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News and Information about Dogs, Cats, and Pet Products

Did you know that February is National Pet Dental Health Month? It is…really!

Here are some fun facts about your dog’s teeth:

  1. Good oral care can add about 4 to 6 years to the life expectancy of your best friend.
  2. Puppies have 28 baby teeth and start to get their adult teeth at around 4 months. They will end up with 42 permanent teeth.
  3. The number one myth of pet oral hygiene is that eating a diet of kibble keeps the teeth clean. This is simply not factual. It would be like us thinking eating cereal or a granola bar keeps our teeth clean. Kibble leaves a coating on the teeth than needs to be removed.
  4. Dogs can and do get gum disease ~ and it hurts.

What are the symptoms of gum disease?

Yellow and brown build-up of tartar near the gum line, red and inflamed gums, and yes stinky (and persistent) bad breath.

You can certainly make oral care part of your dog’s grooming or vet visits; however, it is easy to take steps at home to ensure great oral health as well.  Here are just a few easy at home options:

Dental Bones by PawsIQ ~ These dental bones have all natural ingredients of chlorophyll (from alfalfa), parsley, fennel, dill, and peppermint that work together to freshen breath from the inside out. Dental Bones can also help remove tartar and plaque as your dog chews on their new favorite treat. Protect your dog’s teeth and gums the natural way with this made-in-USA treat! No wheat, soy, corn, artificial flavors, animal by-products, no gluten, no added sugars or salts.

Zymox Breath Freshener by Pet King Brands, Inc. ~ This fine focused spray contains enzymes that inhibit harmful odor-causing bacteria and remove plaque biofilm. Maintain your dog or cat’s oral health and freshen their breath with this gentle, soothing formula. It works great to help eliminate dryness, irritation, inflammation and redness. Relieves and protects your pet’s mouth tissues. It is safe to use every day, and contains no alcohol, xylitol or chlorhexidine.

Twistix Vanilla Mint Dental Treats by NPIC
~ There’s no need to get all twisted about oral care when you have these dental treats.  They freshen breath, help remove plaque, and your pups will love chewing them! This dental treat has a vanilla side that’s specially formulated to clean teeth and scrub plaque and tarter while your dog chews. Then there is the mint side, with peppermint, parsley and alfalfa to make breath smell kissable clean!

Stop in and talk to one of our expert team members about what the best product is for your pet and lifestyle!


Elizabeth McClellan2





This is Tilly, and she approves this message!!



Spring is just around the corner!  So, I figured it was time for Tilly’s “Spring Sprucing.” When the warm weather rolls around, she is ready to be outside and that means it’s time to stock up on some grooming products!  I have gathered a few of my favorite products from Two Bostons, that I truly believe in full heartedly…from on true and trusted dog lover to another, allow me to elaborate on these amazing products that your pets will simply love!

Blueberry Facial Dog Shampoo by South Bark:

DSC06274Oh my goodness, gracious, blueberry galore!  I’ve had my eye on this shampoo for about a year…some call me indecisive, and they are probably right.  I’m an analyst, I want the facts, no assumptions allowed.  After hearing so many great things about this shampoo, I decided to give it a go!

I was amazed…Trust me, you want to try this one!

Blueberry facial is gentle, soothing and it brightens all coats.  It did not leave any residue at all and she actually licked the shampoo from her face while I was lathering her up.  What makes this shampoo so tasty? Well, lets take a closer look shall we? Blueberries, Jojoba, coconut oil, avocados and aloe.  Jojoba oil, the ONLY oil that resembles sebum (naturally produced by the oil glands below the skins surface) making it INCREDIBLE for your pets skin and coat.  Coconut oil, fights yeast and fugal infections.  Best of all, it is incredible for soothing joint pain.  It gets better, avocados and aloe: two ingredients that soothe and moisturize at the same time!

Mineral Spa Shampoo by Reliq:

alll the gooooddsLet’s talk about Reliq for a moment…this is a shampoo with NO oil residue, leaving the coat moisturized and soft.  Think clay masks but for dogs. The benefits of Aztec clay masks are endless, many naturopaths use clay masks for healing skin aliments and even arthritis.  Reliq has a nano-enhanced mineral which acts as a medicinal powdered clay.  The clay absorbs excess oils, toxins, dirt, etc. It’s no wonder this shampoo stimulates your pups skin and removes odors instantaneously.

