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News and Information about Dogs, Cats, and Pet Products

If you look at a wild canine’s teeth, you’ll see clean, white shiny teeth.

Why? They are eating what nature intended, raw meat, bones, and organs of their prey.

If you look at a domestic canine’s teeth, many times you will find tartar buildup, yellow or brown discoloration, inflamed gums, and maybe even some loose teeth.

Why? They are eating food that has no dental benefits. It is a myth that kibble can help control your dog’s tartar. In reality, it will control tartar just as well as trying to clean your own teeth with granola. Many kibbles also contain ingredients such as sugars, carbohydrates, and starches that cause the kibble to stick to a dog’s teeth. These ingredients are also a food source for opportunistic oral bacteria, which will actually cause further tartar to form. Since these foods do not contain live nutrients and many times contain things like preservatives and dyes, they will disrupt normal flora in the body and can lead to tartar that way as well.

Many people view dental disease as a normal process when there is nothing normal or natural about it. The reason this unnatural process is happening is because dogs are eating food that they are not designed to eat. 

Raw food is the natural diet of your dog and it has a variety of benefits, with the focus of this article being to improve or maintain good dental hygiene.

Raw meaty bones are the best option to control tartar as they provide an abrasive, cleaning action on your dog’s teeth. It’s important to emphasize four areas when providing raw meaty bones to your dog.

  1. The bones must be raw. Cooked bones splinter and can cause harm to your pet.
  2. It is important to always supervise, know your dog and choose a size appropriate raw meaty bone for them. If they tent to gulp, the bone needs to be larger than their mouth or head so that they can gnaw rather than gulp.
  3. If your dog is an intense chomper, it is important to not give them a bone that is very dense as this can cause a tooth fracture. Dense bones are those which are weight-bearing bones of adult cattle, such as a marrow bone.
  4. Remember to handle raw meaty bones the same as you handle your own raw meat. Have your dog work on them in an area that you can sanitize such as a create or outside. Do not allow them to run around your house with a raw bone. Refrigerate or freeze the bone if they have more to work on later.

Raw meat contains live enzymes and probiotics. The enzymes help to keep teeth clean by breaking down bacteria on your dog’s teeth. The probiotics found in a raw diet also maintain normal balance and populations of bacterial flora in the mouth. Both also help to retain pH balance, making it less likely that any harmful bacteria can thrive in your dog’s mouth. Furthermore, it does not stick to a dog’s teeth like a dry food.

Healthy teeth & gums of my raw fed German shepherd

In terms of maintaining healthy teeth and gums, nothing compares to a raw diet. A raw diet is a species appropriate diet for our dogs, meaning it is the easiest diet for them to digest and assimilate nutrients from, as it is in the natural state that a dog’s body recognizes and utilizes. Prevention of dental disease is not feeding a kibble diet and doing regular dental cleanings. Rather, prevention is honoring the natural design of our dogs and feeding and caring for them accordingly. Their body will be better able to maintain health the way it was meant to in the first place.

Pictured are my raw feed dogs: Lolo (border collie), Bella (Italian greyhound), and Onyx (German shepherd)

Dr. Erin O’Connor is an AVCA Animal Chiropractor and ACAN Naturopathic Carnivore Nutrition Consultant. She sees patients out of her clinic, Vitality Chiropractic Center in Aurora, as well as Autumn Green Animal Hospital in Geneva. For further information, visit or email Dr. O’Connor at


As we continue through National Pet Dental Health Month, we want to make sure that people don’t think that a professional vet cleaning is the only strategy pet parents have at our disposal — there’s actually so much we can do! In our Blog “Have You Looked In Your Pets Mouth?” we talked about products we that can help with your pets dental health.  But, did you know that diet and feeding strategies can also make a huge difference in your pet’s dental health?

Most wolves and coyotes in the wild have very strong, clean teeth.  Animal experts have studied this at great length so that thankfully, most of us will never need to confirm it in ourselves! But the reason it’s true is because of their diet. These wild canine cousins regularly eat a raw diet that includes meat, gristle, fibrous tissue, cartilage, and actual bone. The chewing process itself is so abrasive to their teeth and gums that it breaks down plaque formations and “scrubs” teeth on a daily basis.

In much the same way, a raw diet can help control tartar build-up on the teeth of our pets. You may notice that most commercial raw food are prepared to some degree — ground up and often shaped into forms that are convenient to store and/or feed. However, these patties and pieces still contain tiny bone fragments that have the similar effect as a fine-grit sandpaper. When your pet chews these foods, the mild abrasive process helps to scour teeth and gums by breaking down existing plaque and tartar deposits.

