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June 2, 2016

As the weather warms and vacation season unfolds, many will be planning more frequent outdoor excursions and even perhaps more long-term getaways. Of course, pet owners are no different, and research shows that pet owners frequently opt to take their pets along as travel companions rather than leaving them at home. According to a survey conducted by the travel application TripIt, 87 percent of respondents would love to travel with their pets and are often looking for ways to make such trips plausible. Pet retailers and manufacturers alike have an opportunity to present pet owners with convenient and safe solutions for all of their travel needs.

Companion Care on the Go

An increased focus on fitness and health has been a strong human lifestyle trend as of late, and the premiumization of food and other products both in human and animal sectors has been underway for some time. According to a report produced by the USDA Forest Service Southern Research Station, changes in the frequency with which Americans participate in outdoor recreational activities were apparent in 2010.

“Our research shows that not only are more Americans participating in outdoor recreation, the number of times they participated in many of the outdoor activities surveyed has grown,” said Ken Cordell, author and lead researcher for the study.

Data showed that a certain category of outdoor activity in particular has seen increased popularity—namely, nature photography and viewing and appreciating the natural world, in general. For individuals who yearn for fresh air and warm sun in the company of their pets, pet products designed for easy travel are essential.

Yummy Travel Bowls from Sleepypod provide pet owners newfound convenience in pet travel with its three-in-one design for storing, transporting and serving pet food and water simultaneously. Water and wet or dry pet food can be transported and served without worry about mixing or spilling. The bowl is baby-safe, FDA food grade and made from BPA-free silicone that is freezer, dishwasher and microwave safe.

“Sleepypod is transforming conventional pet products into versatile, multi-purpose products that are stylish at the same time,” says Michael Leung, Sleepypod’s lead product designer and co-founder. “Pet owners are traveling more often with their pets and they require streamlined products that go from home to destination, whether it’s the hotel room or the office, with minimal fuss and effort. Yummy Travel Bowls are a natural evolution of Sleepypod’s pet travel product line. Much like our Sleepypod mobile pet bed or Sleepypod Air pet carrier, we’ve taken a single purpose item and turned it into a multi-purpose product.”

The Petmate Travel Bowl Duo is a two-piece collapsible bowl set that allows pet owners to travel with their companions without sacrificing space. It is made from durable, dishwasher-safe silicone and is easy to clean. Similarly, Kurgo’s Collaps-a-Bowl is just about an inch thick when collapsed, allowing easy storage in a backpack or vehicle. It holds up to 24 ounces of fluid and is made of BPA-free, dishwasher-safe material.

The SturdiBox is waterproof and durable, built for home and travel use. It is foldable, portable and lightweight, and holds up to a half-gallon of liquid. Just a few of the hundreds of potential uses for pets include litter, food and water transportation.

While bringing pets on nature hikes or road trips may seem relatively simple, the number of items essential to care for a pet on the go is easy to overlook. Such additional items to carry can make travel with pets bothersome.
Combatting this issue is the Baxter Dog Backpack from Kurgo, which is lightweight and provides a custom fit to dogs of any size with eight different adjustable points and two bag sizes available. A rear-mounted leash hook allows the backpack to act as a harness and the ergonomic padded design provides weight distribution for the backpack’s two saddlebags. Pet owners can easily transport food, treats, toy, first-aid supplies and travel bowls with added safety provided by a large handle in case dogs must be guided over environmental obstacles or extracted from water.

“Kurgo is dedicated to creating innovative, stylish and high-quality pet travel products that allow families and pets to experience adventures together, wherever life takes them,” said Gordie Spater, chief business officer of Kurgo. “Whether it’s an outdoor excursion or running errands in town, Kurgo’s extensive travel and outdoor line offers a diverse selection of products to encourage pets and people to go together.”

For pet owners who plan to take their furry friends along on their trips to the lake or beach this summer, safety is of the utmost importance. While many dogs have an instinctive knowledge to paddle in water, it is important to take safety precautions when near bodies of water.

“Our AKC Pet flotation vest is designed to protect your pet with comfort and style,” said Debbie Viney, an account executive with BH Pet Gear, manufacturer of AKC products. “Adjustable straps and the construction allows for a comfortably snug fit. Reflective straps make your pet easy to see in the water. The flotation vest is designed to prevent your pet from rolling and sinking underwater.”

According to AKC, makers of the pet flotation vests, most dogs sink when they are submerged despite a seemingly instinctive ability to paddle once in a body of water. Because of this, pet owners underestimate the danger of trips even to a pool and are urged to be prepared with a life vest.

“Not all pets are natural swimmers, so it’s best to avoid risk with the protection of the AKC flotation vest,” Viney said. “We designed this flotation vest with the high standards that you would expect from the AKC brand. BH Pet Gear’s mission is to make quality, stylish products to consumers at an affordable price.”

Another option is Kurgo’s Surf-N-Turf Dog Life Jacket. It comfortably fits active dogs with a removable flotation layer that can double as a raincoat. Metal rings allow for leash attachments, two transverse handles help owners control or extract pets from water, and the jacket’s reflective trim provides added visibility at all times.

