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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 myvitalitychiropractic.com or email Dr. O’Connor at drerinoconnor@myvitalitychiropractic.com.

 

We have two NEW products at Two Bostons that I am very excited about, raw turkey necks and chicken backs from Primal!

Raw meaty bones are a natural toothbrush for dogs and cats; when they tear, crunch and rip the meat off of bones it cleans their teeth and massages their gums. The chewing and tearing action also provides mental stimulation, jaw exercise and increased muscle tone. The connective tissue in raw meaty bones promotes joint health.  Which is why my four Bernese Mountain Dogs enjoy raw meaty bones throughout the week.

Turkey necks are thick, bendable and crunchy, they are the perfect size for a medium to large dog. Primal’s turkey necks are raised in the United States without antibiotics or added hormones. They are a great natural source of selenium and zinc. Selenium improves joint health, boosts the immune system and keeps the skin and coat healthy. Zinc is essential for skin and coat health.

Chicken backs are small with soft small bones, they are a great size for small to medium dogs and cats. I give these to my large dogs, but I am fortunate not to have any gulpers. They are not recommended for a dog that would be likely to swallow it whole. Primal’s chicken backs are raised in the United States without antibiotics or added hormones. They are a great source of glucosamine and chondroitin making them great for joint health.

Primal’s raw meaty bones are of benefit to dogs and cats no matter what diet you are currently feeding. They provide teeth cleaning benefits when they eat raw or freeze dried patties or nuggets. When added to a kibble or canned diet, important naturally occurring vitamins, minerals, enzymes and amino acids are provided.

As with any chew, always supervise your pet while they are chewing!

Stop into any Two Bostons store and one of our Team Members can help you pick out the perfect raw bone for your dog to try today. Purchase Primal between 9/17 – 9/23/17 and receive an extra 50 entries into the drawing for the Shopping Spree! For more information about the Shopping Spree visit twobostons.com/spree.

 

 

melanie-waszkowskiWhether we want to admit it or not, the winter and cold is here.  We often play up raw bones as a great summertime or warm weather treat for your pup, but the truth is they should be incorporated into your dog’s diet year-round. Raw bones are not only a good time occupier, they also have SO many great benefits for your pup’s health.  They help with dental health, mental stimulation, tummy health, and their MUCH safer than rawhide’s.

If you’ve never given your dog a raw bone, I think now is the perfect time to start! But…it’s not just as simple as “here Fido, chew on this bone for 2 hours while I do some work around the house”, there’s a lot to consider before handing a raw bone over:

  1. You’ll need to make sure it’s a safe bone; the Tucker’s and Primal bones in any Two Bostons’ freezers are about as safe as you can get. In production, Tucker’s and Primal take extra precautions to make sure the raw bones don’t form bacteria by making sure they are never thawed and handled frozen. Unfortunately, a raw bone from a grocery store that they may mark as safe for dogs, is often handled when thawed.
  2. You also want to make sure the bone is an appropriate size. The raw bone you need, should NOT be able to be swallowed whole. I pick a bone that is long than Sherman’s muzzle, just so I know he cannot swallow it.rawbones
  3. You will need to find an area for your dog to chew. I love sunny afternoons and sitting out on the porch with Sherman for hours, but with the cold weather I don’t see that happening any time soon.  The Bone Mat Dog Bone holder is a great inside alternative, as well as feeding while in a kennel. This IS a raw meat product, and humans should consider steps to keep themselves safe from exposure to harmful bacteria.img_7447
  4. Introduce the bone gradually to your dog. While your pup may want to chew longer, you should limit their chewing for a while. The first and second time let them chew for 5-10 minutes, then time three and four do 15 minutes, the following 20 minutes, etc. This allows your pup’s gut to get used to the raw bone. If you let them chew on it for an hour the first time, you’re more than likely going to run into problems with diarrhea or throwing up. Therefore, I think winter is a great time to be getting your dog into raw bones! By the time the nice weather rolls around they’ll have worked their way up to an hour or so for their chew time! It’s no fun taking away a bone from a very happy puppy when they’ve only been chewing for 10 minutes and it’s 78° and sunny!

