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News and Information about Dogs, Cats, and Pet Products

 

TracyP_Profile

As we celebrate our nation’s birth this month, our Team also decided to celebrate something that benefits YOU. It’s something that drives every single decision we make at Two Bostons, and it makes us very proud: We’re an independent, locally-owned business.

This means that whether you shop, work, or volunteer with us, YOU are an active contributor to local charities and Naperville civic life. YOU help create financial stability for our local community. YOU establish a training ground for generations of future entrepreneurs. YOU assist local shelters with supportive programs that help pets in need find loving forever homes.

 

IndependentRetailerMonth

 

We’re a proud member of indieboundnaperville.org, and we’re also a featured retailer on shopindieretail.com (check out the Thundershirt segment)! We recognize that as our customer, you place a huge level of trust in the experience and service capabilities of our Team Members. It’s a responsibility we never take lightly. After all, every time you make the conscious choice to shop at Two Bostons, YOU make sure that:

  1. Community nonprofits receive ongoing support. It’s a proven fact that local business owners donate more to community charities than non-locals. At Two Bostons, we’re dedicated supporters of The Naperville Area Humane Society, A.D.O.P.T. Pet Shelter, and numerous others.
  2. Environmental impact is reduced. Local organizations make more local purchases that require less transportation. Two Bostons currently has 59 product lines that are exclusively MADE IN THE U.S.A. – and within those lines, we offer many different products including treats (like Sojo’s, Cloud Star, Stella & Chewy’s, and Bravo); toys (like Planet Dog, West Paw Design, Ruff Dawg, and GoughNuts); and foods (like Fromm, Pure Vita, Zignature, Nutrisca, Merrick, and Raw Bistro). In addition, many of our supplements and ALL of our collars are U.S.A.-made.
  3. More value is created within Naperville. Studies show that a dollar spent at an independent retailer is normally re-spent 6 to 15 times before it leaves the community. When you spend that same dollar at a national chain store, 80% of the money leaves town immediately. So by choosing to shop at an independent retailer like Two Bostons, you create $5 – $14 in value right here in Naperville for every dollar you spend! This helps give Two Bostons the resources we need to keep expanding our U.S.A.-made product line, provide community volunteers, and develop programs that directly benefit local organizations.
  4. Two Bostons owners invest in Naperville. Local business owners live in our community. They’re less likely to leave and they’re more invested in the community’s future. Our Two Bostons owners, for example, are members of the Naperville Area Chamber of Commerce. They’re active in the Downtown Naperville Alliance. They periodically attend Naperville City Council meetings. They’ve led Two Bostons to develop a comprehensive cause marketing program that allows local organizations to receive vital sustaining funds. Our owners inspire our entire Team to partner with these organizations and participate in numerous community outreach events every month.

On August 16th , for instance, we’re partnering with popular Naperville eatery Crosstown Pub & Grill to bring you Pints 4 Paws! Stop by either of our locations through August 15th, and in return for a $20 cash donation to NAHS you’ll get a glass that you can fill with $2 pints or $3 craft pints from 12 noon -4 p.m. on the day of the event. Plus, of course, your pup’s invited to join us on the patio! Visit our Facebook page or web site for more fun summer happenings that are making a difference!

Why do YOU shop with Two Bostons? We’re always interested to hear your feedback!

ChelseaM_Profile
Chelsea here again. I know, I know … you’re thinking I’m going to write a cat blog — but I’m actually here to talk about DOG FOOD! We have carried Nutrisca for awhile now, and there are tons of customers who absolutely love it. Dogswell, the makers of Nutrisca, came out with a new line not too long ago called LiveFree. While the Nutrisca line is known for its low glycemic index thanks to the chickpeas used in its formulas, LiveFree has an even lower glycemic index! So I’m here to talk about how beneficial this food line is, and the importance of having a low glycemic index (GI) diet.

LiveFree uses four different protein sources in its recipes: cage-free chicken, cage-free turkey, antibiotic-free lamb, and wild-caught salmon. There are different formulas designed for specific life stages — puppy, adult, and senior. Each dry food recipe is mixed with pieces of dry kibble that Dogswell calls DigestiBits. These special nuggets (which are unique to LiveFree) contain egg, pumpkin, prebiotics, probiotics, and 11 antioxidant-rich fruits and veggies to boost fiber intake and help with digestion.

