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News and Information about Dogs, Cats, and Pet Products

If you’ve been following along with our travel blogs, you should be an expert on navigating airports with pets! Well…maybe not an expert, but certainly someone with more confidence than the average traveler! With the hustle and bustle of airports, you can never know what to expect 100% of the time, but hopefully you’re at least feeling better prepared. If you’re just joining us, or missed an installment, be sure to check out Part I and Part II for helpful tips, tricks, and links!

We’ve already covered security, leashes, and carriers, so for our Grand Finale, we present to you:

The Ultimate Airport Pet Packing List

The Basics

  • Paperwork
    • Remember what we talked about in our previous blogs. Always have copies of your tickets, any appropriate identification for you/your pet, and–if you’re having any extra anxieties–copies of rules and regulations from the official sites of airlines/airports just in case you need to pull them out.
  • Leashes, harnesses, and TSA approved carriers (check out Part II for more details)
  • A collar with a tag that has the pet’s name, address, and best number to reach you. We suggest your cell since you won’t exactly be able to answer your home phone if your pet runs off in an airport!
  • Medication
    • Whether you’re a human or an animal, you should always keep your meds in your carry-on. Lost luggage = lost medication if it’s not with you at all times. If you have any liquid medications, then be sure to check protocol on the TSA website!
  • CBD or Anti-anxiety supplements
    • These work absolute wonders for scared cats and dogs! We always suggest Super Snouts as a go-to brand for CBD products, but if you prefer herbs and essential oils, then Herbsmith also has some great stuff.
  • Gulpy Water Bottle
    • Hydration is key in any situation! Rather than carry around bulky dishes for water, just tuck this in your bag! It’s about the size of a regular water bottle and easily transforms into a portable water bowl for your pet.
  • Food
    • Freeze Dried is our strongest recommendation for travel. Most quality food brands design their recipes to be interchangeable with one another, so if your pet typically eats wet or frozen food, they should be okay to temporarily switch to freeze dried for ease of traveling.
  • Bowl
    • Like for water, it’s great to have a portable food bowl! The Gulpy Water Bottle can actually work great for food, as well, or you could try out a collapsible bowl like the awesome ones that Kurgo makes.
  • Waste Bags
  • “Pee-pee” Pads
    • Since there won’t be a ton of places for your pet to relieve themselves, we always advise people to bring along some puppy training pads for sort of a “makeshift bathroom”. We love the Gridlock Pads because they’re super absorbent and help neutralize odors.  They can also be cut down to size to make a lining for carriers!

The Bonuses

  • Treats
    • This one seems pretty obvious, but you’d be surprised how many people forget to grab them in the midst of all the other packing chaos! Treats are not only a great reward for being brave, but also a great way to distract from outside stimuli.
  • Toys
    • We know your pets have a toy that they absolutely adore, but just remember that noise-making toys are best left at home. Like we talked about in previous blogs, it’s important to be courteous to others, and most people aren’t going to want to listen to squeaking or jingling for hours on end! Chew toys and plush toys with no noisemakers inside are the best ways to go.

Have you ever flown with pets before? Are there any tips you’d like to share? Tell us about it in the comments!

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!

Summer (especially around the 4th of July) can be very stressful, especially if the furry family member gets anxiety during these hectic months. Does your pet have anxiety or stress from thunderstorms, fireworks, separation, travel, or their crate? Or do they show symptoms of stress and anxiety by excessive barking and whining, shaking, panting, drooling, clawing, hyperactivity, digging, hiding, or clinging? If your pet has any of these symptoms, Two Bostons has the solution for you!

Thundershirt: This amazing invention takes just a few minutes to put on and a visible difference can be seen in minutes! The Thundershirt is a lightweight, machine-washable spandex and Velcro wrap that works by exerting gentle, constant pressure all around your pet’s rib cage. After putting it on it provides direct feedback to your dog or cats brain – just like when you swaddle a new born baby.

The Thundershirt works…A survey of customers reports an impressive 85% success rate among pets experiencing anxiety or stress.

Anxiety and Stress Calming Supplements ~ These supplements paired with the Thundershirt can work wonders for your pets.

Happy Traveler by Ark Naturals: This was designed by a holistic veterinarian and PhD herbal scientist to ease anxiety and motion sickness. This is a great option for a quick fix…think of it like taking an aspirin for a headache. The active ingredients in Happy Traveler include Valerian, German Chamomile, L-Tryptophan and St. John’s Wort, all well-known herbs for their calming effects. It comes in pill form or chews and is a safe, non-toxic option for your dog or cat. Results most often can be seen in 45 minutes.

