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News and Information about Dogs, Cats, and Pet Products

If you’ve been following along with our travel blogs, you should be an expert on navigating airports with pets! Well…maybe not an expert, but certainly someone with more confidence than the average traveler! With the hustle and bustle of airports, you can never know what to expect 100% of the time, but hopefully you’re at least feeling better prepared. If you’re just joining us, or missed an installment, be sure to check out Part I and Part II for helpful tips, tricks, and links!

We’ve already covered security, leashes, and carriers, so for our Grand Finale, we present to you:

The Ultimate Airport Pet Packing List

The Basics

  • Paperwork
    • Remember what we talked about in our previous blogs. Always have copies of your tickets, any appropriate identification for you/your pet, and–if you’re having any extra anxieties–copies of rules and regulations from the official sites of airlines/airports just in case you need to pull them out.
  • Leashes, harnesses, and TSA approved carriers (check out Part II for more details)
  • A collar with a tag that has the pet’s name, address, and best number to reach you. We suggest your cell since you won’t exactly be able to answer your home phone if your pet runs off in an airport!
  • Medication
    • Whether you’re a human or an animal, you should always keep your meds in your carry-on. Lost luggage = lost medication if it’s not with you at all times. If you have any liquid medications, then be sure to check protocol on the TSA website!
  • CBD or Anti-anxiety supplements
    • These work absolute wonders for scared cats and dogs! We always suggest Super Snouts as a go-to brand for CBD products, but if you prefer herbs and essential oils, then Herbsmith also has some great stuff.
  • Gulpy Water Bottle
    • Hydration is key in any situation! Rather than carry around bulky dishes for water, just tuck this in your bag! It’s about the size of a regular water bottle and easily transforms into a portable water bowl for your pet.
  • Food
    • Freeze Dried is our strongest recommendation for travel. Most quality food brands design their recipes to be interchangeable with one another, so if your pet typically eats wet or frozen food, they should be okay to temporarily switch to freeze dried for ease of traveling.
  • Bowl
    • Like for water, it’s great to have a portable food bowl! The Gulpy Water Bottle can actually work great for food, as well, or you could try out a collapsible bowl like the awesome ones that Kurgo makes.
  • Waste Bags
  • “Pee-pee” Pads
    • Since there won’t be a ton of places for your pet to relieve themselves, we always advise people to bring along some puppy training pads for sort of a “makeshift bathroom”. We love the Gridlock Pads because they’re super absorbent and help neutralize odors.  They can also be cut down to size to make a lining for carriers!

The Bonuses

  • Treats
    • This one seems pretty obvious, but you’d be surprised how many people forget to grab them in the midst of all the other packing chaos! Treats are not only a great reward for being brave, but also a great way to distract from outside stimuli.
  • Toys
    • We know your pets have a toy that they absolutely adore, but just remember that noise-making toys are best left at home. Like we talked about in previous blogs, it’s important to be courteous to others, and most people aren’t going to want to listen to squeaking or jingling for hours on end! Chew toys and plush toys with no noisemakers inside are the best ways to go.

Have you ever flown with pets before? Are there any tips you’d like to share? Tell us about it in the comments!

Summer (especially around the 4th of July) can be very stressful, especially if the furry family member gets anxiety during these hectic months. Does your pet have anxiety or stress from thunderstorms, fireworks, separation, travel, or their crate? Or do they show symptoms of stress and anxiety by excessive barking and whining, shaking, panting, drooling, clawing, hyperactivity, digging, hiding, or clinging? If your pet has any of these symptoms, Two Bostons has the solution for you!

Thundershirt: This amazing invention takes just a few minutes to put on and a visible difference can be seen in minutes! The Thundershirt is a lightweight, machine-washable spandex and Velcro wrap that works by exerting gentle, constant pressure all around your pet’s rib cage. After putting it on it provides direct feedback to your dog or cats brain – just like when you swaddle a new born baby.

The Thundershirt works…A survey of customers reports an impressive 85% success rate among pets experiencing anxiety or stress.

