Prepare for Your PCS Move with Pets

Lady with her lovely pupper.

Post from MilitaryByOwner

With the excitement of a PCS ahead, are you noticing changes with your pet's behavior? Has your cat been frequently climbing into your lap? Does your dog beg for attention more often?

During the initial preparations for your military move, your companion animals can sense your level of anticipation. And as you plan for this time of transition, it's important to be aware of the sensitive nature of your pets. With this in mind, take a look at these tips to make your upcoming move as smooth as possible for every member of your military family, including the pets you cherish.

1) Have Orders? Ready, Set, Go!

The wheels of your military move are set in motion as soon as you have your hands on the official paperwork. While plotting out your tasks to accomplish, keep in mind what you'll need to do to prepare for moving with pets.

  • If you'll be moving overseas, do a little research on the animal quarantine requirements. For example, dogs and cats will need specific blood tests, and getting those test results back can take awhile. The earlier that you begin this necessary process, the better it will be for the status of your pets and for your own stress level.
  • If you'll be moving within the United States, take the time to look up the regulations on the breed and species requirements in your new area. For instance, there are rules that define which types of animals are allowed in base housing, and both HOAs and military housing usually have directives on what sorts of critters you can have at your private residence.
  • Whether making an overseas or stateside move, ensure that your pets are microchipped with your current contact information. You may need to update this crucial info online. Current identification for your dog or cat can save the day if your pet wanders off in the flurry of moving day.
  • Don't forget to look up pet-friendly lodging at your new locale. In case you're not able to move in immediately, you'll need a quality place to stay. For example, if you're transitioning to a popular military city, such as San Diego, San Antonio or Washington, D.C., you'll want to beat the rush and make reservations early for a safe spot for your family and furry friends.

2) Your Best Bet Is a Visit to the Vet

Make an appointment with your veterinarian as soon as you have a copy of your military orders. If you usually take your pets to the vet clinic on base, you'll notice all the other pet owners will be getting ready for PCS season at the same time. It's a good idea to plan your appointment as early as possible.

If you're preparing for an overseas move, the vet on base will share a checklist to guide you through the steps you'll need to take. Additionally, MilitaryByOwner offers a complimentary Overseas PSC ebook brimming with tips to ready your pets for an overseas adventure.

Discuss with your vet if your canine or feline should take anti-anxiety medication during travel. The use of a sedative can interrupt the natural process of how an animal regulates its own body temperature when handling stress, so you'll want to make sure your vet clears this option if it's needed.

This vet visit is also a good time to update necessary immunizations or renew prescription medicines.

3) Save Up Some Funds

During the span of time that you are patiently -- or impatiently! -- awaiting the release of your military orders, budget for any random costs that'll come up.

Some pet expenses to plan for:

  • Health checks
  • Vaccinations
  • Quarantines
  • Boarding fees
  • Travel costs

By tucking away funds now, you'll be ahead of the game and can gradually save money for your PCS.

4) Compile a File for Your Furry Friends

Not that long ago, when the calendar began to turn toward military moving season, military families would grab a sturdy three-ring binder and fill plastic sleeve inserts with every piece of paper that might come in handy when moving.

Though you might still hand-carry paper files, these days we tend to gather essential records electronically and easily compile documents via apps or by saving important links.

Whether or not you choose to go paperless with electronic medical records, you'll still need to collect the health history documents of your pets before you ride off into the sunset.

5) Make Moving Day Plans

When your PCS plans are coming together and you're chatting with the representative at your pre-move assessment, clarify that your home includes animals. This will alert the moving company of potential pet dander allergens with your goods and the need for safety for your creatures.

  • Don't forget to add your darling's accessories to your "Do Not Pack" stash. Beyond their food and medicine, keep the favorite toys or blankets of your critters with the items you plan to pack yourself. Setting aside a few familiar things can make the moving process seem less daunting for your pets.
  • While the packing crew is boxing up and loading all your worldly possessions, you may want to find a friend who will watch your pets or a drop-in pet daycare. You'll likely want to arrange the same thing for when household goods are delivered at the new base.

Going through a move can be considerably frightening for an animal. Do what you can to keep the best interests of your loyal companions in mind. While going over your to-do list for your PCS ahead, your animal besties might feel the need to comfort you, too! Offering your four-legged friends reassurance as well as having a family game plan for the changes ahead will help set your course toward a smooth move.

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