When you’re preparing for a military move, having a pet can add another layer of complexity, particularly if you’re moving overseas. But you know the drill: spend some upfront time planning and preparing, and you can ease some of the stress of relocating for both you and your pet.
Pet moving tips
Before your move, make sure you bring your pet to the vet. Making sure your pet is healthy and has updated immunizations can make a domestic or overseas move go smoother. You’ll want to prevent the chances of your pet getting lost as you make your move. Before moving, consider some tips for keeping track of your pet in unfamiliar territory:
- Give your pet an identification tag. The tag should display the name of your pet, your cellphone number and the phone number of an emergency contact.
- Take a picture of your pet so that you can show people what it looks like should it get lost during the move.
- Consider having your veterinarian insert an identification microchip under your pet’s skin.
Traveling in the car
Make the move easier on your pet. Spend time with your pet in the vehicle. Introduce it well beforehand to the crate that you intend to use during the move. Show your pet that traveling can be fun. Try the following tips:
- Offer your pet a reward whenever it gets into the vehicle.
- Take your dog, for example, on short drives to the park so that it associates car travel with a happy destination.
- Put the pet’s crate you plan to use inside your home or backyard, leave the door open and put a treat inside the crate.
- Teach your dog to respond to a bathroom command such as “go potty” or “go outside.” Make sure you give your cat access to a litter box.
Moving to another state
- Visit the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service’s website to see if there are rules for bringing animals into the state to which you have been assigned.
- There may be a limit to the number of pets that you can have on a military installation. Look up the regulations for your installation before you start to pack.
- Call a friend and ask if he or she can watch your pet on moving day.
- Seek out pet-friendly hotels along your travel route before moving day.
- Don’t forget to take your pet’s health certificate and proof that it has current vaccinations.
- Put your pet’s food, water, bowls, leash, toys, bedding, plastic bags and medication in one bag.
- Feed your pet three to four hours before the trip and give it a light meal when you stop for the night.
- Stop at rest areas and give your pet some water as well as a chance to run around. Give your cat access to a litter box.
Moving to another country
Prepare to move your pet in advance of an overseas trip. You can save yourself and your pet a lot of hassle and potential heartache by understanding the ins and outs of rules of your destination country. Different nations have different rules and quarantine requirements associated with the relocation of cats, dogs and other types of pets.
- Contact the consulate or embassy in the country to which you were assigned to learn about the rules for bringing in pets.
- Many overseas destinations require that pets have microchips with a number that matches the number on the health certificate.
- Check the airline travel requirements for pet crates before buying a crate.
- Write your name, your pet’s name and your destination address on the crate. If your pet is unfriendly, then put a warning on the crate.
- Ask your airline if you need to reserve a space on the flight for your pet.
- Some countries may require your pet to be quarantined for an extended amount of time before it can live with you. The cost associated with that quarantine can be pricey. The Department of Defense may reimburse you for up to $550 if you are an active-duty member moving to a country where the quarantine period is mandatory.
- The Department of Defense will not reimburse you for the relocation cost associated with moving your pet from one country to another.
Help ease the stress your family and pet might experience during a major move by knowing what to expect before you begin to pack. Various transportation rules and health regulations could impact you and your pet, and you will want to be prepared to deal with them when they arise. Each installation has its own rules regarding pets. Contact your new installation to get specific information before your move.