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News and Information about Dogs, Cats, and Pet Products

Hey!  It’s Jen from the Two Bostons, Burr Ridge store…here to tell you about my favorite product right now!

It’s about that time of year again when most of our dogs are blowing their coats.  Whether they are a long coated dog or short coated dog, here is hair EVERYWHERE this time of year.

My absolute favorite product to use to combat this problem is the FURminator shampoo and conditioner.  It contains omega 3 and 6 fatty acids and papaya leaf extract that will help loosen and release the undercoat during a bath!  You will literally see all of the dead coat fall off your dog as you rinse them off.FURminator-Shampoo-Conditioner
cleandogYou want to leave the shampoo and conditioner on for 2-5 minutes each to make sure you get the best results.  If you have a ZoomGroom Brush by Kong, you can use it to lather the shampoo and conditioner in the dog’s coat during the bath (your hand work just fine too, if you don’t have a zoom groom).

You will have a NEW dog when you’re finished, and your dog will feel ten pounds lighter!!  You won’t have to sweep your floor as much, and your dog will be so much more comfortable with all that dead coat off its body.

Another amazing tool to follow up with after the bath, is the FURminator brush.  To use the brush, you just follow the direction of the coat and watch the hair come off!  Only brush between 10-15 times in the same spot so you don’t irritate your dog’s skin.  If you are uncomfortable with the FURminator brush, continue using the Zoom Groom brush and you will still get a lot of extra hair off.

kong_zoom_groomThe ZoomGroom Brush by Kong, that I mentioned early is the best grooming and shampooing brush available.  It removes loose hair like a magnet, and it stimulates capillaries and natural oil production for healthy skin and a healthy coat.  Not only does it remove hair while shampooing, it will give your pup a massage while you brush.  It is made in the USA, comes in two colors and two sizes.

We carry all of the products mentioned at all of the Two Bostons’ stores.  Come and visit us to see the magic for yourself, then just sit back and enjoy your summer!

 

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Dog for Dog is an all-natural pet food and treat company with a driving mission to help dogs in need. For every single Dog for Dog product purchased, the company donates a second product to one of these deserving canines. It’s called the “Buy One/Give One” program. The company’s goal is to deliver pure, natural nutrition to dogs at every life stage, in every situation, everywhere.

All-natural DOGSBUTTER is one of Dog for Dog’s most popular products – and why doesn’t that surprise me? After all, nearly all pups adore peanut butter … and USA-made, USA-sourced DOGSBUTTER takes peanut butter to a brand new plateau. It’s basically peanut butter, pumped up (see our previous blog post from Heather and her adorable Corgi girls here)! There are actually three varieties of DOGSBUTTER. Each one is completely free of sugar, salt, soy, artificial ingredients, and hydrogenated oils. Each one is also chock-full of protein and inflammation-calming Vitamin E:

1) DOGSBUTTER with Flaxseed contains nothing but all-natural peanuts, golden flaxseed for a healthy Omega-3 boost, and palm fruit oil. Palm fruit oil comes from the fleshy part of the fruit rather than the kernel, and is rich in monounsaturated or “good” fats. It contains only half the saturated fat of the more popularly used palm kernel oil.

2) DOGSBUTTER Skin & Coat also adds coconut to support supple skin and nice, thick fur growth.

3) DOGSBUTTER Immunity & Digestion adds not only coconut but also ginger, to help keep pup tummies calm and happy.

Now here’s possibly the best part of all: With every single jar of DOGSBUTTER purchased, Dog for Dog donates an all-natural, nutritious meal to a precious pooch in need. What a fantastic way to help nourish and sustain a sweet homeless dog who desperately deserves some pure, healthy TLC.

Here are just a few yummy ways we’ve used DOGSBUTTER in our house. Tell us about some of your own!