LiveFree’s glycemic index (GI) rating is less than 55 – the lowest range on the glycemic scale. The dry food recipes range from 9 – 11; and the canned food recipes range from 3.5 – 3.6. LiveFree maintains this glycemic level by staying away from potatoes and grains as binding agents. Instead, they use chickpeas and peas – which also happen to be good protein sources. In fact, LiveFree contains absolutely NO grain, corn, soy, gluten, potatoes, tapioca, BHA/BHT, or artificial flavors/colors. Maybe this is why it’s a 2013 Pet Business Industry Recognition Award winner!

But why is GI even important? Well, many of the processed foods available today have a really high glycemic index. This is often because they’re refined, artificially enhanced with flavors and preservatives, or full of starchy fillers. Dogs and cats should stay away from these – and we humans should, too! That’s because eating high-GI foods causes our blood glucose level to shoot up suddenly, or “spike,” instead of rising more gradually. Natural, unprocessed whole foods like fruits, vegetables, and legumes are considered complex energy sources. This means that once inside our bodies, they take much longer to break down into simple glucose. When we eat foods like these, we digest them more slowly. So our blood glucose level rises at a more moderate and controlled rate, then sustains itself over a longer period of time. This helps us feel full and stay energized longer.

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In our pets, low glycemic diets can offer multiple benefits:
Appetite control and weight management, due to feeling “full” longer
• Decreased risk of cancer, since cancer cells feed on sugar in the body
• Lower cholesterol levels and more controlled “bad” (LDL) cholesterol
• Lower diabetes risk, and more controlled blood sugar in those who already live with the condition

So as you can see, just because LiveFree is an excellent option for diabetic dogs doesn’t mean it can’t benefit other dogs as well! I recently read an article by the Defeat Diabetes Foundation which estimates that one in every 200 dogs will develop diabetes in their lifetime. Feeding a low-GI diet can really help all dogs to minimize future risk.

Here at Two Bostons, we’re very passionate about good pet nutrition. After all, we’re pet parents too – and we want the very best for your furry family members. So bring ‘em along and come talk with us if you have any questions or concerns! We’re always happy to share personalized suggestions.

MelissaG_profile
As a life-long allergy sufferer, I know how frustrating it can be to love animals, yet experience horrible allergy symptoms in their presence. We talk a lot here at Two Bostons about what to do if your pet is having allergy problems. But what if you’re the one with unbearable animal-related allergies? Rather than give up all hope of having a canine or kitty companion – or even worse, wrestling with the difficult decision to give them away – take heart knowing that there ARE things you can do to give yourself some relief during allergy season and all year round!

What causes allergies? Pet allergies, contrary to popular belief, aren’t caused by long or fluffy fur. They’re actually caused by animal dander, which is a fancy word for the flakes of skin pets shed along with their hair every day. That’s why some people with allergies will break out in hives if a dog licks them, even without petting the pup. Dogs lick their skin; therefore, dander is present in their salvia as well! However, some pet breeds are still just naturally better suited to allergy sufferers, due to the fact that they shed less. After all, less hair on your furniture = less dander sticking to it, and getting on you throughout the day.

Through extensive field research (i.e., playing with lots of puppies!) I’ve found that there is no go-to “hypoallergenic” breed that every single allergy sufferer will be able to tolerate. For example, Shelties should drive my allergies nuts – yet I don’t usually have a reaction to them. But then there are Poodles — often promoted as a “hypoallergenic” breed — and they drive my allergies insane! In reality, it all depends on the individual animal. Some pets just release more dander than others, even across breeds. So do your own research: play and interact with lots of pets and breeds to see what you’re allergic to. This is the best way to find out which breeds can work best with your specific allergies.

Go Grain Free! – Here at Two Bostons, we always stress the importance of feeding many pets a grain-free diet, especially if you have a pet with lots of allergies. Study after study demonstrates that controlling grains – and often, reducing carbs — can greatly improve the quality of life for many dogs and cats. This is because our pups and kitties are natural carnivores with digestive systems that aren’t designed to process carbs and grains the same way we humans do. What I bet you didn’t know is that feeding your pet grain-free food can actually help your allergies as well!