Zymox Enzymatic Shampoo by Pet King Brands:

Last by certainly not least, Zymox.  Unlike humans who start sneezing and coughing during Seasonal changes, dogs usually get itchy dry skin. Zymox works tremendously well for itchy skin.  It is safe for puppies and kittens as well as adult dogs and cats.  If you notice your dog itching and he is already on a healthy grain free food, it’s possible that the seasonal changes got the best of him.  Zymox will help soothe and moisturize the skin.  There is absolutely NO harsh chemicals, steroids or detergents used in Zymox, also refferred to as the naturalistic approach to medicated shampoos.

No bath, No problem…Earth Bath Grooming Wipes:

greeeeeeenBath time is not always doable.  Earth Bath Grooming wipes are gentle on your dogs coat because they are hypoallergenic (my favorite word)! The wipes come in scented and unscented depending on your preference.  This is a great item to pack in your doggy diaper bag for trail hikes, overnight stays and the dog park!  They are also safe for humans.



Come on by to any of our Two Bostons stores and let the spring sprucing begin!

We all know how important good oral care is for our pets…but sometimes it is hard to stay on on top of it. February is always a good reminder and dental check-in because it is National Pet Dental Health Awareness Month!dog-cat-toothbrush

Do you brush your dog or cat’s teeth?

Probably not…for most of us we would have to tackle them and hold them down, and who wants to go through all of that stress.  So you have probably gotten the chews to keep your pet’s teeth clean between cleanings, which you should still continue to use…but we have a solution for you to get that deep down clean!

Zymox Brushless Enzymatic Oral Care Therapy by Pet King Brands Inc.  Each of these products will provide an excellent oral protection against bad breath, plaque and periodontal disease without wrestling your pets to the ground…because all of the products are BRUSHLESS!

Here is how it works…it contains two patented, natural enzyme systems that inhibit odor causing bacteria from growing and removes plaque. It will boost the natural oral flora as well.  This gentle formula will help eliminate dryness, irritation, inflammation and redness. Plus there is no alcohol, xylitol or chlorhexidine.

You can rub the Dental Gel on the teeth.  This formula provides the highest concentration of cleaning.  It relieves, soothes and protects the mouth from dryness, irritation, inflammation and redness.  This is really great for cats and dogs who don’t drink a lot of water.

The Water Additive is flavorless and you literally just add it to your pet’s water. Yep!  That’s it.  Add it to the water and you’ve cared for your pet’s teeth.  (So no more excuses!) You will get better care if you use the water additive in addition to the gel; however, if you have a pet who’s mouth is just impossible to get near, this is a great option!

Finally, the Breath Freshener. This nifty spray delivers a fine and focused spray to your pet’s mouth.  Simply point and spray.  So easy, yet so effective!

Don’t let another year go by to think about your pets’ oral care.  Check out these great brushless products by Zymox today!  And of course any of our highly trained team members can answer any questions you may have about your pets oral care.


Regular ear care can be one of the most overlooked areas of pet health. I’ve met a lot of pet parents who are a little nervous about cleaning their pet’s ears, because (understandably) they don’t want to hurt or stress their beloved pup or kitty. But routinely inspecting the ears is a great way to catch early signs of infection, allergy, or mite infestation that can be quickly addressed. Good routine ear care usually involves weekly inspection and some type of regular cleansing routine.

Some people like to use the Zymox products we blogged about recently; while others prefer manual ear cleaning. Either method can be effective, and most pets don’t mind ear cleaning once they get used to it. If you’d like to go the manual route, here are a few tips and tricks that can really help simplify the process:

Dog Ear Cleaning

Once your pet gets used to the process, ear inspection and cleaning can be stress-free … and with the right treats, even rewarding!


