After a long, cold and lingering winter, it’s time to get out there and enjoy the springtime with your favorite canine companions.

We are lucky to be so close to so many great parks and hiking trails, some in Maryland and many throughout the mid-Atlantic region. Dogs make fantastic traveling buddies. They never argue about plans, they are always willing to go where you want and they will stay at any hotel, motel or friend’s house without complaining at all.

However, they may decide to share a larger part of the bed than you would prefer.

When traveling with your pet, always make sure that you have all of the necessary tools packed in their suitcase or duffel bag. Remember to always bring plenty of food, preferably pre-packed in sandwich or storage bags for each feeding, along with fresh water.

If your dog is on any kind of medication, remember to always take a bit extra in case your plans change.

Remember to bring a reflective collar and leash for evening walks. Make sure the extra collar has a name tag on it with current your contact information.

If you are staying somewhere for a week or so, consider getting a temporary tag made with the name and address where you will be staying in case your dog gets separated from you. This is also important if your dog is staying somewhere other than home, if you travel without them.

Have your veterinarian scan your dog’s microchip to make sure it is active prior to your trip. Contact the microchip company to make sure your contact information is up to date. One of the main reasons that pets are not reunited with their owners is due to incorrect information on the microchip.

Take a photo of any pertinent vet records, including most recent shots, allergies or prescriptions. Keep this picture on your phone in case your dog needs emergency care. This will ensure prompt attention. A small first-aid kit with some hydrogen peroxide styptic powder, a tick key, a muzzle, some gauze and velo wrap.

If your dog cuts his paw pad or breaks a nail, rinse with some peroxide and apply the styptic powder. This will stop the bleeding rather quickly; then bandage with gauze and the velo wrap.

A muzzle will prevent you from getting bit if your dog is in pain or distress. Toss in some baking soda and Nature’s Miracle in case your pup has an accident on the carpet or in your car.

If you would like to plan a hike or trip with your dog, one of my favorite websites is BringFido.com. Hiking trails and dog parks are listed by state, along with pet-friendly lodging and restaurants.

I would love to see pictures of our Jmore readers with their pets! Please feel free to email them to me at joyofdogs@aol.com. Perhaps they will be featured on my website, joyfreedman.com, or in an upcoming article.

Joy Freedman is a dog behaviorist and obedience instructor. She can be reached at joyofdogs@aol.com or joyfreedman.com.