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News and Information about Dogs, Cats, and Pet Products

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.

We all know it is important to start training right away when we bring a new puppy or adult dog home.  Most of the time we start training the basics like sit, stay and come, but did you know that you should also be training them to go their groomer? No dog owner wants their dog to become fearful of the groomer, and that could very easily happen if you don’t practice and train them to go to the groomer.  Kendra, owner of the UpScale Tail Pet Grooming Salon gave us some great ways to get our dogs groom ready!

10985364_322579197952065_1191382364901231543_n “From sit and stay to practice with grooming techniques it is imperative to make it an all around positive training experience for them because they will have to endure this for the rest of their lives.  Find out what their favorite treat or toy is and only associate it with training and grooming practice times.  Make sure that when you are training them they are hungry; so do not feed them before training.  Dogs are more willing to please you and will pick up the lessons you are teaching them faster if you train them when they are hungry or eager to have their favorite toy.

Where do I practice grooming training you ask?  If you have a small dog, put a towel on top of your washer or dryer and practice grooming them up there.  If you have a large or medium breed dog, put their leash and collar on and close it in the door, this way they cannot leave when you are grooming them.  Another trick is to put peanut butter on the refrigerator door so they can lick it off when you are getting them used to grooming techniques.

Regardless of what type of training you are doing, get them used to being handled.  Put your fingers in and around their ear canals; play with their feet and toenails while sitting on the floor; turn on an electric razor or toothbrush and get them used to the noise.  Reward them with a treat or toy for good behavior.  If they seem to get upset about anything you are doing, do not stop, hold your ground and get them used to the sensations.  If you give in and stop, then they will win and be the boss of you.  If they resist what you are doing have someone stand there with you and feed them treats or play with the toy while you train them. Your pet stylist should be communicating with you if there is an issue that might arise during grooming.  It is very important to listen to your pet stylist and take their advice, doing this will only make grooming a better experience for your pet.  For your pets’ to overcome their fears about grooming and/or life in general, it is important work together as a team and not rely on your trainer or pet stylist to fix the issue.”

 

logo-refined-PenTool-webAddress For more information about Kendra and The UpScale Tail Pet Grooming Salon you can visit their website at www.theupscaletail.com or follow them on Facebook at www.facebook.com/TheUpscaleTail.

 

 

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Here at Two Bostons, we’re always emphasizing the importance of regular dental care. According to many vets, taking good care of your pup’s teeth can actually increase his or her lifespan by two to three years! It’s one of the simplest ways to improve the quality of your dog’s life, and we have plenty of fantastic products to help you on your quest for awesome oral hygiene. One of our favorite NEW dental treats? Merrick Dental Chews!

Merrick is the same company that brings you those extra-yummy-looking (and extremely healthy) canned pet stews such as Turducken, Wingaling, Cowboy Cookout, and many more. Recently, we not only started carrying their matching treat line of protein-packed, grain-free, gluten-free Kitchen Bites and Power Bites (featuring adorable little shapes!), but also their brand NEW dental chew line.

MerrickDental

One of my favorite things about these all-natural dental chews is that they are all grain free, which is pretty hard to find in a dental bone! (Although it’s worth noting that even though we DO carry certain grain-containing dental treats in our stores, they contain such a small amount of grain that most dogs can handle them without issue). These Merrick chews are also gluten-free, and don’t contain sorbic acid or the color additive sodium copper chlorophylin. Another great plus? They are chicken flavored, so picky dogs who turn up their noses at some of our more “minty” treats, such as Breath-less Brushless Toothpaste or Terrabones, will love the savory taste! I know that’s why Shenzi definitely craves these dental chews. Pups will think they’re getting a fantastic new treat – while YOU know that each specially-shaped chew is actually cleaning and fighting tartar on the surface of their teeth.

Just like many of our other dental chews, Merrick dental chews come in a variety of shapes, textures, and sizes including Flossies, Texas Toothpicks, and three different bone sizes (Mini Brush Bones, Lil’ Brush Bones, and Big Brush Bones). This makes it easy to find just the right one(s) for your pup. We already know about the goodness of Merrick canned foods and treats, so I highly suggest you give these dental chews a try as well. When used in conjunction with other oral care items such as toothpaste and water supplements, they can do wonders for your dog — while saving YOU the headache (and expense!) of canine oral health problems. Stop by and see us today to try out these awesome new teeth-friendly treats!