  • Make regular ear inspection and cleaning part of your routine. Once pets are used to having their ears handled, the entire experience becomes much less stressful.
  • Make sure it’s a very positive experience. We like to use grain-free, low-calorie treats like Fruitables both during and after, and heap on the praise.
  • Do the cleaning when your pet is otherwise unstressed. In other words, right after a bath or a nail clipping is probably not the best time.
  • If your pet is hard to handle (this can especially apply to cats), ask someone to help you. Use as little restraint as necessary, and keep petting and praising throughout.
  • To begin the cleaning process, wrap a small piece of gauze loosely around your pointer finger. This is a safer, gentler option than a Q-Tip.
  •  Moisten the gauze with a bit of liquid ear cleaner. The gauze should be damp, but not soaking wet.
  • Hold the very tip of your pet’s ear flap between your thumb and forefinger, and gently roll it up so you can see the inner part of the ear.
  •  Inspect this area for redness, sores, or discharge. Wax that is light brown in color is pretty normal — but black, red, white, or infected-looking discharge is a warning flag.
  • Gently swab the inner and outer ears. If your pet’s ears haven’t been cleaned for awhile, you may need to use several pieces of gauze. It’s fine to go toward the inner ear — just be very, very gentle. If your pet begins to squirm, stop immediately and praise.
  •  As an alternative, you can slowly squirt 5-7 drops of a “self-cleaning” enzyme-based product like Zymox into the ear. Then fold down the ear flap and gently massage the base of the ear for 15-20 seconds.
  •  It’s generally best to clean your pet’s ears every week or so. Dirt can accumulate rather quickly, and doing a visual check can help you catch an early infection before the area becomes painful and inflamed.

Do you have a special approach that works for you? Share with us below!


As a pet parent who has struggled with chronic ear infections in both dogs and cats, I’m “all ears” when it comes to learning about proven solutions. It’s a myth that only floppy-eared pets get ear infections – chronic ear conditions can strike almost any pet. That’s why I’d like to talk a bit about Zymox ear care products. They not only bring relief to pets, but to their owners as well!

Nobody likes the time-consuming expense of multiple vet visits, and nobody likes to hear their sweet pet whimper or yelp in discomfort. Just like its special shampoo, Zymox ear products use a safe, unique triple-enzyme formula (called “LP3 Enzymes” because they consist of Lacoperoxidase, Lactoferrin and Lysozyme) for long-term maintenance and prevention of chronic ear problems.

Enzymes are naturally occurring proteins that increase the rate of chemical reactions. They won’t irritate sensitive, inflamed tissues; they’re non-toxic for pets and people; and most importantly, bacteria won’t develop resistance against enzymes, as can sometimes happen with antibiotics. Zymox “LP3” enzymes are a very specific blend that work in combination to weaken, split, and destroy bacterial, fungal, and even certain viral infections. The enzymes only react with invading single-celled organisms, leaving healthy cells unaffected.

When it comes to pet ear care, there are two Zymox ear solutions I love. Enzymatic Ear Solution is great for pets with chronic or ongoing ear issues. It’s a once-a-day formula that requires NO ear cleaning, either before or during use. In fact, because the special enzymes work with the body’s own defenses, swabbing and rubbing the area is actually discouraged. This allows the enzymes to naturally react with inflamed areas, debris, and microorganisms. Enzymatic Ear Solution can help clean and relieve discomfort with a single daily dose. It contains a 0.5% hydrocortisone to help reduce redness and calm inflammation — and because it contains no antibiotics, it’s especially good for antibiotic-sensitive pets and extra-squirmy pets who struggle with ear cleaning (you guys know who you are).

If your pet simply has dirty, waxy ears (either naturally or from extended outdoor play), Zymox Ear Cleanser is another great option. It doesn’t contain any harsh chemicals that might irritate or sting sensitive ears. The special triple-enzyme formula combines with gentle cleansers to help break down dirt and debris naturally, quickly, and conveniently. This keeps the outer ear area fresh-smelling, clean, and clear.

If you’d like to learn more about the super-effective Zymox line of ear care products made especially for pets, stop by any Two Bostons store and ask a Team Member to tell you more! In an upcoming blog, we’ll share a super-simple routine for manually cleaning your pet’s ears on a regular basis. This is another great way to notice and head off problems before they even begin.








Today we’re rounding out our February blog series for National Pet Dental Health Month, highlighting several “non-brushing” products that many pet parents find especially convenient and effective in the fight against plaque and tartar.

The oral care products from PetzLife are particular favorites in my household. These are a line of specially-formulated natural products that are designed to eliminate plaque, soothe gum inflammation, help remove tartar, and freshen breath from the moment of application. They’re a great way to help prevent gum disease – without the use of an actual toothbrush!

