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News and Information about Dogs, Cats, and Pet Products

It’s that dreaded time of year again: coyote season; when everyone has a horror story about their friend’s brother’s dog who got snatched up in the middle of the night. The thought of your own pet succumbing to such a fate can definitely stir up some anxiety, but we’re here to help ease your mind a bit with some easy tips and tricks to help prevent anything bad happening to your loved ones.

Don’t Leave Food Out

  • Bring in all of your pet’s food and water dishes.
  • Thoroughly clean your grill after every use. Predators can smell the hamburgers you cooked at the family BBQ even after you’ve eaten them all!
  • Be cautious with compost. Avoid adding meat, bones, and any whole foods to your compost piles. Many predators–like coyotes–are opportunistic eaters.
  • Clean up any fruit dropped on the ground from trees. Yes, coyotes will even go after those crab apples! This will also help get rid of smaller pests like flies.
  • Be sure that all trash bins are completely covered and minimize the time they are left outside.

Always Supervise Pets

  • Like many predators, coyotes are nocturnal, so keep an especially close eye on pets from dusk until dawn.
  • Cats are more at risk than dogs because they are more likely to roam around outside, unsupervised, and their size makes them ideal prey for coyotes. The safest lifestyle for a cat is to be kept indoors at all times, however, at the very least be sure your cats are inside at night. 
  • Keep bathroom breaks as brief as possible.
  • ALWAYS have your dog on a leash–preferably a shorter one so you have more control if they try to run. We suggest the Flat Out Dog Leash by Ruffwear. It’s 6 ft in length, which is plenty of space for your dog to wander, but not enough so that you wouldn’t be able to control them if the situation called for it. It’s also super strong, so you know it won’t snap if they run.
  • Try to avoid evening walks, or stay in well-lit, highly populated areas.
  • Don’t let your guard down just because you have a fence. Coyotes have been known to jump fences that are 6 feet tall. Many experts suggest installing rollers on the top and regularly checking to make sure there are no weak spots or holes.

Hazing 

One of the best preventative measures you can take is by hazing coyotes whenever you see them–and no, that doesn’t mean telling them to do a keg stand. “Hazing” is essentially the process of keeping predators from getting comfortable in your backyard. If you were looking at a new house but saw that the neighbors were loud and obnoxious, would you want to move there? Definitely not!

HAZING DOES NOT MEAN HURTING ANIMALS

Hazing is the act of safely scaring an animal away. Unless your life is being threatened and there are no other options, there is absolutely no reason to attack or injure an animal.

  • Always keep a safe distance, and never approach a coyote or other wild animal.
  • Never turn your back or try to outrun a coyote. They have the ability to run 40 MPH (Humans average around 15 MPH).
  • Make yourself seem BIG! Stand up straight, raise your arms and wave them, hold a coat about your head, etc.
  • Create a simple “Safety Shaker” by putting pebbles, pennies, or bolts into a soda can and sealing it with duct tape.
  • Keep your home and yard well-lit–especially during nighttime bathroom breaks with your dog.
  • If you see a coyote and you’re inside, open a window and yell, clap, or make any sort of loud noise to scare it away. Remember: you don’t want them to feel comfortable.
  • Tell your neighbors you’ve seen coyotes in the area, and encourage them to haze them, as well. Team work is always effective!

It’s scary to see any sort of threat to your furry family members. Just remember that as long as you stay cautious, smart, and calm, you’ll be able to keep your pet safe from harm.

 

With all of this rain that we have had, most yards are already almost all GREEN, which is awesome…but, do have some of those nasty burnt spots? Are you asking your self how it is possible that your dog is burning your yard all year round?

Well first, do you know what causes these patches? Dog urine contains a variety of nitrogen compounds and too much nitrogen will burn the grass and thus create those yellow patches in your year.  And guess what? One of the main ingredients in lawn fertilizer is nitrogen.  So when your dog relieves himself in the same spot over and over again – it’s like putting a handful of fertilizer on that spot over and over.180px_h_ProductShot

So how can you fix the problem, you ask?  We have two ways to help you with this…1. Make sure your dog is on a high quality food so that they are processing their nutrients correctly.  2. Dog Rocks® – yes…it’s real, Dog Rocks®!

Dog Rocks® are a 100% Natural Australian product that will save your lawn from those nasty burn patches.  They work by binding the excess nitrogen in the drinking water your dog a better quality of water.  (that will help your lawn ~ remember the main ingredient in fertilizer?) The rocks contain zeolite traces which are often used in aquariums to filter water safely and naturally.

All you have to do is put them in your dogs water…yes it really is that simple!  Just open the bag, rinse the rocks off, place in your dog’s water dish and top off the water to refill rather than start fresh every time.PicMonkey Collage

And if you have a dog that loves to take them out and play with them…no worries!  Just fill a pitcher with water and put the rocks in there.  That way you can use the water from the pitcher every time you fill the bowl and you will still be able to reap the benefits of the rocks.

