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PCS WITH YOUR PETS

Excerpts from post found at PCSMoves.com

One of the things that most military families deal with which civilian families do not is frequent moves with their pets. Pets are important for military families to bring to their new duty stations. Our military families bring their friend, four legged family member and companion and the unconditional love given by their pets to make their new house a HOME. How do they do this with as little stress to their pets and family as possible? It takes work, but can be done with little or no worry during an otherwise hectic time in their military lives.

Military members approaching their PCS moves have several resources available to help them get their pets tot their new duty station. Services like www.pcspets.com and ActionPetRelocation.com provide door to door services and base veterinary services can provide vaccinations and documentation needed. Additionally, following this checklist helps make the PCS move go more smoothly:

1. Plan for your destination. Check online for requirements, especially for overseas destinations. Pets traveling to another country typically need to have a health certificate from a veterinarian. (Pro-tip: Use base vet clinics where possible since they have a better understanding of pet’s PCS needs.)  Remember that some countries ban some types of pets, and others require a quarantine period.  Pets may also have to be inspected by the customs service. Base veterinary clinics are a great resource for information. Local animal rights groups can also be of help.
2. Plan for a proper crate. Owners must provide a hard-shell U.S. approved International Air Transport Association (IATA) kennel. It must be large enough for the pet to stand up, turn around, and lie down normally. Planning ahead for a proper crates saves time money and frustration. Make arrangements for transportation well in advance.
3. Keep health, vaccination, and rabies certificates with you. If you are flying, keep them in your carry on bag in case of lost luggage.
4. Remember to microchip and/or provide your pet with an ID tag with proper contact information.
5. If you are driving to your new home and taking your pet with you, plan for more frequent stops and build those plans into your trips, allowing pets that may be anxious to relax for a few minutes before continuing the journey.  There are some great ways to make sure that hotels you will use are pet friendly. Check out PetsWelcome.com as a GREAT resource for finding pet friendly hotels.  Most importantly, when you stop to grab a bite to eat on the road, don’t leave your pet in the vehicle.  A road trip to your new station is a perfect time to plan a family picnic at a rest stop so your pet can also relax outside of the car as well.

As with most PCS related tasks, if you plan with enough time, moving to your new home can actually be a good experience. It may take a little effort, but bringing your pet with you can bring a piece of permanence and love in your new home.