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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.

 

As we continue through National Pet Dental Health Month, we want to make sure that people don’t think that a professional vet cleaning is the only strategy pet parents have at our disposal — there’s actually so much we can do! In our Blog “Have You Looked In Your Pets Mouth?” we talked about products we that can help with your pets dental health.  But, did you know that diet and feeding strategies can also 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, most of us will never need to confirm it in ourselves! But the reason it’s true is 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.

In much the same way, a raw diet can help control tartar build-up on the teeth of our pets. You may notice that most commercial raw food 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 the similar effect as a 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.

As we have talked about before, kibble is like having a crunchy snack like popcorn, pretzels, or a granola bar. It does not clean your pet’s teeth or gums. Do you remember how those 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 to their starchy, pasty form inside the mouth. This paste works its way between teeth and adheres to the gum line. Unless it’s dislodged somehow, that’s where it stays. See our recent blog for some of those products that can help dislodge and clean when feeding kibble.

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 have already mentioned that tiny abrasive fragments act like a scrubbing toothbrush. When you feed your pet a raw diet, starch residues around the teeth are kept to a minimum and the chewing process itself begins to work in your pet’s favor.

If you want to learn more about your pets’ dental health or adding raw food into their diet, stop into any Two Bostons and one of expert Team Members can help you!

 

 

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.

 

 

I think my fellow Two Bostons team members would agree that our pets have never eaten so well in their lives as they have since we started working here.

Before I joined the TB team, I would dutifully go to the big box pet supply store and restock the same bag of kibble I bought last month. There was never any variety to Maple’s diet. Now she never knows from one meal to the next what she’ll get. She doesn’t care!  She loves it all! She’s thriving on her new diet, too.

I do acknowledge that not everyone has the same type of avid eater that I do. Some pets are super picky, and some have allergies and sensitivities that greatly restrict their diets. But I want to encourage anyone who doesn’t already know the joys of feeding raw (fresh) to give it a try! It’s a resolution you can make for your pet as we move into 2017!

You may ask, why would I feed my dog or cat raw meat? The simple answer is that raw diets are closest to our pets’ ancestral diets. Wolves and wild cats don’t eat the same thing day after day. They hunt and (in the case of wild dogs) forage; they eat raw meat, bones, organs, and the stomach contents of their prey. The raw food we offer at Two Bostons mimics that kind of diet closely. Come in and check out the ingredient list on any of our raw foods; I think you’ll be impressed!

You may also be wondering what the benefits of raw (fresh) feeding are. Raw foods, because they’re not cooked and require no starches or binders, are highly digestible and result in smaller, firmer, less stinky poop from your pet. Seriously! Raw foods spend less time in your pet’s digestive tract, that can reduce gas as well. Their higher acidity levels mean that a dog or cat’s body is more acidic as well, and this makes them less hospitable host for yeast and bacteria on the skin and in the ears. The active enzymes in raw foods are also great for dental health.

All those benefits, and I haven’t even talked about how much animals on raw diets LOVE their food! If your dog or cat has a lackluster attitude about food, adding some raw to their diet may increase enthusiasm and make feeding more of a joy than a chore.

So, are you interested? Come into any Two Bostons store and ask us about raw feeding; we’ll talk about our pet’s favorite brands and proteins! Try the Primal raw sampler for only $4.99; it includes candy-bar sized portions of Beef, Chicken, Pork, and Turkey/Sardine. It’s a very low-risk way to try raw.

Another plus: most of the raw brands sold at Two Bostons have Frequent Buyer Programs! That means for every 10 or 12 food purchases you make (depending on the brand), you can receive a free bag of food! Most of the programs are tracked by us at the stores, so all you do is come in and buy food; we’ll let you know when you’ve earned your free bag!

Happy New Year to all! We look forward to seeing you all in 2017!