If you have other questions about feeding Raw Bones, or need help picking one out, stop into any Two Bostons store and one of the Team Members can help you out!

 

Earlier this week I told you about you about “The Ugly Side of Rawhides,” today I want to give you another option over rawhides.

Shopping at Two Bostons you have see the freezers filled with raw, meaty bones. And, maybe you have bounced around the idea of taking one home.  Or, maybe you buy one every once in awhile as a treat for your pup.dori-in-the-bone-freezer

Let me tell give you ten reasons why you should be giving your dog a raw, meaty bone every week.

  1. History: Dogs are naturally carnivores and scavengers.  They fed themselves on carcasses for centuries.
  2. Good for them: Raw bones are an excellent source of glucosamine, chondroitin, calcium and collagen.
  3. Clean Teeth: Chewing, ripping and tearing at the raw meaty bones will keep teeth clean, naturally.
  4. Healthy: Raw meaty bones create a very inhospitable environment for bacteria, they are easily digestible and have no carbohydrates, starches, or sugars to feed the bacteria.
  5. Digestible: Raw bones rarely splinter and are fully digestible.
  6. Get More: Raw meaty bones are an excellent source of additional protein for dogs.
  7. No Bad Breath: A healthy digestive system and clean teeth means NO BAD BREATH!
  8. On the Outside: Your dogs coat will have a healthier shine, due to the availability to the essential fatty acids in raw meaty bones.
  9. Build Muscle: Chewing a raw meaty bone works muscles in the neck, back, and the body that eating a kibble diet will never reach.
  10. Good Poop: Dog stools are smaller in volume and much less offensive when given a raw bone.

Here are a few tips on how to give raw bones to your dog:

  • Chew-togetherIf you have never given a raw bone, introduce it for 10-15 minutes per day for the first two days (just put it back in the freezer in between sessions) to limit the possibility of diarrhea.
  • Even if your dog is very friendly and not aggressive, keep small children and other dogs away when giving a raw bone.  Why? Because your dog WILL love the bone and WON’T want to share. At. All.
  • Raw bones are great outside; however, your dog can be trained to chew them on a towel or small area in your home, to alleviate the mess and allow for bone feeding year round.
  • Your dog may bury the bone.  Don’t dig it up. Again, see the second bullet point.
  • Stick to bones about the size of your dog’s head.

Stop by any store and talk to a team member today and they will help you pick out the right bone for your dog and answer any questions you may have.

 

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Dog for Dog is an all-natural pet food and treat company with a driving mission to help dogs in need. For every single Dog for Dog product purchased, the company donates a second product to one of these deserving canines. It’s called the “Buy One/Give One” program. The company’s goal is to deliver pure, natural nutrition to dogs at every life stage, in every situation, everywhere.

All-natural DOGSBUTTER is one of Dog for Dog’s most popular products – and why doesn’t that surprise me? After all, nearly all pups adore peanut butter … and USA-made, USA-sourced DOGSBUTTER takes peanut butter to a brand new plateau. It’s basically peanut butter, pumped up (see our previous blog post from Heather and her adorable Corgi girls here)! There are actually three varieties of DOGSBUTTER. Each one is completely free of sugar, salt, soy, artificial ingredients, and hydrogenated oils. Each one is also chock-full of protein and inflammation-calming Vitamin E:

1) DOGSBUTTER with Flaxseed contains nothing but all-natural peanuts, golden flaxseed for a healthy Omega-3 boost, and palm fruit oil. Palm fruit oil comes from the fleshy part of the fruit rather than the kernel, and is rich in monounsaturated or “good” fats. It contains only half the saturated fat of the more popularly used palm kernel oil.

2) DOGSBUTTER Skin & Coat also adds coconut to support supple skin and nice, thick fur growth.

