CLEVELAND (WJW) — The vaccine for the highly contagious dog flu is in high demand and sometimes difficult to find. It’s happening right as spring break travel is set to take off, leaving dogs in boarding facilities or other close contact arrangements at risk of canine influenza.

“More common regions where we’ll see it are shelters, dog parks, facilities where there’s a lot of congregation of dogs,” said Dr. Yesenia Garcia-Vega of West Park Animal Hospital in Cleveland.

The virus is spread through close contact, at the moment Garcia-Vega said there is no major outbreak in Cleveland but that can change with increased travel. Garcia-Vega said due to vaccine demand, it’s often back-ordered.

About 20% of infected dogs are asymptomatic. Symptoms in other dogs can be mistaken for kennel cough.

“Most of the time it can be a mild upper respiratory infection, but it can cause pneumonia or severe bronchitis in some cases. If it gets very severe, patients can be hospitalized,” said Garcia-Vega.

Concerned pet owners should ask about safety requirements in place before boarding their pet and talk to their veterinarian about additional precautions to try and avoid the dog flu.

“Keeping dogs away from each other, not letting them get too close to each other,” said Garcia-Vega about precautions. “Sharing bowls if you feel like your dog may be having symptoms or if you see another dog that may have some nasal discharge, knowing they’re not feeling good, not sharing toys.”

It’s expert advice to keep dogs healthy and their tails wagging.