They work rather quickly…usually within the first 24 hours you will notice your pet will stop leaving new lawn burns.  (Your current brown patches will not go away overnight…you will still need to nurse those back to health, but at least you won’t have any NEW ones!)

Dog Rocks® are safe for any pet sharing your dog’s water bowl (such as cats, rabbits, etc.).  And again, they are all natural…no yeast like in other lawn burn prevention products.  Landscapers have been known to endorse Dog Rocks®, because the appropriate level of nitrogen in your dog’s urine can actually help your lawn!

We carry Dog Rocks® two package sizes.  The small package is a 2 month supply and the large package is a 6 month supply.  You should use the rocks year round too, since your dog will continue to burn your lawn in every season…you just don’t always see your lawn!

You can also visit the Dog Rocks website for more information and some great tips!

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.

In the blog Five Ways to Start the Year Off Right earlier this month, I told you one of the ways to start the off the year right was to feed appropriate diets and supplements.  Do you know what supplements can do to help your pet?

Much like our diet, a dog’s diet cannot be expected to cover every single need their body has.  You may run into a skin and coat issue, or an occasional digestive issue, or quite possible joint issues as your pup ages. And by supporting your dog’s system with a healthy diet and supplements, you are ensuring that your dog will have the be life possible.8b585d469f168a716cbfea7fb285fbcb

Many breeds suffer from seasonal allergies and dry skin from the elements.  This can cause uncomfortable itchiness and a dull, unhealthy coat.  One way you can combat that is with an Omega 3 or a Salmon Oil supplement. Omega 3 acid is a fatty acid that is essential in a dogs diet and is key to a healthier skin and shinier coat.  It also works to help joint, heart and immune system health.  We have several options to choose from, including:

You might also run into the occasional digestive issue (on both ends).  Supplements are a great way to boost your dog’s system on a daily basis to make those episodes fewer and farther between. They can also work as a stop measure should your pooch be experiencing intestinal upset.

Pumpkin is also a great choice for keeping your pooch regular.  These supplements help those pups with diarrhea or even constipation.  You can learn more about using pumpkin from our previous blog: Serving pumpkin has benefits. Here are some options for you in the digestion area:

And of course…

Simply add this supplement daily to keep your pooch regular.  It combats gas, facilitates regularity, firms up loose stools, soothes and protects the GI Tract.

Finally, you are going to want to protect your dogs joints.  This is something that you do not want to wait to do!  You don’t wait until your car runs out of gas on the side of the road, instead you stop at the gas station.  Think of your pups joints like that…supplements that contain glucosamine are great for chronic arthritis pain, relieving swollen joints, morning stiffness, inability to run and play as well as age related immobility.  They can also help protect and heal cartilage, tendons, and ligaments.  They are also great for providing a strong base for your pup to draw from as they age.  Here are a few supplements you might want to consider:

Hopefully you will look at making one of these a part of your dogs everyday life! Stop by any Two Bostons store to see all of our supplements and feel free to ask one of our Team Members for help with choosing the right one for you and your dog.

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!

 

During the Holidays everything gets a little more chaotic than normal…you may not be able to watch Fido or give him as much attention as normal. Which means he may get into some items around the house that may cause him harm and you don’t even realize it.  Here is a quick list of some items to look out for this holiday:poinsettia

  • Poinsettias – they may cause irritation to the mouth, vomiting and/or diarrhea
  • MistletoeMistletoecauses digestive upset, but can potentially cause cardiovascular problems
  • Hollygastrointestinal no no!
  • Batteriescontains caustic, corrosive materials that can result in chemical burns if chewed or ingested
  • Alcoholic beverages and/or chocolateincreased heartbeat and it can make your pet very very sickwaterinbowl
  • Christmas tree watercontains fertilizer or preservatives that can be toxic to pets and over time it becomes moldy, stagnant, and not fit to drink
  • tinselElectrical lighting cordssome dogs consider them a chewing toy which can result in severe burns in and around the mouth and gums
  • Christmas tree tinsel or ribboncauses intestinal blockage and can actually cut into intestinal tissue
  • Potpourriliquid or dry may have toxic flowers in the mix so keep up high just for safety

 

Here are some other Winter Pet Hazards that you will start to come across as we start to get into the cold, snow and ice:

  • AntifreezeIt has a sweet, pleasant taste, and even the smallest amount can be fatal.  Keep out of reach, and check your local automotive shop for a pet safe brand…clean any spills the best you can.
  • Ice-melting productsthey can be irritating to the mouth and skin, ingestion may include (depending on the ingredients) vomiting, depression, or excessive drooling.
  • Rodent killersas it gets cold outside mice will move indoors for warmth causing us to get a pesticide to keep them out.  Keep these out of reach of the pets, you don’t want an unexpected vet visit.