Anxiety and Stress Calming Supplements ~ These supplements paired with the Thundershirt can work wonders for your pets.

Happy Traveler by Ark Naturals: This was designed by a holistic veterinarian and PhD herbal scientist to ease anxiety and motion sickness. This is a great option for a quick fix…think of it like taking an aspirin for a headache. The active ingredients in Happy Traveler include Valerian, German Chamomile, L-Tryptophan and St. John’s Wort, all well-known herbs for their calming effects. It comes in pill form or chews and is a safe, non-toxic option for your dog or cat. Results most often can be seen in 45 minutes.

Rescue Remedy by Bach: Bach is a trusted name in natural remedies and this is a variation of the original stress relieving remedy that has been available for more than 70 years. Rescue Remedy contains a blend of five flower remedies: Impatiens, Star of Bethlehem, Cherry Plum, and Rock Rose in an alcohol-free formula, ideal for sensitive pets. The dropper allows you to easily administer it to your pet. For best results, simply place four drops into your pet’s mouth. Or you can add the drops to food, water, treats or even rub it into your pet’s nose, paws or ears.

July Third by Herbsmith: An immediate calming supplement for dogs. The herbs in July Third help keep your pet calm by promoting a sense of relaxation naturally. The B vitamins and amino acids help regulate mood and support a normal emotional balance. All the active ingredients in this immediate calming supplement provide fast-acting, natural tranquilizers that will keep your dog calm for a brief period of time. For best results give your pet the recommended amount of chews a couple hours before the stress is expected to occur.

Help your pet (and you) have a stress-free Summer with a natural calming supplement and Thundershirt! Stop in today and we can answer any questions you might have, show you a Thundershirt and find the best solutions for your furry-friends!

 

 

Forget about Christmas, this is the actual best time of the year. The smell of fresh cut grass, the beautiful colors in our gardens, the warm weather, the list goes on and on for us.

For our pets, mainly dogs, this time of the year is great too! Longer walks, more time at the dog park, all the squirrels running around and OH WAIT, WHAT WAS THAT? FIREWORKS?!?!?! To us loud unexpected noises are little more than a nuisance, but to our furry family members they can be extremely scary. Many try to run and hide in a dark corner of the house, jump on their owners lap for protection or even scarier – run out of their own yard because they are so disoriented.

My Moe, at the first sign of a thunderstorm or fireworks, will get up from wherever he is and hide under the desk in our spare room if I forget to give him Happy Traveler beforehand. I give it to him about an hour before the storm hits or before I know fireworks will be starting. Since it helps keep him calm for 4-6 hours, I usually only have to give him one dose. If there is a storm all day I give him a dose every 5 hours. Happy Traveler calms my guy down without making him groggy or out-of-it. L-Tryptophan, Valerian root, chamomile and St. John’s Wort are the natural calming ingredients that are safe for cats and dogs 12 weeks and older. On stormy days Happy Traveler naturally helps my Moe stay calm and confident.

For stronger storms I give him a little extra Happy Traveler to keep him calm and make sure his favorite penguin toy is nearby for added comfort. That’s what is so awesome about his product! Since it’s all natural you can adjust the dose as needed after an hour if the recommended dose isn’t quite enough for your pet.

Happy Traveler is such a versatile product because it can help in situations that you might not have thought of. I give my Daphne Happy Traveler before nail trims to keep her calm. Nail trims still aren’t her favorite, but the process is quicker because she isn’t as scared of the situation. If you avoid car rides with your pet because they get sick, Happy Traveler can help with their motion sickness. Your pet’s anxiety of being left alone while you’re at work can also be relieved by Happy Traveler. That means your pet could be a good boy or girl and not chew on your furniture while you’re gone because they don’t know how to relieve their anxiety any other way.

If you’ve noticed situational anxiety in your pet, Happy Traveler is a great product to try out. Many team members here at Two Bostons use it for our own pets and we would be happy to share our experiences with you! We hope you and your pets have a great anxiety-free summer!

