MISSION, KS--(Marketwired - Jun 13, 2013) - (Family Features) Summer is for relaxing -- for pets too. Many pet parents indulge their animal companions with vacations, special meals, hotel stays and trips to the spa. In fact, an estimated $53 billion were spent on pets last year.

Yet many families with pets may not realize the longer, hotter days of summer require pampering around their health and safety.

"During hot summer months, it's important for pet parents to pay extra attention to their dogs' coats," said Dr. Simon Starkey, veterinary expert for PetSmart. "Pets need to be protected from sun and excessive heat."

Here are a few simple tips to ensure your pet stays healthy and cool:

Stay Hydrated: In the summer, pet parents need to help keep pets hydrated and make water accessible, even outdoors. Some pets simply don't drink enough water, so adding wet food to their regular dry food diet is a great option. Wet food contains more moisture and can help pets stay hydrated when it's hot outside. However, wet food is not a substitute for drinking water, so refresh water bowls several times throughout the day. 

Supplement Diets: Summer often means taking dogs for a run on the beach and longer daylight hours for playing. To stay active, pet vitamins and supplements are great additions to support overall health with nutrients beyond those found in food. There are also supplements specifically formulated to support healthy skin and coat, such as the GNC Pets Ultra Mega Skin & Coat Essentials for dogs. It contains omega-3 fatty acids, EPA and DHA, which work to build a glossier and silkier coat.

Relax in Style: Whether your pet accompanies you on picnics or long road trips, your companion needs a comfortable place to relax. The Tommy Bahama Pets Floral Cuddler Bed, available exclusively at PetSmart, is a cozy bed with plenty of room for your dog to stretch out. Five percent of the purchase price for each limited-edition item will be donated to help save homeless pets through PetSmart Charities.

Travel Smart: A collapsible travel bowl from Top Paw is a must-have travel accessory for summer weekends. Bring it on vacation or to the park to easily serve up food or water. The sealable bowl attaches to a dog's leash and can be expanded into a two-cup bowl in seconds.

Get Grooming: Some pets get a short haircut every summer but others should not be shaved down. Removing dead fur from the undercoat keeps dogs cooler, promotes new hair growth and helps ensures healthy skin. Ask your veterinarian or an experienced groomer for tips on which grooming supplies are best for your breed and which types of breeds do well with a short summer haircut. Then make sure to keep him washed, combed and ready to enjoy summer fun. 

To learn more about pet essentials for summer, visit a store near you or www.petsmart.com.

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Vickie Rocco