PetzLife oral care products are suitable for both dogs and cats. Many customers especially love the fact that they’re made in the U.S.A. with all-natural ingredients, and they’re recommended by veterinarians. Several of the ingredients in PetzLife oral care products have natural antimicrobial and antiseptic properties that can help control the bacteria directly responsible for tooth decay, gingivitis, and offensive “doggie breath.” These ingredients are combined in a solution of pure distilled water and include grapefruit seed extract, grape seed extract, thyme oil, peppermint oil, and neem.


Brushless Solutions

There are a range of excellent “brush-less” options when it comes to safeguarding your pet’s dental health. These include (left to right) PetzLife gels and sprays; Zymox enzyme-based therapy; Fleecy Clean chew toys; and Bright Bites chews. Ask our team for additional suggestions!


Let me take a quick moment to mention that this last ingredient, neem, has been a “secret weapon” wellness ingredient I’ve used with nearly all of my pets. It’s literally been around for centuries (Indian households have used it in cooking, lotions, shampoos, and medicines for thousands of years); but it’s appeared on the western healthcare radar only recently. Dr. Oz calls neem a “super-herb,” and there are several holistic pet-care specialists who couldn’t agree more. Its anti-fungal, anti-parasitic, and antiseptic qualities make it an excellent topical healing agent for sores, hot spots, and abrasions. It has a fairly pungent aroma, so many pets are reluctant to lick it off. Yet it’s also safe to ingest, so those same properties make it a highly effective ingredient when it’s mixed into dental health preparations with a more palatable flavor. We always keep some neem oil and neem capsules in our Furry Friend First Aid Kit!

Because of this all-natural ingredient list, PetzLife oral care products are rich in Vitamins A, C, and E; omega-3 fatty acids; and bioflavonoids such as proanthocyanidin (a polyphenol found abundantly in many teas, which has potent antioxidant properties). You can choose from a gel formula or a spray formula, depending on your pet’s preference and the version that’s easier for you to use. The spray comes in a portable 1 oz. size, plus 4 oz. and 12 oz. dispensers; while the gel comes in a 4 oz. and 12 oz. bottle. Both versions also come in two different formulations: peppermint and wild salmon oil. The peppermint flavor freshens your pet’s breath instantly; while the version containing wild salmon oil is great for finicky pets who might need a bit more prompting to accept a new taste.

If you’d like to remove existing plaque and tartar buildup, simply rub the gel or spray the liquid directly onto your pet’s teeth twice a day. Results can vary, but you’ll normally begin to observe cleaner, whiter teeth within the first 30 days. Combined with manual brushing, this type of product delivers an amazingly effective one-two punch against tooth decay and gum disease (though PetzLife oral care products can also be used on their own).

Once your pet’s teeth are looking cleaner and brighter, you can use PetzLife oral care products as a preventive measure at least three times per week. It’s best to rub or spray the solution directly onto the gumline (or as close as your pet will allow) to see the fastest results. Don’t be overly concerned if you can’t reach the gumline directly, because the product will still work with your pet’s saliva as he licks it around in his mouth. Remember, brushing between applications can greatly speed up the process. Your pet may pull back during the first few applications, mostly due to a new taste being introduced. Simply be patient and go slowly, treating the entire application process as a fun game that earns extra praise, ear scratches, and belly rubs.

Two Bostons carries dozens of products that can help protect your pet’s pearly whites for a lifetime. Some of our absolute favorites include Zymox enzyme-based dental gel, water additive, and breath freshener – all of which use the patented Zymox triple-enzyme blend to help break down plaque and soothe gum irritation. Other great “non-brushing” options include Fleecy Clean chew toys, which exert a natural “flossing” action thanks to their durable fibers; easy-to-use Oxyfresh Oral Hygiene drinking water additive; and fun, star-shaped Bright Bites dental health chews. Ask anyone on our team for firsthand insights and additional product suggestions for your specific pet!

The other day a friend of mine started talking about “hot spots,” and given our current arctic-blast weather conditions – plus the fact that there are still about 7 weeks to go until Spring, which translates to about 3 months for Chicago – my frost-addled brain immediately began daydreaming about balmy places like Key West and Cozumel.