 

 

 

Last week I told you about how amazing the Thundershirt is in the blog: Stress & Anxiety Solutions: The Thundershirt.  Today, I want to tell you about a few other solutions that can be combined with the Thundershirt or individual use.  But first, you might be wondering what can cause stress or anxiety or even what the signs are, here are some of those answers:

Stress can be triggered by:dilatedPupils

  • Separation / Alone at home
  • Fireworks
  • Travel / Visits to the Vet
  • New pet in the home
  • New Home or changes in the home
  • Loud noises
  • Loss of companion
  • Changes in routine

Signs of Stress include:

  • Change in behavior
  • Soiling
  • Over grooming
  • Lack of interaction
  • Loss of appetite
  • Scratching
  • Aggression

20160624_101312Rescue Remedy by Bach: Bach is a trusted name in natural remedies and this is a variation of the original stress relieving remedy that has been available for more than 70 years.  Rescue Remedy contains a blend of five flower remedies: Impatiens, Star of Bethlehem, Cherry Plum, and Rock Rose in an alcohol free formula, ideal for sensitive pets.  The dropper allows you to easily administer it to your pet.  For best results, simply place four drops into your pets mouth.  Or you can add the drops to food, water, treats or you can even rub it into your pets nose, paws or ears.

 

Pet Calming Plug-in Diffuser by Pet Remedy: This new and natural way of tackling stress and anxiety is easy for everyone! Just plug it in and let the de-stressing begin.  It has a slow release into the surrounding areas and it will start to help immediately.  The plug-in covers a large room (about 650 sq ft.).  Each bottle lasts about 8 weeks, and refills are also available.PetRemedy

Pet Calming Spray by Pet Remedy:  This is a easy to use trigger spray, that will help immediately.  All you need to do is spray it directly on the pets bedding, bandanna, carpet, soft furnishings, in the car.  If you have a dog that gets anxious when you are out walking, just simply spray on your pant leg and bring the dog to heel when you anticipate a problem.  Use sparingly and do not spray near pets mouth, nose or eyes.  This can also be used in conjunction with the plug-in diffuser.

How Pet Remedy Products work: With several years of research and trials have resulted in a unique formula using low concentration of Valerian essential oil, blended with Veitver, Sweet Basil and Sage. Pet Remedy works alongside the brain’s natural messengers called neuro-transmitters, which work by telling the nerve receiving the message either to calm or get “fired up.”  In times of stress or anxiety the nerves get over stimulated, which leads on to the many different signs of stress we see in our pets.  The special Pet Remedy blend of essential oils works alongside these natural relaxation pathways to help calm the nerves of anxious or stressed pets.

Stop in today and our expert team will help you find the right solution for your pet and lifestyle!

 

As my dog Karlee has gotten older (and had a little human brother join the family) she has become a lot more fearful of Thunderstorms, Fireworks, us having a lot of people over and even having other dog visitors or riding in the car.  I knew that I needed something to help with her stress and anxiety…and it was perfect timing, since I had just started working at Two Bostons.  Within the first couple of months of working here, I heard about how amazing the Thundershirt, so I had to get one and try it! 20160622_120750

From the moment we put it on her we knew that was the solution we needed.  It really was amazing to see how calm she was when we would put it on. I actually just went and got it and put it on her now, as I see that the storms are moving into the area.

If you have ever witnessed a full-on pet panic attack, you know that trying to soothe your kitty or canine verbally can be futile.  Sedating drugs can be problematic too, because they can lull your pet into a state of half-awareness.  But the Thundershirt works like a snugly, full-body hug. To humans of all ages, of course, a hug can be very reassuring. Just as with infants, experts recommend swaddling as a proven calming aid. The Thundershirt demonstrates that this very same principle actually applies to our pets as well.

Studies show that the Thundershirt has an impressive 80% success rate among pets experiencing anxiety and stress.  The first time and every time we put it on Karlee, she lays down and is so relaxed, even during a thunderstorm.

