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News and Information about Dogs, Cats, and Pet Products

Is it ever going to feel like Spring outside?!? I am sure our pups are feeling the same way! When it finally warms up and we can enjoy the outdoors, we want to make sure that you and your pups are ready!  Here are a few pointers to make to get your pup out of the house and enjoy a relaxing walk.

1. Collars, Leashes and Harnesses: You want to find a collar that is an appropriate width for the size of your dog. You will also want a leash that is easy to hold and handle. Using a harness to walk your dog is safer and healthier for all dogs, but especially short-faced breeds like Boston Terriers, Pugs, Boxers or Bulldogs. These breeds tend to have necks that are more susceptible to damage when they pull on their collars. Putting a well-fitted harness will be much better for them and will give you more control.

If you have a dog that REALLY pulls (or maybe you want a well-mannered walker) we suggest trying the Freedom No-Pull Harness by 2 Hounds. On the back of the harness there is a control loop, it gently tightens around the chest to discourage your dog from pulling. The harness has four adjustment points and stainless-steel hardware, making it strong enough to hold any dog from 14 to 250+ pounds. They are made in the USA and come in several colors and sizes.

For those of you that like to be hands free while walking, hiking, running or pushing a stroller, we have the perfect leash for you!  Ruff Wear has two leashes: Flat Out and Roamer Leashes.  They can both be converted from a hand-held leash to a waist worn leash with a quick adjustment. They also have a traffic handle positioned close to the E-Z snap hook that lets you take control and rein in your pup.

2. Poop Bags: Let’s face it, they do it! So be prepared…we have several different poop bags and poop bag holders to choose from. There is the regular plastic bag cylinder shaped bag holder, or the more fashionable poop bag carriers. Both kinds will attach to the top of the leash, so they are out of the way but there when you need them!

3. Hydration: If you are just going out for a quick walk around the block you probably don’t need to worry about taking water with you, but if you are on a longer walk or it is a really hot summer day, you will want to make sure you keep your pup hydrated! We have a few different options for you to choose from.

The Gourd Water Bottle & Bowl is perfect for on-the-go people that like to take their dogs along! You can take one water bottle for you and the dog! You drink from the top and just detach the bowl at the bottom and pour water in for your pup. It holds 24 ounces of liquid and the detachable bowl hold 8 ounces. It is also Dishwasher Safe.

4. Pet Corrector: Does your dog act like he hasn’t been out of the house for a year when you start your walks. This can help turn your hyperactive, loud and possibly aggressive dog into a well-behaved pup. The Pet Corrector is a hiss of compressed gas, that is completely safe for animals. Using the spray interrupts your dog’s unwanted behavior and grabs his attention. You control the blast of air, so you can respond to the bad behavior immediately.

Have a fun Spring and Summer enjoying the outdoors with your favorite pup!  If you need help with any supplies or have questions about any of the products mentioned, stop in or call any time!

Out-U-Go!-LogoDuring summer is a great time to make some exercising goals and because we want to be outside, those may include our dogs.  Lindsay Gray, Top Dog at Out-U-Go! Naperville provided us with some helpful pointers to make sure that you and your dog have fun while being safe.

  1. Just like all training, this is not something you should expect to happen perfectly on attempt #1.  Remember that this is a new exercise for you and your pup and you need to be patient. Instill a lot of what you would do with normal training and techniques and remember to stay positive and patient.  Your first run might be more of a walk to get used to each other, and this is okay!
  2. Having the right equipment can make all the difference!  Many runners appreciate a hands-free leash that attaches to your waist (Like the Roamer or Flat Out Dog Leash by Ruff Wear). A harness is a good idea to keep the stress off your pups neck and provide you with a bit more control while you are running.  And don’t forget the poop bags and water!dog-walk-on-leash
  3. Not all pups are going to be a great running partner.  Make sure they aren’t too young and can comfortably keep up with the distance you plan to run.  Small dogs need to run a lot faster than a larger breed to keep up with you and might be better suited for brisk walks.
  4. Some simple commands will help your run move more  smoothly.  You will want to keep your pup from stopping to go potty on every tree, so make sure to keep them tight to you and have a Heel command ready. Leave It, or some other distraction technique, would be great for the obstacles you are bound to pass on your route.
  5. After walk care is just as important as getting them ready to go! Make sure to keep an eye out for pads that are wearing down, check the areas of their body around their equipment for chaffing or rubbing, and give them a cool and comfortable space to cool down when you are done!