But when she mentioned her 6-year-old poodle mix, Russell, I realized this was actually a pet-related conversation and (admittedly, with some difficulty) abandoned my imaginary beach. I made us both another cup of hot tea, which we held between our frozen fingers while she asked me if I’d ever encountered these on my own pups.

The answer, of course, is yes – in fact, most of us who’ve owned dogs long enough have had the unfortunate experience of discovering a “hot spot” at least once or twice. The official vet name for these is acute moist dermatitis, which conjures up just the right amount of “ick” factor. Hot spots can occur almost anywhere on your dog’s body, but common sites include the neck, cheeks, flanks, and thighs. They can be as small as a half-inch in diameter, or the size of a saucer. The affected area often appears red and irritated, bald, moist, weepy, swollen, sometimes even oozing. Needless to say, hot spots are kind of gross-looking – but more importantly, they’re extremely uncomfortable for the afflicted dog. Most pups experience intense itching, which often causes them to lick, chew, and scratch the area. In fact, hot spots can itch so badly that they often drive pups to self-mutilate as they frantically strive to find some relief. Unfortunately, this leads to pronounced (and sometimes rapid) worsening of the condition.

Hot spots can actually be caused any time of year – even in the dead of winter — by several initial triggers. These can include:

  • seasonal, environmental, or food allergies
  • underlying yeast infections or overpopulation
  • mite, flea, tick, or insect bites
  • superficial skin wounds
  • prolonged coat dampness after bathing, swimming, or playing in snow

The problem with hot spots is that bacteria can easily overtake the patch of irritated skin, which then becomes painfully inflamed and can even take on an unpleasant odor. Once the condition becomes this entrenched, your vet may be forced to use potent systemic treatments like antihistamines, antibiotics, and corticosteroids (i.e. prednisone) to break the cycle and calm the inflammatory response.

So as pet parents, is there anything we can do about hot spots? The best treatment is actually prevention, if at all possible. If your pup seems prone to hot spots, consider the foods and treats he’s eating. Are they dry, baked, or in kibble form? Do they contain a lot of starches, like rice or white potato? These can be cornerstones of a high-carb diet, and for many pets (particularly dogs, who are close cousins to wolves), a long-term, high-carb intake can lead to yeast overpopulation and other problems. In cases like these, adjusting your pup’s diet can often help dramatically – our Two Bostons team can provide some helpful guidance in this area. Similarly, adding Omega-3’s to the diet can be a huge help, because they naturally quell inflammation. High-quality fish oils like Ascenta Omega 3, Wholistic Pet Wild Deep Sea Salmon Oil, or Grizzly Salmon Oil deliver an abundant level of natural Omega-3. Since most dogs adore the taste, these products are especially great for picky eaters and can be drizzled right over your pet’s regular meal.

Hot Spot Remedies

Hot spots are an aggravating problem for pet parents, and an uncomfortable affliction for our pups. Fortunately, there are things you can do to help reduce their occurrence and minimize painful itching.


If your pooch already has a hot spot lesion, you can often help to relieve the itch by clipping the surrounding/overlying coat very short, then applying soothing topical agents. Often a bath with Zymox Shampoo is a helpful first step (we’ve blogged about this phenomenal product before) – provided you dry your pup immediately and very thoroughly. Another good option for more generalized itching is Bobbi Panter’s Itchy Dog Shampoo. You may also want to ask your vet to recommend a simple, over-the-counter antihistamine that can help make your pet more comfortable.

After this, you can try treating the affected area(s) with a range of proven topical agents. Pure virgin coconut oil like Coco Therapy (another one of our blog posts)  is very soothing and moisturizing, with natural antibacterial and antifungal (i.e, yeast-destroying) properties. You can also feed coconut oil directly to achieve similar benefits. But because dogs usually love the taste of coconut oil, be aware that you may need to use a cone (or at least close supervision) if you apply it topically to discourage licking. Another good option is Itchin’ for Relief by Happy Tails, which is an anti-bacterial serum that contains natural neem and aloe. It comes in a handy nozzle sprayer for targeted application – and because many dogs naturally dislike the rather pungent aroma of healing neem oil, they’re more likely to leave the area alone. Bowwow Butter Balm is another great Happy Tails product that’s super-emollient. Keep in mind, though, that if your dog has underlying yeast overgrowth, a product containing oat as a top ingredient can often compound the problem. Again, our Two Bostons team can offer specialized guidance.

