Conquering Your PCS With Pets


It’s beginning to look a lot like...PCS!  The movers are scheduled, the house purged, and bags are ready to be packed.  What about our fur friends? PCSing with pets adds another layer to the big move, but with proper knowledge and planning PCS with pets can be much less stressful on ourselves and on our animals.  Planning ahead is key in ensuring your pets are ready for a move.

1) Know When to Schedule Vet Appointments

A big component of PCSing pets is ensuring that all necessary veterinary procedures have been followed.  Some locations require a quarantine for animals entering the area. Having up-to-date vaccinations and health records helps speed this process along.  Many airlines and pet moving companies also require vaccination records and vaccine administration within a certain timeframe. Your current installation veterinary treatment facility  is a great place to get the most accurate and current information regarding pet vaccination and medical requirements. If this is your first PCS, a local vet can also access this information.  

2) Budget for Pet Moves

While the military covers costs for service members and families to move, they do not cover the costs associated with moving a pet.  Keep in mind pet PCS costs can be high depending on the location. Flying a pet to an OCCONUS location is costly. Veterinary care and quarantine costs   should be considered and budgeted for. Large animals, like horses, may require additional travel documents depending on the state laws of the new location that need worked into a budget.  

3) Plan Ahead

This is a tough one when it comes to PCS!  Sometimes, we have no idea where the next duty station is until just weeks or days before a report date.  Having a basic plan in place helps ease the stress and ensure our pets are taken care of. Sometimes this means leaving a pet with a trusted friend or family member until they are able to be moved; especially if a no-fly restriction is in place due to extreme temperatures for pets who need to fly to the next duty station.  Keeping pets up-to-date on vaccinations, wormers, and necessary paperwork can help speed up the process. If moving horses, give yourself plenty of time to safely move them to your new location and plan a route with stops ahead of time. Always check with the housing office if living on post, or property managers and city ordinances to see what breed restrictions there might be for your area.  Some dog breeds and other more exotic pets are not allowed in on-post housing, so make sure to plan accordingly if your pet falls under the restrictions. Never lie about a pet’s breed in an attempt to sneak them into on-post housing. This can result in disciplinary actions for service members if found out.

PCS can be stressful, but knowing how to PCS pets to the next duty station eases some stress.  Making sure our pets are in order to move with us is an important part of rocking PCS like a pro!   

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