3) DOGSBUTTER Immunity & Digestion adds not only coconut but also ginger, to help keep pup tummies calm and happy.

Now here’s possibly the best part of all: With every single jar of DOGSBUTTER purchased, Dog for Dog donates an all-natural, nutritious meal to a precious pooch in need. What a fantastic way to help nourish and sustain a sweet homeless dog who desperately deserves some pure, healthy TLC.

Here are just a few yummy ways we’ve used DOGSBUTTER in our house. Tell us about some of your own!

  • *Make peanut butter popsicles to cool your pup down. We just mix water or rice milk with small spoonfuls of Dogsbutter in the compartments of an ice cube tray or in tiny paper cups, then freeze. Sometimes we even add a Bully Stick or one of the Sam’s Yam Bichon Fries as a tasty edible “handle.” These pops keep in the freezer indefinitely, and Grant and Maizy go crazy for them after a long hike or a morning run.
  • *Hide a pill in some refrigerated Dogsbutter, which molds around the pill’s shape to hide it completely. Our pups are so busy inhaling that they don’t even realize there was any medication involved.
  • *Use it to stuff empty raw bones or Kong toys. A little goes a very long way, because Grant and Maizy spend hours trying to get at every last bit.
  • *Help with toothbrush training by initially massaging a new pup’s gums with a tiny bit of Dogsbutter on your index finger. They’ll focus on the yummy taste, and — once they get used to having you touch their teeth — you can move on to a finger brush with a little dab of toothpaste.
  • *Drizzle it over kibble for picky eaters. BOOM. Food all gone.

Don’t forget that all of our Two Bostons stores collect almost-empty peanut butter and DOGSBUTTER jars, which we then donate to area shelters and rescues so their adoptable pups can have a tasty, protein-packed snack as well! So next time you stop by, drop off your almost-empties and pick up a new jar or two of yummy DOGSBUTTER. That way, multiple dogs will have YOU to thank!

 

 

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If you’ve ever watched your dog chomp through a bully stick in a matter of minutes, you may love one of our favorite products just as much as I do. Raw bones :

  •           are a great way to keep your dog busy for several hours
  •           help improve dental health, while strengthening jaw, back, and shoulder muscles
  •           deliver calcium, which is critical to a dog’s diet
  •           last and last – plus once they’re cleaned out, you can stuff them like a Kong toy with hidden treats like Dogsbutter, yogurt, or applesauce inside

At Two Bostons, we carry both oven-roasted center bones and raw frozen bones. Both are great options for dedicated chewers, or just plain meat lovers! Wisconsin-based Tucker’s makes an excellent line of frozen bones; and they also make a huge effort to keep things clean and sterile so your dog gets nothing but the safest and best. The facilities are cleaned several times per day; and tested in accordance with USDA protocol just as often. Knowing you’re choosing a safe, reliable brand is so important when it comes to raw food. That’s why we carry only top-quality brands like Tucker’s and Jones.

Tuckers specializes in the frozen variety of center bones. These are frozen, raw bones that tend to have some raw meat (and everything that comes along with it) still surrounding them; plus a raw marrow center. Obviously, this can make things a bit messy. So we love recommending frozen raw bones for warm “dog days!” You can still give your dog a center bone indoors; we’d just recommend keeping it on some towels or an old sheet.

From a weight-management standpoint, also remember that marrow is quite fatty. So if your pup enjoys the frozen bone in a single sitting, you may want to go easy on other treats that day. I personally like to take each bone away after awhile and put it back into the freezer. This helps my pup stay trim, and helps the bone last through more than one use. If you consider this option at home, just make sure the bone is wrapped and monitored carefully to guard against mold and freezer burn.

Center Bones Pictures

A picture is worth a thousand words: see Dixie’s review of raw frozen and oven-roasted center bones, above left.