ThunderShirt_SwaddlingThe Thundershirt is a lightweight, machine-washable spandex and Velcro wrap that works by exerting gentle, constant pressure all around your pet’s rib cage.  It takes just seconds to put on, but it provides direct feedback to your pet’s brain — like a little whisper that says “shh stop panting.” Once this rapid-breathing impulse is calmed, respiration begins to ease back to normal and the body relaxes as well.  With most pets, a visible difference can be seen in minutes.

It’s great for cats as well — an extremely effective, affordable, drug-free solution for any situation that provokes pet stress.  To see the Thundershirt in action and help your furry friend get fitted properly, just visit any of our stores!

Look for more Blogs in the next couple of weeks for more Stress and Anxiety Solutions!

This week we are celebrating National Hugging Day…we all love giving and getting hugs!  Amber Walker, Lead Trainer & Owner at Animal Intuitions, LLC is here to give us some insight about pets and hugging safety.  Even if you don’t read this entire blog…WATCH THE FIRST VIDEO BELOW, it really tells a great story.

It’s winter, it’s snowing, it’s cold and the only thing I want to do at night is snuggle my warm, furry coated dog.  And I’m not the only one.  Both my toddler and my husband want to also.  But I have a problem…my yellow Labrador, Hadley, hates to be hugged and she hates to get kisses.  In her perfect world, she would be two feet away from any human.

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“Getting a toddler and a dog to pose for a picture can be nearly impossible, but when you can get a nervous dog and a busy toddler to settle for just a moment, you get a tightly closed mouth, nervous tail wag, and two feet of space in between them! At least they’re both looking in my general direction.”

Now, my 12 year old pup is an extremist when it comes to being anti-hugs and kisses but she’s a shelter dog with a peppered past…and she is not alone!  In fact: MOST dogs and cats, don’t like hugs and kisses.  77% of bites happen in the family home or by a familiar pet and many are a result of too many hugs and kisses.  They can also be a result of a pet tolerating the family’s hugs and kisses and then biting when Cousin Louie visits because he joined in on the undesired hug fest.  This has become such a problem among companion dogs that great resources have been dedicated to helping families understand this misconception.

 

StopThe77www.StopThe77.com has created an awesome video (right on the top on the home page) to show how most dogs really feel about hugs and kisses from the dog’s perspective.

 

 

 

 

 

I have done several TV features for this topic.  One video can be seen here:

 

Dog Gone Safe has a national campaign that teaches children about how to read a dog’s behaviors, signals, and cues, especially when it is in regard to hugging.  You can read one of their many blogs here: http://doggonesafe.blogspot.com/2010/12/dogs-dont-like-hugs-and-kisses.html

 

Yes, yes, yes, you may know of or have a dog or cat that solicits attention, can’t get enough belly rubs, enjoys and loves being hugged by you, even seeks you out for hugs and licks.  It’s not impossible, it’s not unheard of…but for me, as a trainer, the comparison is similar to a frustrated puppy owner telling me they’ve had perfect dogs their entire life and have never had to train a dog ever (I have 2 of those clients right now!) I know those dogs exist too!  But they are not the norm…Most dogs (and cats too) need training just as most dogs and cats do not like hugs.

Remember, you don’t want to hug everyone you meet…Being respectful to our pets regarding hugging is as important as being respectful to our family about something they don’t like!  Read your pet’s body language during a hug before assuming they love it and you may change your mind about how your pet feels.  No one wants their pet to secretly dislike them so it will make everyone much happier!

Amber WalkerLook for Amber’s next guest blog, she will talk more about how to read signs and signals our dogs give us when they are uncomfortable.

 

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At Halloween, many pets experience an increase in stress, and no wonder. Visitors ring the doorbell at unexpected times throughout the evening. Parties and get-togethers bring strangers in and out of the house at random intervals. Scary movies on AMC Fearfest include booming, startling sound effects. But if you think about it, these types of factors are in play all year long. Thunder, fireworks, neighborhood barbeques, motorcycles, marching bands, birthday parties – to a pet with an extra-keen sense of hearing (like our dog Grant), any one of these elements can provoke a disabling anxiety attack. Fortunately, there are solutions available that don’t require harsh sedatives.

