It’s so exciting whenever a new duty station gets assigned, it’s even more exciting when it’s an overseas accompanied assignment! This means that the whole family gets a chance to go, but how do you PCS overseas with dogs?
When a new duty assignment gets kicked out, there are a ton of things that need to get done before the ‘official orders‘ are given for the next duty station. In order to keep track of all the things needed to get done, it’s best to create a PCS checklist to make sure you haven’t overlooked anything.
One of the most important things that should be on top of your PCS checklist, is to get started on your dog’s documentation process ASAP!
Below, I’ve taken the guess work out for you and listed some important tasks that need to be done.
Are you ready? Grab a pen, paper and get ready to take notes!
1. Is your breed allowed?
Unfortunately, not all breeds are allowed on base and sometimes in certain areas of the world. Make sure to do your research on the country you’re going to, to insure that your dog’s breed is allowed.
As for the breeds that are not allowed on base, here is a list that I’ve found on the Air Force Housing site:
- Pit Bull (American Staffordshire Bull Terrier or English Staffordshire Bull Terrier)
- Doberman Pinscher
- Wolf hybrids
Make sure to check out your next installations website for their specific pet policies.
2. Make an appointment with your Vet on base
It’s best to talk to a base vet about your upcoming PCS. They are the experts and will know exactly what needs to be done in order for your dog to get to the next base with less hassle.
Don’t get me wrong, you can go to a Vet off base; by all means there are no rules against it! But if you have a choice, I would suggest you stick with a Vet on base, since they have more experience with the necessary documentation.
3. Let’s get physical
Ok, well not so much you and me, but your dog and the Vet will definitely get close when they do the routine physical.
The Vet will make sure your dog is in good shape and has no life-threatening issues for the flight to the next duty station.
Your pup will need to have some, if not all, vaccines updated for the trip. Here is a list of vaccines needed:
- 1st Rabies Vaccine
- 2nd Rabies Vaccine
- Lepto Vaccines
- Internal/External parasite treatments
Always double check with your base Vet for any additional vaccines needed for your pup’s trip.
Your dog will need to be microchipped before they get their Rabies vaccine certificates. Some Vets can microchip your dog the same time they get their vaccine, so make sure you ask your Vet if they offer that.
There are 2 different types of microchips: standard (FDXA) and universal (FDXB). Make sure your dog has the UNIVERSAL MICROCHIP, otherwise your pup may have a hard time getting scanned and passed along at the airport.
How can you tell the difference between standard and universal? Easy! The standard chip has 10 digits and the universal chip has 15 digits.
5. FAVN test
After the dog gets their 2nd (last) Rabies vaccine, they will get their blood drawn for the FAVN test.
The FAVN test is a Rabies Antibody Titer test to ensure that the rabies vaccinations has provided adequate rabies antibody levels for travel.
Make sure your Vet has your correct address when they send out the blood sample because the original results will be sent to your address.
KEEP THESE RESULTS IN A SAFE PLACE, like a PCS Binder or folder.
You’ll need to show the original FAVN results for the 10 day certificate and the airlines; without it, your pup will have to stay behind.
Once your pup gets their last Rabies vaccine, they will officially be in quarantine! (yay!) This is the second to the last step until you have all the documentations for your trip.
The quarantine step is pretty easy. They will need to be in quarantine for 180 days. This means that they should not have any contact with other dogs (no dog parks) and stay indoors as much as possible (no hikes or beach runs).
You want to make sure your pup doesn’t contract anything from any other animals during this time.
But of course, they can go out in your backyard or front yard to potty- they won’t be totally shunned from society.
7. 10 day certificate
We’re almost in the home stretch y’all! Woohoo!
A couple days before your flight out, you need to pay your Vet one last visit. Call your Vet and make an appointment for the 10 day certificate.
The Vet will look over your pup and documentations one last time and make sure everything is good to go.
They will also provide you with a 10 day certificate, that will be only good for (you guessed it) 10 days!
Make sure you schedule the visit to your Vet as close to your departure date as much as possible. This will keep the certificate current through the duration of your flight and give you some leeway in case unforeseen circumstances arise.
Commercial or AMC?
Sometimes you have a choice on whether to fly commercial or military, but there’s always the off-chance that you get no choice at all.
If you’re thinking about flying commercial with your fur baby, here are some Airlines that fly with pets (as of 2018):
- Alaska Airlines
- Delta Airlines
- American Airlines
- Air Canada
- United Airlines
But there is a catch.. Not all airlines fly large dogs with giant kennels.
So call the airline that you would like to fly with, and double check their pet policy.
If you have a large dog that can only fit in either a XL crate with extenders or a giant crate, you may need to look into transportation options.
Luckily for you, there are a ton of transportation services out there that would be happy to help you get your pup get to their new home.
Here are a couple of transportation services to start your search:
– Almost Home Pet Transportation
– Sarah’s Pet Paradise
– Dogs On Deployment
But wait there’s more! If your military member is an E6 or below, you can apply for a grant to help cover a portion of the transportation fee! YES! *happy dance*
Aside from all the Vet documentations, you may need to have some additional documentation ready for your pup depending on your circumstance.
We’ll talk about that now..
When flying commercial overseas with a pet, you must submit a “Notification” to Animal Quarantine Services (AQS) at the expected port of entry.
You need to make sure that ALL INFORMATION on the notification matches exactly with the information on the health certificates.
Luckily, an Advance notification is NOT required for military flights (AMC/Rotator/Patriot.. whatever you want to call it!). So try to get on a military flight!
Aside from the Advance Notification, it’s best to contact your gaining base’s Vet prior to travel to let them know when they should be expecting you.
Pet arriving during quarantine waiting period
If the quarantine period for your pup overlaps into your arrival at your new base, no worries!
They will need to be quarantined at either an on-base pet boarding facility or can stay with you at a pet-friendly TLF on-base.
There is also the option of fostering by families on base. You can find a family in a local base Facebook page that will keep your pup for you while they’re in the waiting period. Just make sure you verify that this is allowed at your gaining base.
Power of Attorney
Most of the time when you use a transportation service for your pup, they require a Power of Attorney. Make sure to have a copy of the POA on hand and give the original to the transportation service.
You can get a free POA at your installation’s legal office! Yay for free!
Wait, what about the kennel?
Ah, of course we can’t forget to go over the kennel policy! Let’s start with the different sizes of kennels:
- Small (21 L x 16 W x 15 H)
- Medium (Series 200) ; (28 L x 20.5 W x 21.5 H)
- Intermediate (Series 300) ; (32 L x 22.5 W x 24 H)
- Large (Series 400) ; (36 L x 25 W x 27 H)
- Extra Large (Series 500) ; (40 L x 27 W x 30 H)
- Giant (Series 700) ; (48″L x 32″W x 35″H)
A good rule of thumb to make sure you have the right kennel, is to make sure the top of the kennel is about 1-2 inches above your dogs head. If your dog has pointy ears, the top of the kennel needs to be 1-2 inches above the top of their ears.
Here are some picture examples:
In the picture below, the crate is too small. Luna doesn’t have any extra room above her head.
In the picture below, the kennel is perfect. Luna has a TON of room above her head.
Another thing to note is that airlines now require metal bolts and screws for the kennel. So if you purchase a kennel and it has plastic bolts, you will need to change them out.
You can find kennel bolts and screw replacements here or at your local hardware store.
Alright, I think we’re all done here!
Make sure to keep all important documents in a PCS binder to insure that nothing gets lost!
Good luck on your journey with your fur baby, friend. Remember to take it easy and enjoy the ride.
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