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News and Information about Dogs, Cats, and Pet Products

We’ve all been there. We find the cutest little dog toy. It’s fluffy and colorful and looks at you with big cartoon eyes that just seem to say “don’t worry, your dog could never destroy someone as adorable as me!” Then you bring it home, and sure enough, the toy does, in fact, get destroyed. But what if we were to tell you that we knew of a plush toy that can withstand your pup’s jaws…and what if we told you it was also…machine washable??? Too good to be true? We thought so at first, too.

Meet Fluff & Tuff, one of our favorite plush brands that opened a very new, very cuddly door of playtime opportunities for our dogs!

First and foremost, Fluff & Tuff values safety above all else. One of the biggest issues with many plush toys is that you don’t know what they’re made of or where they come from. Dogs have been known to get sick from ingesting the materials of cheap toys, or choke on the squeakers inside them. There have also been issues with foreign objects like plastic or metal accidentally getting stuffed inside, leading to illness and even fatality. That’s because the safety standards for dog toys are typically much lower than human-grade products. Needless to say, we find that unacceptable, you probably find that unacceptable, and Fluff & Tuff definitely finds that unacceptable.

All the materials used are American-made and non-toxic, right down to the polyester filling and squeaker inside. To avoid choking hazards, every detail (eyes, mouths, etc.) are embroidered on, rather than using plastic that could fall off. The squeaker has also gotten a safety upgrade by being sewn in a little pouch, so you can rest easy knowing that your pup won’t choke. They’re also double scanned individually for any foreign objects, and fit the same tough standards that human toys do.

It’s those little ways of going the extra mile that make Fluff & Tuff such an amazing brand. It almost feels as if you were the one who designed the toy, because if we’re being honest with ourselves, we can all be a little neurotic when it comes to making sure our furry friends are kept safe! That’s because this family-owned company is headed by pet parents, just like you, and their quality testers are their own canine companions since nobody knows what dogs like better than dogs!

But what exactly makes Fluff & Tuff so “tuff”? The secret is in the extra layer of Tuffweb™ mesh lining and double-stitched seams. In short; everything is super reinforced and ready to withstand a whole bunch of tugging, tossing, and snuggling. Our very own Beamer and Sassy actually have several Fluff & Tuff toys of their own, and we’re proud to report firsthand that they definitely live up to their expectations!

That being said, it’s important to remember that a plush toy is still a plush toy and therefore not indestructible (nothing is when is comes to a dog with a goal!). A common misconception we’ve run into is that people mistake them for chew toys since they’re marketed as a durable brand. They’re definitely durable! But not for extended chewing. That’s why it’s always important to know what types of toys your dog prefers, and to always supervise them during play.

If you still aren’t sold on why we love Fluff & Tuff as much as we do, you should come by Two Bostons and feel one for yourself. “Fluff” isn’t half their name for nothing! There’s a reason dogs love them so much, and we’ve even had reports from pet parents who find typically “un-cuddly” dogs asleep with their fuzzy friends. They’re so soft, you’ll have trouble believing they’re actually dog toys, and with the huge selection of animals to choose from, you might even end up wanting one for yourself. We’d be lying if we said we didn’t!

If you read our last blog, you’ll already know the basics about what to expect when you’re trying to get your pets through TSA security and on the plane. If you missed it, you can check it out here (x).

Keep in mind, knowing what’s expected of your pets by airports and airlines is only half the battle. Yes, you need your pets to be in carriers, but what type of carriers? What about leashes? Harnesses? I.D. Tags? It all seems overwhelming, especially since you don’t want to bring “the wrong thing” and get denied entry. Here’s the good news: it’s not as hard as you think.

The Right Leash

Remember that no matter what size your pet is, at some point they’ll need to be on a leash to make it through security; even if they’re in a carrier. With all the extra stimuli airports have, you need to be especially cautious about things that could spook your pet–the last thing you want is your furry friend running wild through an airport! The key is having something reliable and short so you have firm control at all times. Do not use a retractable leash. You can check out our blog about why we never recommend them, but the shorthand is this: they’re at a higher risk of breaking, and also there is no reason to allow your pet to have “extra space to roam” when keeping them close to you needs to be a top priority.

That might sound a bit harsh, but we cannot stress enough that this is way different from a walk in the park. As we said before, your pet could bolt, but also keep in mind that despite your dog being friendly and harmless, there could be people who are afraid of them or simply don’t know how to properly greet a dog. Not only are leashes a matter of safety, but common courtesy, as well.

We’re proud to say that all of the leashes we carry are safe and dependable. For this specific situation, we love the “Flat Out Leash” by Ruffwear because it’s strong, durable, and the perfect length for keeping tight control over your dog. It can be held like a regular leash or buckled around your waist for hands-free control. This option also has a short traffic handle that can be used when you need to keep your pet extra close. We also have a great selection of leads by Up Country and The Worthy Dog with fun patterns and matching collars to travel in style! Which brings us to our next point…

Harnesses and Collars

A harness, in general, is great for taking your dog out. Since it wraps around the chest and torso, it relieves pressure on the neck vs. using a collar and leash alone. In short: you have more control and your dog feels comfy, it’s a win-win for both of you!

Remember that just because your dog is in a harness doesn’t mean they shouldn’t have a collar as well. It’s crucial for all pets to have a collar since that’s what’ll hold the I.D. tag, which should have your pet’s name, address, and best phone number to reach their “pawrents”.

Don’t let the name fool you–Worthy Dog also makes cat collars!