As we have talked about before, kibble is like having a crunchy snack like popcorn, pretzels, or a granola bar. It does not clean your pet’s teeth or gums. Do you remember how those felt in your mouth? Did your teeth feel refreshingly clean afterward? Kibble has something in common with these snacks: It basically begins its life as a starchy carbohydrate, which is then ground into paste that’s hardened or baked into tiny nuggets that are easy to feed. When your pet’s saliva breaks these nuggets down, they revert to their starchy, pasty form inside the mouth. This paste works its way between teeth and adheres to the gum line. Unless it’s dislodged somehow, that’s where it stays. See our recent blog for some of those products that can help dislodge and clean when feeding kibble.

Raw foods, on the other hand, are composed largely of meat proteins and natural enzymes. Proteins take longer to digest, so they aren’t broken down as quickly by saliva in the mouth. Enzymes immediately go to work dissolving residues on your pet’s teeth. And of course, we have already mentioned that tiny abrasive fragments act like a scrubbing toothbrush. When you feed your pet a raw diet, starch residues around the teeth are kept to a minimum and the chewing process itself begins to work in your pet’s favor.

If you want to learn more about your pets’ dental health or adding raw food into their diet, stop into any Two Bostons and one of expert Team Members can help you!



Did you know that February is National Pet Dental Health Month? It is…really!

Here are some fun facts about your dog’s teeth:

  1. Good oral care can add about 4 to 6 years to the life expectancy of your best friend.
  2. Puppies have 28 baby teeth and start to get their adult teeth at around 4 months. They will end up with 42 permanent teeth.
  3. The number one myth of pet oral hygiene is that eating a diet of kibble keeps the teeth clean. This is simply not factual. It would be like us thinking eating cereal or a granola bar keeps our teeth clean. Kibble leaves a coating on the teeth than needs to be removed.
  4. Dogs can and do get gum disease ~ and it hurts.

What are the symptoms of gum disease?

Yellow and brown build-up of tartar near the gum line, red and inflamed gums, and yes stinky (and persistent) bad breath.

You can certainly make oral care part of your dog’s grooming or vet visits; however, it is easy to take steps at home to ensure great oral health as well.  Here are just a few easy at home options:

Dental Bones by PawsIQ ~ These dental bones have all natural ingredients of chlorophyll (from alfalfa), parsley, fennel, dill, and peppermint that work together to freshen breath from the inside out. Dental Bones can also help remove tartar and plaque as your dog chews on their new favorite treat. Protect your dog’s teeth and gums the natural way with this made-in-USA treat! No wheat, soy, corn, artificial flavors, animal by-products, no gluten, no added sugars or salts.

Zymox Breath Freshener by Pet King Brands, Inc. ~ This fine focused spray contains enzymes that inhibit harmful odor-causing bacteria and remove plaque biofilm. Maintain your dog or cat’s oral health and freshen their breath with this gentle, soothing formula. It works great to help eliminate dryness, irritation, inflammation and redness. Relieves and protects your pet’s mouth tissues. It is safe to use every day, and contains no alcohol, xylitol or chlorhexidine.

Twistix Vanilla Mint Dental Treats by NPIC
~ There’s no need to get all twisted about oral care when you have these dental treats.  They freshen breath, help remove plaque, and your pups will love chewing them! This dental treat has a vanilla side that’s specially formulated to clean teeth and scrub plaque and tarter while your dog chews. Then there is the mint side, with peppermint, parsley and alfalfa to make breath smell kissable clean!

Stop in and talk to one of our expert team members about what the best product is for your pet and lifestyle!


Many people think that a professional vet cleaning is the only strategy we pet owners have to provide oral care…but there is actually so much more we can do!  In a couple of our last Blogs: BRUSHLESS Oral Care! and Another Brushless Option!, we talked about safeguarding and dental products for our furry friends. Today, we consider some diet and feeding strategies that yes, truly can make a huge difference in your pet’s Dental Health!

Most wolves and coyotes in the wild have very strong, clean teeth.  Animal experts have studied this at great length so that thankfully we don’t have to get up-close-and-personal with them!  The reason this is true is mostly because of their diet.  These wild canine cousins regularly eat a raw diet that includes meat, gristle, fibrous tissue, cartilage, and actual bone.  The chewing process itself is so abrasive to their teeth and gums that it breaks down plaque formations and “scrubs” teeth on a daily basis.



