Boarding kennels are another good option, especially if you can’t be doing a lot with your dog, or he gets carsick/airsick/ you just don’t want to risk him by traveling. Check out the kennels in the area and see what they have to offer and how they treat your dog and the dogs there. Sniff around, does it smell clean or rank? Is everything clean and shiny? Is there a play area, and playtime? Some kennels even have webcams so you can watch your dog online while you’re away. I like that feature! 🙂 The kennel will tell you what you need to bring for them to watch your dog, but this is a pretty good starters’ list: again, make sure he has his records, a few not-quite-favorite toys, and it may be a good idea to supply them his food. They will also probably want his veterinarians’ phone number in case of emergency.
And lastly but the option I use the most… cute neighbor kids. They’re affordable, and chances are they already know your dog. I have had four dogs, and all of them have been fed and watered by neighbor kids in absences I have not been able to take them with me, and haven’t wanted to send them to a kennel. Tips for making sure your neighbor kid is sound! First, talk to the parents, and see how they feel. Will they come with their child to take care of the dog? Watch the kid with your dog and see how they interact. Let the kid walk the dog on leash and see if they can even handle your dog! (I have had a Great Pyrenees- sometimes help was needed.) If anything makes you think they’ll forget to water the animal, say no and look elsewhere for a sitter (perhaps an agility buddy who is staying home?). The obvious benefit of an in-house sitter is your dog does not have to leave his home, has at least a marginally familiar person watching out for him, and knows the rules of his own house.
Think about your dog and his personality before choosing where to send him (or who will watch him). Some dogs would really rather just stay home with a bowl of food twice a day and water as they laze around in the laundry room. Some would sooner die than be left all alone like that! Some dogs will go with you happily wherever you go, and some look at the Marriott as some form of hell. And some dogs relish the chance to play with other dogs in a kind of doggie daycare, while others cower in the back of the kennel and wonder what on earth they DID to deserve THIS? You know your dog best, and you know your options best. Have a great holiday!