From seatbelts to sunscreens, there are all kinds of unique pet safety products on the market.
No matter how closely we watch them, our animals still manage to get in harm’s way every now and again. Take a look at a few unique products designed to keep your four-legged buddy safe.
Even if you don’t let your dog hang his head out the car window, dust and debris can still fly into the car while you’re driving. You can help prevent injury with specially designed dog goggles. Secured by adjustable rubber straps, Doggles feature shatterproof, anti-fogging polycarbonate lenses with wraparound frames. “They have many uses,” says company co-owner Ronni Dilullo. “They keep debris from getting in the eyes, and are also designed for UV sun protection.” They also keep brush and thorns out of your dog’s eyes in overgrown areas.
Depending on where you live, mosquito-borne illnesses can pose a risk to your animal. Insect repellent is the best defense but don’t use commercial products designed for humans – most contain chemicals that could harm your companion if he licks it off. Choose an all-natural product such as Country Comfort repellent by St. Francis Herb Farm. Suitable for both animals and humans, it contains citronella, tea tree and lavender, and helps soothe irritation and swelling. An alternative is Bugrepel, another non-toxic product that also makes use of natural bug-repelling oils such as eucalyptus, orange, lemon and cinnamon.
Does your dog sometimes cough or choke after a walk? It could mean his collar is putting too much pressure on his windpipe when he pulls. To avoid injury, consider an alternative to the neck collar. Options include the head collar, or a collar-like harness such as the Buddy Belt, which fastens between the shoulder blades instead of around the neck. “The Buddy Belt allows you to control your animal in a humane way,” says president Roxanne Pettipas. “The pressure is on the bone below the neck, so there’s no stress on the dog’s trachea.” The product is available in various sizes for dogs and cats. “Animals adjust to it quickly because it’s so comfortable.”
Getting in and out of a car or SUV can be challenging for even a healthy young dog. “A lot of vets we’ve talked to indicate that most injuries occur when the animal is jumping down. It really jolts their joints,” says Scott Russman of C&D Pet Products, manufacturers of a line of handy carpeted plywood pet steps in a range of heights. “The vast majority of use is for older pets that can no longer get in the car, or bigger breeds that are starting to have hip problems.”
Ramps are an alternative to steps and can be used in the same way. The PetSTEP II MPR is a 70” portable folding ramp with a ribbed rubberized non-slip surface. It can be hold up to 500 pounds, but is light enough to be easily lifted and transported. It also features a built-in flexibility that causes the ramp to bow slightly as the pet climbs it – this gives him an extra boost up as the ramp un-flexes, a boon to dogs with mobility problems.
When shopping for a leash, the best advice is to invest in a strong, durable, good quality product. Marine Dog is a line of hand-made leashes and leads created by Anthony Amato Jr., who was so frustrated by the poor quality and design of many mass produced leashes that he set out to make his own. “We use marine boat rope, which is designed to handle heavy weights,” says Anthony. The leads are comfortably soft and slender – just ¼” to ½” in diameter – but with a tensile strength of 1,100 to 2,000 pounds
Retractable leashes are a popular choice because they’re compact, flexible and easy to handle. Flexi offers a complete line of retractable leashes for small, medium and large dogs in lengths of up to 26’. Features include an ergonomically designed handle as well as a braking system that allows you to easily and humanely restrain your dog. One thing to keep in mind when buying a retractable leash is that those designed for small dogs won’t take the weight of a larger one, so make sure you get the right model for your animal.
These days, more and more people are buckling up their dogs with pet seatbelts. Canine Automotive Restraint Equipment offers a couple of options. The Champion Canine Seat Belt System attaches not only to existing seat belts, but can also be used on cargo hooks in vans or SUVs. It allows the dog some freedom of movement while keeping him secure. The system is designed to handle the force exerted by a collision by evenly distributing the pressure over the strongest areas of the dog’s chest. For larger animals, the Survivor Big Dog Seat Belt System features wider straps, a padded chest strap and extra strong hardware.
Just because your animal is mostly covered with hair or fur doesn’t mean he can’t get sunburned. The nose is particularly vulnerable to sun damage, especially in short-coated breeds and those with light-colored skin. If your companion is going to be exposed to the sun, regardless of the time of year, protect his nose and ear tips with a natural sunscreen formulated for animals. Available products include 100% Natural Pet Shade, a cream made with natural botanical ingredients that can safely be rubbed on your companion’s face.
First aid kits
Even with the best of care, our companions occasionally run into trouble, which is why you should have a first aid kit on hand. Products designed with animals in mind include Creative Pet Products’ Bow-Ow and Me-Ow kits for dogs and cats. Each includes basic first aid materials such as antibiotic ointment, iodine, pads, gauze, splints and scissors. “We also include a user-friendly book with practical first aid information for a range of problems,” says president Don Knutson. If your companion should get lost, meanwhile, the company’s Roam to Home lost pet program, which also comes with the kit, helps bring your friend safely home again