Pets and Military are not really two words that go hand in hand. Animals require a lot of attention, training, time, and consistency to become the best they can be. But, if you are like me and simply cannot live without a fur baby and are willing to go the extra mile(s), having a dog or cat as a companion can make the hardest of times much easier.
When it comes to PCSing with your pet(s), life becomes a whole lot more complicated........
You are going to need to plan to have your pet as comfortable as possible, understand the specific pet travel regulations you have to follow, and book only pet friendly hotels.
Here are the best tips to handling this situation like a pro and making the transition easier for your fur baby...
1. Obtain a health certificate from your licensed veterinarian if you have to travel by plane within 10 days of transport. The VTFs (U.S. Army Veterinary Treatment Facilities) also offer them worldwide.
2. When you obtain the health certificate, make sure that it contains proof of rabies vaccinations, has the original signatures, and is counter-stamped or signed by a U.S.D.A veterinarian. Depending on which country you are in and or going to, the original signature requirement may be exempt if done by an Army Veterinary Corps officer. So it may be wise just to have everything done by them...
3. Under 45 and Over 85 Rule. This means that airlines do not fly animals in weather that is under 45 degrees and over 85 degrees. This can cause major hiccups depending on when you are PCSing. They best way to get around this is to go ahead and line up everything your pet needs to travel and then have a friend or family member send them off when the time is right.
4. Another hiccup is whether or not your pet is allowed to fly on a flight that you are not on. Contact your local VTF.
5. Sedation is never allowed for your pet when traveling by air. Even if your vet says its ok, the airlines strictly forbid it. But if your pooch gets anxious in a car, contact your vet and follow their guidelines for administering sedatives.
6. Your pet will have to be kenneled when flying and a general rule of thumb is to over estimate the kennel size. Make sure the size is accepting in both the country you are leaving from and also the one you are arriving in.
6. Plan accordingly for Fido or Kitty and do not wait till last minute, appointments at the VTFs fill up fast!
7. Not all pets are allowed as "carry-on" baggage. Depending on size of your pet, some may travel inside the plane with you but for larger breeds they will be "checked" baggage and travel in the cargo hold. Prices will vary depending on where they are placed and that is completely up to the airline....not you.
8. Very important - make sure you confirm your pets plane ticket 24-48 hours in advance.
9. If you are going to Japan, Hawaii, or Guam your pooch will have to be quarantine for a significant amount of time so check with your VTF months in advance.
10. Fees. It is extremely expensive to relocate your pet so start saving. As soon as you find out you are PCSing contact all the necessary places and find out each and every fee. In general expect to pay at least $2,000.
There are a number of pet relocation services out there so if the idea of handling all your pet's relocation needs along with your family's is too daunting, consider hiring someone to do it for you. Typically, you will only be paying a couple hundred more dollars when you hire a company so you just have to decide if the extra money is worth it.
Qualify for your travel loan here!