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Having Fun In the Sun

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When dog owners travel to sunny locales with their pups, they require products that will deliver both the fun and the safety for a day at the beach, lake, pool or park. Hot weather and elements like sand and salt add risks to these outdoor adventures, but with the right product mix, retailers can help their customers prepare for a day of fun in the sun.

Paws Aboard manufactures numerous products designed to keep dogs safe in and around water. The most popular items from the company are their life jackets. Previously, Amber McCrocklin of Paws Aboard said that the jackets perform well because of the quality construction and happy colors. In addition, the designs have a mesh underbelly, which allows for a comfort fit and for quick drying. The back of the jackets includes a handle, which is a safety feature for both the dog and owner; if the dog falls overboard, the owner can quickly grab the dog by the handle.

McCrocklin emphasized the importance of her products for safety—for both the person and the dog. For instance, the Pool Pup Steps hook to the side of a swimming pool to allow a dog easy access in and out. Similarly, the Doggy Boat Ladder provides an easy exit, reducing the risk of a dog seriously straining or injuring his joints.

In the heat of summer, asphalt and pavement can burn the pads of dogs’ feet. For beach-bound vacationers, sand can irritate their toes, while the salt from the ocean abrades the pads. One bestselling solution is dog boots from Pawz. The boots are made from a biodegradable natural rubber. They are completely waterproof, and don’t require straps or Velcro to hold them in place. The thin, flexible material allows a dog’s feet to feel the ground, which helps them navigate unsteady substrates, like a sandy beach.

Catch Some Rays

Sun safety for dogs is vital, as well, though it’s often overlooked.

“Pet sunscreen is necessary to protect the pet from sunburn and skin cancer,” said Michael C. Fleck, D.V.M., M.A., founder and president of Epi-Pet. “At least three skin cancers are documented to be produced by excessive UVA and UVB sun rays in the pet: Basal cell carcinomas, squamous cell carcinomas and hemangiocarcinomas.”

According to Fleck, the Epi-Pet sunscreen is the only pet sunscreen designed to be physiologically compatible with pets’ skin, and it protects against both UVA and UVB damaging sun rays, is greaseless, is applied with a fine mist to penetrate thin hair coats and has a human equivalent of 30 plus SPF level.

“As in humans, there is a greater need for sunscreen protection for the short-haired, pink- or white skinned pets and those exposed more to the sun,” he said. “The areas of the pet requiring special pet sunscreen protection are the back, muzzle, around the eyes, the feet, ear flap and the abdominal area between the back legs that is subjected to reflecting sun rays off of cement, sand and snow.”

Retailers can utilize this information to educate customers on the product to encourage the purchase.

For frolicking fun in the sun, customers choose toys that are durable and waterproof. Whether it’s fetching in a lake or chasing a toy down a sandy beach, floating toys in bright colors are popular choices.

The Nerf Float Flyer Dog Toy is a disc-like toy made of rubber. It floats when tossed in water and is available in several colors.

Chuckit! manufactures several waterproof or floating toys, but one popular option is the Amphibious Bumper. This toy is a rope attached to a soft bumper, a good alternative to rubber toys for outdoor play. It floats, and according to Chuckit!, it’s unsinkable and is brightly colored.

Likewise, Ruffwear produces a similar bumper-type toy, the Lunker. Made from recycled materials, the Lunker floats but includes a longer rope attached to the bumper making it an appealing purchase for owners who want to play fetch on the beach.

The Zogoflex line from West Paw Design includes nontoxic toys designed to be extremely durable, and all are waterproof. This line allows dog owners to choose a product that suits their dog’s preferences because they come in shapes ranging from a classic ball and disc to a bone and the unique Tizzi toy.

When choosing which products to stock, consider the types of activities customers are most likely to do. However, regardless of whether they’ll be playing fetch in the sand or taking their dog out to sea, the single most important factor with water-related product purchases is safety

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