 

 

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Hello again! Ever since warmer weather got underway a few months ago, dog owners have been noticing the return of an all-too-familiar problem: SHEDDING! Even the shortest coats can become a nuisance; and unless you just love to accessorize your outfits with clumps of pet fur, owners aren’t exactly fond of all this extra hair lying around. In the past, we’ve talked about the Furminator and its awesome ability to reduce shedding by eliminating the undercoat of loose fur. Today, Shenzi and I are here to share another fantastic brush alternative that really gets rid of all that loose hair — the Zoom Groom by Kong!

The Zoom Groom is essentially a rounded rubber brush that’s unique because it “sucks” the loose fur off your pup’s coat like a magnet. The fur sticks to the rubber — which makes the brush extremely easy to clean. Plus, because it’s made of pliable material, it’s also extra-gentle on sensitive pet skin and won’t scratch or irritate your pet. Zoom Groom comes in a number of snazzy colors, and it’s perfect for cats too. Cute little dog and cat designs are even featured right on the brush!

 

ZoomGroom_Pics

Shenzi definitely felt pampered — and the ZoomGroom definitely felt full of loose fur — after our “spa day” grooming session.

 

Shenzi is a German Pointer/Italian Greyhound mix (and probably a few other things besides!), so she has very short hair that doesn’t need much more than a bath every few weeks to stay looking fresh and groomed. She sheds a fair bit, but I was curious to see just how much loose hair was really hanging on her coat. After using the Zoom Groom, I was amazed at how much actually came off! I got at least a handful of fur off my mid-sized, 45 pound dog!

Zoom Groom was super-easy to use, and the hair collected in a neat little pile near Shenzi’s tail which made cleanup a breeze. Best of all, my girl absolutely LOVES being groomed with this tool! She got down and stretched out to make it easier for me, which shows just how relaxed she felt with a soft rubber brush as opposed to hard wire bristles that could scratch up her skin and make her uncomfortable. After our brushing session, Shenzi’s shedding was noticeably reduced for about two weeks with just a few quick touch-ups in between.

So if you’re looking for a gentle yet super-effective brush option that is perfect for dogs with sensitive skin, grooming anxiety, or shorter coats, I’d definitely recommend coming in to try out the Zoom Groom today. Your canine or feline friend will feel like they’re getting a soothing massage, and you (along with your favorite black pants) are sure to notice the difference right away!

 

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After the looooong Chicago winter we’ve had, everyone’s excited to start spending more time outdoors – and our pets are leading the charge! It’s important to remember, though, that a number of pesky parasites start popping up in the warmer springtime weather. It’s even more important to realize that your pet can be exposed to some of them without setting a single paw outside. Some of the top offenders are shown beneath the photo:

Springtime Pests

Unfortunately, by the time you have an itchy or uncomfortable pet, a pest infestation may be well underway. Arming yourself with information is always the best defense.

 

Fleas & Ticks
My vet once described the tick population as “the world’s tiniest freeloaders.” This is because they hang out on flower stems and grass blades, just waiting for an unsuspecting pup tummy or human leg to happen along. And once they’ve hitched a ride, they’re easily brought into our homes on fur or clothing. A tick that has attached itself to a host can transmit dangerous ailments to pets and people, including Lyme disease and Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever. Remember, too, that unseen flea eggs and larvae can cause an infestation before you’re even aware they’re present.

Heartworm
A recent study found that nearly a third of cats diagnosed with heartworm were indoor-only kitties with zero access to the patio or backyard. Why would this be? Because carrier mosquitoes can easily meander indoors whenever somebody cracks a window or opens a screen door. That means all of our pets are at risk.

Intestinal Parasites
Pets can be exposed to these in a variety of ways: via contaminated water, soil, or plants; even through contact with the fur or feces of infected mice, chipmunks, or other wildlife. Giardia, for example, is a single-celled parasite that occurs worldwide and can be spread from pets to humans. Pups often pick it up through harmless-looking puddles or the unpleasant and dreaded inclination to sample “goose poop paté” from the lawn. For this reason, it’s best to discourage curious sniffing in these types of areas.