Rescue Remedy by Bach: Bach is a trusted name in natural remedies and this is a variation of the original stress relieving remedy that has been available for more than 70 years. Rescue Remedy contains a blend of five flower remedies: Impatiens, Star of Bethlehem, Cherry Plum, and Rock Rose in an alcohol-free formula, ideal for sensitive pets. The dropper allows you to easily administer it to your pet. For best results, simply place four drops into your pet’s mouth. Or you can add the drops to food, water, treats or even rub it into your pet’s nose, paws or ears.

July Third by Herbsmith: An immediate calming supplement for dogs. The herbs in July Third help keep your pet calm by promoting a sense of relaxation naturally. The B vitamins and amino acids help regulate mood and support a normal emotional balance. All the active ingredients in this immediate calming supplement provide fast-acting, natural tranquilizers that will keep your dog calm for a brief period of time. For best results give your pet the recommended amount of chews a couple hours before the stress is expected to occur.

Help your pet (and you) have a stress-free Summer with a natural calming supplement and Thundershirt! Stop in today and we can answer any questions you might have, show you a Thundershirt and find the best solutions for your furry-friends!

 

 

It looks like this weekend Summer is going to be heating up…which is a good time to remind pet-parents about the dangers of Heat Stroke in our four-legged friends. Could you imagine wearing a winter coat when it is 90° outside? That is what it is like for them during the summer.

What is Heat Stroke?

Heat stroke is a term used for hyperthermia or elevated body temperature. If your pet’s body temperature is at 103°F or above, that is considered abnormal or hyperthermic. When the body temperature reaches 106°F without previous signs of illness and is most commonly associated with exposure to excessive heat that is often referred to as heat stroke.

What Causes Heat Stroke?

Many people believe that heat stroke is limited to when a dog is confined in a small or enclosed place during high temperatures, such as a car. Yes, this can be the most common cause but there are also many others. Your dog can be affected by moving from cool places (like the A/C in the house or car) to outside. Extreme exercise and outdoor play can induce heat stroke as well.

What are the Symptoms of Heat Stroke?

  • Unexplained Restlessness
  • Excessive Panting
  • Fluctuating Panting
  • Excessive Drooling
  • Foaming at the Mouth
  • Dry or Tacky Gums
  • Difficulty Breathing
  • Agitation, Whining, Anxiety

If you notice any of the signs listed above, work quickly to cool your dog and get in touch with your Vet as soon as possible.

How to Prevent Heat Stroke?

The number one way to prevent heat stroke is PLENTY of WATER! Shade is also a must if you are outside in the heat for extended periods of time. It is also important to limit your walks and play outside to the early morning and late evening hours. Having a Gulpy Water Dispenser by Kyjen is an easy way to keep your pup hydrated while out on hot days!

Remember, dogs don’t release heat from their bodies as well as humans do. Heat stroke is a very real (and sometimes fatal) risk this time of year. By keeping your furry friend cool, giving access to plenty of water, and limit large fluctuations in temperature, you will help avoid the dangers of heat stroke this (and every) summer.

 

 

Open Farm is one of our newest and fastest growing brands! Over the past year they have went from having dog and cat kibble, to having treats, then Freeze-Dried food and now they have Rustic Stews and a recycling program!

Open Farm Rustic Stews is a wet dog & cat food made with 100% human grade ingredients with humanely raised meat, sustainably sourced fish, nutritious veggies and superfoods like coconut oil, pumpkin and turmeric. The best part about this wet food, compared to others is that it comes in a BPA Free, re-sealable tetra pak that are easy to serve and store!

Adding Open Farm Rustic Stew is a great way to increase the moisture content of any kibble, which is important for the overall health of any dog or cat.

Come in between June 1 – 30, 2018 and purchase Open Farm dog or cat kibble and receive a rustic stew tetra pak for free!

Open Farm just keeps everyone on their paws with their new products and new programs. They just released the first nationwide bag recycling program! As part of their environmental program, Open Farm has partnered with TerraCycle, a leader in the recycling industry, to launch the first North American pet food bag recycling program. Finding that 95% of pet food bags were not recyclable, Open Farm set out to find a solution for their packaging. They now provide customers with a free and easy way to recycle their Open Farm bags, converting them into brand new product instead of sending them into the landfill.

Bring in your Open Farm kibble or freeze-dried bags to recycle during the month of June and get a $5 coupon for Open Farm (expires 8/31/18).

Stop into any Two Bostons and we can show you all of the Open Farm line of pet food and treats!

 

At Two Bostons this weekend (5/17 – 5/20) we are having our Annual Toy Buy Back.  For each gently-used toy you bring in you can get up to $5.00 credit to purchase a new toy that day. (click here to see all of the details)  Here are a few toys to consider for Summer Fun!