37fef05e03447118e5be51de834c2bf9The one thing that I will say is…be observant of your pets behavior, and make sure all hazardous items (to the best of your knowledge) is out of Fido’s reach this holiday season! We all know it is hard to communicate with our pets, so they might get into SOME trouble…with that, please always keep your vet’s phone number in an accessible spot just in case of an emergency.

Wow…I feel like that was a lot to take in!  Now, let’s have a safe, happy and stress free holiday.

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 some individuals who may wrinkle their noses and argue insistently that they’re reluctant to walk a dog wearing any type of “bootie.”cold_feet

But here are some other truths to consider: It’s true that if the weather gets cold enough, our pets are extremely vulnerable to frostbite.  It’s true that snow and ice (and sun-baked pavement, dirt trails, and sand in the summer) can cause burns, cracks, cuts and even bleeding abrasions on the underside of a dog’s paws and in between 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 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? It is because like all dogs, they perspire from their paws.  This moisture accumulation can cause little ice clumps to form high up between each paw pad.  So even if there are no cuts or other abrasions, these chunks of trapped ice can cause extreme discomfort.

muttluks-fleece-lined-boots-purple-1When the temps really start to fall and we need to protect our own pups’ paws, we like Fleece Lined Muttluks Dog Boots. Muttluks, since 1994 have been designed and made in Canada (you know they know about the cold!).  They are not just fancy footwear for your canine, they provide superior performance and “Pawsitive Relief” for your four-legged companion.  Available in several sizes and colors the Fleece Lined Muttluks feature warm and cozy fleece interior ideal for winter protection.

 

 

They also have:

  • Self-tightening straps to provide a secure fit
  • Reflective straps for nighttime visibility
  • Genuine leather soles for a soft flexible fit
  • Comfortable adjustable stretchy leg cuff
  • Machine washable
  • Distinctive, reusable cloth mesh packaging that can be used for storing and washingHdoggers_on_legs_white_back_low_res

If you are new to trying boots on your dog…for the first several minutes after you put any type of footwear on them for the 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 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.

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 in finding the best fit for your dog.  If you cannot bring your dog with you, put his paw on a piece of paper, trace around it, and bring in the tracing.

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 Fleece Lined Muttluks Boots to help protect sensitive pooch paws.  In the long run – or even the short walk – your pup will thank you!

This time of year you see pumpkin in everything: drinks, side-dishes, pasta, cookies, bread, and of course pie! For as much pumpkin we eat this time of year we can all be grateful that it  good for us!  You are probably wondering how eating pumpkin pie can be good for you…well it has three grams of fiber per one-cup serving and only 49 calories.  It is loaded with antioxidant-rich Vitamin A and beta carotene, energizing potassium and iron, plus Vitamin C.

gettyimages-492269311Guess what?!? Pumpkin is also good for your dogs and cats! It is probably best not to have them eat actual raw pumpkin but canned, natural, unsweetened pumpkin; pumpkin seeds; and cooked fresh pumpkin have numerous benefits for our furry friends.  The same goes for plain, pureed sweet potato.  These powerhouse foods can help “squash” a variety of pet-related issues and ailments and support the following areas:

Digestive Health: Thanks to their fiber content, pureed pumpkin and sweet potato (again, not pie filling, but plain with no added sugar or spice, like the canned variety made by Fruitables) can help dogs and cats with bouts of constipation and diarrhea.  Adding a tablespoon or two to their regular meal (in proportion of your pet’s size) has been proven to help keep them regular.  Both is also very effective when it comes to calming upset stomachs in pups and kitties.

fruitables-pumpkin-switch-canFood Transition: If you’re transitioning your dog to a different or healthier food, you definitely don’t want to risk upset tummies or messy stools.  Fruitables Pumpkin Switch is a great transition aid that provides a calming digestive “buffer.” It calms the stomach and eases digestion to make the transition much easier.  Simply add a spoonful or two to your pet’s bowl as you begin to include higher proportions of the new food.

Skin, Coat, and Urinary Health: Pumpkin seeds are high in essential fatty acids and antioxidants, so they help support overall healthy skin and fur.  According to several vets that we have talked with, the oils in pumpkin and its seeds can help support urinary tract health over time as well.

fruitables-sweet-potatoWeight Management: My dog has put on an extra pound or two over this past year because she has a toddler that likes to give her the food he doesn’t want…I have simply reduced a portion of her breakfast and added in some plain canned pumpkin or sweet potato (such as Fruitables Sweet Potato SuperBlend).  She loves the flavor, and it keeps her feeling full all while helping shed a couple extra pounds.

