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News and Information about Dogs, Cats, and Pet Products

 

Welcome to Kefir: 101, the crash course about one of our favorite bowl boosters! See that cauliflower-ish stuff up there? That’s what is commonly known as the kefir “grain”, but actually, it’s not a grain at all. It’s a culture made of billions of helpful bacteria and yeast which work in combination to give your pets some amazing health benefits.

The kefir grain is typically not consumed on its own, but rather made by infusing it with a dairy product. For humans, this dairy base can range anywhere from traditional cow’s milk all the way to almond milk, however, we usually recommend that pets drink it as cow or goat’s milk. It’s a natural process with very few steps, meaning you won’t be left with additive-filled chemical goop. Essentially, the grain is left in the milk for a period of time to let it ferment. Once the required time is up, the milk gets strained and bottled while the kefir grain is recycled to make another batch.

But what happens when it goes from the bottle to your pet’s bowl, or more importantly, their stomach? The bacteria (remember, it’s healthy bacteria!) works to do things like regulate your pet’s digestive system, relieve allergy symptoms, and support their immune system. It’s also known to have antibiotic and anti-fungal properties, as well as extra skin, coat, and teeth support!

When you start your pet out, we suggest doing it gradually, just as you would with any new food. It’s easiest to use as a meal topper, but you could feed it on its own as well! Just mix a teaspoon – tablespoon’s worth (depending on your pet’s size) with their food a few times a week, and voilà! You’ve got yourself a yummy, natural supplement that also adds variety to your pet’s diet.

Whether you’re a first time user or an old pro, we always recommend Open Farm kefir as our go-to brand! The milk itself is 100% Certified Humane®, and only comes from cows that are pasture-raised, hormone-free, and antibiotic free. You’ll also find organic cinnamon and turmeric for some extra antibiotic and anti-inflammatory benefits!

You can take a closer look on our website here, however, we only sell it in-store to ensure proper refrigeration.

Have you caught the bowl boosting bug? Check back with us every Tuesday for easy and effective ways to add extra nutrients to your pet’s diet!

 

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!

Whether you’re a newcomer or have been with us for years, you’ve probably caught on that we’re pretty picky about what we sell at Two Bostons. If you ask any of our Team Members what we look for in a product, you’ll always get the same answer: we don’t sell anything we wouldn’t feel 100% comfortable giving our own pets. But that’s just the shorthand answer. We love brands that are more than just brands. If you dig a little deeper, you’ll find that just about everyone we work with shares our same core values of improving the lives of pets and their people, and Green Juju Kitchen is certainly no exception.

So what is Green Juju? Well, aside from being fun to say, it’s sort of like a health smoothie for dogs that’s great for their immune systems, joint health, coat, and overall bodily health. Simply take a spoonful and mix it with their usual meal (it’s a topper, not a replacement for what they usually eat!). There are two different blends to choose from:

The “Just Greens Blend“, which contains 100% organic celery, zucchini, kale, dandelion greens, parsley, bison bone broth, coconut oil, lemon, turmeric, and ginger.

The “Baily Blend“, which contains 100% organic cucumber, green cabbage, broccoli, turkey bone broth, cilantro, chard, coconut oil, blueberries, turmeric, and lemon. 

Everything is sourced from local farmers, and every cup is prepared by hand for a little touch of love and care. When you open it up, you’ll even see that you recognize pretty much everything in there, so it won’t feel like you’re giving your dog some sort of mystery mush.

The next question is: will dogs really eat this stuff? Yes! We definitely understand why you might feel skeptical, and the truth is, even we were a little at first, too. After all, when you think dogs you think steak, not organic cucumbers, broccoli, and green cabbage. At the same time, you don’t exactly think kids + broccoli, cucumbers, and green cabbage, either, but we still manage to get them to eat it! All jokes aside, a lot of our Two Bostons regulars have come in and told us what their dogs thought, and the majority were pleasantly surprised. 

Green Juju is so successful because it wasn’t developed by humans who one day decided to give their dogs some veggies and see what happened. It was developed by pet parents with extensive professional experience in canine nutrition for owner Kelley Marian’s dog Bailey, who had just been diagnosed with cancer. Since Bailey was already weakened from her illness, Marian knew she most likely wouldn’t survive the surgeries and treatments needed to get healthy, so she decided to take a holistic approach instead. The fruits and vegetables provided the extra vitamins she needed that couldn’t be obtained from meat alone, and soon, Bailey’s immune system was strong enough so she could get the surgery to be cancer-free. After having such great success with her own dog, Marian knew she couldn’t keep it to herself, and thus Green Juju was born.

That’s what puts the “Juju” in Green Juju. Its a product and brand whose roots go deeper than soil–it sprouted from love and has been made with heart ever since.

Image courtesy of greenjujukitchen.com

 

cat-and-dog-snuggling

 

My husband and I work with abused rescue dogs — and we’ve noticed that the addition of another pet in the family can really help each animal’s true personality “bloom.” In fact, most studies show that adding a new pet can be rewarding for animals AND humans – and through tons of trial-and-error, we’ve found that there are easy steps anyone can take to help ensure a smooth family expansion. We’re big advocates of the “Pet Parent 3-P’s” – be prepared, persistent, and patient. Here are a few insights we’ve learned along the way:

Introductions
It’s a good idea to have your new pet and existing pet(s) meet outside the home first, on neutral territory. Then, try to bring your new addition home when you can be around for the first few days. Remember that pets can feel jealous too, so it helps to plan quality TLC time with all the kids AND “furkids” in your family!