  • *Make peanut butter popsicles to cool your pup down. We just mix water or rice milk with small spoonfuls of Dogsbutter in the compartments of an ice cube tray or in tiny paper cups, then freeze. Sometimes we even add a Bully Stick or one of the Sam’s Yam Bichon Fries as a tasty edible “handle.” These pops keep in the freezer indefinitely, and Grant and Maizy go crazy for them after a long hike or a morning run.
  • *Hide a pill in some refrigerated Dogsbutter, which molds around the pill’s shape to hide it completely. Our pups are so busy inhaling that they don’t even realize there was any medication involved.
  • *Use it to stuff empty raw bones or Kong toys. A little goes a very long way, because Grant and Maizy spend hours trying to get at every last bit.
  • *Help with toothbrush training by initially massaging a new pup’s gums with a tiny bit of Dogsbutter on your index finger. They’ll focus on the yummy taste, and — once they get used to having you touch their teeth — you can move on to a finger brush with a little dab of toothpaste.
  • *Drizzle it over kibble for picky eaters. BOOM. Food all gone.

Don’t forget that all of our Two Bostons stores collect almost-empty peanut butter and DOGSBUTTER jars, which we then donate to area shelters and rescues so their adoptable pups can have a tasty, protein-packed snack as well! So next time you stop by, drop off your almost-empties and pick up a new jar or two of yummy DOGSBUTTER. That way, multiple dogs will have YOU to thank!

 

 

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Hello again! Ever since warmer weather got underway a few months ago, dog owners have been noticing the return of an all-too-familiar problem: SHEDDING! Even the shortest coats can become a nuisance; and unless you just love to accessorize your outfits with clumps of pet fur, owners aren’t exactly fond of all this extra hair lying around. In the past, we’ve talked about the Furminator and its awesome ability to reduce shedding by eliminating the undercoat of loose fur. Today, Shenzi and I are here to share another fantastic brush alternative that really gets rid of all that loose hair — the Zoom Groom by Kong!

The Zoom Groom is essentially a rounded rubber brush that’s unique because it “sucks” the loose fur off your pup’s coat like a magnet. The fur sticks to the rubber — which makes the brush extremely easy to clean. Plus, because it’s made of pliable material, it’s also extra-gentle on sensitive pet skin and won’t scratch or irritate your pet. Zoom Groom comes in a number of snazzy colors, and it’s perfect for cats too. Cute little dog and cat designs are even featured right on the brush!

 

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Shenzi definitely felt pampered — and the ZoomGroom definitely felt full of loose fur — after our “spa day” grooming session.

 

Shenzi is a German Pointer/Italian Greyhound mix (and probably a few other things besides!), so she has very short hair that doesn’t need much more than a bath every few weeks to stay looking fresh and groomed. She sheds a fair bit, but I was curious to see just how much loose hair was really hanging on her coat. After using the Zoom Groom, I was amazed at how much actually came off! I got at least a handful of fur off my mid-sized, 45 pound dog!

Zoom Groom was super-easy to use, and the hair collected in a neat little pile near Shenzi’s tail which made cleanup a breeze. Best of all, my girl absolutely LOVES being groomed with this tool! She got down and stretched out to make it easier for me, which shows just how relaxed she felt with a soft rubber brush as opposed to hard wire bristles that could scratch up her skin and make her uncomfortable. After our brushing session, Shenzi’s shedding was noticeably reduced for about two weeks with just a few quick touch-ups in between.

So if you’re looking for a gentle yet super-effective brush option that is perfect for dogs with sensitive skin, grooming anxiety, or shorter coats, I’d definitely recommend coming in to try out the Zoom Groom today. Your canine or feline friend will feel like they’re getting a soothing massage, and you (along with your favorite black pants) are sure to notice the difference right away!

 

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Hi guys — it’s another blog from the Cat Corner! Some of us at Two Bostons are true “cat ladies.” Not crazy, thankfully — but pretty enthusiastic when it comes to creative new toys. The Glide ‘N Seek by Kong is another one that my cats at home have tried.

The Glide ‘N Seek features a little magnetic feather that seems to come alive once the toy’s motor is turned on. This feather spins and bounces unpredictably, so cats are attracted to the movement as it pokes through the toy’s peek-a-boo holes. Cats use their paws to bat at the feather — but since it moves in all different directions, most cats start trying to hunt it, chase it, and pounce!

 

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The Kong Glide ‘N Seek, with those pesky feathers playfully poking out.

I’ll admit that it took my cats a few tries to get the hang of it, as you’ll see in the videos below. At first they liked the toy just sitting there turned off, and played with it like that. But they needed just a little more mental stimulation to hold their interest — and this is where the moving yellow feather came in. Cats are naturally attracted to movement, and they can never figure out where that feather will pop up next. Faced with a situation like that, it doesn’t take long for a cat’s predatory instincts to kick in. The magnets keep the chase challenging, so your cat stays engaged even when you have housework, homework, or other projects to focus on.