Orbee GuRu by Planet Dog ~ This new interactive, super durable toy is perfect for the dog that needs a new challenge. Fill each of the 5 openings with something different like kibble, bully sticks, carrots, apples, Planet Dog Treats (like the Turkey Gobbler or Barkin’ Blueberry), peanut butter or a your dog’s favorite treat. The GuRu is designed for your dog to get the treats when enough pressure is applied for them to pop out. It scores a 5 out of 5 on the Durability Scale!

American Classic Plush Toys by P.L.A.Y. ~ Let your dog indulge with an amazing plush burger, drumstick, hot dog and fries this summer! And don’t forget the milkshake for them to wash it down…They are all have crinkly paper inside and most have detachable parts to keep your dog entertained for hours!

 

Tether Tug ~ Check out Beamer trying out the Tether Tug!  This is the perfect outdoor toy to keep your dog busy and active!

 

Breath Right Fetch Ball by Chuckit! ~ The Breath Right Fetch Ball is designed to allow your dog to run farther and fetch longer during playtime. The hollow, mesh-like design allows breathing and airflow while running and fetching. It is great for the pool or lake, because it floats! It is compatible with all Chuckit! Launchers and is available in two sizes.

Ultra Ball Launcher by Chuckit! ~ With this ball launcher you won’t have to worry about arm fatigue, because it will allow you to throw up to 140 feet with the flick of the wrist! Plus, no more getting your hands all slobbery, you can pickup the ball without touching it!

There are several other toys that are sure to keep your dog entertained this Summer, indoors and outdoors!  Check out our full selection online or at any of our stores!

 

 

Does your dog frequent dog parks?

Do you use an over-the-counter flea and tick preventative or on a medication that might cause liver damage?

Does your dog have digestive issues?

If you said YES to any of these, you might want to give Milk Thistle a try!

Milk thistle is a plant native to the Mediterranean and has been used for thousands of years as an herbal remedy. In the first century it was documented to be used as a remedy for poisonous snake bites. Now, it is commonly used as an ailment for liver, kidney and gallbladder problems. The seeds in milk thistle contain a flavonoid called silymarin, which protects the liver from toxins. It has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties that may help the liver repair itself and block the entry of toxins resulting in regeneration of liver cells and improved liver function.

Here are some ways that milk thistle works:

  • Reduces fibriotic activity
  • Strengthens the membranes of liver cells to prevent damage from toxins
  • reduces the action of liver enzymes responsible for causing inflammation of the liver
  • Enhances protein synthesis by increasing RNA activity, and stops absorption of toxins in the liver

Here are some circumstances that Milk Thistle would be beneficial:

  1. Digestive benefits – It prepares the digestive tract to start producing a hormone called gastrin. Gastrin starts the production of gastric acids and bile, which help in digestion and the breaking down of fats in the small intestine. Milk thistle has a mild laxative quality to it that helps to lubricate the stools and prevent both constipation and diarrhea.
  2. Dogs that take Phenobarbital or another medicine to help control seizures caused by canine epilepsy – One side effect of Phenobarbital is possible liver damage. Drugs such as Phenobarbital, when processed through the liver, can cause inflammation and scarring of liver tissue.
  3. Dogs that frequent dog parks – For dogs that spend time at the parks you are probably using something more than just a topical flea and tick medication. Over-the-counter flea and tick treatments, such as Frontline and K9 Advantix are pesticides and for it to kill and prevent fleas and ticks, the chemicals must enter the blood stream through the liver. Permethrin that is used; for example, can slow down the nervous system. Milk Thistle will help flush the chemicals from the liver and rebuilds those cells that may have been damaged by the pesticide.

We carry Milk Thistle by Herbsmith at all stores. It comes in a 75-gram powder form bottle, and we can order larger bottles upon request. Come in and talk to us anytime if you want to learn more or have other questions!

 

As April and National Canine Fitness Month is coming to an end, I thought I would give you some canine fitness tips and ideas to keep your dog active all year long!

First, the most important thing with canine fitness is maintaining a consistent routine! It is not only good for our dogs, but for us too. So, you might ask, what does consistent look like? Well, I think that it is different for everyone. Getting a daily exercise in might be almost impossible because of our busy lives, but it is recommended that our four-legged companions get 3 – 4 workouts per week.

Here are some fitness activities to try out:

Get Walking!  The most obvious and easiest exercise for most.  The fresh air is always good for you and your dog! Check out our Weekly Walks that start on May 3, 2018 at Two Bostons, Downtown Naperville!

Active Play. Throw a ball, Frisbee, or another fetch toy in a safe environment.  Run or jog with your pet to retrieve it to get some exercise yourself!

Hide and Seek. Place your pet’s daily allowance of treats behind doors, under bowls and chairs or around the yard for them to run and find.

Yoga! While doing Yoga, incorporate some of your pet’s obedience skills. When you go into cobra, ask your dog to lie down, when you move into downward dog, have him sit.