A Leg up on Car Travel

Many animals need help getting in and out of vehicles, particularly small breeds that research shows are becoming more popular among American households. Attachable ramps and step sets are an easy solution.

“Ramps are a great way to get dogs in and out of the back of an SUV, but they can be a little difficult to deploy and store,” said Patrick Hoffman, president of Solvit Products. “The PupSTEP HitchSTEP is an easy solution to this problem. Simply slide it into a hitch receiver and you instantly have a two-step stair that conveniently folds up and out of the way when not in use.”

Tested to hold up to 200 pounds, the PupSTEP HitchSTEP is a steel construction step attachment that allows pets easier access to vehicles. Its two wide steps allow dogs to climb in and out of cars and is adjustable for vehicles of varying sizes. Weighing less than 20 pounds, the apparatus folds up and out of the way without inhibiting vehicle lift gates or can be stored in a vehicle after the steps are removed.

Once inside the vehicle, pets often create wear and tear on car interiors. To combat this issue, there is Solvit’s latest product: the Car Cuddler.

“Traveling with dogs can be great fun for everyone, but it can be a little rough on a car’s interior,” Hoffman said. “The Car Cuddler solves this problem by covering the car seat while it also provides dogs with a bolstered plush bed on which they can relax and nap.”

Both a seat cover and pet bed, the Car Cuddler protects car seats from pet hair and dirty paws and is held firmly in place by multiple connection points. When paired with the Solvit Deluxe Vehicle Safety Harness, pets are kept safe while traveling in comfort.

In fact, Solvit offers several products that make traveling with pets a comfortable, safe and worry-free experience. For example, the Premium Seat Cover is designed to protect the seat and seat back of a bench seat from pet hair and stains with new Smart Fit construction that allows a snugger fit. The Deluxe Hammock Seat Cover is a quilted cover that stretches from the front seat headrest to the back seat headrest to protect the entire rear floor and seat of a vehicle.

“A car or an SUV is a big investment that should be protected,” Hoffman said. “If you enjoy traveling with your dog but want to protect that investment then you definitely should consider one of these seat covers.”

The Heather Pattern Bench Seat Cover from Kurgo protects cars’ interiors with its waterproof, stain resistant and machine washable material that stays in place with front and rear attachments. It also provides extra storage room with two large pockets.

“Most recently, we’ve launched some fresh new styles in our car seat protection line, specifically the Heather Collection,” Spater said. “We are constantly upping our game in car safety protection, and are thrilled to have recently launched the Impact Harness that is tested for dogs up to 130 pounds.

Petmate’s Ultimate Travel Harness provides safety and comfort during travel with its plush comfort chest padding. The Metal seat belt clip is adjustable and connects to vehicles’ seat belt systems to keep pets fastened to the back seat of their owners’ cars. The company’s Booster Seats give pets the ability to see out of the windows of a vehicle while keeping them safe and secure during rides. The booster seat includes headrest and seat anchors, adjustable tether and metal supports.

“Our award winning pet travel line was developed with Petmate’s 50-plus years of experience traveling thousands of miles with pets,” said Patricia McCune, senior product manager of soft goods at Petmate. “The diverse line demonstrates our commitment to innovation with a visionary, creative-yet-practical approach to pet product manufacturing.”

Safety and Shelter

For overnight trips or destination lounging, portable shelters may provide pets with a shady place to relax after a long drive, protection from the elements or somewhere to sleep.

The Petmate Zip N Go Pet Bed easily folds up, zips closed and can be carried by its durable handle straps. The bed includes external pockets for additional storage space and a microfiber exterior and soft fleece interior for durability and comfort.

The See and Extend Carrier from Petmate includes an extra side vestibule and nine inches of extra space, allowing pets to relax once a destination has been reached. Pet owners can store toys and treats in the carrier’s side pockets and the coated mesh construction provides both safety and comfort. Pets can easily access the carrier through its top and side and are kept secure in the car seat by exterior seat belt loops.

Produced by Sturdi Products, the Single Car-Go makes it convenient for pet owners to bring their pet’s home on the road. Designed to fit in the backseat of most cars and SUVs, the Single Car-Go pops open once removed from its case and shaken, making it useful in hotels as well. Pets enter through the double zippered front door or a smaller side door entry that can be used with a Large SturdiBag for extra room. Interior rings are available for an optional hammock or pet toys and the Car-Go includes a built in storage pocket and clear vinyl water bottle pocket with grommet for a spout.

“More and more pet owners are taking their animal companions along with them when they travel, and the resources available for finding pet-friendly places to stay, eat and play are growing,” said Penny Johnson, CEO of Sturdi Products. “At Sturdi Products, we feel designing unique, attractive, durable and adaptable products are essential for safe, comfortable and happy travels for both pet and pet owner. As more pet families are hitting the road with pets—dogs and cats—it’s our mission to continue to create the best travel products and accessories available.”

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