5 Ways to Take Care of Your Pet

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1. Calm Your Pet’s Nerves on the Road
Summer travel plans are firming up, and having a pet that easily gets stressed out or has a difficult time in the car, isn’t fun. Ark Naturals, the all-natural pet care company, offers Happy Traveler to help calm the nerves of your furry family member during road trips. The all-natural herbal calming formula eases nervous or anxious pets without “knocking them out” or giving them that drowsy feeling. Get a bottle of 30 capsules for $10.49 at www.arknaturals.com.

2. Please the Palate with Puppy Cakes
Give Fido a sweet treat that’s made with natural and vet-approved ingredients. Puppy Cake is cake mix for dogs, and comes complete with yogurt frosting. Choose from Buddy’s Best Banana, Fifi’s Favorite Carob or a wheat-free peanut flavor. Similar to a human cake mix, all you do is add one egg, three tablespoons of vegetable oil and one-half cup of water, and bake. Each box ($6.99) makes six medium cupcakes or a double layer 4-inch round cake. Visit www.puppycake.com.

3. Pamper Those Paws
We bring them wherever we go, pamper them and surprise them with something new on special occasions. They are, of course, not just pets but family members. According to the American Pet Products Association, products for companion animals now extend beyond traditional necessities – from high-end items to high-tech gadgets. Here’s a look.

Reducing carbon paw prints: Pet owners are making conscious efforts to help Mother Earth by purchasing natural litter box products, toys and accessories to organic food options.

Putting out the welcome mat: Many hotels across the country are adopting pet-friendly policies. Several chains have oversized pet pillows, plush doggie robes and check-in gift packages that include a pet toy, dog treat, ID tag, bone and turn-down treat. Some even have a licensed dog masseuse on staff.

Getting ultra clean: Grooming has gone beyond a haircut, a quick bath and a nail trim. Mouthwash and an electric toothbrush for canines are routine steps in a beauty session for some pooches. Birds get daily pedicures with special cage perches, while others enjoy manicures complete with nail polish. Pet-owning homes stay cleaner with automatic, self-flushing litter boxes, cleaning cloths for muddy paws and scented gel air fresheners to keep rooms free of pet odors.

Playing and relaxing: As pet owners meditate in yoga class, cats relieve stress by frolicking in a toy gym or relaxing in a feline spa. Dogs romp at doggie daycare (and some even have bone-shaped swimming pools), sip fresh water from flowing fountains and enjoy a soothing rub with a doggie massager.

4. Slim Down a Fat Cat
Overweight cats are at risk for a lot of medical problems, not to mention diabetes, says “Good Morning America” veterinarian Dr. Marty Becker. Instead of loving on your playful feline with food, spend time grooming or playing with her. Cats love being stroked with soft brushes and teased with toys. You can turn treat-giving into an activity by hiding bits of food on high furniture or cat climbing trees. For more ideas, visit www.petconnection.com.

5. Be Prepared for the Worst

More than 500,000 pets are affected by house fires each year, and more than 40,000 die from smoke asphyxiation. Families can help save the lives of pets by donating pet oxygen masks to their local fire department. The cone-shaped plastic masks, which come in three sizes and fit snugly on snouts, can resuscitate animals – cats, dogs, ferrets, rabbits, guinea pigs and even birds. PetsAmerica.org sells a $95 set of three oxygen masks (small, medium and large) to be sent to local EMS or fire department personnel.

For tips on traveling with your pet this summer, read “On the Go With Fido.”