Lindsay will be one of our experts presenting at our upcoming Dog Walking/Running Clinic on Wednesday, July 20, 2016 at 6:00 pm at Two Bostons – Springbrook.  Bring your walking or running buddy with you and she will provide you more tips and tools to help you accomplish your walking and running goals this summer! Visit our website for more information!

 

With the weather we have had the past week and with the days getting longer, all of us runners are starting to get out again and isn’t it so awesome to be in the fresh air?

In my house, when I get out my tennis shoes and start to get ready, my dog gets super excited thinking that she is going to go on a walk…and then she sees me walking out the door without her and the disappointment when she doesn’t go just breaks my heart.  This might happen to you too…would you take your dog with you if you didn’t have to mess with holding a leash?

We have the perfect leash for you to try with your dog today! The Flat Out Leash by Ruffware is an everyday leash that can be waist-worn.  Yes, that’s right…no more juggling a leash along with headphones, iPod, and poop bags!  The Flat Out Leash is amazing because you can wear it around your waist and if you need to keep them secure while at a stop light you can just reach down and grab the traffic handle.  It really is the perfect leash.  Here are some other key features:

  • Durability and design aesthetics come together in the Ruffwear-designed Tubelok™ webbing
  • Adjustable padded handle, with aluminum Talon Hook™ can be hand-held, waist-worn or secured around a tree post
  • Talon Clip™ is strong, secure and ergonomically designed for one-handed attachment
  • Convenient accessory loop for pickup bags or small clip-on items
  • Traffic handle offers quick restraint
  • The leash is 6 feet in length and 1 inch of webbing

Ruffwarephotos

Now for me, my dog is too old to go out running with me.  But, I first got introduced to this leash after I had a baby and wanted to take the baby out in the stroller and take the dog with too.  It was the perfect solution for us!  We could enjoy our walks without having to fumble with holding the leash.  I am also able to secure the leash to the stroller if I need to.

Stop into any Two Bostons and the team will help you try out one of these problem solving leashes today!

 

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As you all know, here are Two Bostons we never endorse the idea of using metal stakes or choke collars as a tie-out solution. They can cause injury, choking, even a collapsed windpipe. So we don’t carry metal ground stakes, and this can leave many well-meaning canine parents with a question — because if you don’t have a fenced-in yard or want to keep your dog in one area outside, what are your best options?

Well, luckily for you, we’ve got an excellent answer: Ruffwear leashes!

You might be thinking, “How can a LEASH act like a tie-out?” What’s awesome about these leashes is that they have an adjustable strap that allows you to expand the grip on the leash; even opening at the handle so you can tie it around something – for example, a tree. YES, you can actually tie this leash around a tree without worrying about mastering expert sailor knots to keep your dog secure! Also, the handle of the leash hooks tightly to a clip once you adjust it, so you never have to worry about your dog ripping the leash off the tree.

RuffwearTieout

Ruffwear offers two styles of leashes: a standard fabric Flat Out leash, and a leash called the Roamer that actually includes elastic in the middle to give your dog a bit of added wiggle room. For those owners looking for a good alternative to retractable leashes (we’ve talked about the many dangers of these in the past), we always recommend the Roamer since it gives dogs some room to explore on a walk, without encouraging them to pull. Because of the adjustable loop, you can even tie the Roamer around your waist while running. This lets you keep your pup close, without having to worry about holding the leash while out for your jog!

Just like the name implies, these leashes are super TOUGH. They have a fantastic heavy-duty clip, so you don’t have to worry about heavy pullers snapping the clip off and breaking free. Because this clip is large and very secure, you can even add more length to the leash by clipping it to your dog’s walking leash and harness. We ALWAYS recommend using a harness whenever you tie your dog outside, to keep your pup more comfortable while reducing the risk of escape. Of course, as mentioned in our previous blogs, you should always supervise pets whenever they’re outside and provide plenty of fresh water and shade.

So if you’re looking for a great way to keep your canine at your side during summer barbeques or fall tailgating parties, come see us and pick out a Ruffwear leash today. They come in a number of bright colors, and we promise you they’ll become one of your favorite outdoor items very quickly!