The right diet choices can actually work in your pet’s favor, breaking down plaque deposits inside the mouth and exerting a toothbrush-like scrubbing action that keeps teeth and gums healthy.


In much the same way, a raw diet can help control tartar build-up on the teeth of our pets too.  You may have noticed that most raw foods that you will see at the store are prepared to some degree – ground up and often shaped into forms that are convenient to store and feed.  These patties and pieces still contain tiny bone fragments so that when your pet chews, the mild abrasive process helps to scour teeth and gums by breaking down existing plaque and tartar deposits.

Now, most people have been told or believe that hard kibble provides the same benefits because it’s so crunchy.  Well, this is a BIG Myth.  To learn more about why this is a myth watch this short video.

Raw foods are composed largely of meat proteins and natural enzymes.  Proteins take longer to digest, so they aren’t broken down as quickly by saliva in the mouth.  Enzymes immediately go to work dissolving residues on your pet’s teeth.  And of course, we have already mentioned that tiny abrasive fragments act like a scrubbing toothbrush.  When you feed your pet a raw diet, starchy residues around the teeth are kept to a minimum and the chewing process itself begins to work in your pet’s favor.

There are dozens of healthy, natural raw options to choose from – featuring whole-food ingredients and palatable proteins like turkey, beef, duck, venison, chicken, rabbit, salmon and more. These foods have the added benefit of nutrition labels that are free of animal by-products, artificial additives and preservatives.  If you want to try putting a raw option into your pets diet, anyone on the Two Bostons team would be happy to help you customize a diet plan specific to your pet.

Did you know that you can ADD 3-4 years to your pet’s life by providing good oral care?  This fact is why I want to make sure that you know about all of the amazing and EASY products that we carry to add those years to your furry family member!

In last weeks Blog: Brushless Oral CareI told you about our Zymox products.  Today, I am going to tell you about another Brushless option for you that you pup will love…because it is a treat!  It is a win-win for everyone.

This yummy treat is a very easy and convenient brushless toothpaste…The Breath-Less Brushless-ToothPaste from Ark Naturals is a dental chew that has effective ridges that will clean all areas of your dog’s mouth.  Here are all of the reasons that make this product so great:ArkNaturals-Brushless

  • They have a patented toothpaste on the inside that takes care of plaque, tarter and bacteria control
  • They smell fresh because of the fresh flavor ingredients of chlorophyll, cinnamon, vanilla and clove
  • Ends brushing
  • Helps reduce bad breath and stained teeth
  • No: Wheat, corn, soy, yeast, artificial colors, flavors or preservatives
  • Easy to chew, easy to digest
  • These chews come in three different sizes, Mini, Medium, and Large
  • They are safe for cats too!
  • Made in the USA

oral-health-say-cheese-dog-toothbrushThat list is pretty impressive…I should also tell you about a product that we get a lot of questions about that we DO NOT carry.

Most of you have probably seen a commercial or have heard of Greenies. They are one of the best selling dental treats in the country…but you will never see them at a Two Bostons store.  These chews have caused many dogs to have blockages in the stomach and intestines because of ingredient that creates a gooey substance called wheat gluten. Intestinal blockages = sick pets, possible surgery and possible death.  Not good.

So I hope that you will stop in and try one of the Brushless Oral Care Options that we have today.  Our team members will make sure that you get the right product that fits your pets and your lifestyle and needs!

We all know how important good oral care is for our pets…but sometimes it is hard to stay on on top of it. February is always a good reminder and dental check-in because it is National Pet Dental Health Awareness Month!dog-cat-toothbrush

Do you brush your dog or cat’s teeth?

Probably not…for most of us we would have to tackle them and hold them down, and who wants to go through all of that stress.  So you have probably gotten the chews to keep your pet’s teeth clean between cleanings, which you should still continue to use…but we have a solution for you to get that deep down clean!

Zymox Brushless Enzymatic Oral Care Therapy by Pet King Brands Inc.  Each of these products will provide an excellent oral protection against bad breath, plaque and periodontal disease without wrestling your pets to the ground…because all of the products are BRUSHLESS!

Here is how it works…it contains two patented, natural enzyme systems that inhibit odor causing bacteria from growing and removes plaque. It will boost the natural oral flora as well.  This gentle formula will help eliminate dryness, irritation, inflammation and redness. Plus there is no alcohol, xylitol or chlorhexidine.