 

 

During the month of January as a New Year’s resolution for you and your pet, we are challenging everyone (if not already) to incorporate Fresh (raw) Food into your pet’s diet.  You have probably heard at one point or another a Two Bostons team member talk about Fresh or Raw Diets for cats and dogs. Even just adding fresh food into your pet’s diet twice a week, has its benefits! Here are just a few:

It’s extremely cost-effective. 7ffd54b6ee423e8ac437ee1df4e590f1

Very often, allergies and ailments that our pets experience while on a commercial or kibble-based pet food diet tend to resolve (or greatly diminish) once a raw diet is in full effect. Why? Because raw diets are more consistent with the biological makeup of our canine and kitty friends, whose bodies need naturally occurring proteins, minerals, and enzymes to function optimally. Commercial pet food diets are loaded with fillers, artificial preservatives, and worrisome animal by-products that do not meet approval standards for human consumption.  High-carb kibble diets are very high in starches and sugars while being low in natural proteins and enzymes. This often contributes to lethargy, skin and coat issues, “doggie breath,” thyroid problems, even diabetes and pancreatitis, and over time these issues lead to more frequent vet visits. Do your dog and yourself a favor and add two or more fresh food meals a week to help improve your pet’s health.

It’s extremely safe and environmentally friendly.
186456-425x284-cat-eating-raw-food

Commercially-prepared fresh and raw foods (such as products from Stella & Chewy’s) have some of the best and most consistent safety records on the market today.  This is because many are produced in very controlled batches, and subject to stringent inspection practices that greatly minimize the incidence of things like Salmonella, E. Coli and Campylobacter. These raw foods are made in USDA-certified facilities with extreme concern for cleanliness, humane treatments, and environmental impact.

 

It’s extremely easy!

Easier than you probably think…simply go slowly, as you would with any new dietary change. Puppies can often transition over the course of just a few days, while geriatric or ailing pets may require a few weeks. Remember that one or two loose stools often signals nothing more than detoxification (a very beneficial thing), so just keep a close eye on your pet while you transition. It is also very easy to serve! You just put the fresh pieces into their bowl, let sit to defrost for a few minutes, and serve!rawfoodbowls

Stop into Two Bostons today and learn more about the benefits and our extensive selection of raw food products.  Our team members are always excited to offer firsthand insights that can help you customize a feeding plan for your specific pet – and get your furry friend well on their way to add fresh food into their diet, overall vitality and a lifetime of wellness!!

 

Have you had a chance to try out Stella & Chewy’s Meal Mixers? If not, here is why our dogs love them and why you should give them a try today…

You can mix this with your dogs dry kibble and it is great because it will:

  • Entice picky eaters at meal time
  • Add an extra boost of nutrition
  • Treat your dog with a tasty variety

Meal mixers make it easier than ever to give your dog the raw meat they crave; much like they once ate in the wild.  All it takes is one quick scoop!

  • Adds raw nutrition into any dietMeal-Mixers-Product-Shot-3-WithScooper
  • Packed with 95% nutrient-rich meat, organs and bones
  • Complemented by organic fruits and vegetables
  • Convenient for you with a taste your dog will love
  • Enhanced with probiotics and antioxidants

NEVER….

  • No added hormones or antibiotics
  • No grains or fillers
  • No gluten
  • No artificial preservatives or coloring

ALWAYS…

  • Made in the USA
  • FDA-Inspected
  • Grass-Fed
  • Cage-Free
  • Wild-Caught
  • Farm-Raised

stella-chewys-raw-dog-food-mixins-2To use as a Meal Mixer: Meal Mixers are an easy,  convenient way to add raw, nutrient-rich meat, wholesome fruits and vegetables, probiotics and antioxidants to any diet.  Simply fill the scoop; that is every bag; to the line (equal to 1/4 cup), mix and serve!!

To Use as a Complete and Balanced Dinner: These Meal Mixers are so good your dog will be begging for more!  To use as a complete meal, it is recommended to re-hydrate by adding 2 tablespoons of warm water per scoop. If feeding dry, make sure your dog drinks plenty of water at mealtime.

