School is almost out. Summer vacation looms ahead. It's time to take a break and do a little traveling.
For some of us, travel means loading up the car, dogs and kids, and heading out on the open road, despite the price of gas. Whether its Wisconsin Dells for a few days or Orlando or San Diego for a week or two, it's time to travel.
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If you are traveling by car, and lucky enough to have your dog along with you for the ride, www.pettravel.com, Humane Society of the United States and American Veterinary Medical Association offer suggestions to help you plan your car trip.
As you get your car ready and packed, there are ways to ensure safe traveling for everyone in the car. A restraining harness or travel harness that buckles into most standard seat belts will secure your dog if he's not riding in a carrier. Your dog should travel in the back seat of your car (but never in the bed of a pickup truck) because of the possibility of the passenger side air bag deploying and possibly injuring him in an accident.
As you put things together for the trip, pack a bag for your dog too. Take a simple travel-size first aid kit, along with an anti-diarrheal medication that's safe for animals (ask your veterinarian). Pack your veterinarian's phone number, the national animal poison control hotline (888) 426-4235 and a 24-hour emergency veterinary hospital in the area you will be visiting. Since dogs do get lost on vacation, your dog should be wearing an ID tag with your name, home address and home and/or cellphone number, as well as a travel tag with information on where you're staying while away from home so you can be contacted while you're still in the area. And take a current picture of you and your dog together. A picture of him will help in identifying him if he should get lost.
When you load up the car, pack all of your dog's other supplies in a small bag where you can easily get to it. His travel bag should contain bottled water and a water dish, a supply of his food and treats, bedding, a brush and pet shampoo, a toy or two, your dog's medications, tweezers for removing burrs and ticks, eye-cleaning drops, (ask your veterinarian) and a supply of plastic bags for picking up after him.
As you travel down the road to your destination and back home, your dog will be sleeping 90 percent of the time, when he's not looking out the window. When he is looking out the window, he should be traveling inside your car. Dogs traveling with their heads sticking out the window, ears flapping in the wind, can be injured by particles or debris getting into the eyes and/or ears, or can get sick from having cold air forced into their lungs.
Since dogs can get car sick, take along ice cubes, which are easier on your dog than large amounts of water. Give him a light meal two to three hours before you leave and keep his feeding to a minimum while traveling in the car. You will need to stop every two or three hours to let him exercise, never letting him leave the car without his collar, ID tag or off leash.
Pettravel.com lists approximately 37,000 pet-friendly hotels, spas, resorts, inns and bed-and-breakfasts. You can access these by entering a city, state, country or region to help you plan your destination. Confirm, in advance, with your hotel, motel, or bed and breakfast, the size and type of dog you're bringing with you.
When you check in, remind the desk clerk you will have a pet in your room and they need to notify the housekeepers. As you settle into your room, show your dog where you put his water, food and bed. And when you're out walking, keep him securely leashed and at your side.
I wish you and your dog safe travels and happy adventures.
• The Buddy Foundation is a nonprofit, all volunteer, no-kill animal shelter dedicated to the welfare of stray, abused and abandoned cats and dogs. The shelter is located at 65 W. Seegers Road, in Arlington Heights. For information, call (847) 290-5806 or visit thebuddyfoundation.org.