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News and Information about Dogs, Cats, and Pet Products

I started Sherman on a fresh food diet when I was introduced to it at Two Bostons over a year ago. When we adopted Sherman almost 2 years ago, as a 6-week-old puppy, we lived in rural Kentucky, and unfortunately only had those big brand dog foods; I didn’t even know fresh food for dogs existed until moving back home to Chicago!

After bringing home a bunch of different options, I chose the 6 lb. bags of 12 patties because Sherman’s weight was just right and he’d be getting one patty a day (I have tried ALL the raw brands that Two Bostons carries, ALL BRANDS are A+ choices, and I chose based on convenience for my family’s lifestyle).

I think fresh is almost as easy to feed as Kibble. I originally would bring home a new bag of food and immediately put each patty individually into a Ziploc baggie to save space in a small freezer; but we’ve since purchased a deep freeze (for the single purpose of storing the dog’s food) and reusable Pyrex containers to essentially do the same thing. At night after feeding the second half of the patty, I take a new patty out and pop it in the fridge to defrost overnight. Wa-la! It’s ready by the morning. I’m pretty sure I have spent more time writing this paragraph than I spend per day on handling his food. When we cut the patty in half, we aren’t very scientific about it either. You and I don’t eat the exact same amount of cereal each morning, so if the fresh patty is not EXACTLY cut in half, I don’t sweat it too much.  

Things I’ve noticed since switching Sherman to a fresh food diet:

  • His coat. It is SO soft! Think of your favorite blanket to curl up on the couch with. Now think of an electric blanket. Now think of your dog. Every evening that’s what it’s like to curl up and watch TV with Sherman – he’s the full package!
  • Less poop. No, this is a good thing! Dog’s digestive tracts are only about a third of the length as human’s; meaning that they have less time to digest food. Since fresh food is biologically appropriate for a dog’s diet, they’re able to digest it and soak up all the nutrients much easier than other foods. You WANT to see less poop, it means they’re able to process and absorb all of their diet. Also, feeding a fresh food diet, their poops will be firm, allowing them to naturally express their anal glands. Sherman turns 2 in a month and he’s never had an anal gland problem!
  • Oral health. I’ve never brushed Sherman’s teeth. Ok, actually I “have” but it’s when he was a new puppy. I wanted him to get used to having the brush in his mouth, hoping that it would cause less problems in the future when we would have to brush them. Since feeding fresh and combining with frozen bones, I haven’t even had to think about it. There’s good bacteria that helps break down plaque and smelly breath in his food, and it’s left him with pearly white teeth. It’s like every time I feed him, he brushes his teeth!

Stop in any Two Bostons store, talk to a team member to find the right fresh food for your family’s lifestyle; take it from me, they have you covered!! You’ll immediately see a difference in your pup’s life.

 

 

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.

 

Importance_ofDiet

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.

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.

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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!

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In our last blog, we kicked off National Pet Dental Health Month and talked a bit about safeguarding the dental health of our furry friends. Many people think that a professional vet cleaning is the only strategy we pet parents have at our disposal – but there’s actually so much we can do! Today, we consider some diet and feeding strategies that yes, truly can make a huge difference!

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 an up-close-and-personal kind of way. But the reason it’s true is mainly because of 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 domesticated pets. You may have noticed that most commercial raw foods 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 an effect similar to 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.

 

Importance of Diet

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.

 

Now there are certain people (perhaps certain people you know, or maybe even certain people reading this blog) who say, “Oh come on, hard kibble provides the exact same benefits because it’s so crunchy.” Okay, let’s stop and think about that statement for a second. When was the last time you enjoyed a really crunchy snack like movie popcorn, or pretzels, or Grape Nuts, or a granola bar? Can you remember how it 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 back to their starchy, pasty form inside your pet’s mouth. This paste works its way between teeth and adheres to the gum line. Unless it’s dislodged somehow, that’s where it stays.

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’ve 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 and more. These foods have the added benefit of nutrition labels that are free of animal by-products, artificial additives and preservatives. Also, today’s commercial raw foods are prepared to extremely stringent safety standards, with safety records that rival (and very often beat) leading supermarket brands. Anyone on the Two Bostons team would be happy to help you customize a diet plan for your specific pet.

 

Raw Foods

Most raw foods available for purchase have been formulated and pre-shaped to a certain degree, to facilitate easy feeding and convenient storage. But they’re also subjected to stringent safety standards, and contain whole-food ingredients that act like a mildly abrasive cleanser on your pet’s teeth.

 

In addition to these raw foods, holistic vets will sometimes recommend raw (uncooked) bones to help clean teeth. This isn’t necessarily a horrible option, but remember that raw bones can splinter very, very easily. If your pet (like our Maizy) is an eager, avid chewer, it can take mere seconds for him/her to swallow these jagged shards — which can then damage the esophagus, tear the stomach lining, get lodged within the intestine, even cause internal bleeding. Many pet parents prefer not to risk these serious consequences. Two Bostons carries a number of much safer chewing alternatives — including Bully Sticks, Antler Chewz, Terrabones, Himalayan Dog Chews, Halo Spot’s Chews, and StarMark’s Everlasting Treat Ball — that can help your pet dislodge starchy mouth residue and clear away plaque naturally, while providing constructive stress-relief. Ask one of our Team Members for additional suggestions.

In our next blog, we’ll talk a bit about manual removal techniques such as teeth brushing (which, believe it or not, can actually be a really fun experience for your pet!). Then, in a later blog, we’ll mention certain food additive products that can help keep plaque and tartar at bay. Have dental health tips of your own? Share them with us below!