 

Stella & Chewy’s Meal Mixers come in these awesome flavors:

  • Savory Salmon & Cod
  • Tantalizing Turkey
  • Chewy’s Chicken
  • Stella’s Super Beef

Stella-Meal-Mixer-Flavors
And they all come in 3.5 oz., 9 oz. or 18 oz. bags…perfect for any dog size!

Still not ready to try them out, how about this…right now until June 30, 2016, you can buy any size meal mixer bag and get a 3.5 oz. bag of meal mixer for FREE, limit 2 per visit.  Stop in and pick up this deal today and if you have any other questions about Stella & Chewy’s Meal Mixers, our expert team members will answer your questions.

 

If you attend the Pet Wellness Fair & Expo this year (Saturday, June 11, 2016), you will see a Raw Bar…yes you read that correctly!  Has your pup ever tried Raw-Frozen Food? Well, now you have the chance to try out different brands and flavors.  You might be asking yourself, why would I switch his food to include or be exclusively raw? I will share some reasons why you will want to give Raw a try today!

It’s extremely cost-effective.

raw-pet-foodVery often, allergies and ailments that our pets experience while on a commercial or kibble-based pet food diet tend to resolve (or greatly diminish) once a raw diet is in full effect.  Why? Because raw diets are more consistent with the biological makeup of our canine and kitty friends, whose bodies need naturally occurring proteins, minerals, and enzymes to function optimally. Commercial pet food diets are loaded with fillers, artificial preservatives, and worrisome animal by-products that do no meet approval standards for human consumption.  High-carb kibble diets are very high in starches and sugars while being low in natural proteins and enzymes. This often contributes to lethargy, skin, and coat issues, “doggie breath,” thyroid problems, even diabetes and pancreatitis over time.

It’s extremely safe and environmentally friendly.

Commercially-prepared raw foods (such as products from Stella & Chewy’s) have some of the best and most consistent safety records on the market today.  This is because many are produced in very controlled batches, and subject to stringent inspection practices that greatly minimize the incidence of things like Salmonella, E. Coli and Campylobacter. These raw foods are made in USDA-certified facilities with extreme concern for cleanliness, humane treatment, and environmental impact.RawFoods

It’s extremely easy!

Easier than you probably think. Simply go slowly, as you would with any new dietary change. Puppies can often transition over the course of just a few days, while geriatric or ailing pets may require a few weeks. Remember that one or two loose stools often signals nothing more than detoxification (a very beneficial thing), so just keep a close eye on your pet while you transition. It is also very easy to serve.  Most you just put the raw pieces into their bowl, let sit to defrost for a few minutes, and serve!

At Two Bostons you will see several different options of Raw…size, packaging, flavors and ingredients.  This is why we invite you to come out for the Pet Wellness Fair & Expo on Saturday, June 11, 2016 from Noon – 3:00 pm; your dog can try some of these raw options, and you can talk to the experts and they will answer any questions you might have about their food!

 

Have you made the switch and feed your dog a Raw Frozen food? If not, here is a great food to start out with…especially if you have a picky eater! Tucker’s Raw Frozen!

Here are some reasons why you and your dog will love Tucker’s:

