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News and Information about Dogs, Cats, and Pet Products

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!

 

 

Is it ever going to feel like Spring outside?!? I am sure our pups are feeling the same way! When it finally warms up and we can enjoy the outdoors, we want to make sure that you and your pups are ready!  Here are a few pointers to make to get your pup out of the house and enjoy a relaxing walk.

1. Collars, Leashes and Harnesses: You want to find a collar that is an appropriate width for the size of your dog. You will also want a leash that is easy to hold and handle. Using a harness to walk your dog is safer and healthier for all dogs, but especially short-faced breeds like Boston Terriers, Pugs, Boxers or Bulldogs. These breeds tend to have necks that are more susceptible to damage when they pull on their collars. Putting a well-fitted harness will be much better for them and will give you more control.

If you have a dog that REALLY pulls (or maybe you want a well-mannered walker) we suggest trying the Freedom No-Pull Harness by 2 Hounds. On the back of the harness there is a control loop, it gently tightens around the chest to discourage your dog from pulling. The harness has four adjustment points and stainless-steel hardware, making it strong enough to hold any dog from 14 to 250+ pounds. They are made in the USA and come in several colors and sizes.

For those of you that like to be hands free while walking, hiking, running or pushing a stroller, we have the perfect leash for you!  Ruff Wear has two leashes: Flat Out and Roamer Leashes.  They can both be converted from a hand-held leash to a waist worn leash with a quick adjustment. They also have a traffic handle positioned close to the E-Z snap hook that lets you take control and rein in your pup.

2. Poop Bags: Let’s face it, they do it! So be prepared…we have several different poop bags and poop bag holders to choose from. There is the regular plastic bag cylinder shaped bag holder, or the more fashionable poop bag carriers. Both kinds will attach to the top of the leash, so they are out of the way but there when you need them!

3. Hydration: If you are just going out for a quick walk around the block you probably don’t need to worry about taking water with you, but if you are on a longer walk or it is a really hot summer day, you will want to make sure you keep your pup hydrated! We have a few different options for you to choose from.

The Gourd Water Bottle & Bowl is perfect for on-the-go people that like to take their dogs along! You can take one water bottle for you and the dog! You drink from the top and just detach the bowl at the bottom and pour water in for your pup. It holds 24 ounces of liquid and the detachable bowl hold 8 ounces. It is also Dishwasher Safe.

4. Pet Corrector: Does your dog act like he hasn’t been out of the house for a year when you start your walks. This can help turn your hyperactive, loud and possibly aggressive dog into a well-behaved pup. The Pet Corrector is a hiss of compressed gas, that is completely safe for animals. Using the spray interrupts your dog’s unwanted behavior and grabs his attention. You control the blast of air, so you can respond to the bad behavior immediately.

Have a fun Spring and Summer enjoying the outdoors with your favorite pup!  If you need help with any supplies or have questions about any of the products mentioned, stop in or call any time!

If you look at a wild canine’s teeth, you’ll see clean, white shiny teeth.

Why? They are eating what nature intended, raw meat, bones, and organs of their prey.

If you look at a domestic canine’s teeth, many times you will find tartar buildup, yellow or brown discoloration, inflamed gums, and maybe even some loose teeth.

Why? They are eating food that has no dental benefits. It is a myth that kibble can help control your dog’s tartar. In reality, it will control tartar just as well as trying to clean your own teeth with granola. Many kibbles also contain ingredients such as sugars, carbohydrates, and starches that cause the kibble to stick to a dog’s teeth. These ingredients are also a food source for opportunistic oral bacteria, which will actually cause further tartar to form. Since these foods do not contain live nutrients and many times contain things like preservatives and dyes, they will disrupt normal flora in the body and can lead to tartar that way as well.

Many people view dental disease as a normal process when there is nothing normal or natural about it. The reason this unnatural process is happening is because dogs are eating food that they are not designed to eat. 

Raw food is the natural diet of your dog and it has a variety of benefits, with the focus of this article being to improve or maintain good dental hygiene.

Raw meaty bones are the best option to control tartar as they provide an abrasive, cleaning action on your dog’s teeth. It’s important to emphasize four areas when providing raw meaty bones to your dog.

