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Ready, Set, Go!

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With more than 14,000 establishments listed in the AAA’s pet-friendly guidebook, the leisure industry continues to put out the welcome mat for dog travelers, meaning that the canine travel category is one that allows retailers to cash in on year-round.

The category is getting a further boost by the fact that many states are creating laws that require pets to be restrained in vehicles as a way to prevent them from being accident-causing projectiles.

As a result, many major manufacturers such as Kurgo, Solvit and Sleepypod are now crash testing their products, from harnesses to booster seats in the interest of safety, which can be an important selling feature.

“Sleepypod’s new Click-It harness has been crash-tested in the United States to the U.S. Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard for child-safety restraints, as well as in Australia by that country’s NRMA Insurance [National Roads and Motorists’ Association] and successfully passed the tests,” Michael Leung, Sleepypod co-owner and product designer, said.

Yet, according to Richard Shui, owner of Best in Show in San Francisco, the message about safety testing is not common knowledge among consumers.

“When people purchase a travel item such as a carrier or harness, it’s not a question that comes up,” he said.  “The focus is simply on the product and how it suits their needs. Customers aren’t yet questioning products from a safety aspect. But it’s something retailers can help focus attention on.”

What’s New

Kurgo recently expanded its range of travel products with new styles and fabrics called ColorSplash and Atomic Drop for the company’s booster seats along with a new line of car-odor accessories, which includes a quick-spritz waterless dog shampoo and an upholstery odor eliminator and cleaner to eradicate muddy paw prints.

The company also debuted a pet first-aid kit designed for both home and travel use at the Global Pet Expo.  The 50-piece first-aid kit, which includes everything from gauze and an ice pack, to tweezers and splint supplies, comes complete with a detailed guide to administering aid on pets to ensure proper care.

Another addition to their line is the Skybox Bike Basket, a multifunctional accessory that attaches to a bike’s handlebars, according to Gordie Spater, the company’s CEO.

“The basket has a universal fit for mountain bikes or cruisers, and it can be easily removed and used as a pet carrier or a tote for pets up to 12 pounds,” he said.

New from Solvit is the Side Door Ramp Adapter, which can be adjusted to work with vehicles of different heights, and gives pets easy access through a passenger door.

“Generally, ramps must be set up at a right angle to the vehicle to work correctly, and with most vehicle side doors, this isn’t possible,” Patrick Hoffman, CEO of Solvit, said. “The Solvit Side Door Ramp Adapter solves this problem by supporting the ramp in a special way.”

The ramp adapter, like all Solvit products, comes with a lifetime guarantee against defects in material and workmanship.

Many companies, such as Marchioro, which has added new colors to its existing lines of carriers and crates, are always looking for new ways to update their current lines, or introduce new products.

Plangea Inc., manufacturers of sun-protective products primarily for the children’s market, has obtained an exclusive license to manufacture Body Glove-branded products for pets.

“This new line features the Body Glove logo with its recognizable graphic prints and primarily utilizes Neoprene, the ‘wetsuit’ material pioneered by this name brand,” John Westgarth, president of Plangea Inc., said “The overriding theme of the product line is products for the active pet. So in our mind, ‘traveling’ includes a range of activities that a dog might take part in beyond the normal daily walks and snoozing. Thus, the range includes everything from travel bowls to pet flotation devices and neoprene utility mats that can be used in a vehicle and on the beach. There are also grooming products and a bone-shaped absorbent pet towel.”

On the Go

Dexas International, the Coppell, Texas-based manufacturer of Popware for Pets, has introduced four trendy new colors for its collapsible dual-dog feeders. The product is now available in lime green, a candy pink, sky blue and purple.

New to the line is the Dexas H-DuO companion cup, which caters to both the pet and the owner, as it is a dual-chamber reusable water bottle.

“Whether it’s a daily visit to the dog park or a jog around the block, the idea behind the dual bottle is that the pet owner can carry whatever beverage they like, such as Gatorade or an energy drink for themselves, while the dog’s side can contain regular water,” Jeff Logan, the company’s director of marketing, said.

The H-DuO cup has a total capacity of 24 ounces: 12 ounces for the dog owner’s beverage and 12 ounces for the fpet. The product is available in lime green, purple and turquoise.

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