Tips For PCSing With Your Pets

Compiled by Willow Nero

Permanent change-of-station moves are tough on the entire family. Children are uprooted from school, military spouses often must find new employment, and on top of that, families have a lot of household goods to box up. In all the hustle and bustle, did you forget about the family pet?

Specific pet travel requirements depend on your service branch, airline, host country, and other factors. You might need a pet passport, updated veterinary certificates, a microchip, and proof of rabies vaccination.


The U.S. Army’s Public Health Command provides a good general checklist on where to find the regulations that will apply to your move. Their website includes links to country-specific policies. 

  1. Check base policy regarding number of pets, its microchip policy, etcetera. Military Duty Stations and Military Installations often list pet information for specific locations. 
  2. Check airline policies regarding limits on number of pets, flying pets during hot/cold weather, etcetera. Also look into restrictions regarding dangerous breeds. 
  3. Additional information on importation of pets into foreign countries can be obtained by contacting the consulate of the respective country. Find the country on this list of consulates
  4. Basic information on domestic and international travel of common pets and other animals can be obtained from the Department of Agriculture.  
  5. If you have an Army Knowledge Online account you can find useful information under “My Pet.” 
  6. More tips for traveling with pets can be found at
  7. Customs regulations can be found at the U.S. Army Europe Customs Agency.


Pet  Resources

To make the transition easier, Navy Lt. Theresa Donnelly, guest blogger for the American Forces Press Service, suggests you take advantage of military pet resources such as:

  • Military veterinarians. The Army’s Public Health Command website has an interactive locator map to contact the treatment facility for veterinarian services and a listing of requirements for that location.
  • Shelter resources. Most communities have a government-run shelter enforcing animal law and educating on vital pet services such as spay/neuter, microchipping and lost and found and offer volunteer opportunities and ways to advocate on behalf of animals. Many facilities have programs designed for the needs of military members.
  • Newcomer information. Family service centers and your sponsor can be invaluable in navigating the details on moving with your pets. Bases’ commercial guides might list shelters in the area and pet services such as grooming, boarding, and dog-walking. Plus, if your sponsor is a pet owner, he or she might have recommendations for services.
  • Meet-up groups and pet clubs. Many duty stations have breed-specific organizations and play groups. There are Facebook groups, Meet-up groups, and clubs for those interested in activities such as agility, obedience, conformation, fly ball, and others. You can find them by searching your pet breed and the area.
  • Groups such as Dogs on Deployment, Operation Military Pets, or Guardian Angels for a Soldier’s Pet can help you find a foster home during a deployment, short-term move, or medical treatment. The American Humane Association provides tips for military families who are considering putting their pet in foster care.