  1. The bones must be raw. Cooked bones splinter and can cause harm to your pet.
  2. It is important to always supervise, know your dog and choose a size appropriate raw meaty bone for them. If they tent to gulp, the bone needs to be larger than their mouth or head so that they can gnaw rather than gulp.
  3. If your dog is an intense chomper, it is important to not give them a bone that is very dense as this can cause a tooth fracture. Dense bones are those which are weight-bearing bones of adult cattle, such as a marrow bone.
  4. Remember to handle raw meaty bones the same as you handle your own raw meat. Have your dog work on them in an area that you can sanitize such as a create or outside. Do not allow them to run around your house with a raw bone. Refrigerate or freeze the bone if they have more to work on later.

Raw meat contains live enzymes and probiotics. The enzymes help to keep teeth clean by breaking down bacteria on your dog’s teeth. The probiotics found in a raw diet also maintain normal balance and populations of bacterial flora in the mouth. Both also help to retain pH balance, making it less likely that any harmful bacteria can thrive in your dog’s mouth. Furthermore, it does not stick to a dog’s teeth like a dry food.

Healthy teeth & gums of my raw fed German shepherd

In terms of maintaining healthy teeth and gums, nothing compares to a raw diet. A raw diet is a species appropriate diet for our dogs, meaning it is the easiest diet for them to digest and assimilate nutrients from, as it is in the natural state that a dog’s body recognizes and utilizes. Prevention of dental disease is not feeding a kibble diet and doing regular dental cleanings. Rather, prevention is honoring the natural design of our dogs and feeding and caring for them accordingly. Their body will be better able to maintain health the way it was meant to in the first place.

Pictured are my raw feed dogs: Lolo (border collie), Bella (Italian greyhound), and Onyx (German shepherd)

Dr. Erin O’Connor is an AVCA Animal Chiropractor and ACAN Naturopathic Carnivore Nutrition Consultant. She sees patients out of her clinic, Vitality Chiropractic Center in Aurora, as well as Autumn Green Animal Hospital in Geneva. For further information, visit myvitalitychiropractic.com or email Dr. O’Connor at drerinoconnor@myvitalitychiropractic.com.

 

Every year we make a new years resolution and most of the time it has something to do with getting in shape, or making healthier choices. What about doing the same for your pets? Here are 6 simple ways to improve your pets health and wellness this year!

1. Feed a Healthy Diet ~ Wanting our dogs to live a long healthy life is an obvious thing, but in order to do that they need to have the healthiest and most nutritious diet…this means a diet that closely resembles what a dog would eat in the wild. If you ask any of our Team Members we would say that the BEST is a raw diet, but for most this is not doable.  The most important thing to remember when choosing a diet for your dog is that it is GRAIN FREE.

2. Regular Wellness Checks ~ Your dog or cat cannot tell you if something is hurting or if they feel sick. You can do at-home checks on your pets between taking them to the veterinarian.  Most times pet’s are not taken to a veterinarian until an illness has already progressed past the point of stopping or reversing it, so by checking your pets at home you will be able to notice changes that may need to be treated or checked out.  Having a wellness check with a veterinarian twice a year is ideal for healthy pets.

3. Healthy Weight ~ 45% off all dogs in the U.S. are overweight or obese, while 55% of all cats in the U.S. are overweight or obese…this is crazy to me! This usually starts with feeding too much or not the right food. To also maintain a healthy weight see #4! An unhealthy weight can lead to many health issues.

4. Exercise, Exercise, Exercise! ~ We need to do it, so why wouldn’t our pets need to, too? Exercise to our pets means taking regular walks, running, chasing, and anything that gets their heart pumping!

5. Be Social ~ I know you don’t sit in your house all day, every day, never going out, talking to people and being social. Again, your pets don’t want to do that either. Let your dogs get out, make friends and be social. Check out some dog parks or bring them to the Breed Socials at Two Bostons!

6. Play, Play, Play ~ Is your dog bored with his toys and getting into more trouble or chewing on things he shouldn’t? Go through your dog’s toys and weed through the ones that are worn, broken, or simply are not played with. Get a new puzzle toy to stimulate your dog’s brain. Or maybe one that you can play together. We have several different toys to choose from, we will help you find the right size and durability for your pup!

We hope that these 6 tips will help you and your pets be even happy and healthier in 2018! Stop in anytime and we can help get you on the right track with food, treats, toys, supplements, leashes, and more!

