Sunday, April 08, 2007

Hotel Room Dog Hazard: Medications

It's been a long time since we've had a dog who was small enough to fit under the bed and furniture in motel rooms. Of course Kirby, being his curious, terrier-like little self, immediately dives under the bed to explore whenever we come into a new motel room. On the past few trips this has made me nervous and I always try to shoo him out (which only seems to make him more determined). But on two occasions during our current road trip rather alarming things have turned up:

Drugs. No, I'm not talking about finding illegal drugs or anything like that, I mean plain old human, over the counter (or perhaps prescription) pills that people unwittingly drop on the floor in their motel rooms. One morning in Santa Fe we picked up a tiny white pill. It gave me pause. I was glad we found it before the dogs did. What if it had been some heart medication or a tranquilizer, human-sized dose, that could kill a little dog? Or a big dog, for that matter?

This morning, in a motel in California, my husband found an Advil -- with the coating partway licked off -- in Kirby's crate. Apparently Kirby had found it and smuggled it in there. That probably wouldn't have caused him any grave problems, but it once again raised my awareness of the danger lurking in unexpected places.

It's so easy to drop medications. The pills are often tiny, and travelers are more likely to have them stashed in odd places like pockets or in purses instead of their normal medicine cabinets. When someone drops an aspirin or other relatively inexpensive medication, they probably don't make a great deal of effort to look for it or pick it up if it rolled under the bed. And while they definitely hold some of the blame, I don't hold the hotel housekeeping staff entirely responsible either, as it's rather difficult to vacuum every square inch under a King-sized bed in a small motel room.

I don't know what to do about it other than trying to train Kirby not to crawl under the bed. Fat chance. But even if I did, it wouldn't stop him from finding things under the curtains, around that tight corner by the desk, etc. Those tight little spots are easy to miss with a vacuum and easy to find for a nosey puppy.

We were fortunate not to have any trouble this time, but I'm definitely going to let the motel management know about it and do a better job of scanning the floor of motel rooms next time we travel.

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