When you are in the military, traveling is a part of life and no matter how organized you are it’s still a very stressful time. And if you have pets, it can be downright daunting.  A million things run through your head, “I need to find housing that takes pets,” “How will I get my pet to the new city?” “How will they handle the move?”

The first plan of action is to be armed with as much information as you can. Here’s where the internet can be invaluable. It doesn’t matter how near or far away you are traveling; you can find the information you need for that area. Here are a few things to make sure you know before you leave:

  • What are the pet policies at your new location?
  • Does my pet need shots? And if so, you will need to find out this information in advance as this can take some time to coordinate.
  • Are there any pet friendly hotels where we can stay? In case you need to find a place to live once you arrive.
  • Are there any special animal laws in that state or country? Mandatory quarantines, etc.
  • What veterinarian is nearby? Military or otherwise.
  • What certificates do I need in order for my pet to travel? Typically there are two, a health certificate and a rabies certificate. Your military veterinarian can give you the information you need.

Next, call your airline to see if there are any restrictions and what paperwork you need to make sure your pet makes their flight. Consider talking to your veterinarian to see if there are any special circumstances for your pet’s breed that would need to be managed during transport.

Also, your pet must be crate trained to travel on public transportation and most often, to be allowed to stay in a hotel. So if your buddy isn’t used to a crate, start training them right away so they are used to the situation. It’s a good idea to have some personal item of theirs or yours in the crate so they feel less stressed. A shirt or blanket can make a big difference.

Air Mobility Command offers space-available flight, commonly known as Space-A travel, for military families and their pets.

For more detailed information, visit Military OneSource. They have numerous checklists and samples of a military pet care plan. 

– written by Kathy Brinck, CA Communications Coordinator