 

It is COLD Outside…actually it is freezing outside!  I was hoping that it was only going to last a few days and then be back into the 30’s for the rest of the winter, but that doesn’t look like it will be the case this year.  Here are some tips to keep your pup safe during the cold weather.

Limit time outside – Even dogs with thick, heavy coats can still feel cold.  Our pets can also get frostbite and hypothermia just like we can. Not even an Arctic sled dog is meant to spend long periods of time outside during the winter. Only take them outside for any length of time if they are going to be active and exercise.

Bundle them up – Small and short haired dogs especially need a little extra help when it is cold out. You may also want to give the puppies and older dogs a little extra warmth because it can be hard for them to control their body heat. If you need a new sweater or coat, look at our warm dog coats on our website or come in and we will help!

Protect their Paws – Your pups paws are very sensitive and in the winter ice, snow, salt, antifreeze and de-icers can be very harmful to your their paws and pads. Make sure you wipe down their paws after coming inside.  You can also get Mushers Secret Paw Protection by Top Dog that creates a wax barrier to protect their paws against particles and harsh temperatures. And you can get dog boots so they can enjoy walks and outdoor fun still in the winter!

Don’t leave them in the car – We know not to leave our pets in the car when it is hot out…same goes for when it is cold too!

Know the Signs – If you see your pet doing any of the following, get them inside right away:

  • Whines or acts anxious
  • Has ice on her body
  • Can’t move or they slow down
  • Won’t stop shivering or is weak
  • Looks for a warm place to burrow

If you see any of these signs of frostbite and hypothermia call your vet right away.

At Two Bostons we have several sweaters, coats, boots, blankets, beds and more to keep your pups warm and cozy during the winter months. Stop in and any of our team members can help you today!

 

 

Before the holidays and everything gets to chaotic in the house, take a quick look over these 10 common holiday items that are poisonous to our pets and make sure you don’t have any of them laying around.

  1. Christmas Trees and Wreaths – Christmas trees can cause nausea and vomiting, but are only mildly toxic, but if the large amounts of needles are consumed, this can lead to possible blockage or a GI tract getting punctured. The water from the tree could also contain toxic fertilizers too.
  2. Lilies – These beautiful flowers are extremely poisonous to cats. Just a small leaf or flower petal can cause sudden kidney failure. Daffodils are also poisonous to both cats and dogs.
  3. Grapes, Raisins and Currants – All of these can cause kidney failure in dogs, so don’t leave the fruitcake out for the dogs!
  4. Poinsettias – Most of us have heard that poinsettias are extremely poisonous to our pets, well, this is actually a hoax…you don’t want your pets to eat them, but it is only mildly toxic and will just cause nausea and vomiting.
  5. Chocolate and Cocoa – The chemicals in chocolate and cocoa can be highly toxic to dogs and cats. Small amounts will cause usually lead to vomiting and diarrhea, but a large amount can lead to seizures.
  6. Alcohol – Don’t leave your drinks around for the pups to lick out of…alcohol can be extremely toxic to pets. Their blood sugar and blood pressure can drop severely, cause respiratory issues and all can lead to death.
  7. Xylitol – This is a sugar substitute found in sugarless gum and candy. Cats can usually tolerate Xylitol, it is very toxic to dogs and can lead to low blood sugar and liver failure and then to death.
  8. Holly and Mistletoe –  Holly and mistletoe can vary on how toxic it is, but most are mild, again causing nausea and vomiting and some may cause heart issues.
  9. Fatty Foods – Your dogs and cats may have a taste of chicken or turkey from time to time, but don’t over do it with the fatty foods.  Eating too much can lead to pancreas and liver problems in cats and dogs.
  10. Liquid Potpourri and Snow Globes – We all love our homes smelling amazing and it always gets us in the holiday spirit, but if your pets take a drink of it it can lead to chemical burns and trouble breathing. Snow Globes can contain harmful chemicals, like antifreeze, that is very very poisonous and often leads to death in even small amounts.

Other items to look out for: 

  • Candles can make your pets curious, you don’t want them to get knocked over or get burned.
  • Wires, batteries, plastic and glass can all be deadly if ingested.
  • Tinsel can make cats very curious, but if ingested can lead to blockages and ruptures and expensive surgery.