  • Unsurpassed Convenience ~ Each bag of Tucker’s has individually wrapped patties with an easy peal opening and one convenience thaw tray in every bag.two-bags-and-tray-2
  • All products are manufactured in a Wisconsin USDA facility to ensure the highest standards of food safety and product consistency.
  • About their Pork for Dogs ~ Their Certified Pork is a USDA process that partially entails freezing out any potentially harmful parasites in raw pork. This is why you see Pork Loin and Pork Chops served rare in some of the country’s finest Steak Houses.
    • Pork has played a fundamental role in carnivore nutrition since the dawn of time
    • Pork is currently used in carnivore diets at the finest zoological institutions in the US
    • Pork is lower in fat, higher in protein and amino fatty acids than most carnivore proteins
  • Their “Grind” sets them apart ~ Many dog foods are the result of a “Grind.” A “Grind” consists of several different cuts and parts.  These cuts and parts are put into a grinder and are generically labeled “Beef”, “Chicken” etc. Tucker’s muscle meat, marrow and bone come exclusively from the USA and Canada.  It is cut from the same pork chops and pork ribs sold by premium grocers and restaurants nationwide.  They believe that you should know the “what” and the “where”.
  • Tucker’s has several complete and balanced meals for your dogs to enjoy: Pork-Beef-Pumpkin, Pork-Bison-Pumpkin, Pork-Lamb-Pumpkin, Single Source Beef & Pumpkin and Single Source Turkey & Pumpkin. All of their foods contain 95% Meat, Bone and Marrow and 5% Simple Pumpkin!
  • Picky Eaters love this food because not only does it taste great, but there are no Veggies or Fruit, that some dogs don’t care for.
  • Tucker’s Raw Frozen also has a wide array of Raw Bones for your dog to enjoy!
  • And it is Cost Friendly!Tucker

Stop in and try out Tucker’s Raw Frozen today!  And during the month of April 2016 you can take an
additional 20% Off any Raw Bag of Dog Food
.  You can learn more about Tucker’s by stopping into any of the Two Bostons stores and our Team Members will be able to answer any questions you might have.

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.

So….it is almost the New Year! And with the new year we all want to strive to be the best we can be!  This year we want you also to make sure that your pets live the best and most healthy life possible. Each month in 2016 we will be having a different educational focus to make sure you can be the best pet parent possible…here are five things that you can start to do today to make that happen, and a preview of what you can expect to learn more about this year from us!

  1. Running-With-Dog-1Exercise, Exercise, Exercise ~ It is important for us…it is important for them too!  The best way to maintain a healthy weight is exercise.  That could mean walking more, running, chasing, anything that gets the heart pumping. An unhealthy weight can lead to many health issues…so it’s time to break out that leash and get moving.
  2. 5a2f0fcddb77f334c8ef41df3963f895Feed Appropriate Diet & Supplements ~ Make 2016 the year your pets eats the best diet possible…this means a diet that closely resembles what a dog would eat in the wild.  We recommend raw diets; however, we know that is not doable for everyone, so more importantly a grain free diet is extremely important.  Much like our lives, your dog’s diet can’t be expected to cover every need his or her body has, so we recommend supplements that fits your dogs lifestyle and needs.
  3. dogs-playing-at-dog-parkBe Social ~ Can you imagine going through your life never talking to another human being?  I can’t!  Let your dog get out there and make friends.  Check out some of our local dog parks and let your dog be a dog.  There are many ways to help your dog socialize…and you’ll have fun too!
  4. nina-ottoson-dog-finder_c-g Play More ~ All work and no play makes Fido a dull boy…or at the very least a naughty boy, because he is constantly getting into things he shouldn’t.  Go through your dog’s toys and weed out the ones that are worn, broken, or simply are not played with.  If you haven’t done so yet, get a puzzle toy to stimulate your dog’s brain.  Or, get a toy that you can play with together.  We have many to choose from that are just the right size and durability for your pooch.  Let us help you pick the perfect toy!
  5. 25666036-origpic-7cf762Hydration Station ~ Fresh water is key to keeping your dog healthy.  Whether that is in your home, on a walk or on the road, it is important that you always have a supply of fresh water available to your pooch.  A raised feeder is the perfect way to offer your dog water (and food) that promotes a healthy posture and ease of swallowing.  The Drinkwell is another great way to offer your dog fresh water.  And for when you are on the go, portable drink dispensers are the way to go!

1de3189bbc6a24d16df518a7e6e3d994So here are the five easy ways to start the year off right for you and your dog!  We are looking forward to providing you with the best year yet…it is going to be jam packed with information to help you be the best pet parent you can be, you will get it from Seminars, Blogs, Events, Newsletters, Social Media and other fun activities and community partnerships!