 

HeatherD_Profile

Hey all! Heather here (along with Lilu and Ahsoka). If you’re anything like me when I first brought Lilu into my life, you might be craving a little insight and information on key puppy essentials — things you’ll need right away when bringing home your new furry family member! I encourage you to stop into one of our locations and ask any Team Member for a copy of our detailed New Puppy Checklist, which they’ll be happy to review with you. In the meantime, here’s a short sampling to help you get started:

  • Two Ceramic or Stainless Steel Dishes. One for food, one for water. Stay away from plastic bowls, as they can get microscopic tears and scratches that harbor bacteria – which can then be transferred to your dog’s food or snout.
  • Rubberized Food Mat. A rubber mat is fantastic for easy cleaning and keeping bowls in place. Lots of puppies can get overexcited with their food, and push their bowls around while eating. This kind of mess is minimized (and cleaned up way more easily) when you have a rubber food mat.
  • Durable Collar. You’ll most likely get a few collars over your dog’s lifetime, but a good sturdy one will last and last – and a super-cute pattern makes it so much more unique! Up Country offers some great choices that satisfy both needs at once.
  • Leash. My favorite is the Slackline Leash by RuffWear. Check out my blog from last year to see why my girls and I love it so much!
  • Sturdy Harness. We always recommend a harness, right from the start. Why? Because when a puppy is rambunctious and bounding every which way, he can pull very hard on the leash. Collars can put tremendous pressure on the neck and windpipe — and this can lead to chafing injuries, windpipe collapse, or choking. A properly fitted harness does the trick when it comes to easing pressure off the neck area. Check out the Up Country Step-In — awesome patterns, great functionality!
  • Comfy Bed. A bed is enormously soothing to a nervous new pup in a brand new space. Ahsoka has been using her Bowser Bed since day one. She’s turning five this year, but has considered this bed her safe haven since her very first day in our house. Bowser Beds are fully machine washable and made to be extremely tough — up to 8 times more durable than most other beds. You can even use the center part of the bed as a snuggly liner to make your pup’s crate feel safer and more comforting.
  • Smart Starter Toys! Start your pup off with at least one sturdy chew toys, like our Jax and Bones Rope Toys or even an all-natural bully stick. As a really nice bonus, you can actually wet and freeze Jax and Bones toys to create a soothing chew solution for teething issues. Also consider at least one interactive, intelligence-stimulating toy like the Ourpets IQ Treat Ball, the Planet Dog Snoop, or an awesome Nina Ottosson Puzzle Toy. These will keep your curious canine busy and happy while you’re cooking dinner or doing the dishes!

NewPuppy_Essentials

This is just a small sampling of the key items you should have on hand when you first bring your new pup home. Stop by any Two Bostons with your brand new furry friend, and we’ll gladly give you a complete copy of the New Puppy Checklist along with our own firsthand suggestions. Remember that our Team Members are specially trained and certified to measure and fit your pup for the precise gear he needs to keep him safe and comfortable as he continues to grow!

MBB_Profile
It can happen – and it can happen so fast that we, as pet parents, don’t even have time to react. The damage can be extensive, the injuries pretty horrific … and all because of a portable plastic device that’s supposedly designed to help “make our lives easier.”

I’m talking about a retractable leash.

If you and your pup hang out at a lot of pet-friendly establishments and events – like our Two Bostons Weekly Walks, for example – you may have noticed that “standard, non-retractable leashes” are often a requirement. Why is this the case? I used to wonder that myself, until my good old pup Sparky had a retractable mishap firsthand. Let’s look at just a few reasons retractables can be risky business.

 

Retractable Leashes

Retractable leashes can lead to some unexpected and nasty injuries — but a well-designed standard leash, like the one shown on the right, is designed to let your pet explore safely and securely.

  • Cord breakage. Many retractable leashes aren’t strong enough to handle the dog they’re attached to. Pups who have a tendency to bolt or take off running after wildlife, innocent joggers, imaginary muggers, or the mailman can often snap the thin line or tape on a retractable leash before you even comprehend what just happened. Worse, the plastic hand-held retractor may come out of your hand and go banging down the pavement after your dog, causing a panicked rush into speeding traffic or a busy bicycle path.
  • Unwanted meet-and-greets. Retractable leashes allow your canine to approach other dogs uninvited. At best, this might lead to an irritated owner. But worse, it could cause the spread of disease, disruption of a healing injury, even a sudden and aggressive dog fight.
  • Projectile injuries. If your dog’s collar were to suddenly break and come off, the leash cord/tape would retract with such rapid force that it could strike you (or someone else) in the face, teeth, or eyes.
  • Leash burns, lacerations, and worse. If your pooch should suddenly race past you, thin-string retractable leashes can zip across your exposed skin (or your child’s) in half a second. Plus, it’s often a human reflex to grab the leash hard when a dog bolts. Owners who have instinctively grabbed the cord/tape as it’s rapidly unspooling from the handle have suffered some pretty extreme, and sometimes irreversible, injuries.
  • Entanglement or strangulation. The retractable string or tape can get twisted around our own hands, another person’s ankle, your dog’s neck and legs, a wagging tail, even a pet’s neck. If your dog senses he’s hog-tied and thrashes around, it can cause the cord to pull even tighter. This could lead to a life-threatening situation in a matter of seconds.

