Summer Safety Tips for Pets
As the weather gets warmer, pet parents bring their furry friends on all sorts of adventures. Retailers should educate themselves on this important sales category.
Summer is a time for trips to the beach, long walks and hikes, outdoor dining and visits to the park. Pet parents are increasingly including their dogs and cats on these trips, and therefore in need of products that will keep pets safe and healthy.
“Summer is the season of sunny outdoor fun, but when it comes to involving your pets in those activities, it’s important to make sure you’ve covered all your bases,” says Lindsy Argenti, marketing manager for Coastal Pet Products. “Activities like car travel, hiking through the woods and water play are just some of the activities we see pets participating in, and they can also be some of the more hazardous, if owners aren’t well prepared.”
The Alliance, Ohio-based company manufactures a variety of everyday products, such as collars, harnesses and leashes, as well as products specifically made for traveling with pets. The company has multiple collapsible bowls, pet carriers and boosters, and seat and floor protectors to keep cars as clean as possible when pets are along for the ride. Coastal Pet also produces auto harnesses to keep pets safe during travel.
“Auto harnesses are a really important safety product,” says Argenti. “Coastal Pet goes so far as to crash test their auto harnesses to ensure that both pets and people stay safe in the car.”
Petsafe also manufactures products that keep pets safe while in the car.
“The most popular summer safety product by PetSafe is the Pet Safety Seat, and Pet Booster seats,” says Mandie Sweetnam, category manager for the Knoxville, Tenn.-based company. Aside from seats, the company also produces barriers, seat covers, ramps and safety harnesses.
“Buckling up for safety (for people) is the law across the country, and in many states, is beginning to become the law for pets too,” says Sweetnam. “Keeping your pet restrained in the car can happen a lot of different ways, but the best way is to use the PetSafe Safety Harness, which has been successfully crash-tested at a DOT-approved facility.”
Out and About
Pet safety not only includes travel and transportation, but also keeping pets safe once they leave the vehicle, especially as pet friendly places become more prevalent. Harnesses are extremely useful when taking pups out for a walk or on a hike.
“Pet friendly places are becoming more and more popular, which encourages people to seek out these destination points,” says Alisha Navarro, president of 2 Hounds Design. “Parents look for products such as the Freedom No-Pull Harness to use when traveling for a number of reasons.”
The Freedom No-Pull Harness is the Indian Trail, N.C.-based company’s most popular product. The harness has two connection points, including a martingale loop on the back, which makes it more difficult for a dog to back out and discourages pulling behavior.
Another important aspect that many pet parents don’t think about when it comes to summer safety is heat protection. Luckily, Saltsox has created a solution for this issue.
“The sun is capable of burning surfaces, including the bottoms of our dogs’ paws, just like it does on our skin when we don’t apply any protection,” says Cindy Magiera, CEO of the Chicago-based company.
The company debuted Lavasox at the 2018 Global Pet Expo, after customers inquired about using their signature Saltsox as protection in hot climates. Since using Saltsox in the summer would cause a dog to overheat, the company saw a need for paw protection from the heat and spent two years developing a solution.
“Lavasox protect in several ways,” says Magiera. “[They] provide a heat barrier between the paw and pavement. We use a heat reflective material which draws the heat away from the paw while the upper portion of the bootie is completely breathable so air flows through it.”
While daytime walk concerns include heat protection, nighttime concerns often stem from visibility issues. Whether owners are out for a walk with their pets or bringing pups along with them while camping, visibility is key.
“The summer time is perfect for you and your dog to be outside and together more often,” says Marilyn Pianelli, president of Headlight Harness based in Matawan, N.J. “Having a secure product allows you more time to bond with your dog, rather than worrying about your dog being harmed or lost.”
The bright LED light and reflective trim of the company’s Headlight Harness keeps pets visible to any vehicles. The company also produces reflective leashes, collars and wrist bands for added protection.
4 Paws Tech, based in Glen Head, N.Y., also believes nighttime safety is important for pets. The company offers LED and reflective collars and leashes, which are bright and bold in the sunlight and extremely visible during the night.
“Our new Nightlight Series II RGB LED collar and leash is 100 percent waterproof, changes color with the push of the button and boasts a 15+ hour USB rechargeable battery,” says Len Horowitz, founder and CEO of 4 Paws Tech. “[The collar is] red by day and your customer can choose one of following colors for the night time setting: Raspberry Red, Lemon/ Lime or Blueberry Blue.”
Also from the company is the Starlight series, which is available in four colors and four size options to satisfy most dog breeds.
While many companies have seen the need for light-up and reflective collars, harnesses and leashes for dogs, Coastal Pet Products has added to that by including cat collars in one of its most popular product lines.
“Cat safety is important to us, because many consumers aren’t putting a collar on their cat at all,” says Argenti. “With more and more consumers taking cats outside, collars become critical in case of a lost animal.”
The company’s two most popular product lines, K-9 Explorer and LazerBrite, feature reflective elements within the collars, leashes and harnesses. The LazerBrite collars and leashes feature a 3M material applied in fun patterns, and the company also has light up collars that can offer a steady stream of light or a pulsing light.
“We even have LazerBrite on cat collars to make sure they’re seen in the neighborhoods where cars are common, but probably not looking out for adventurous kitties,” adds Argenti.
While the necessity for summer safety products is clear, retailers still need to educate both their customers and staff on the importance of these products.
“The best way to market summer safety products is having an educated workforce,” says Sweetnam. “When customers come into a store looking for products for their pets, they are going to have questions and retail associates should be equipped with the knowledge to answer the questions.”
PetSafe supports retailers by having retail training specialists available for in-person training sessions and customer support.
Magiera agrees that retailers need to be prepared to teach customers why summer safety products are necessary.
“Our dogs are not living in the wild, they live with us in our air-conditioned homes lounging on our sofa’s, sleeping in beds etc…,” she says. “Their paw pads are soft and smooth similar to the bottoms of our feet, their pads get burned the same way. Education on these issues is all it takes!”
When it comes to how and where to place summer safety products so that they are flying off retailers’ shelves, manufacturers have a few thoughts in mind.
“Retailers can create a summer safety statement by pulling their products together on an aisle or endcap,” says Jill Weinstein, product manager for the PetSafe brand. “They can create flyers and postcards with this theme.”
Horowitz says retailers carrying 4 Paws Tech put the LED collars on dog mannequins, allowing the consumer to see how the product really looks and works.
“The most common mistake is putting an item on a shelf and expecting it to sell out,” he says. “Customers want to be engaged—informed of the latest and greatest—and that cannot happen by simply putting the product on a hook.” PB