Make sure your pup’s holidays are merry and bright even if you’re not home to celebrate with him. If you’re planning to head out of town, now’s the time to book his accommodations. Whether he stays at home with a private staff, heads to a pet-sitter or kennel, or checks into a fancy pet hotel, here’s your pup’s pack list and all you need to know before you go.


Book Your Dog’s Care Early. The holiday season books up fast with pet-sitters, kennels and pup hotels. Secure your dog’s spot as early as possible so he’s guaranteed a happy holiday with the care arrangement of your choice.

Ask Around. Your vet, groomer or dog park friends will likely have names of trusted pet care resources, so get references before calling around for availability. But if you’re coming up short, check out handy web resources like craigslist’s pet discussion forum to request a recommendation or to read reviews. For extra assurance, look for accreditation from the Pet Care Services Association (formerly American Boarding Kennel Association (ABKA).

Test Visit. Your dog will be more likely to adjust well to a new environment while you’re away if you take him there once or twice before you go. Schedule a visit for the two of you in advance of your trip or if he’ll be away from home, consider having him stay overnight.

Pack for your Pup. Make sure your dog has everything he needs to stay safe and happy while you’re away. This includes his food, collar, leash and ID tags with your cell number taped under the tag in case he escapes in an unfamiliar place. And to help him feel close to home, throw in any favorite toys and an article of your clothing that carries your scent.

Make a List. To keep your dog in the manner he’s accustomed, make sure his caretakers have a list of what and when he eats, any medications he takes (included in separate sealed case), and of course, his favorite treats. Notes about his preferred walk and play schedule will help too – like what kind of activity level can be expected and how he interacts with other dogs. Also, be sure to pass along his vet’s contact information and health history form too.

Stop by Woof Report’s Dog Owner Resources page for a free downloadable dog health history form and pet-sitter checklist — ready to print and complete just in time for your trip. Happy Travels!


The Scoop:

Pet Care Services Association, formerly American Boarding Kennel Association (ABKC)

Craigslist Pet Forums Questions & Answers


Thank you to Geraldine for the photo.