Do you and your pup love to socialize and explore the great outdoors? That’s awesome! Ask anyone on our Two Bostons Team to show you some sturdy, dependable standard leash options. Better yet, tell us about your favorite standard leash brands below. Products like Ruffwear’s Flat Out dog leash and Artvark’s GoGo dog leash are designed to let your dog roam and explore – but safely and securely, keeping you in full control.

 

 

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Those of us who’ve been pet parents for a while can probably agree on certain undeniable truths. It’s true, for example, that dogs are very close cousins to wolves. It’s true that canine paws are thicker and tougher than our own human feet. It’s also true that there are a few individuals – say, certain adult males of the husband, boyfriend, or adolescent son variety – who might wrinkle their noses and argue insistently that they’re reluctant to walk a dog wearing any type of “bootie.”

But here are some other compelling truths to consider: It’s true that if the weather gets cold enough, pets are extremely vulnerable to frostbite. It’s true that snow and ice (not to mention sun-baked pavement, dirt trails, and/or sand in the summer) can cause burns, cracks, cuts, even bleeding abrasions on the underside of a dog’s paws and in between the pads. It’s also true that salt and ice-melting agents are both jagged and corrosive – they can hurt and irritate unprotected paws, and aggravate any raw areas caused by extreme temperatures.

While smaller dogs and ultra-lean hound breeds like Whippets, Salukis, and Greyhounds have an especially difficult time maintaining body temperature during frigid winter weather, all dogs are susceptible to paw irritation. Did you know that even sled dogs – cold-loving Arctic breeds like Malamutes, Siberian Huskies, and Samoyeds – often wear protective boots? That’s because like all dogs, these breeds perspire from their paws. This moisture accumulation can cause little ice clumps to form high up between each paw pad. So even in the absence of cuts or other abrasions, these chunks of trapped ice can cause extreme discomfort.

When the temps really start to fall and we need to protect our own pups’ paws, we like Grip Trex boots by Ruffwear. They’re durable, washable, and when properly sized they offer a snug and comfy fit. That’s because as each boot is made, the material is shaped right around an anatomical paw-shaped mold while it’s sewn together. Grip Trex boots have ultra-durable, all-terrain, non-marking Vibram® lug soles that can withstand salt and very extreme conditions. I wasn’t surprised to learn, for example, that first responders used these boots on K-9 search and rescue teams during the California wildfires to protect against hot embers on the ground. We’ve found that the boots provide equally strong traction and protection in snowy, icy weather as well. Even better, if you happen to lose or damage a boot, you can simply order a single replacement boot (instead of a whole set). The boots are available in the colors Red Currant and Black/Granite.

Grip Trex Boots

Grip Trex boots feature sturdy lug soles and reflective, breathable mesh uppers that are anatomically designed. They also have an adjustable closure strap that really helps ensure a comfortable, customized fit in a range of weather conditions.

 

When sizing the Grip Trex boot, it’s generally best to look at the width of your dog’s paw and compare it to the boot. If you bring your pup into any Two Bostons store, one of our specially trained team members will be more than happy to assist you. It’s best to bring your dog along, but if that’s not possible you can put his/her paw on a piece of paper, trace around it, and bring in the tracing.

For the first several minutes after you’ve placed any type of footwear on your dog for the very first time, you’re likely to see what many of us call the “duck-foot dance.” This is because – understandably – any type of foot enclosure changes your dog’s normal sensory perception of the ground. It will take a bit for your pup to get used to this new sensation – and just like our own human shoes, dog boots require a break-in period to ensure a comfortable fit. Most pet parents report that after this initial breaking-in period, their dogs can wear the boots for quick walks, extended runs, even up to several hours (if necessary) without any trouble. For pets with extra paw sensitivity or long dew claws, there are also boot liners available that provide an extra-soft, wicking layer.

If you live in a climate like Chicago where the temps can get super-cold and sidewalks quickly fill up with snow and ice, consider Grip Trex boots to help protect sensitive pooch paws. In the long run – or even the short walk around the block – your pup will definitely thank you. And a warm, protected, comfortable pup makes the whole family happy.