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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.

 

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!

 

 

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!

 

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.

MBB_Profile

Recently, as part of National Pet Dental Health Month, we posted a blog discussing the benefits of a raw diet when it comes to improving the oral health (not to mention the general health) of our dogs and cats. We received several great inquiries from readers who wanted to learn more. So in this blog, we’ll talk a bit more about transitioning to a raw diet — and also mention some of the brand NEW raw foods Two Bostons is adding to our already extensive selection.

First, if you’ve been thinking about transitioning your pet to a raw diet, there are a few things to keep in mind:

It’s extremely cost-effective.
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 heavy 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.

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. Just begin by replacing about 10% of your dog’s meals with raw food (you can fast your dog for a few hours prior to the first meal to ensure a strong appetite). Then, each day, replace another 10% of the original diet with the raw diet. If your pet rejects the food, or experiences stomach/gastric upset, simply slow the process down. 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 the food transition is underway.

New Raw Foods

Two Bostons carries an extensive selection of raw foods, and our team members are specially trained to provide individualized dietary guidance. Ask about some of the great NEW foods we’re now carrying from these trusted brands!

 

STELLA & CHEWY’S DINNER MORSELS
Stella & Chewy’s is an all-time customer (and team member!) favorite that we’ve carried for quite some time. But in addition to all the terrific Stella & Chewy’s products you’ve come to know and love, we now carry frozen Dinner Morsels in a 4-pound bag. These super-convenient nuggets are tiny in size – so they’re ideal for pets of any age, even puppies and older dogs that might have trouble managing larger pieces. Better yet, they can be fed just like kibble if you like – simply pour them straight from the package into the bowl! Quick, easy, yummy, pure, super-nutritious.

RAW BISTRO
Two Bostons now carries Raw Bistro at our Springbrook store, and we can order Raw Bistro products for you at any of our stores. Based in Minnesota, in the heart of a thriving sustainable agriculture area, Raw Bistro developed its raw food and treat formulas by partnering with a holistic vet and veterinary nutrition specialist. The company has built its reputation on a strong commitment to ecologically sound production methods, local sourcing, family farm support, and humane farm animal treatment. Raw Bistro uses organic and grass-fed meats that are naturally high in the protein, vitamins, minerals, and enzymes domesticated pets need to thrive. Locally grown ingredients travel only short distances, so they spend less time in shipping and storage containers to retain more of their natural freshness and nutrition. This also gives them a much smaller carbon footprint.

STEVE’S REAL FOOD
A true raw pet food pioneer! Our Two Bostons Springbrook store now carries 9.7 pound boxes of Steve’s Real Food products, and any of our stores can order Steve’s raw products for you. Steve’s Real Food has been making top-quality raw pet food since 1998. In fact, Steve’s was one of the very first companies in the industry to distribute raw meat dog food nationwide. Steve’s products contain an optimal balance of meat and vegetables to make raw feeding not only easy and tasty, but extra-affordable too. To enhance this affordability, Steve’s relies on word-of-mouth for much of its advertising; so expensive promotional costs are held to a minimum. The convenient “tater tot”-sized nuggets don’t require overnight defrosting, cutting, or mixing. That means they’re as easy to feed as kibble – just pour and serve. Plus, Steve’s is working toward being one of the first pet food makers fully committed to going green. Food is packaged in bags made from soy- and water-based inks, and in a municipal composting environment the bags naturally compost within 10-40 days.

We also now carry another amazing Steve’s product: Raw Goat Milk Yogurt! Packed with probiotics and loaded with vitamins and minerals, this cool and creamy treat can be fed as a snack or used as a yummy food topper to add raw nutrition to any dry or canned meal. It’s a fantastic immune booster & digestive aid, with carrier enzymes that allow for better assimilation of vitamins and nutrients. Steve’s Raw Goat Milk Yogurt is made from free-range, antibiotic- and hormone-free goat milk; and also contains added chia for a powerful boost of Omega-3s, plus coconut flour for enriched protein and fiber content. Check out our recent blog on the numerous benefits of goat milk.

Stop by any Two Bostons store today if you’d like to learn more about our extensive selection of raw food products. Our team members are always happy to offer firsthand insights that can help you customize a feeding plan for your specific pet – and get your furry friend well on the way to better dental health, overall vitality, and a lifetime of wellness!