updated 5/17/2011 10:46:55 AM ET 2011-05-17T14:46:55

SAN DIEGO, May 17, 2011 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- As pets continue to become more integrated into their owner's lives, more and more will be joining their family for summer adventures. Since it is projected that Americans will spend roughly two billion dollars on boarding facilities in 2011 according to the American Pet Product Association, why not put some of those dollars towards including pets on vacations rather than leaving them at home? Award-winning writer and author and pet lifestyle expert, Sandy Robins, shares her travel tips and the safety accessories pets should never hit the road, trails, high seas or friendly skies without.

Paw Protection: Whether standing on a hot boat deck or navigating the rough terrain during a hike, protect dog paws with booties. A unique new product is the Planet PETCO LuvGear booties with TempAlert technology. These not only prevent the paws from abrasions or serious burns, the TempAlert patch lights up to let pet parents know when the outside temperature becomes too unsafe and the dog is act risk for heat stroke.

Life Jacket: Most dogs are tempted to jump off the boat into the water for a refreshing dip, but whether they prefer the chilly water or to kick-back on board, a life preserver should be part of their permanent style. The PETCO Dog Flotation Vest comes in both neon pink and yellow, making it easy to spot your pooch in or out of the water.

Beach Bum: If a dog doesn't take to the water right away, never force them into the water. Instead, if the waves bring on anxiety, try gently coaxing or using a treat or toy as a lure so they can become familiar with the water at their own pace. And, it is always a good idea to check with a lifeguard to evaluate the conditions for the day as rough waters can exhaust a dog more easily. Also, much like humans, treat a dog's nose and ears with sunscreen.

Drive with Pets in Mind: More than half of all dog owners consider their pet's comfort when buying a car, according to the American Pet Product Association. Catering to this growing audience, automobile manufacturer Toyota launched a campaign geared towards educating pet owners about properly securing pets in their vehicles. The Toyota Highlander, Venza, Prius, Sequoia and Sienna have become popular among pet owners, offering features such as water resistant fabric-trimmed seating to allow for easy pet clean up; low load-in height to eliminate heavy lifting for pet parents and to make it easy on pet legs; high safety ratings in front and side impact crashes; tinted and UV protected windows and automatic rear climate control.

Buckle Up: According to a 2009 survey by the American Pet Products Association (APPA), 61 percent of owners surveyed do not secure or restrain their dog in the car. An unrestrained pet can distract the driver and injure themselves and the driver in an accident. Robins suggests a dog seatbelt or a barrier by pet safety specialists, Kurgo, to help keep them contained and comfortable. Also, keep pets out of the front seat unless they are secured in a booster seat that won't trigger the front airbag in an accident. Pets should be secured in the backseat or cargo area of the vehicle for their safety.

Cool-Down: Pets and pet parents have a lot of the same needs, and hydration is one of the most important. Considering dogs sport a fur coat all year long, when the weather heats up heatstroke and dehydration can happen more frequently. Portable bowls, such as Handi-Drink Instant Dog Drinkers, are one of the easiest additions to any picnic basket just as long as pets receive clean water throughout the day.

Airborne: If pets are traveling in the airline cabin they must fit comfortably under their seat in a pre-approved carrier. If flying in the cargo area make sure pets are kept in strong carriers that are well ventilated, and just big enough that a dog can stand up, lie down, and turn around comfortably. Be sure to include dog blankets and toys in the carrier, as they will be alone in a strange place. And always check with the airline on their requirements for carriers, pet-size and vaccinations - each one differs.

Bug Off: Summer months exacerbate flea and tick infestations, so prevention is key.  Use a shampoo or oral product like Capstar for immediate relief, and apply topical treatment such as Advantage or Frontline several days after bathing to ensure the best efficacy. With a flea infestation it is best to concurrently treat the home and the yard with flea products while treating pets, recommends Sandy.

No matter what method of travel chosen, it is vital that a pet's tags and microchip are updated with the most current information and a check up to consider any special needs pets may have is important.

PETCO's Summer Adventures Sweepstakes

What better way to kick off a summer adventure with a pet than in a brand new Toyota Venza? Enter for a chance to win this and more than 200 prizes, such as a year's supply of Natural Balance, toys from JW Pet, travel accessories from Kurgo, PETCO gift cards or a year of Good Housekeeping issues. Enter at petco.com/summer.

About Sandy Robins

As one of the country's leading multi-media pet lifestyle experts and authors, Sandy Robins documents the wonderful relationship that we have with our pets highlighting trends and innovative ideas as they happen. Her award-winning work is very visible on many of the country's leading pet platforms such as MSNBC.com. She is also the lead lifestyle writer on MSN's dogcentric website DogCentral.MSN.com and a regular contributor and columnist in multiple national publications such as Dog Fancy, Modern Dog and Cat Fancy.

About PETCO

PETCO is a privately held specialty retailer that provides products, services and advice that make it easier for our customers to be great pet parents. We operate more than 1,000 stores in 50 states and the District of Columbia, as well as a leading pet products and information destination at www.petco.com. Our nonprofit organization, The PETCO Foundation, has raised more than $60 million since its inception in 1999 to help promote and improve the welfare of companion animals. In conjunction with the Foundation, we work with and support about 7,000 local animal welfare groups across the country to help find homes for more than 200,000 adoptable animals every year.

CONTACT:

Mia West
619.501.2756
mwest@west-pr.com   

This information was brought to you by Cision http://www.cisionwire.com
 

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