If you think that your pet may have been poisoned, take them to the veterinarian immediately or call the Animal Poison Control Center at (888) 426-4435. By calling you will be billed a consultation fee.

Have a wonderful and safe holiday season!!

 

 

Happy Holidays!…or were you a bit embarrassed by your dog’s behavior at Thanksgiving and now anxious about Christmas? Your dog was probably anxious too with all the smells of incredible food and the extra carousel of visitors coming and going.

Now with Christmas in sight, in addition to the foodie smells and visitors, the whole house seems to have changed decor too! There are 4 levels of anxiety that you can quickly figure out how stressed out your dog is and if Fido should stay to hangout or if your visitors should be letting Fido have a solo holiday in the other room.

Amber Walker, KPA CTP, Owner & Trainer, Animal Intuitions, LLC. You can contact Amber at 630-53-PUPPY (630-537–779),  Amber@aitrainers.com or www.aitrainers.com

 

Before the crowds, dropped food crumbs, and Holiday dinners and parties..stop and pick up some pumpkin for your pup! Why pumpkin you may ask, well pumpkin 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!

And while it is amazing for us, it is also amazing for our pets, I don’t mean the actual raw pumpkin that you dig out on Halloween, but the 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 the fiber content, pureed pumpkin and sweet potato (again, not pie filling, but plain with no added sugar or spice, like the can from 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 with it comes to calming upset stomachs in puppies and kitties.

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.

Weight Management: If your dog has put on an extra unwanted pound or two, just simply reduce a portion of her breakfast and add in some plain canned pumpkin or sweet potato (such as Fruitables Sweet Potato SuperBlend). They will love the flavor and it will keep them full, all while helping she a couple of extra pounds (I wish it was this easy for us!!).

If you would like to learn more about the pet-related benefits of pumpkin or sweet potato, ask any of our team members and they can give you insights and suggestions specific to your dog and cat. We also have a range of treats, snacks and supplements that feature pumpkin and sweet potato.

 

 

This Saturday (9/30/17) is our 8th Annual Adopt-A-Rama and we are so excited to see adoptable pets find new homes! This event has grown so much over the years and we now have over 20 shelters and rescue that will be attending to educate you on adoption and meet their dogs and cats.

If you already have a pet at home and you want to another, it can sometimes be difficult to know how to go about picking out and introducing a new pet into your home.  Here is a quick checklist of things to look for:

  • Consider the personalities of your existing pet(s), look for a new addition with specific traits. Adopting an older pet has a big advantage – most older pets have already been exposed to other species in their past, which can really streamline the socialization process.
  • If your dog tends to aggressively chase, pin, or otherwise “manhandle” cats, it’s probably best to consider getting another dog instead. And, a cat who constantly growls and bats, or hides from dogs would probably prefer the company of another cat.
  • If you have a pup who loves chasing things, consider avoiding a fearful or shy new addition. This can sometimes trigger a dog to chase.
  • Ignore the old wives’ tail – Bringing a highly energetic, rough-playing pet home could bring “new life” to your existing elderly pet companion. This pairing could actually terrorize or even hurt your older furry friend. Look for an upbeat, but calmer new addition. The extra company can still do wonders for an older animal.
  • Pick a neutral location to introduce your existing pet and the prospective new pet. Pick a somewhat airy, open area that neither pet considers “home turf.”
  • After bringing you new furry friend home, periodically rotate which pet has freedom to roam and which one is more confined for the first few days. This allows each animal plenty of space to investigate the other one’s scent.
  • Never leave two newly-acquainted pets alone together and unsupervised. This should be managed very gradually over about 3-6 weeks.
  • In the case of dogs and cats, the cat will often “claim” higher territory and let the dog “have” the floor spaces. Try adding a few high up perching features (shelves or pieces of furniture) to your living area to help both animals feel comfortable.
  • Don’t hesitate to work with a qualified animal behaviorist who can often suggest very specific and effective strategies for helping new furry family members get comfortable with each other.

If you have other questions about introducing or training a new pet, Allie Bender, owner of Pet Harmony will be on hand at Adopt-A-Rama this weekend to talk to you and answer your questions! We look forward to seeing you on Saturday at Two Bostons, Springbrook from Noon-3:00 pm.