ThunderShirt
Remember when you were a little kid, and you got really upset over something, and Mom or Dad would give you a great big hug? To humans of all ages, hugs can be very calming and reassuring — in fact, experts highly recommend swaddling as an effective calming aid for infants and even certain young children. But did you know that this very same principle can actually apply to your dog or cat?

Pet parents who have witnessed an anxiety attack know exactly what happens – your pet pants, and drools, and shakes uncontrollably, sometimes trying to crawl into or underneath or behind things in a panicked attempt to flee the scene. If you’ve ever tried to calm an animal in the midst of a full-on anxiety attack, you know how futile it can be. Often they won’t even respond to your familiar voice. In these kinds of cases, the ThunderShirt works like a big, snug hug.

ThunderShirt Swaddling Approach

Ever wonder why doctors recommend swaddling to calm a fussy baby? The same principle applies to the ThunderShirt (which maybe they should consider re-naming “WonderShirt”)!

Not exactly, of course, but the idea is pretty close. In our house we call Grant’s ThunderShirt his “Huggie Shirt” (as in “Hey Grant, let’s get your Huggie Shirt on!”) and he’ll run right over to it. The ThunderShirt uses the same principle as swaddling an infant or hugging a crying child. Its effects can be dramatic – the first time we put it on Grant, he flopped down on the carpet and dozed off in the middle of a bad storm (while the rest of us did a quiet little happy-dance). In fact, studies show that the ThunderShirt has an 80% success rate among pets experiencing a range of stressful situations.

So what is it? It’s a lightweight, machine-washable spandex and Velcro wrap that’s extremely quick and easy to put on. It works by exerting a gentle but constant pressure all around your dog’s rib cage. Many anxiety experts believe that this pressure helps release stress-relieving hormones like endorphins, but it also provides direct feedback to your pet’s brain. With Grant, we’ve found that hyperventilating turns into its own a vicious cycle – once he starts panting rapidly, he can’t stop, and that makes him even more agitated. The ThunderShirt helps calm this rapid-breathing feedback loop; and as breathing eases back to normal, your pet gradually calms down as well. It’s one of the smartest pet investments we ever made.

ThunderShirt Fitting

Once you purchase a properly-fitted ThunderShirt, it’s extremely easy to put on. Our dog Grant runs right over to his like it’s some kind of prize. Which, in a way, it is.

 

Happy Traveler
That brings us to Maizy, our sweet puppy mill dog. Maizy is generally fine with loud or sudden noises – it’s people and situations that provoke her anxiety. Being around strangers, going to the groomer or kennel, taking an unfamiliar car trip – all of these things can get Maizy pretty freaked out. So for her, we use Happy Traveler products from Ark Naturals. These are all-natural, non-habit forming, calming botanical remedies designed by a holistic veterinarian, and formulated specifically for dogs and cats. They’re similar to Bach Rescue Remedy (which we’ve also used with great success). But the thing we especially like about Happy Traveler is that it comes in both capsule form and a super-handy chewable form as well. Maizy LOVES the taste of these little chews, and sees them as her “treats.” So right off the bat, they make any situation seem less stressful – after all, she’s getting something yummy! But this treat also happens to calm her throughout the experience – it doesn’t knock her out like a sedative, it just gently mellows her general mood.

When dealing with an anxious pet at Halloween or any time of year, I should add one thing that we’ve been told by Narnia, the amazing pet behavior school in Plainfield, IL. When pets begin to seem anxious, Narnia reminds us pet parents that it’s important to act as calm, matter-of-fact, and unruffled as we can. Often we want to run to our furry friends, scoop them up to cuddle them, tell them how sweet and good they are. According to Narnia, though, making a “big deal” with our pets when they begin to show signs of stress often reinforces the very behaviors we’re trying to calm and re-shape. This advice has helped us tremendously!

To see the ThunderShirt in action, help your dog get fitted properly, or learn more about wonderful Ark Naturals products, just visit any of our Two Bostons stores!