a high-carb diet, and for many pets (particularly dogs, who are close cousins to wolves), a long-term, high-carb intake can lead to yeast overpopulation and other problems. In cases like these, adjusting your pup’s diet can often help dramatically – our Two Bostons team can provide some helpful guidance in this area. Similarly, adding Omega-3’s to the diet can be a huge help, because they naturally quell inflammation. High-quality fish oils like Ascenta Omega 3, Wholistic Pet Wild Deep Sea Salmon Oil, or Grizzly Salmon Oil deliver an abundant level of natural Omega-3. Since most dogs adore the taste, these products are especially great for picky eaters and can be drizzled right over your pet’s regular meal.

Hot Spot Remedies

Hot spots are an aggravating problem for pet parents, and an uncomfortable affliction for our pups. Fortunately, there are things you can do to help reduce their occurrence and minimize painful itching.

 

If your pooch already has a hot spot lesion, you can often help to relieve the itch by clipping the surrounding/overlying coat very short, then applying soothing topical agents. Often a bath with Zymox Shampoo is a helpful first step (we’ve blogged about this phenomenal product before) – provided you dry your pup immediately and very thoroughly. Another good option for more generalized itching is Bobbi Panter’s Itchy Dog Shampoo. You may also want to ask your vet to recommend a simple, over-the-counter antihistamine that can help make your pet more comfortable.

After this, you can try treating the affected area(s) with a range of proven topical agents. Pure virgin coconut oil like Coco Therapy (another one of our blog posts)  is very soothing and moisturizing, with natural antibacterial and antifungal (i.e, yeast-destroying) properties. You can also feed coconut oil directly to achieve similar benefits. But because dogs usually love the taste of coconut oil, be aware that you may need to use a cone (or at least close supervision) if you apply it topically to discourage licking. Another good option is Itchin’ for Relief by Happy Tails, which is an anti-bacterial serum that contains natural neem and aloe. It comes in a handy nozzle sprayer for targeted application – and because many dogs naturally dislike the rather pungent aroma of healing neem oil, they’re more likely to leave the area alone. Bowwow Butter Balm is another great Happy Tails product that’s super-emollient. Keep in mind, though, that if your dog has underlying yeast overgrowth, a product containing oat as a top ingredient can often compound the problem. Again, our Two Bostons team can offer specialized guidance.

One particularly effective remedy for managing hot spots is Zymox topical cream and/or spray, both of which are also excellent for basic wound care. These products contain hydrocortisone for inflammation relief, and can be applied one or more times per day. Zymox is made with a unique triple-enzyme blend, which naturally reacts with the infection to form antimicrobial properties. So one advantage of Zymox is that there’s no need to pre-clean the area before application – the cleansing process can actually disrupt this biological enzyme reaction. Both products are gentle and non-toxic, so you don’t need to worry if your pup licks the application site. The topical cream also features a catheter tip, which makes it easier to target hard-to-reach areas or skin folds.

If you’re vigilant about hot spots – evaluating your dog’s diet and surrounding environment, clipping/cleansing/treating any inflamed areas at their earliest appearance – you may often be able to avoid a vet visit altogether. Careful and regular examination of your pet’s coat can help detect these nuisance areas before they become totally unbearable for your pup. Ask anyone on our Two Bostons team for additional dietary, grooming, and management recommendations!