Supplies
Try to get the main supplies you need before coming home with your new friend. We’ve done this on the way home from the shelter, or a couple days before. Don’t forget a durable leash and collar (or harness, which puts less pressure on the windpipe), a high-quality food plus food/water dishes, and a sturdy ID tag. We also like to get a few new toys and a comfy bed. In certain cases, a security crate helps too.

Health
Make sure your existing dogs or cats are up-to-date on shots and in good basic health before bringing a new pet home. The first week after adoption, take your new guy or gal to the vet for a wellness check, and ask if he or she has been microchipped.

Expectations
Trust us … there are a few questions that are really helpful to work out in advance. For example: Who walks the dog at 6 a.m.? Who changes the litter box, and how often? Who’s in charge of feeding — how much, where, and when? Is the couch (the Tempur-Pedic mattress, Aunt Ethel’s heirloom rug, etc.) fair game, or off-limits?

Discipline
Just like humans, pets prefer some order. Let them know from the start who’s in charge. When you have to discipline, stay calm and use a stern, disapproving voice. But mostly, reward your pet when he or she does well! Many pets – especially those who have been without a loving home – respond amazingly well to enthusiastic praise. Once in awhile, sneak in a healthy treat too!

Housetraining
Just assume any brand new pup is NOT housetrained – so setting up a predictable routine (same time, same place, even a “cue word”) is absolutely key. Some pet parents really like the convenience of Poochie Bells, which hang from a doorknob so your pet can alert you when he or she needs to “go.” Ask anyone on the Two Bostons team to show you how they work!

What other special steps, tips and tricks have worked for you? We’d love for you to share YOUR comments below!
And don’t forget, the Two Bostons team can provide expert guidance when it comes to picking out the right homecoming items for your new pet.

Our pets depend on us to make the right food choices for them!

Our pets depend on us to make the right food choices for them!

As pet parents, we have SO many options when it comes to feeding our furry friends! Package labels can be vague, confusing – and in some cases, downright misleading. But in the case of Nature’s Variety, the product name means exactly what it says! This natural pet food company is heartland-based in Lincoln, Nebraska. It’s staffed with proud pet parents (just like us, just like YOU!) who are passionate about providing a wide range of balanced and whole-food-based dog and cat nutrition options – which, by the way, our pets find totally delectable.

Nature’s Variety Instinct raw foods are made with pure, simple, raw meats and vegetables – the kind many of us would chop up and mix ourselves, if we could spare the extra time — either frozen, or in convenient freeze-dried form. They provide all the nutrients and benefits of a natural whole-food diet, in convenient shapes and formulations that are quick and easy to serve. You can choose from frozen miniature medallions or patties that make meal preparation a snap; or bite-size frozen nuggets that thaw within minutes and offer the speed and convenience of kibble. The freeze-dried Meal and Mixer formulas can be stored at room temperature, so they’re super-easy to take on trips or use on-the-go. All varieties are totally grain-free and gluten free, and are offered in specific formulas for both dogs and cats.

Since we’re pet parents too, we totally get it: Life can get crazy, and some people like the convenience of picking up their pet food where they buy their own groceries. The thing is, dogs and cats are natural carnivores — their instinctive nature is to eat a much higher proportion of meat, poultry, or fish protein in relation to grain. Grocery store cans and kibbles contain a lot of filler to keep them price-competitive – but that also means a whole lot of grain. Nature’s Variety Instinct raw foods are minimally-processed and uncooked, so every bite is extra-appetizing and packed with whole-food energy.

This week, we did a quick, unrehearsed comparison between a box of Milk Bones, a box of Beneful Baked Delights, and a package of Instinct Raw Bites. Here’s how the first five ingredients stacked up:

MILK BONES:
Wheat flour, wheat bran, wheat meal, bone meal, poultry by-products (we couldn’t pronounce most of the stuff that came after these)
Okay, some food for thought: Wheat is a grain, and a common allergen in dogs and cats. Wheat gluten, difficult for many humans to digest, is extremely challenging for your pooch’s system to process – causing everything from gastro-intestinal irritation to blockages. Plus, do you know what animal by-products are? They’re what’s left after the parts that are approved for human consumption are removed. They often include diseased tissue, parts that have been left unrefrigerated, and other elements declared unfit for human intake. And you’ll find them used extensively in most store-bought pet foods – just look on the label.

BENEFUL BAKED DELIGHTS:
Wheat flour, ground corn, glycerin, sugar, corn gluten
A couple more notes: Wheat and corn are two of the top allergens for dogs and cats. They can cause itchy skin, dry coat, eye discharge, ear and digestion problems, plus a range of other issues. Glycerin adds no nutritional value. Sugar is added because it’s tasty to your dog, but it can be as damaging to your pets as it is to your kids. The ingredients that come after these first five include chicken by-products and artificial food dyes.

INSTINCT RAW BITES:
Chicken, turkey, turkey liver, turkey heart, pumpkin seed
Notes: These are natural whole foods and high-protein organ meats. No irritating grains, no by-products. Pumpkin is great for an animal’s coat and digestive tract. We should also mention that the rest of the ingredient list is comprised of apples, carrots, butternut squash, flax-seed, broccoli, lettuce, spinach, dried kelp, vinegar, parsley, salmon oil, citric acid, rosemary, blueberries and other fruits and vegetables. That’s it, plain and simple – and it can make a world of difference to the well-being of your pet.

Want to give Nature’s Variety Instinct raw foods a try? Or perhaps you already know that your best furry friend adores them? Either way, stop by today – we can help you pick the flavor and ingredient mix that’s just right for your pet! (Psssst … and don’t forget: Through the end of September, you can SAVE $4 on a 4-pound bag of Instinct Raw Bites at any Two Bostons store.)