While frozen raw bones are great for the hot months, Rockford, IL-based Jones makes an oven-roasted bone that’s dipped in liquid smoke and perfect for year-round enjoyment. These bones are splinter-resistant, incredibly tasty, and they’ll stay fresh if left out. Jones also takes special precautions to make sure their products are bacteria-free and safe for dog consumption. For indoor enjoyment, I’d still recommend a towel or sheet underneath just to keep things tidy.

When it comes to selecting raw bone size, there are a few things to consider. Keep in mind that a raw bone is not meant to be swallowed entirely – your dog should simply chew away the meat and marrow. Because of this, you want a bone that’s too big for your dog to swallow. You should also make sure the hole in the center isn’t too small, so that your dog’s jaw won’t get stuck. As a general rule of thumb, consider a bone that’s roughly the size of your dog’s head. Regardless, it’s always best to follow common-sense precautions and watch your pup closely with any bone or chew.

When it comes to healthy, tasty chew options that keep your dog busy and content, I highly recommend reusable, safe, and beneficial baked or frozen center bones! Stop by any of our locations, and have your pup take a “taste” drive today.

We have recently told you about the benefits of giving your dog raw bones to chew. The following post is written by DAG, the owner of DAG Bones. DAG Bones are available at both our store locations. His passion about feeding raw bones is clear.


THE RAW CONTROVERSY
By Dag

The raw bone and diet controversy is raging on, which is good because it creates opportunity to discuss and educate.  But the facts are in and have been since the beginning of time:  dogs are designed and programmed for a diet of raw consumption.  A dog’s digestive system is essentially the same as a wolf’s or coyote’s and they certainly don’t eat kibble or cooked products.  Have you ever seen an overweight wolf or coyote in the zoo?  Or an overweight lion or tiger?  Of course not.   That’s because they are on a species appropriate diet.  There is little to no historical evidence of dogs suffering kidney disease, pancreatic problems or allergies before the commercial pet food industry began about 62 years ago.  Just as with humans, an inappropriate diet may cause or contribute to a host of problems in a dog.

What do you think dogs would do if we weren’t here?  Would they smoke the bones of their prey over a fire?  Dehydrate their dinner?  Have you ever watched a show about animals in the wild on TV and seen a wild tiger or lion with plaque-riddled teeth?  NO!  That’s because the process of ripping and tearing at their meal is the equivalent of nature’s dental floss.  Dogs chewing on raw, meaty bones is natural for them because they are a carnivorous animal.  Notice how your dog will scarf down a bowl of kibble in four seconds flat.  Then, watch him eat and enjoy a raw bone for hours.  And the bone is just a snack.  Doesn’t that say something in defense of the raw argument?

RISK AND RAW BONES
Risk, risk, risk.  Really?  There is risk in everything we do and the same applies to our canine friends.  Dogs may pull a ligament or tendon running up a hill or jumping to catch a ball.  So do we stop them from running and doing what comes so naturally?  Dogs will chew anything they can pick up:  sticks, shoes, pet toys, the garbage can lid.  My Golden was hopelessly attracted to rocks when he was a puppy and still likes to carry them around.  If fear was my motivation my pets would never leave the house.  There is some risk to your dog whenever he puts something in his mouth.  But, nevertheless, we give them all sorts of toys and treats to chew on without giving it a thought.
Some dog owners are leery of giving their dog a raw bone.  But, it is one of the most natural things you can give your dog!  Should we shelter our dogs from enjoying what is natural to them and makes them happy because WE are afraid?  No!  Mitigating risk is important, I agree.  Keep your dog away from the road, watch him around strangers, and prevent him from ingesting dangerous objects like batteries, of course.  But, let your dog be a dog, give him something raw to gnaw on! Just make sure you feed the appropriate size bone to your dog.

Example:   Bigger than their mouth, preferably as big as their head.
Knuckles are the recommended cut for all dogs.