Fortunately, your vet can assist with parasite testing, preventive measures, and treatment. But it’s also reassuring to know there are a range of totally natural, gentle, eco-friendly products that can discourage (and sometimes even prevent) certain pest infestations. One of our Team favorites is Vet’s Best Natural Flea & Tick Spray, which contains no harsh cedar oil or pyrethrins. Instead, it uses aromatic peppermint oil and clove extract to repel ticks, fleas, and mosquitoes. Another is Flea the Scene by Happy Tails, a handy 3-in-1 spray containing natural botanical extracts, aloe vera, and sunscreen to discourage fleas and ticks while soothing and sheltering sensitive skin. Environmentally friendly Flea Flicker! Tick Kicker! by Ark Naturals is yet another. The fresh-scented formula leaves no oily residue and it’s extremely easy to use: you simply spray it on, and massage it in.

So as you’re stepping out with your best furry friend to enjoy sunnier springtime weather, just remember that an ounce of awareness (paired with a pound of prevention) can be worth its weight in gold. Stop by any Two Bostons store, and ask our Team to tell you more about these and other safe, natural pest products!

 

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It’s every pet parent’s worst nightmare – you’re out on your nightly walk, your dog wanders off to investigate a nearby bush, and suddenly you’re overcome by a terrible smell … your dog has been skunked!

It can happen in an instant, and once it does, many dog owners are left wondering what to do. Sure, friends and family will probably suggest a bath in tomato sauce, but will that really do the trick? Probably not — and even if it does help get the scent off the DOG, you’re still left with a trail of skunk smell all over your house, on your furniture, maybe even on you! Plus, have you ever tried cleaning up an actual tomato-sauce bath?

The fact of the matter is that tomato sauce only masks the skunk smell, and you need to neutralize it. Neutralizing a smell means removing all traces, and that’s the only way you’ll ever return your house to its pre-skunked state. Fortunately, here at Two Bostons we carry a very simple solution should you ever find yourself in this situation. It’s called Skunk Odor Eliminator by Unique Natural Products, and it should definitely be your number one go-to cleaning product if your pup crosses paths with a spooked skunk.

Skunk Odor Eliminator is made right here in the USA, from all-natural ingredients. This means it’s extremely safe to use on your pet. It’s also very concentrated, however; so remember to mix it with water before applying to your pet. Do NOT just pour it directly from the bottle onto your pet’s skin! Once you’ve mixed 3 parts water with 1 part Skunk Odor Eliminator, you can apply the solution to just about anything that has been exposed to the skunk smell. That includes furniture, collars, leashes, clothing, and of course your pet. All of these will be smelling fresh again in about 20 minutes!

Unique Skunk Bath

Unique Skunk Odor Eliminator is a sure-fire way to get your pet smelling fresh and clean again. Need to sweeten the deal for a sudsy, squirmy pup? Our Skunk Biscuit is yummy at bathtime, or anytime!

 

Unique is so confident in the effectiveness of Skunk Odor Eliminator that the product is backed by a money-back guarantee if you’re unable to remove the skunk smell. Unique’s website also provides expert tips for those extremely stubborn aromas that just won’t come out in one treatment. The company’s mission is to help get your pet smelling fresh and clean again.

So next time you’re at any Two Bostons store, pick up a bottle of Unique Skunk Odor Eliminator. It’s always smart to keep one on hand – because you never know when your pet will be the victim of a stinky skunk attack, and you definitely DON’T want to be caught unprepared!

While you’re visiting, check out our bakery case for a super-cute springtime favorite: our stripey-tailed Skunk Biscuit. This is actually an all-natural peanut butter biscuit in adorable disguise. It contains good-for-your-pup ingredients like real peanut butter, applesauce, honey, and coconut. We consider it the perfect extra-TLC treat for any pup — those who have been skunked, and those who are just too stinkin’ sweet!

 

When it’s springtime in Chicagoland, it’s hard to know what kind of weather you’re going to get. One minute it’s sunny. The next it’s raining. Then it’s snow … no wait, sleet. Then it’s 65 … no wait, 75 degrees. Sometimes this can happen in the course of a single day. Other times it happens over the course of a long lunch hour.