The Glide ‘N Seek is also easy for nearly anyone to operate, because it turns on and off with the press of a single button. You can even boost the curiosity factor by inserting a favorite toy, so your cat will paw at it through the holes. Here’s a video of Hunter and LuLu playing with the Glide ‘N Seek. Please ignore the background noises — but notice those focused looks on their faces! Stop by any Two Bostons store, and we’ll be happy to tell you more.

If you’ve been to our Naperville Downtown store, odds are good that you’ve already seen Anna in action! If you haven’t, please stop by soon to say “hi” and ask her about her sweet pup Dixie.  In the meantime, here’s our “Top Ten Team Member Tidbits” list to help you get acquainted:

Q: At which Two Bostons store do you work, and what type of role do you play?
A: I work at our Naperville Downtown store on the sales team. So you can normally find me out on the sales floor, helping customers find the best possible products for their furry friends!

Q: Do  you have any pets at home?
A: Yes, I have one dog named Dixie. She’s about 7 years old, and we think she’s a rat terrier/cattle dog mix — but since we rescued her, we aren’t completely sure. She loves to sit in the path of sun beams. She basically follows the sun beams coming in through our window all morning long, and sleeps in the rays of light. She also likes to explore outside when it’s nice, chasing voles in our yard. When it’s cold, she likes to play hide-and-seek inside. Dixie gives the best high-fives and is such a smart, fast learner. People are her favorite thing. When she sees anyone coming toward her, she gets so excited and has such a waggy tail and butt that her whole body moves!

 

Dixie Pictures

Meet Anna’s adorably photogenic pup, Dixie. Products Dixie digs include Charki-O’s, Carnivore Crunch Duck, Sam’s Yams sweet potato chews, and Bravo Duck Feet (which she’s enjoying above, right, as a Kong toy waits patiently in the background).

 

Q: What first got you interested in working at Two Bostons? How long have you been on the team?
A: When I first got Dixie, I came into Two Bostons and loved the atmosphere! I absolutely love dogs, so the idea of working in such a fun place – one that lets me help animals live the best lives possible — was really appealing. I started in November of 2013.

Q: If you had to pick one “top favorite” Two Bostons product, what would it be?
A: I love Bravo Duck Feet – Dixie cannot get enough of these! Like all Bravo treats, they’re made with natural ingredients … without preservatives, grain, or other additives. They’re easy to digest, and also provide calcium plus other key vitamins that dogs need. Plus, they keep Dixie busy and happy for several minutes while she’s chewing them! We also have several “runner-up” favorites: Charki-O’s, Carnivore Crunch Duck, Sam’s Yams, Go Dog dinosaur plush toys, any flavor of Fruitables, Texas Taffy, Hare Sausage, and Plato Farmers Market chicken and vegetable treats.

Q: What’s  your very favorite type of pet?
A: DOGS! It still amazes me how much love we can have for our dogs, and how much love they give us in return. They’re such great companions, and always there to provide comfort. I think it’s one of the greatest human/animal relationships there is … because while you’re taking care of your dog, your dog is taking care of you—sometimes more than you realize!

Q: What are some of your favorite petrelated activities and locations?
A: We love walking through Seager Park in Naperville — and we also like just sitting in our yard and enjoying the sun! We haven’t had Dixie through the really warm months yet, so I hope to explore some great local dog parks this spring and summer.

Q: What other things can you tell us about yourself? What are some common pet-related terms that describe your personality?
A: I was born and raised in Naperville, and I’ve always loved living here. I think downtown Naperville is the perfect place all year round! I’m currently attending Benedictine University in Lisle, majoring in Communication Arts. I love video editing, playing my ukulele or guitar, and baking. After a tea-tasting at Adagio Teas this past winter, I am a tea addict. I have one older sister who goes to college in town. Chicago is my favorite city, and I love taking the train downtown when the weather is nice! Pet terms that describe me would be loyal, stubborn, snack-loving, excitable, and friendly.