You can rub the Dental Gel on the teeth.  This formula provides the highest concentration of cleaning.  It relieves, soothes and protects the mouth from dryness, irritation, inflammation and redness.  This is really great for cats and dogs who don’t drink a lot of water.

The Water Additive is flavorless and you literally just add it to your pet’s water. Yep!  That’s it.  Add it to the water and you’ve cared for your pet’s teeth.  (So no more excuses!) You will get better care if you use the water additive in addition to the gel; however, if you have a pet who’s mouth is just impossible to get near, this is a great option!

Finally, the Breath Freshener. This nifty spray delivers a fine and focused spray to your pet’s mouth.  Simply point and spray.  So easy, yet so effective!

Don’t let another year go by to think about your pets’ oral care.  Check out these great brushless products by Zymox today!  And of course any of our highly trained team members can answer any questions you may have about your pets oral care.


In our last post, we talked about diet choices that can help make a big difference to your pet’s overall dental health. But there are other measures we can take as well. For example, many of us are at least aware that we can also brush our pet’s teeth at home. Whether we choose to act on this knowledge hinges on several important questions:

  • Will I need to somehow wrestle my pet to the ground in a friendly, non-threatening manner?
  • Is my pet going to feel anxious or traumatized?
  • Will I need to show up late to work, or cancel important engagements, because this is taking so long?
  • Will there be a lot of growling and/or flailing around (not just on the part of my pet)?
  • Will our prized plasma TV and/or favorite coffee table be demolished in the process?
  • Is somebody (like, say, me) going to require emergency wound care?

Believe it or not, when tooth brushing is done correctly none of these things is ever likely to happen. Brushing your pet’s teeth should never be unpleasant or stressful — for either you or your pet. In fact, it can actually be a great bonding experience. If you take things very gradually at the beginning, and offer lots of upbeat praise, both of you may actually begin looking forward to at-home tooth brushing sessions — and they can help improve your pet’s oral health dramatically.

Here are a few insights I’ve gained from learning to brush our own dogs’ teeth at home. Note that I’m using the term “dog” below, but these insights can be applied to cats as well. The important thing is to let your pet’s individual preferences dictate the pace.

Pet Tooth Brushing

A smaller toothbrush like the Triple Pet Finger Brush can help you reach around smaller angles inside your pet’s mouth — and that makes things much more comfortable for your pet.


Going in, keep reminding yourself that this should be a FUN experience for you and your dog. Keep your tone upbeat, and take things slowly. Keep sessions short and positive, don’t use force to restrain your pup, and keep on praising throughout the process. Again, your pet will let you know when it’s okay to advance to the next step. Give yourself some encouragement too, because you’re doing a wonderful thing for your pup’s pearly whites and overall health.

First, have your dog get used to you putting things in his mouth. Dip your finger in beef broth or peanut butter. Call your dog in a voice that means “treat” and let your dog lick your finger. Next, “re-load” your finger and rub it very lightly over your dog’s gums and front teeth. Just a few seconds is fine – when your dog pulls away, praise. Once your dog begins looking forward to this activity (usually after a few sessions), move on to the next step.

Now, wrap a small piece of gauze around your finger (dip it in the broth or peanut butter if you’d like). Gently rub your dog’s teeth in a circular motion with your gauzed finger — starting with just the front teeth if necessary. Remember to praise constantly and use an upbeat “treat” tone. Do this once per day until your dog seems comfortable.

Once you’ve reached this point, you’re ready to start using an actual toothbrush or dental sponge (a brush I especially like is the EZDOG Triple Pet Finger Brush, which has very soft rubber bristles and is completely dishwasher safe for easy cleaning). First, let your dog lick something super-tasty off of the brush or pad so that he gets used to the bristly texture. Again, approach this just like treat time. Next, add a little bit of actual toothpaste to the brush or pad. Pet toothpastes come in a range of flavors like malt, peanut butter, or poultry – so feel free to experiment and find a flavor your dog really loves. Some dogs have a bit of a sweet tooth, in which case you can also try a children’s fruit-flavored toothpaste without fluoride.

Once your pup has selected a favorite flavor, begin by letting him lick some of this toothpaste off your finger. Next, apply a dab to your pet’s gum line with your finger. Praise, praise, praise constantly while this is going on. After a time, wrap your finger in gauze and do this same thing again.