This is why we get pretty darn enthused whenever someone mentions the Dirty Dog Doormat by Dog Gone Smart. It lets us welcome our pets inside, while leaving that unpredictable springtime mess at the door.  The mat’s made of super-absorbent microfibers that dry five times faster than most ordinary door mats. But don’t let the plush, snuggly texture fool you into thinking this mat is just a big softie – it can actually hold up to 7 times its own weight in water and mud! All that tracked-in dirt, moisture, and sludge soak themselves into the fibers, then stay locked inside the mat so floors stay clean and dry.

 

Dirty Dog Doormat Pictures

If you’ve ever been greeted by this kind of sight at your door, you’ll really appreciate the amazingly absorbent qualities of the Dirty Dog Doormat.

 

If you take a close look at the Dirty Dog Doormat, you’ll notice thousands of soft, noodle-like strands extending from its backing. Without delving too deeply into basic geometry or physical science, these microfiber strands create an extra-large surface area. Essentially, this allows the entire mat to act like a giant sponge that wicks away moisture. We put our dogs into a “sit” position, then tell them to “stay” on the mat while dirty water from their paws, legs, and tummies drips down and soaks in. The sturdy non-skid backing keeps the mat firmly in place (even when I’m holding a treat and my drippy pups get squirmy). When the mat becomes too soiled, we just place it into a plastic bag, carry it to the laundry room, and toss it right into the washing machine!

The Dirty Dog Doormat is also fantastic for use inside a dog’s crate, or underneath food and water bowls. And it’s really effective in place of regular cotton or terrycloth, when it comes to actually “toweling off” a wet pet. We especially like to use it in the car when our pups come back from romping around the dog park. The fact that it’s so lightweight and easy to wash makes it super-portable – and our dogs like the fact that it’s super-snuggly too. Stop by any Two Bostons store with your best furry friend, and give the Dirty Dog Doormat a test-drive today.

Springtime is a lovely season that means blooming flowers, budding trees, and the fresh scent of morning dew. It can also mean mud, dirt, mulch, bugs, and pollen; with occasional whiffs of skunk or lawn fertilizer thrown in for variety.

Come to think of it, all of these are great reasons to check out the award-winning Bobbi Panter line of pet shampoos, sprays, and conditioners. If you consider your pet family, these products are an ideal way to return some of that unconditional love while keeping your pet looking (and smelling) fantastic. Originally developed for Bobbi’s blind dog Bobo following eye surgery, the Bobbi Panter line is custom-blended according to very specific guidelines. Each variety – the Signature Line, Bobbi Panter Natural, and Bebe & Cece Dog Shampoo — is made in the USA with high percentages of natural ingredients and essential oils. Plus each one is safe for cats!

Bobbi Panter bathing products are also completely SALT FREE. I’d never stopped to consider why this could be a benefit, until a dermatologist asked me to think about how an ocean swim dehydrates human skin and hair. That’s when I considered what salt could do to pet skin, fur, and eyes. Most shampoos contain sodium chloride and/or sodium laurel sulfate as cheap, effective thickeners – but essentially, these agents have the drying and stinging effects of table salt. Because Bobbi Panter formulas don’t contain salts, they’re completely pH-balanced and tear-free. The essential oils can penetrate skin and fur more deeply; and the gentle detergents rinse away more completely.

Bobbi Panter Products

Bobbi Panter pet products are salt-free, skin-softening, and even safe for cats — though she makes kitty-specific products as well. Ask any Team Member for details!

 

Bobbi Panter has also selected some common-sense names that make it easy to choose just the right formula. Her Signature Line, for example, includes products like Itchy Dog, Stinky Dog, and Baby Bebe Puppy Shampoo – all pretty self-explanatory. I often suggest that pet owners try using the Itchy Dog and Stinky Dog formulas together, because many skin conditions that lead to itching can often cause odor as well. Other favorite products include Gorgeous Dog, which contains natural coat brighteners and leaves behind a fresh, peachy fragrance; Bad Hair Day Dog, a convenient shampoo and conditioner in one; and Charlie Dog, which contains clove oil, lavender oil, cedarwood, and citronella to naturally repel fleas, ticks, lice, and mosquitoes.

Stop by any Two Bostons store for a complimentary sniff today. We’ll be happy to recommend some of our favorites (and don’t forget to ask about the super-convenient dry spray, too)!

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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!

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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.