The flowers are appearing, the weather is warming, and it feels like spring may finally be here. And whether you schedule around your kids’ breaks in March or April, or just take your own trips around Easter or to get away, Spring Break has become a ritual that takes many families out of town and on an adventure.
As you’re finalizing your Spring Break plans, it’s essential to plan for your pets as well. Many of the best tips for boarding or traveling with your pet can be found on our Blog about Holiday Travel with Pets. The blog outlines how best to go about boarding your pets and/or working with pet sitters, as well as tips for traveling with your pets. The main point made is to plan ahead: boarding facilities book up quickly during popular holidays, so call now if your dog or cat needs to be boarded.
That said, the hardest decision may be deciding whether or not to take your pets on your trip. Here are some things to consider when deciding whether or not to travel with your dog or cat for Spring Break:
- Where will they sleep? If your trip involves hotel stays, you’ll need to research places where pets are welcome. And even if you’re staying with friends or family, you’ll need to plan ahead for proper bedding, crates, and where exactly the pet is welcome. Don’t assume: always plan.
- How will we handle car rides? It’s important to remember that Spring Break is often warm, so it’s unsafe to leave your dog or cat in the car for any period of time. If you’re planning a road trip with your pet, you’ll need to plan to stop every two hours or so for bathroom breaks, water, and stretching legs, and you’ll need to be able to take your pets inside with you on breaks (which means knowing pet-friendly stops along the way). This means your ride may take longer than you’d hoped, or may route you to different stops.
- Are they allowed on the airplane? With warmer weather, some airlines will not allow pets to travel in crates at the back of the plane. So unless your pet is small enough to be carried with you, you may not have the option of flying. Call your airline now to confirm pet rules for the exact month and destinations of your flight.
- Is our destination pet friendly? While most national and state parks allow dogs, they are usually restricted to certain areas and must be on short leashes. Many beaches restrict dogs to certain hours or months in the year. Be sure to research all dog rules, especially in campgrounds, protected areas, and beaches, before assuming that your dog will be welcome.
- Will your pet enjoy this trip? This question is a loaded one. While we usually hate being apart from our pets, often the stresses of taking them with us aren’t worth the companionship. Think of it from your pet’s point of view: will she enjoy the car ride, new places, other pets, and change of schedule? Will he be a vital and included part of the trip, or a burden to be handled along the way? Unless there’s a lot of fun, activity and companionship worked into your trip, it may be kinder to leave your pet at home, with a sitter or boarded.
An appointment at Animal Clinic of Woodruff may be a smart way to start any pet planning. We’ll make sure your pet’s vaccinations are updated to prepare them for boarding or travel, and we’ll help you plan for the vacation that’s best for your whole family – whether that means leaving your pets or taking them on your Spring Break trip.