If you would like to learn more about the pet-related benefits of pumpkin or sweet potato, ask anyone of our Two Bostons team members.  They can give you their insights and suggestions specific to your dog and cat.  Don’t forget that you can also try a range of treats, snacks and supplements that feature pumpkin and sweet potato, like Fruitables.

Dave Grooms, Owner of The Oak Brook Kennel Club and a PetTech Certified Pet CPR & First Aid Instructor shares critical information on building your home pet first aid kit.

Dave-InstructorEvery pet owner should have a separate first aid kit for their animals.  Why?  Your dog or cat (or turtle or lizard) doesn’t need band-aids.  So called Pet First Aid Kits can be expensive and are many times just re-hashed people first aid kits.  Check them out online.  If they contain band-aids – you know the manufacturer simply re-labeled a people-produce.

We think a better alternative is to build your own kit.  First, find a plastic tackle box or a clear plastic box with a lid – preferably with a handle.  Next, pick up these essential items:

  • 8 – 10, 4-inch gauze squares to control bleeding (bigger if you have a larger pet)
  • 1 rapid-read thermometer and a small tube of Vaseline
  • Flashlight – used to find a splinter, check eyes or mouth
  • Antiseptic wipes
  • Tweezers
  • Antibacterial ointment
  • A muzzle – either purchased or made from a 2″ wide strip of felt cloth (4′-6′ length)
  • 3 – 4, 2-inch wide rolls of gauze tape or ‘vet wrap’ to place over gauze squares and to apply pressure on wounds
  • 2 -3 instant cold compresses for stings and sprains
  • A pair of scissors to cut fur, a leash or collar
  • Hand sanitizer and disposable gloves
  • Cotton swabs
  • 3 – 4 sanitary napkins – great for deep lacerations
  • A list of your pet’s allergies and medications plus one phone number to your nearest 24 HOUR emergency care Veterinarian Hospital

 

Pet Tech Logo - New 11-09In an emergency, time is of the essence.  Building our own pet first aid kit means you’ll know exactly what you have on-hand during an emergency.  You’ll shave precious seconds off your reaction time not having to fumble through your kit’s contents.  Don’t forget to label your new Pet First Aid Kit, “For Pets ONLY” in permanent marker.  Most importantly, make the time to show each member of the family where the kit is and what is in the box.  It’s even a good idea to practice applying a bandage to your pet – before an actual emergency happens.

Dave will be on hand for a series of Pet First Aid Seminars, with the first tonight (10/7/2015) and the others later in October and November.  He’ll be presenting critical life saving tips and tricks to ensure your pet family member stays happy and healthy.  He will be doing an informative demonstration of dog and cat CPR, plus demonstrating how to safely approach an injured animal.  For more information about the upcoming Pet First Aid Seminars, visit the Two Bostons Event Page.

If you are reading this, you are probably a pet lover already – so you know and are already reaping the benefits of having a furry family member!  But sometimes, one just isn’t enough…are you wanting to add another pet family member to your house?  Do you (like me!) have to do a lot of negotiating and convincing of why another pet in the house is needed and beneficial…well now you can use this! Pet companionship is proven to reduce stress; increase feeling of contentment; even lower blood pressure.  That’s a lot of advantages from one devoted family member.

It is a fact that multiple pets are good for each other too.  Dogs and cats take cues from others in their “pack,” and will entertain each other while your away.  Adding another cat or dog to a single-pet household can help the current pet with separation anxiety and a younger pet can spark new energy in the life of an older one.

cat-and-dog-snugglingMost vets agree that owning multiple pets can give us pet parents:

Greater peace of mind – When we have to work a long day or be away for an evening, it is reassuring to know that your pets can keep each other company.

A better understanding of each pet – It’s amazing how you will see so many other aspects of your pet’s personality come out around other animals!

dog-puppy1Personal insight – If we pay close attention, each animal can teach us something different about ourselves and those we care about.

A greater sense of gratitude – Watching animals romp and play reminds us how much they live for (and in) the moment – and encourages us to let go of worries about the future or guilt about the past.

If you are thinking about adding another pet to your household, consider the type and breed that would represent the best “fit” for your lifestyle.  Take your existing pet(s) along with you to meet the new pet you are considering.  Neutral, non-territorial settings can help you get a better feel for general temperament, as well as food and sharing issues.  Experienced rescue and shelter personnel can offer invaluable insights that can help you all enjoy a smooth transition!

2015-adopt-a-rama-logo-with-TBlogo

Don’t forget that we have our 6th Annual Adopt-A-Rama coming up on Saturday, October 3, 2015 from Noon – 3:00 pm at Two Bostons – Springbrook…we will have over 20 Chicagoland shelters and rescue represented for you to meet, greet and help find you your next four-legged family member!