Like most things about military life, PCSing is a study in moving parts. With a little organization and planning, you can execute a successful move with minimal stress for you and your pet.
Although most bases are dog- and cat-friendly, some installations may not permit certain exotic pets, including some snakes, birds, and rodents. Check with your new installation’s veterinarian and verify any restrictions with the local Department of Agriculture. Service members in the barracks are not permitted to have pets.
Before your PCS, contact your veterinarian to obtain a health certificate deeming your pet healthy and young enough to travel. Ensure your pet is up-to-date on their vaccinations and that you have health records and proof of microchipping (required in many OCONUS locations) in one easily-accessible place before your move.
Research your new city and state for specific requirements for pet licensing and vaccination. Here are a few other items to consider:
- Do car rides cause your pet anxiety or nausea? Start with shorter trips around town before your move or consult your vet to see if he or she recommends Dramamine.
- Plan your route with pet-friendly hotels.
- Remember that most military inn and lodges welcome dogs and cats if booked in advance.
Every country and installation has different requirements regarding vaccinations, microchipping, and quarantine periods. No matter where you’re PCSing, always contact your new installation’s veterinarian regarding local policies.
Since air travel can be stressful for animals, it’s worth taking some time to research your different options for shipping your pet to your final destination.
If you’re flying with pets via Air Mobility Command, PCS passengers can book their cats and dogs. However, movement expenses are paid by the owner. For more information, visit AMC’s website and check with your local transportation office for pet reservation details. If you’re flying commercially, check with your carrier for any possible restrictions.
You won’t need to quarantine your pet upon moving to a European destination, (except Ireland and Sweden). Some countries, however, have banned certain dog breeds. Germany, for example, prohibits American personnel from bringing American Pit Bull Terriers, American Staffordshire Terriers, Bull Terriers, and Staffordshire Bull Terriers — even if you’re living on a U.S. military base.
Japan, Korea, and Guam each require a pet quarantine period.
- Guam: The pet quarantine can last 5 to 120 days depending on the facility. To coordinate your pet’s entry into the territory, contact the Guam Department of Agriculture.
- Japan: Be prepared to follow a 180-day quarantine requirement if your pet is less than 12 –months old.
- Korea: Quarantine is only required if your pet is ill, or has a rabies certificate that is less than 30 days old. Check with the installation’s veterinarian about quarantine locations and costs.
The Hawaiian Islands are currently rabies-free, and they work hard to keep it that way. As such, your pet may be required to undergo a 120-day, five-day, or direct-release quarantine. Check with Hawaii’s Department of Agriculture to determine which quarantine steps your pet will need to follow. Be sure to check quarantine costs in advance, as they can vary from $150 to over $1,000.