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How to PCS with Pets

Posted: July 8, 2022
A couple walks with their dog as they prepare for their future PCS move with their pet.

A military permanent change of station can be complicated sometimes, but when you have a pet or pets, it can get even more complicated. You’ll need to prepare well ahead of time before your impending move. Whether you’re moving across the country, or to Hawaii, or overseas, you’ll need to make sure you have everything you need when figuring out how to PCS with pets. 

What should I know about how to PCS with pets?

You should know how a pet is defined, how many pets you can bring, reimbursement, relocation, and more. 

“A pet is defined as, ‘any animal claimed to be owned by a person; gerbils, rabbits, horses, fish, and birds are pets.’ But Air Force Air Mobility Command charters will only transport cats and dogs,” according to PCSing.com. Service members and families also can only bring two pets during a PCS move, according to PCSing.com

Service members and families are responsible for figuring out how to move their pets to their new location. You won’t receive any reimbursement for pet expenses, transportation, or kenneling, according to PCSing.com. You also don’t receive reimbursement for living in a temporary home, and that’s whether the temporary home allows pets, which most don’t allow pets, according to PCSing.com

The U.S. governments offers $275 for pet relocation, but this is only for quarantining your pet, and this doesn’t apply toward any transportation costs, according to PCSing.com

Most service members’ homes at the next duty station aren’t immediately available when families move, so you should try to find a pet-friendly hotel nearby, according to Military.com

Military PCS with Pets for a Car Road Trip

If you’re in a situation where you can travel to your new PCS location by car — whether it’s a short or long trip — here are some tips to keep in mind during your car road trip with your pets. 

  • You’ll want to stock up on everything that your pets need daily — food, water, litter, etc. 
  • Have plenty of supplies for accidents 
  • Have a leash for pets at stops to stretch their legs 
  • Even if your pet is always off-leash, pets can react randomly and weirdly on road trips, so you don’t want your pets accidentally escaping and injuring themselves 
  • Figure out whether long stretches or short stretches during your drive is better for your pets 
  • Keep supplies handy and easily accessible for short stops and overnight stops 
  • Use a variety of toys to keep your pets stimulated on a multiple-day car road trip 
  • Plan early and ahead to find pet-friendly hotels along your driving route. 

Military PCS with pets isn’t easy, and sometimes the best laid out plans go awry. Therefore, make sure you go with the flow if something goes wrong when driving with your pets. 

PCS with Pets Overseas

If you have to PCS with pets overseas, it can get more complicated. You have many more factors to consider when you PCS with pets overseas. When going overseas, at the minimum, you’ll have to consider the following on whether your future country allows your pets: 

  • Is your pet up to date on vaccines? 
  • Does your pet need specific vaccines for this country? 
  • Does your country allow your pet’s breed? 
  • Does your country allow your pet’s size and weight? 
  • Is your pet’s overall health good enough to travel? 
  • Does the country require a pet passport? 

You also have to figure out how you’ll transport your dog overseas. When you have to PCS with pets overseas, you might consider flying or shipping your pet. 

Either flying or shipping your pet will be stressful for you and most importantly, your pet. You also will face long periods away from each other. One tip to keep in mind is if you’re flying with your pet, try to find non-stop flights or as few stops as possible. 

No matter how you’re traveling or transporting your pets, it’s also important to make sure you’re stocked up on several months of medicine at the minimum. 

Long-Term Pet Boarding

You may need to consider military pet boarding for your pets. You potentially have several long-term pet boarding options if you can’t bring your pet with you. 

The first option is to see whether a friend will take in your pets. The second option is to see whether a family member will take in your pets. The third option is to see whether someone is willing to foster or offer dog boarding services for your pets. If you absolutely can’t bring your pets with you or have someone take care of them, you might have to consider rehoming your pets. 

Making a Military PCS with Pets Move More Manageable 

If you prepare early about the potential rules involving military PCS with pets, it’ll make the outcome more manageable. PCS with pets across the country or PCS with pets overseas requires you to take some time and patience to figure out the best solution. By using our Moving Help guide, you should understand the basics of a military PCS with pets move a little bit more.