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How To Prep Your Pet For Vacation

Many families like to take everyone in the household along when they head out on vacation, including their precious animal companions. But traveling with a dog or a cat takes some foresight and planning, according to Charlotte Reed, pet expert for petstyle.com and author of "Miss Fido Manners Complete Book of Dog Etiquette" (www.missfidomanners.com).

For instance, Reed says pet owners need to be wary when they take their animal companions in the car. Pets should not be allowed to roam, but rather should be crated (with the crates firmly attached to the car seat) or they should don special animal seat belts. Not only does this prevent accidents (if Fido gets too rowdy or Fluffy decides to sleep under the brake pedal), but in the event the car stops short, the pets will not be injured.

Pets playing outdoors need the same things that humans do — plenty of water and sunscreen. Animals should never be locked in parked cars, even if the windows are open and it's just for "a few minutes."

Luckily, manufacturers have come up with an array of products that solve many of the dilemmas faced by pet owners who bring their furry friends along on a trip.

Reed picked out some new products to share with Saturday Early Show viewers:

Four Paws 3 in 1 Stroller, $100
Says Reed: "You can walk around with your pet in the stroller, but you can also detach the carrier and carry it around, and this is airline-regulated so you can take your pet with you on the plane. There is another feature — you can buckle the carrier on the back seat of your car." (www.fourpaws.com)

Kurgo Backseat Barrier, $45
Says Reed: "You know that annoying dog that jumps in between the front seats? This backseat barrier will stop this and prevent your pet from jumping in the front seat." (www.kurgo.com)

DogGone Songs, $12
No jokes about caterwauling, please. Reed says this is soothing music for you and your travel companion. According to the Web site, the CD "runs for 46 minutes and includes 37 original piano melodies composed by Thomas Schoenberger." They also claim "The DogGone Songs musical series will build a closer bond between you and your pet." Hmm. (www.aspenpet.com)

VSI Pet First Aid Kit, $23
According to Reed, "this is a kit with all you need if your pooch gets hurt (but talk to a vet first)." It has 30 commonly-used items packaged in a weatherproof storage case. (www.petfirstaid.org)

Doggle Pet Sunscreen, $9
Sunscreen for your pets! Says Reed, "Why put human sunscreen on your dog when you can use a formula designed specifically for a dog's skin?" Does your dog have light-colored skin or a pink nose? Your dog needs sunscreen! Dogs have more sensitive skin that humans and thus do better with their own sunscreen. This will also help with coat condition and help prevent sun bleaching in dark-haired animals. 2 oz. spray SPF 15. (www.doggles.com)

Doggle Floatation Jacket, $36
Advises Reed, "If you are going on a boat, near any body of water, here is the solution to keep your pooch safe. This floatation jacket has an attachable chin float. Human floatation jackets keep your nose out of water, so why wouldn't one for canines?" Various sizes are available. (www.doggles.com)

Bamboo Mud Magnet, $10
After you run in the woods with your pet, says Reed, and he or she comes back full of mud, you just wipe your pet off with this glove-looking product. (www.bamboopet.com)

Disposable Critter Litter (4), $40
This "Travel 2 in 1" litter box (comes with the litter) is made of cardboard "so you can throw the whole thing away" once your kitty has finished, says Reed. (www.critterlitter.com)

Bamboo Dog Sleep-Over Bag, $22
Perfect for a trip to grandma's or the kennel, this sleeping bag provides dogs with a reversible training blanket and rest area while traveling. Two bone-shaped toys are attached to entertain dogs while the bag is open.

For more information about pet care, go to www.wwpia.org.

For more information on pet safety and articles relating to your pet, visit www.petsource.org.