Obstacle Courses. Creating an obstacle course inside or outside with a small amount of equipment, like using cones, chairs, pool noodles will create a fun workout for both you and your dog.

Shadows. Many of our dogs are our shadows, following us around everywhere we go. Take advantage and encourage them to participate when you put on a cardio or yoga video. When you shuffle across the room, grab a toy and lure them to do the same.

The key is to make movement fun for both of you, to develop a healthier lifestyle and bond with your four-legged family members!

 

Over the past several weeks we have been talking about getting your dog ready for Spring and Summer, showing you must have products for walks, and outdoor adventures. You might have noticed that we have not mentioned and don’t carry retractable leashes.  Here is why…

Injuries – Retractable leashes can cause injuries to humans and dogs.

Human Injuries: If Fido suddenly jets past you to get that squirrel, the thin-string on retractable leashes can zip across your exposed skin (or your child’s) in less than a second. If the dog’s collar were to suddenly break and come off, the leash cord would retract with such rapid force that it could strike you (or someone else) in the face, teeth, or eyes.

Dog Injuries: When your dog bolts on a retractable leash and they hit the end of it, their back and neck can be seriously injured from being suddenly jerked.

Injuries to Both: The retractable string can get twisted around your hands, another person’s ankle, your dog’s neck and legs, a tail or even a pet’s neck. If your dog senses he’s hog-tied and thrashes around, it can cause the cord to pull tighter. This could lead to a life-threatening situation in a matter of seconds.

Cord Breakage – Many retractable leashes are not strong enough to handle the dog that is attached to them. If a dog bolts or takes off running they can often snap the then line or tape before you even realize what happened. And even worse, the plastic hand-held retractor may come out of your hand and go banging down the pavement after your dog, causing him to panic and rush into traffic or a busy bike path.

Boundaries – Retractable leashes encourage dogs to pull. If we as pet-parents don’t provide consistent boundaries, how is Fido supposed to knowwhat is acceptable? Sometimes with retractable leashes they are given 2 feet, sometimes 6 feet, and if they pull a little harder they might be given 10 feet. Then, when you only give them a few feet they begin to pull (because normally this results in getting a few more inches or feet, right?) and they are instead “corrected” because you are in a busy area and not behaving well. What?? How confusing for Fido!

Uninvited Meetings – Retractable leashes allow your dog to approach other dogs for an unwanted meet-and greet. This might just lead to an irritated owner, but it could cause the spread of disease, disruption of a healing injury, or even a sudden and aggressive dog fight.

Instead of worrying about injuries, and hoping for good behavior, you can provide guidelines and boundaries that your dog needs and desires to have a great walk with a standard (non-retractable) leash. Ask any of our Team members to show you some dependable, sturdy standard-leash options!

 

 

When the seasons change, it seems that we always want to do some cleaning…we have some awesome products to make sure that your dog and your house get clean this Spring!

Reduce the stress of bath time with this new Aquapaw™ Bathing Tool. It is the first wearable combination sprayer-scrubber giving you total control during bath time.

  • You can ‘Click’ ON and ‘Click’ OFF the water flow with one hand by just making a fist and pressing the button, allowing you to have one hand on your pet at all times
  • One-size-fits-all straps that can quickly and easily be adjusted and worn on either hand
  • Comes with an adapter for either the shower or the garden hose
  • Includes an 8 foot hose

If your house has hard-wood floors and you are constantly looking to see what you can and can’t put on them…we got it!  Nature’s Miracle Hard Floor Cleaner Dual Action Stain and Odor Remover is specially formulated to safely remove stains and odors from hard surfaces. It has a finish-protect technology that cleans deeply while protecting natural floor coatings on sealed wood, ceramic tiles, vinyl, linoleum, brick, and grout. It will quickly remove stains and the odor-locking technology seeks out, traps and works to destroy the stain and odor.

Don’t let your dog track mud into the house, the Mudbuster™ by Dexas provides you with a quick easy way to get their paws clean. The silicone bristles will remove the dirt and mud from paws, keeping the mess in the MudBuster and not on your floors. It is easy to use:

  • Just add water
  • Insert the muddy paw
  • Do a little twist
  • Dab dry
  • Repeat 3 more paws

The Dirty Dog Doormat is great for this unpredictable Chicago weather.  It will let you welcome your pets inside, while leaving the mess at the door. The mat’s made of super-absorbent microfibers that dry FIVE times faster than most ordinary door mats and it can hold up to 7 times its own weight in water and mud! All the dirt, moisture that is tracked-in will soak themselves in the fibers, then stay locked inside the mat so floors stay clean and dry. You can toss the mat right into the washing machine when it becomes too soiled. The Dirty Dog Doormat is also great insides a dog’s crate, underneath food and water bowls or in the car.

Stop into any Two Bostons store and ask our team member to show you these products and others to keep your pet and your house clean!