Carriers

When finding the right carrier, always make sure it’s “TSA Approved”. Typically, this is going to be a collapsible carrier that gives your pet enough room to stand up, lay down, and turn around. This allows for easier storage on the plane under the seat–plus, it can be a little more comfy for your furry friend! When in doubt, look for the “TSA APPROVED” seal of approval when you’re out shopping and always check the guidelines of your specific airline.

Let us know in the comments if you’ve ever traveled with your pet and how it went! And be sure to check back next Wednesday for our final installment of Surviving Airports With Pets!

It’s no secret that flying is way faster than driving. But if you want to travel with your pet, does that mean you’re doomed to keep your feet–or tires–on the ground forever? Definitely not. Flying with pets is very, very possible. The real question is: do we recommend it? Yes and no. No matter what, traveling with animals can be tricky. Airports can definitely be tougher for pets than cars because there’s so much extra stimulus and unfamiliarity.

That being said, for all of you who have your eyes to the skies, we’ve got everything you need to know to help make pet travel as painless as possible with our brand new traveling tips series! But before we get too ahead of ourselves, let’s start with the most important part of airport traveling:

Following TSA & Airline Guidelines

The number one rule of traveling with your pets is to never assume you know everything. For those of you who have traveled before, you know that airports are constantly changing procedures and rules. Yes, the changes might be small (seriously, do you want us to put our backpacks in bins or not???) but that small change can be the difference between whether or not you’ll get on your flight. That’s why you should always check to make sure you’re up to date on all rules and regulations. We’ll provide links to the official TSA sites, but here’s the gist (as of 3/22/2019):

Getting Screened

  • Smaller pets must be in hand held carriers at all times except for the x-ray tunnel where you must remove your pet from the carrier and carry them through the human checkpoint.
    • TIP: Have a leash ready to put on your pet as soon as they are out of the carrier–yes, even for cats. Even though you’ll be carrying your pet, it’s a good safety measure in case they get spooked. TSA officials will not make you remove anything that helps control/identify an animal.
  • Larger dogs may walk with you, as long as they are on a leash at all times.
  • You may be subject to extra screening such as a hand swab to make sure there is no residue of explosive devices.
  • Return your pets to their carriers at the re-composure areas away from the screening point.
    • TIP: If you are ever unsure of anything then ask for help! TSA officials will be more than happy to assist however you need.
  • TSA regulations for service dogs and animals.
  • TSA screening process for animals.

Airline Guidelines

Hooray! You got your pets through the scary metal detectors! The next step is getting them on the plane. Remember that all airlines have different rules, so it’s crucial to do your research. You can’t just show up at the gate with a pet and expect to be let on board. When you initially buy your ticket, you’ll have to make sure you book a spot for your pet, too. If you are at all unsure of whether or not you’ve done this right, it’s always a good idea to call the airline’s helpline.  Every airline is different in terms of in-flight rules and regulations, so we strongly encourage you to do as much research as possible beforehand. Here are links to the regulations for the four major domestic airlines:

TIP: ALWAYS go to the airline’s official website to learn about what is and isn’t allowed on their planes. And when in doubt? Print it out! If anyone questions you, have copies of any receipts or pages from their direct website stating that you’re complying with all the rules.

We cannot stress this enough: follow all the rules! They really will make the difference between stress and success.

To learn about finding the right leashes, harnesses, and carriers, check out out Part II here (x)!

In my family, Halloween is one of our favorite times of year. The trees are colorful, the kitchen smells like apple cider, and the cutest little ghosts and goblins wander around the neighborhood doing the best to look frightful!

10431249_791800060866672_1675487833336778634_oBut while we humans are having such a fun time, that’s often not the case for our furry friends.  The sound of a repeatedly ringing doorbell can send some dogs and cats scrambling for cover. Unfamiliar holiday visitors can cause excessive anxiety. For these situations, the Thundershirt and Happy Traveler, by Ark Naturals can be a huge help! See our past blog: Thundershirt + Happy Traveler = Stress Free Summer to learn more about these two products.

The scarier aspect of Halloween, from a pet perspective: the fact that tiny trick-or-treaters may decide to “share” some of their Halloween goodies with your four-legged friends. Even when the trick-or-treaters aren’t so tiny, their treat baskets can often wind up unattended, or in easy-to-reach places.  I can tell you, that when this happens the frantic trip to the emergency vet is NOT pretty.

So, as Halloween is just around the corner, it is worth remembering some especially menacing food culprits to keep away from our beloved pets:

Chocolate ~ In ANY form, this is extremely toxic to your dog or cat. It contains high levels of caffeine and theobromine – both of which are hard for cats and dogs to process.  The darker the chocolate, the more dangerous.

Grapes and Raisins ~ Humans often think of these as healthy Halloween alternatives. But for dogs and cats — they will cause kidney failure.DogToxins

Xylitol ~ This no-calorie sweetener is often used in sugar-free gum and certain baked products. In many dogs and cats, it can cause a sever, and sudden, life-endangering drop in blood sugar levels.

Ethanol (including Ethyl Alcohol, Grain Alcohol or Drinking Alcohol) ~ Even small amounts of this compound can cause life-threatening toxicity in dogs and cats – and don’t forget, flavor syrups and raw yeast bread dough often contain it too.

At Two Bostons we have several pet-safe alternatives for your dogs and cats to still enjoy Halloween Festivities.  Check out our bakery case, Puppy Kisses or other sweet treats!