Once your pet is comfortable with this step, you’re ready to begin brushing. Talk to your pup in a very reassuring, happy, upbeat voice throughout the process, and give BIG praise at the end.  I’ve found that it’s helpful at first to brush only the upper canine teeth (the pointy ones toward the front of the mouth). These are pretty easy to reach, they’re vital to your dog’s chewing ability, and they provide good practice.  As your pup gets comfortable having a few teeth brushed, gradually increase the number every few days. Tell your pooch to “sit, stay” (or “down, stay” if that’s more comfortable) and make it feel like a game. Offer a fun reward at the end (quick belly rub, romp in the yard, small treat, game of tug or fetch, etc.)

As your pet becomes used to the tooth-brushing routine, you’ll begin to realize it takes less than five minutes each day to give his teeth a quick yet thorough polish. We do this every morning before work, followed by tons of praise and an enthusiastic ear scratch. The dogs actually run over with their tails wagging, and will even do tricks when they see their toothbrushes. It’s become a really fun activity for them – and it’s SO beneficial to their dental health.

Do you have special tips for brushing your pet’s teeth at home? Share them with us below. In our next few blogs, we’ll talk more about special products that can really support (and in many cases, greatly improve) your pet’s dental health. In the meantime, don’t hesitate to ask anyone on our Two Bostons team for insights and suggestions!


So much in life depends upon your perspective. My husband, for instance, is from Maryland; and he will openly inform you that any crab cake you’re eating, anywhere outside the Chesapeake Bay region, was “not made the right way” (which doesn’t stop me from eating them, but still). When I say the word “tartar” to my husband, he thinks immediately of a mayonnaise-based condiment. My mother, on the other hand, has turned out more pies, cakes, cookies, muffins, and breakfast breads in her lifetime than the average Panera. When I say the word “tartar” to my mother, she thinks immediately of a powdered baking ingredient.

But if I say the word “tartar” to those of us who are pet parents, it’s likely we think about teeth – or maybe more specifically, the professional dental cleanings so many pets undergo to keep tartar at bay.  It’s true that many pets today – who enjoy a domesticated lifestyle that does not require them to hunt live game and break down tough, fibrous material — have significant tartar build-up on their teeth.


heart day dental

During National Pet Dental Health Month, pet parents everywhere are reminded that we can do a lot to safeguard our pets’ pearly whites!


Tartar, in this sense of the word, is plaque that has calcified and hardened. It sits along the gum line and can irritate the soft tissue, causing an inflammatory condition we call gingivitis. Inflamed gums can pull away from the teeth, creating tiny areas where bacteria can become trapped. This process is often responsible for that stereotypical “dog breath” we associate with many of our canine friends (and dog breath, contrary to popular belief, is not normal). In its more advanced stages, though, it can also lead to periodontal disease that causes infections and bone loss – not to mention extreme mouth pain for your pet, and even problems in other parts of the body.

Many people may think “Well, that’s my vet’s job – I’ll just have my dog’s teeth professionally cleaned every so often.” This is a valid perspective, but keep in mind that a professional vet cleaning requires IV sedation, plus recovery time from potent anesthetics that can carry their own risks and complications. It’s also not inexpensive, and normally requires your pup to stay at the vet’s office for a good part of day — a stressful experience in itself.

Fortunately, in the same way that we humans brush our own teeth daily, there are ways to manage this build-up process in our pets so that the amount of plaque and tartar on the teeth is greatly reduced.  That’s not to say that your vet shouldn’t inspect your pet’s mouth, and regularly – but some of my pets have never actually needed a professional cleaning, because we’ve become so vigilant about their dental health.



“Dog breath” is NOT normal! It indicates a bacterial buildup in the mouth. Diet strategies, anti-plaque and anti-tartar supplement products, and manual removal are all ways that we can help keep pet teeth clean and healthy.


If you’d like to take more control over your own pet’s dental health, it involves an easy-to-adopt management routine that can fall into any (or all) of these three main categories:

  1. Diet/feeding strategies
  2. Manual removal techniques
  3. Additive products that target plaque and tartar

None of these tactics is incredibly time-intensive or cost-prohibitive. In fact, probably the biggest challenge is getting into the habit, while making sure each measure you choose to take is palatable (and not stressful) to your furry friend.

This month, we’ll be talking about these steps in a series of dental health blogs where we’ll describe some useful techniques, dietary enhancements, and specialized products that help protect your pup’s pearly whites for a lifetime. If you’d like to get additional insights in the meantime, ask anyone on our Two Bostons team for insights and suggestions!