PetAllergies_Diet

When pets have allergies, their skin gets flaky and itchy. And every time they itch, they release more dander into the air. As I said before, dander is the real culprit behind pet-related allergies. So if you have pet dander allergies and your pup or kitty is suffering, you’re probably suffering as well. However, grain-free diets can often help to alleviate your pet’s allergies tremendously — and if your kitty or canine has clear, healthy skin, there will be less dander (and less stress) on you!

At Two Bostons, we carry a broad range of grain-free, lower-carb, and limited-ingredient diet options that can be a great help to virtually any pet with allergies. Our Team Members have extensive firsthand experience using these products with their own pets; and they’re specially trained to help you select the ideal combination of food, treats, and supplements for your furry friend. Just a few of our Team favorites include:

  • Weruva food for cats, which is totally grain-free and full of high-moisture, high-quality meat.
  • Nutrisca food and treats, which are super low-glycemic and packed with healthy protein — making them a great choice for many older, allergy-prone, overweight, or diabetic pups.
  • Stella & Chewy’s Carnivore Crunch treats, which are made from raw, freeze-dried, USDA-inspected meats and totally free of grains, fillers, and additives.

So stop by with your pet soon for personalized suggestions. In the meantime, watch for a future post, where we’ll talk about shampoo and grooming options that can really help pets (and pet parents!) who struggle with allergies.

There are some pets (and people) who need to be on a low-glycemic diet due to a specific health condition. For others, though, too many starches – and/or certain kinds of starches – can simply cause unwanted side effects like allergies, skin/coat conditions, behavioral issues, or weight gain. This is because some starches release very quickly into the bloodstream, causing unwanted spikes and drops in blood sugar. Low-glycemic ingredients release glucose more slowly and steadily.

Dogs and cats are carnivores, and studies repeatedly show that they simply tend to thrive best on a protein-rich diet. I never used to realize this, because many of the pet foods found at my local grocery store had “healthy” written all over the packaging, yet were super-high in starchy carbohydrates. Only after we struggled through multiple pet health issues did I realize some of these carbs can serve as inexpensive fillers or “extenders” – and that many can have a really negative impact on glucose levels.

My cousin’s dog is extremely glucose-sensitive, and for him Nutrisca was a true (maybe even literal) life-saver. Made by Dogswell, Nutrisca dry, canned, and raw freeze dried foods and treats are high in protein, yet extremely low glycemic. This is because, uniquely, Nutrisca is made with low-glycemic chickpeas and peas as its chief binding agent. Chickpeas and peas release glucose more steadily compared to other binding agents like certain starchy grains, potatoes, or tapioca. In addition, they’re chock full of added protein, fiber, and folic acid, which can greatly benefit cell development and help to reduce inflammation.

Nutrisca Foods

All Nutrisca food and treat varieties are certified low-glycemic by The Glycemic Research Institute — but that doesn’t mean your pup has to sacrifice on flavor or nutrition! On the contrary, Nutrisca is loaded with outstanding health benefits.

 

Nutrisca Freeze Dried Bites come in chicken, beef, and salmon flavors; and the freeze drying process safely locks in key nutrients. These bite-sized, totable nuggets are great as a tasty, super-healthy food topper, or simply to feed (or treat!) as-is.  The Canned Stew Recipes are brimming with vegetable chunks; morsels of chicken, turkey, or salmon; and thick gravy that maybe, just possibly, might even look kind of appetizing to certain humans (okay fine, yes, guilty, moving onward). The Dry Food Recipes are available in chicken, lamb, and salmon varieties that offer all the easy-feeding convenience of kibble, yet still have that same low glycemic index. Like the Freeze Dried Bites, they can also double as tasty treats just about anywhere.

Do you have low-glycemic pet diet tips that have worked well for you? Share with us below! In the meantime, stop by any Two Bostons store and bring your furry friend along for a complimentary Nutrisca taste-test (because really, any day we can give your pet a treat is an extra-excellent day for us).