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Moving with Pets5 minute read • April 15, 2023
When you’re preparing for a military move, your pet is part of the family. Moving with a pet can add another layer of complexity to your plans, especially if you’re moving overseas. Let Military OneSource connect you to tips and resources to help you prepare so both you and your pet have a smooth relocation.
Passenger & Pet PCS Transit
PCSing? The Defense Department is here to help service members, their families and pets make the move to their new installation.
Pet relocation costs are at your own expense. Your moving company cannot ship any live animals. Keep in mind that there are no reimbursements or allowances for service members who are transporting pets, however there may be reimbursement for mandatory quarantine of dogs and cats. For more information about pet quarantine reimbursement, visit the Defense Travel Management Office website.
The first step in moving with pets is: Know before you go. Learning about pet regulations in your new community well in advance of your actual move is a “must do.” This includes educating yourself on licensing and quarantine requirements, possible breed restrictions and what health documents you need to bring with you. Some communities have rules about what kinds of animals and breeds are allowed, and health regulations can vary in different states and countries. If your pet will be traveling by air, you will need to get smart about air travel requirements.
Pet moving resources
Visit the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection, or APHIS, Pet Travel webpage for information on how to:
- Take your pet from the U.S. to a foreign country
- Bring your pet into the U.S. from a foreign country
- Travel with your pet from state to state
The APHIS website offers a search tool that enables you to choose your destination and view their pet travel requirements. It also has information about the USDA online Veterinary Export Health Certification System.
Service members and families with orders for a PCS move to or from overseas, or OCONUS, locations typically travel on Defense Department charter aircraft referred to as the Patriot Express, arranged through your local transportation office. Visit the Air Mobility Command Pet Travel Page for detailed information on pet transport guidelines, including immigration, kennel size and weight requirements, fees, service animals and more.
Patriot Express pet reservations are made by your local transportation office when you request your passenger reservations. Orders are not required to request passenger reservations for Patriot Express and may be made 90-120 days prior to your departure. Pet spaces on Patriot Express are limited, booked on a first come, first served basis and should be requested as early as possible. Pet spaces are available for booking 90-120 days prior to departure.
Your local transportation office can also advise you about installation regulations regarding breed restrictions, quarantine, licensing, vaccinations, pet boarding, pet embargo requirements and more.
Health and safety tips
Talk to your vet as soon as you know you are moving. Ask for tips and recommendations on traveling and plan immunizations to ensure your pet is current. You should also ask about obtaining a heath certificate. As stated above, if you are traveling overseas, make sure you understand your host country’s regulations and restrictions so you can ensure your pet has any required vaccinations and health documents. If your pet isn’t used to traveling, ask your vet for recommendations about preparing for travel and issues such as motion sickness. You can also ask about identification microchips, if your pet doesn’t already have one.
For detailed information on traveling with pets, check out the following resources from the USDA, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the Humane Society:
- Frequently Asked Questions About Traveling With Your Pet
- Traveling With Pets
- Travel Safely With Your Pet by Car, Airplane, Ship or Train
Advance planning is a key step to helping you and your pet have a safe, smooth move. Make sure you understand all transportation rules and health regulations, and prepare your pet for the trip as much as possible.
Still have questions or need help finding information? Military OneSource consultants are available 24/7/365 anywhere in the world to help connect you with the resources you need to master your move. Call 800-342-9647, view OCONUS calling options or schedule a live chat.