Make sure you are prepared when traveling with your dog
Spring break. A time to travel to destinations like Cancun, Mexico, Daytona Beach or Orlando, Florida, for a week or a few days.
Or to stay closer to home, traveling by car, feeling the lure of the open road.
If you are traveling by car and are lucky enough to have your dog along with you for the ride, www.pettravel.com, the American Veterinary Medical Association and the Humane Society of the United States have suggestions for planning your car trip.
As you get your car ready and packed, there are ways to ensure safe traveling for everyone. 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.
Packing for your dog should include a travel-size first aid kit, along with an anti-diarrheal medication that's safe for animals; ask your veterinarian. Also, 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 where you will be visiting.
Your dog should be wearing an ID tag with your name, home address and phone 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.
Putting your cellphone number on this tag is a good idea. And take a current picture of your dog with you. A photograph of him will help in identifying him if he should get lost.
Pack all of your dog's other supplies in a small bag where you can easily reach 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, eye cleaning drops and a supply of plastic bags for picking up after him.
As you go down the road to your destination and back home, your dog will be sleeping 90% 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 ill from having cold air forced into their lungs.
Dogs can get car sick. So 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 need to stop frequently, every two or three hours, to let him exercise, never letting him leave the car without his collar, ID tag and 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. You can also check out hotel rules and policies, which may include requiring a pet fee or deposit or health certificate.
Then confirm, in advance, with the 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. Some hotels will provide you with pet amenities, including treats, bedding, dog walking services, a list of pet services and pet attractions in the area, dog walking routes and a list of pet-friendly restaurants in the area.
As you settle into your room, show your dog where you've put his water, food and bed. When you're out walking, keep him securely leashed and at your side. Remember, not everyone loves dogs like we do.
If you're taking a road trip with your dog for spring break, I wish you fun adventures and safe traveling.
• The Buddy Foundation, 65 W. Seegers Road, Arlington Heights, is an all-volunteer, nonprofit organization with all funds directly assisting its animals. Call (847) 290-5806 or visit thebuddyfoundation.org.