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News and Information about Dogs, Cats, and Pet Products

Here’s the thing about Ziwi Peak: it’s so good that your pet most likely thinks they’re getting a bowl of treats for dinner! This is definitely one of our go-to foods for picky eaters. Most pets LOVE the taste and if they eat just a little bit, you know they are getting a mouthful of super high nutrition. The jerky-like consistency is great to use as a food topper or as an entire meal.

 

All Ziwi Peak food comes straight from, you guessed it, New Zealand! We know that might be a little confusing since we usually stick close to American-made food, but New Zealand actually carries some of the highest quality livestock in the world. In fact, a lot of the brands we carry source their lamb from New Zealand for that very reason. All of their animals are free-range, and eat only high quality organic food. They also tend to be generally healthier than animals in other areas of the world since New Zealand is virtually free of diseases like rabies; one of the many benefits of living on a remote island!

Speaking of living on islands, Ziwi Peak fully utilizes both the land and sea to source their ingredients. Fresh green tripe is used to make food more palatable and support healthy digestion while green-lipped mussels add in an extra boost of natural glucosamine for joint health! Even though they only make up about 4% of what’s in the actual food, it’s still good to know that Ziwi is making every last ingredient count.

What’s the other 96%, you ask? Meat, organs, and edible bones. That’s it! No grains, legumes, fillers, or nonsense. Just delicious New Zealand protein that goes through a natural air drying process to become the food your pets can’t get enough of. It’s the closest you can get to feeding raw without actually feeding raw! In fact, it’s so close that we even suggest pet parents who exclusively feed fresh use it as a “backup” for when they’re out of town and trying to make feeding as easy for the sitter are possible.

Whether you’re thinking of switching over completely, using it as a fresh feeding backup, or simply looking to add a little New Zealand flavor to your pet’s bowl, it’s always good to have a bag or can on-hand!

Have you caught the bowl boosting bug? Check back with us every Wednesday to learn easy new ways to pack some extra nutrients into every meal!

 

 

Welcome to Kefir: 101, the crash course about one of our favorite bowl boosters! See that cauliflower-ish stuff up there? That’s what is commonly known as the kefir “grain”, but actually, it’s not a grain at all. It’s a culture made of billions of helpful bacteria and yeast which work in combination to give your pets some amazing health benefits.

The kefir grain is typically not consumed on its own, but rather made by infusing it with a dairy product. For humans, this dairy base can range anywhere from traditional cow’s milk all the way to almond milk, however, we usually recommend that pets drink it as cow or goat’s milk. It’s a natural process with very few steps, meaning you won’t be left with additive-filled chemical goop. Essentially, the grain is left in the milk for a period of time to let it ferment. Once the required time is up, the milk gets strained and bottled while the kefir grain is recycled to make another batch.

But what happens when it goes from the bottle to your pet’s bowl, or more importantly, their stomach? The bacteria (remember, it’s healthy bacteria!) works to do things like regulate your pet’s digestive system, relieve allergy symptoms, and support their immune system. It’s also known to have antibiotic and anti-fungal properties, as well as extra skin, coat, and teeth support!

When you start your pet out, we suggest doing it gradually, just as you would with any new food. It’s easiest to use as a meal topper, but you could feed it on its own as well! Just mix a teaspoon – tablespoon’s worth (depending on your pet’s size) with their food a few times a week, and voilà! You’ve got yourself a yummy, natural supplement that also adds variety to your pet’s diet.

Whether you’re a first time user or an old pro, we always recommend Open Farm kefir as our go-to brand! The milk itself is 100% Certified Humane®, and only comes from cows that are pasture-raised, hormone-free, and antibiotic free. You’ll also find organic cinnamon and turmeric for some extra antibiotic and anti-inflammatory benefits!

You can take a closer look on our website here, however, we only sell it in-store to ensure proper refrigeration.

Have you caught the bowl boosting bug? Check back with us every Tuesday for easy and effective ways to add extra nutrients to your pet’s diet!

 

Taurine is one of those things you’ve probably seen mentioned all over the place lately but when you go to research, every article you find is written in medical gibberish. Fear not, pet parents, we’re here to break down exactly what it is and why your pet needs it–no dictionary required!

In a nutshell: Taurine is an amino acid that is exclusively found in animal-based proteins. It works to keep our pets’ bodies functioning properly, especially for normal vision, heart health, digestion, and reproduction.

Why it matters: While cats and dogs naturally can produce taurine, dogs just barely produce what they need and cats are physically incapable of producing enough to ensure healthy functions. While this might sound a little alarming, your furry friends can get more taurine through their diet!

