PCSing with your Pet

by Airman 1st Class Alexis C. Schultz
86th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

A permanent change of station with a pet is no easy matter. Members should ensure they begin the process for vaccinations and paperwork as soon as possible. It is important to note that if there is no space available for pets on the flight, the service member is responsible for the pets movement to the next duty station. Photo by Airman 1st Class Devin M. Rumbaugh

Planning and preparing are essential when traveling with your pets. It is important to follow specific guidelines from airlines and veterinarians when making a permanent change of station from the Kaiserslautern Military Community.

Check with your personnel office to see if your pet’s shipment is a reimbursable expense. Arrange pet shipment in advance by contacting the passenger travel office or the airline you will be using. Pet spaces are limited on flights, so it is important to book ahead of time.

When PCSing back to the United States, Air Mobility Command and commercial flights will require a health certificate issued no more than 10 days prior to travel, and a rabies certificate issued no more than 30 days prior to travel. Other countries may require different documentation for your pet. Ask your veterinarian for the specific requirements for the country you are traveling to, to ensure that all required vaccinations are up-to-date and to receive a health certificate.

Military vets are familiar with this process, but civilian vets may need several weeks lead time to order the certificate. Veterinarians should know of travel plans as soon as possible to ensure that all travel requirements are completed.

Rules regarding kennel and travel requirements differ among airlines. Ask your airline for specific requirements for the airline you’re traveling with. Many airlines do not allow travel if temperatures are too extreme. Kennels must also be large enough to allow the pet to stand without touching the top of the cage, sit, turn around, and lie down in a natural position. A water container must be present inside the kennel. Clearly label the kennel with your name, destination address and phone number.

Ensure pets are wearing up-to-date identification tags and that their microchips are updated with the correct address information.

To avoid problems at the airport, carry proof of the pet’s rabies vaccination, copies of their health certificate, and copies of their medical records.

When you travel on PCS orders between overseas and U.S. bases on AMC military-chartered flights, you can now move more than two pets per family on a space-available basis only. Contact your local passenger travel office to request additional spaces.

For more information, contact Passenger Travel at 480-5373.