One particularly effective remedy for managing hot spots is Zymox topical cream and/or spray, both of which are also excellent for basic wound care. These products contain hydrocortisone for inflammation relief, and can be applied one or more times per day. Zymox is made with a unique triple-enzyme blend, which naturally reacts with the infection to form antimicrobial properties. So one advantage of Zymox is that there’s no need to pre-clean the area before application – the cleansing process can actually disrupt this biological enzyme reaction. Both products are gentle and non-toxic, so you don’t need to worry if your pup licks the application site. The topical cream also features a catheter tip, which makes it easier to target hard-to-reach areas or skin folds.

If you’re vigilant about hot spots – evaluating your dog’s diet and surrounding environment, clipping/cleansing/treating any inflamed areas at their earliest appearance – you may often be able to avoid a vet visit altogether. Careful and regular examination of your pet’s coat can help detect these nuisance areas before they become totally unbearable for your pup. Ask anyone on our Two Bostons team for additional dietary, grooming, and management recommendations!


Does your dog lick and chew on its paws all the time?

The other night, I was sitting on the sofa, minding my own business, listening to Diesel chew on his antler. Or, so I thought. He was actually chewing on his paw and crunching his nail in his mouth.

Grrrr… talk about frustration.

Anyone with a dog prone to allergies can feel my frustration. He gets an excellent diet and has amazing supplements; however, he is just a yeast manufacturing machine. Especially this time of year.

That’s why I LOVE this:


I have started to give him “pedicures” at home with Zymox and his incessant licking and chewing has stopped.

How does this stuff work?

Well, it is full of enzymes that have anti inflammatory properties. They work to calm the skin without being irritating or drying. There are no harsh detergents, chemicals or petroleum based bi-products to irritate your dog’s skin further.

It is so gentle that you can use it on puppies and kittens too! Plus, it smells great!

The best trick I found is that I don’t have to give a full bath every time I want to use it, either! I can spot treat and it works like a charm!

So, if you have an allergy prone dog, like I do, be sure to keep Zymox shampoo within reach at all times. Because, sometimes they need that extra help with keeping their skin in tip-top shape. It works for me and I’m sure it will work for you too!

If you don’t want to drag out the foot bath, check out the topical cream or spray as well. Both are very easy to apply and work wonders when you are trying to stop the itch!

We all know how important good oral care is for our pets…but sometimes it’s hard to stay on top of. I mean, how do you brush your dog or cat’s teeth if they won’t let you? Aside from tackling them and holding them down (and let’s face it, that is just too traumatic for the both of you), there hasn’t been much you could do for at home oral care. Sure, there are great chews on the market and ways to keep your pet’s teeth clean in between cleanings, which you should still continue to use; however, getting a deep down clean has been near impossible.

Well, all that is about to change!

Check this out:


Zymox Brushless Enzymatic Oral Care Therapy. Each one of these nifty products provides excellent oral protection against bad breath, plaque and periodontal disease.

How does it work? Well it contains two patented, natural enzyme systems that inhibit odor causing bacteria from growing and removes plaque. It boosts the natural oral flora as well. It is a gentle formula that helps eliminate dryness, irritation, inflammation and redness. Plus there is no alcohol, xylitol or chlorhexidine.

Plus, all the products are BRUSHLESS! Yep, you read that right. Brushless!

You can rub the Dental Gel on the teeth.


This form provides the maximum enzyme contact for your pet and the highest concentration of cleaning. It relieves, soothes and protects the mouth from dryness, irritation, inflammation and redness. This is really great for cats and dogs who don’t drink a lot of water.

The Water Additive is flavorless and you literally just add it to your pet’s water.


Yep. That’s it. Add it to the water and you’ve cared for your pet’s teeth. (Sorry, no more excuses.) You can obviously get better care if you use the water additive in addition to the gel; however, if you have a pet who’s mouth you just can’t get near, this is a great option!

Finally, take a look at the Breath Freshener.


This nifty spray mister delivers a fine and focused spray to your pet’s mouth. Simply point and spray. So easy, yet so effective.

Don’t compromise your pet’s health by thinking you don’t need to pay attention to oral care. Check out these great brushless products from Zymox today!