Where does taurine come from: As mentioned above, taurine only naturally occurs in animal proteins, which is one of the many reasons it’s crucial for your pets to get as much meat as possible! Hearts are especially jam packed with it, but there are also supplements available. Most pet food brands are conscious about the amount of taurine in their recipes and add in additional taurine if necessary.

How to make sure your pet gets enough taurine: Feeding fresh is almost always the answer when it comes to boosting your pet’s health! Even if they only eat two fresh meals a week in addition to their current diet, you’ll see a world of difference in everything from your pet’s coat, energy levels, poop (it’ll become less smelly and smaller!), and, of course, taurine levels. Fresh food is the closest you can possibly get to what an animal would eat in the wild without actually releasing them in the woods to catch their own dinner–that means it has optimal nutritional benefits!

Another option is to start including fresh or freeze dried treats into your pet’s routine. Remember how we said that hearts are one of the best sources of taurine? You can actually feed freeze dried hearts as a yummy snack! Some of our personal favorites are the Freeze Dried Chicken Heart Bites by Fresh Is Best. It’s a single-ingredient snack that’s 100% American-made. They’re even so tasty that both dogs AND cats love them! You can check them out in our stores or order them online here.

You can also easily add daily supplements to your pet’s diet. There are quite a few good ones available but our go-to and most trusted is Herbsmith’s Taurine Boost powder. It’s as simple as adding a spoonful to your pet’s bowl and giving it a quick stir!

 

In conclusion: Taurine isn’t as complicated and scary as the internet makes it out to be!  Remember: if you still feel unsure, confused, or have questions, reach out to us. We aren’t kidding when we say we could talk about pet wellness all day!

Have you caught the Bowl Boosting Bug? Check back with us every Tuesday to learn more little ways to add big nutrients to your pets’ bowls!

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!

It’s no secret that flying is way faster than driving. But if you want to travel with your pet, does that mean you’re doomed to keep your feet–or tires–on the ground forever? Definitely not. Flying with pets is very, very possible. The real question is: do we recommend it? Yes and no. No matter what, traveling with animals can be tricky. Airports can definitely be tougher for pets than cars because there’s so much extra stimulus and unfamiliarity.

That being said, for all of you who have your eyes to the skies, we’ve got everything you need to know to help make pet travel as painless as possible with our brand new traveling tips series! But before we get too ahead of ourselves, let’s start with the most important part of airport traveling:

Following TSA & Airline Guidelines

The number one rule of traveling with your pets is to never assume you know everything. For those of you who have traveled before, you know that airports are constantly changing procedures and rules. Yes, the changes might be small (seriously, do you want us to put our backpacks in bins or not???) but that small change can be the difference between whether or not you’ll get on your flight. That’s why you should always check to make sure you’re up to date on all rules and regulations. We’ll provide links to the official TSA sites, but here’s the gist (as of 3/22/2019):

Getting Screened

  • Smaller pets must be in hand held carriers at all times except for the x-ray tunnel where you must remove your pet from the carrier and carry them through the human checkpoint.
    • TIP: Have a leash ready to put on your pet as soon as they are out of the carrier–yes, even for cats. Even though you’ll be carrying your pet, it’s a good safety measure in case they get spooked. TSA officials will not make you remove anything that helps control/identify an animal.
  • Larger dogs may walk with you, as long as they are on a leash at all times.
  • You may be subject to extra screening such as a hand swab to make sure there is no residue of explosive devices.
  • Return your pets to their carriers at the re-composure areas away from the screening point.
    • TIP: If you are ever unsure of anything then ask for help! TSA officials will be more than happy to assist however you need.
  • TSA regulations for service dogs and animals.
  • TSA screening process for animals.

Airline Guidelines

Hooray! You got your pets through the scary metal detectors! The next step is getting them on the plane. Remember that all airlines have different rules, so it’s crucial to do your research. You can’t just show up at the gate with a pet and expect to be let on board. When you initially buy your ticket, you’ll have to make sure you book a spot for your pet, too. If you are at all unsure of whether or not you’ve done this right, it’s always a good idea to call the airline’s helpline.  Every airline is different in terms of in-flight rules and regulations, so we strongly encourage you to do as much research as possible beforehand. Here are links to the regulations for the four major domestic airlines:

TIP: ALWAYS go to the airline’s official website to learn about what is and isn’t allowed on their planes. And when in doubt? Print it out! If anyone questions you, have copies of any receipts or pages from their direct website stating that you’re complying with all the rules.

We cannot stress this enough: follow all the rules! They really will make the difference between stress and success.

To learn about finding the right leashes, harnesses, and carriers, check out out Part II here (x)!

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

Don’t Leave Food Out

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

Always Supervise Pets

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

Hazing 

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

HAZING DOES NOT MEAN HURTING ANIMALS

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

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

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

 

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!

 

 

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!