DON’T BE FOOLED BY PET FOOD ADVERTISING
The pet food industry has done a fantastic job of marketing to the consumer the same way fast food franchises try to convince us that they actually have something on their menu that’s healthy.  Come on people — that is just plain NUTS!  I am always amazed that marketing by companies with deep pockets can somehow convince consumers that we need something they have regardless of whether or not it is good for us, but we continually buy into it to the point of our own detriment  . . . cigarettes, beer, a new car, a large mortgage, fast food.   I could go on and on. There are many, many awful pet food and treat products available whose marketing is designed to make us believe the product is good for our animal companions, when the truth is they are not.
Thank goodness much is changing.  Veterinary studies on diet are providing consumers with more information and a better understanding of species appropriate diets.   And, products designed to meet our pets’ needs are becoming more available.

BOUTIQUE VS. BIG BOX
Independent, boutique pet stores have been instrumental in educating the consumer and offering healthier alternatives for pets. Most local boutique stores carry excellent products that the BIG BOX stores do not have.  The manufacturers of very high quality products typically don’t sell to BIG BOX stores because those stores don’t have proper training programs in place to educate their staff on these items.  Most employees in these Big Box stores are young and/or just part time and they have little to no interest in becoming animal diet experts.  For them, it’s just a job.

On the other hand, most boutique pet store owners have invested their life savings into their establishment because they have a passion for animals.  The health and wellness of our animal companions truly is at the top of their priority list.  At these independent stores, it’s not all about ringing sales at the cash register.  The individuals who staff these stores care.  They take the time to become knowledgeable and share that knowledge with their customers.   Quite a contrast, wouldn’t you say?

I encourage every pet owner to patronize independent pet stores for the high quality products they offer and to use the knowledge of their staffs as a resource.

DO YOUR HOMEWORK
I am asked all the time if I have a medical degree and the answer is NO!  I have common sense and Google.  Any and all the information you want to find is available with some work.  The veterinary education process is changing dramatically and young new DVMs are coming out of school with a much more progressive approach to veterinary medicine than those who graduated a decade or more ago.  Raw diets and treats are a 17 billion dollar business and growing thanks to those changes and realizations.  This is awesome to see so I suggest seeking them out.

You’ve seen the freezers in our store filled with raw, meaty bones.  And, maybe you’ve danced with the idea of taking one home now and again. Or, maybe you buy one every once in a while as a treat for your furry friend.

Well, let me tell you ten reasons why you should be giving your dog a raw, meaty bone every week.

  1. Dogs are naturally carnivores and scavengers. They fed themselves on carcasses for centuries.
  2. Raw bones are an excellent source of glucosamine, chondroitin, calcium and collagen.
  3. Chewing, ripping and tearing at the raw meaty bones will keep teeth clean, naturally.
  4. Raw meaty bones create a very inhospitable environment for bacteria, they are easily digestible and have no carbohydrates, starches, or sugars to feed the bacteria.
  5. Raw  bones  rarely  splinter and  are  fully  digestible.
  6. Raw meaty bones are an excellent source of additional protein for dogs.
  7. A healthy digestive system and clean teeth means no bad breath.
  8. Healthy shine to the coat due to the availability of the  essential fatty acids in raw meaty bones.
  9. Chewing a raw meaty bone works muscles in the neck, back, and whole body that eating a kibble diet will never reach.
  10. Dog stool is smaller in volume and much less offensive when given a raw meaty bone.

Here are a few tips for you on how to give bones to your dog.

  1. If you have never given a raw bone, introduce it for 10 – 15 minutes per day for the first two days (put it back in the freezer in between giving it to your dog) to limit the possibility of diarrhea.
  2. Even if your dog is a very friendly and not aggressive, keep small children and other dogs away when giving a raw, meaty bone. Why? Because your dog WILL like the bone and WON’T want to share.  At. All.
  3. Raw bones are great outside; however, your dog can be trained to chew them on a towel or small area in your home, to alleviate the mess and allow for bone feedings year round.
  4. Your dog may bury the bone. Don’t dig it up. Again, see point #2.
  5. Stick to bones about the size of your dog’s head.

Stop by either store and talk to a team member today if you have any questions regarding raw bones.