Q: If  you could be any breed of dog or cat, which one would you choose?
A: I would be a Collie. They are just so elegant and beautiful — not to mention smart and a great dog for any age group. I’ve loved Collies since I was a child.

Q:  Who  is your favorite famous /celebrity dog or cat (either living or historical)?
A: Mr. Winkle! Mr. Winkle was big when I was in school at Ellsworth Elementary in Naperville — he was an Internet sensation that came before Boo the Dog. He was so adorable, with his tongue always hanging out. One of my teachers and I would always discuss Mr. Winkle-related things and check his website for updates. I even had his calendar.

Q: What’s the most helpful petrelated piece of advice you ever received?
A: You need a dog.

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One of the things my husband and I really enjoy is helping to sponsor and support kids around the world by furnishing food, clothing, medical aid, and toys; and giving them the chance to attend school. At the moment we’re assisting children of various ages in Zimbabwe, Guatemala, Ethiopia, Thailand, the U.S., and Russia. So for us, part of this priority has been deciding that our own house doesn’t need to be as large or fancy as we’d once envisioned. And that means our pets need to be comfortable in a more modest living space as well.

I’ve found that dogs are pretty adaptable to numerous situations. But if you happen to live in a smaller-sized home, some breeds have an easier time adjusting than others. Perhaps most surprisingly, I’ve found that breed size is not always the most important factor. What seems to matter more is whether the pet has a certain kind of temperament — including a lower tendency to bark constantly (especially if you happen to have neighbors living in close proximity); and lower exercise needs that can be satisfied via daily outdoor strolls, regular indoor play, and/or ready access to a secure, dog-friendly outside area.

In particular, we love taking our pups to Aurora’s Gregory Island Dog Park. It’s in a quiet, peaceful setting right on the river, and adjacent to a nature preserve with walking trails. It also has completely separate, off-leash play areas for larger dogs and smaller dogs under 35 pounds. We appreciate this type of feature in a dog park, because large dogs can sometimes accidentally injure or trample a smaller dog during energetic play. Our pup Grant, for example, is built like a hedgehog but seems to think he’s a Great Dane – so he could easily get hurt if he were swept into a big-dog romp session. If you have a larger dog and want to visit Gregory Island, it’s important to note that the big-dog side of the park is not fully fenced in. The river itself acts as a barrier … unless your dog loves to swim, in which case you’d need to be very watchful. The small-dog side is fenced on all four sides. To register your pup(s), contact the Fox Valley Park District Park Police Office at 630-264-7421.

Dog Park Areas in the Fox Valley

The Illinois Fox Valley has some of the most beautiful, safe, and spacious dedicated dog park areas in the Midwest.

 

The Forest Preserve District of DuPage County also has a number of beautiful, spacious off-leash dog parks. There are six in total, though we particularly like Greene Valley – which, again, has a separate fenced area for dogs under 35 pounds. Blackwell and Springbrook Prairie are two other fully-fenced areas that have lots of great trails, too. Keep in mind, though, that Springbrook’s “fence” encloses an absolutely gorgeous but huge expanse of land — so your dog can become lost in the high brush if s/he doesn’t respond well to callbacks. To obtain a permit, contact the Park District Office at 630-933-7248.

In addition to dog park visits, our two dogs enjoy a LOT of indoor playtime. They have one easily accessible toy box on the floor, plus a special “hidden toy box” that only makes an appearance during bonus-round, extended-play sessions. Grant is our “let’s play fetch” pup, so he especially enjoys squeaky plush toys from Hugglehounds and Planet Dog (the Hugglehounds Red Candy Cane is a special favorite). Maisy is our resident brainiac, and her sweet, serene puppy face conceals a surprisingly wolf-like set of teeth that can chomp through almost anything. So for her, we rely on hidden-treat puzzle toys like the Nina Ottosson Plastic Dog Brick , the awesome JW Pet Hol-ee Treat Ball, plus extra-durable offerings like the Kong Ballistic Bone. With the holidays coming up, these are some excellent options to consider when it comes to keeping your pups busy and active on snowy days.

Indoor Toy Options

Indoor play should be a part of every dog’s life. With the holidays coming up, consider extra-durable options plus puzzle toys that stimulate your pup’s natural intelligence.

Over the years, I’ve compiled a list of “small-space” dog breeds with the help of our vet and behaviorists. In an upcoming blog, I’ll share some of the breeds I’ve found to be among the best candidates when it comes to co-existing happily in smaller living quarters.

In the spirit of full disclosure, I admit that my family has done a great deal of work with rescue dogs of all breeds and sizes. But that doesn’t mean we don’t have a special place in our hearts for sweet kitty cats. In particular, I’ve experienced the unique ups-and-downs of bringing new cats and kittens into a home where dogs have established a benevolent (?) dictatorship. I won’t say it’s always been an easy transition — but in most cases, it’s also been extremely rewarding. Rescue groups like A.D.O.P.T., Anderson Animal Shelter, and NAHS — along with the Two Bostons team! — can offer some great tips for bringing a brand new cat or kitten home. The points listed below have really helped me in the past:

Litter box lingo
According to my vet, the idea that every cat has some sort of inner GPS that locates the litter box is a fallacy. So, much as I’d prefer to cover the litter box and hide it out of sight, it turns out the best location for a litter box is where it’s extremely obvious and easy for your new cat or kitten to find. In some cases, we’ve even ended up putting a litter box on every floor so kitty will always have access to clean, fresh litter (and will always seek out the actual litter box when it’s time to go). Our pet behaviorist explained that placing several litter boxes side-by-side doesn’t really help new cats or kittens acclimate – they just see all the grouped boxes as a single, gargantuan oasis of cat litter. This does not always help if said humongous litter oasis is in the basement, and kitty is way up on the second floor.

Plan on play time
Kittens and cats are naturally active at dawn and dusk – so they often want to play throughout the night. Providing plenty of playful exercise during the day helps tucker out your kitty and can even gradually “re-set” his/her time clock to reflect your family’s sleeping habits. When it comes to playtime, we’ve always loved the Kong Moppy with Feathers, the Play-N-Squeak Ball of Fury, and especially Yeowww! Brand Catnip, which is an ultra-pure form of catnip that can really rev up your feline’s energy and engagement level.

Brush it out
I was surprised to learn this, but very young kittens – especially those who were improperly weaned — often need help learning how to clean and take care of themselves. So brushing and grooming right from the start can be a huge help. If you start with a very soft, gentle brush like the Kong ZoomGroom Cat Brush, kittens will often learn to look forward to these brushing sessions over time. Plus, regular grooming can discourage matting in long-haired cats, and often reduces hairballs too.

Kitty Kit

Many vets and behaviorists suggest preparing a “Kitty Kit” before bringing your new feline friend home to meet the family. Many of the items mentioned in this blog may be helpful to consider.

 

Perching possibilities
Cats and kittens typically like to perch as they explore new surroundings, and in multi-pet families they often feel much safer in elevated spaces. In fact, in my house the cats have often ended up “claiming” the high areas while the dogs patrol their own floor-level turf (a consolation prize, of sorts, from the kitties). Tall cat trees, hideaways, and window perches can often help a new feline feel much calmer and more comfortable.

Carry on
Cat carriers safeguard your pet’s safety and security in so many situations – they’re not only for vet visits. Introducing the carrier early on helps kitty learn that it’s a safe zone not intended to cause anxiety. Leave it somewhere secure (and maybe even higher up), like a little welcoming “house” with the door open so kitty can wander in and out. Line the floor with a soft and cuddly blanket. You can even sprinkle a few treats inside the carrier so your cat associates going inside with a positive (and yummy) experience.

Tune in to the tail
Most pet behaviorists note that a secure-feeling cat has a relaxed body posture with ears and tail up, but not rigid. A cat in this state may also purr. But if you notice a straight tail, tail wagging or swishing, a tense body, or (certainly) hissing and spitting, it’s often a pretty clear warning sign that something very tense and unpleasant is about to go down. As you gradually introduce each new experience, reward good kitty behavior with a favorite treat (like Cloud Star Tuna Buddy Biscuits), a fun toy, an upbeat voice, petting, and/or extra playtime.

As a dog owner, I used to think that dog and cat treats and toys were basically interchangeable. Over time I learned that this is definitely not the case. Cats and kittens have different nutritional and socialization needs than dogs and puppies — so generally, I look for products that specifically say “for cats” on the package. If you’re ever in doubt, ask anyone on our Two Bostons team for assistance!