Moving overseas can be stressful, but knowing what to expect – especially where expenses are concerned— can help you manage your family’s budget. AHRN.com reached out to military spouse blogger Melissa Gilliam Shaw to share her experiences budgeting for an OCONUS PCS with a pet.
If you’re traveling overseas with your family’s favorite furry, four-legged companions, it’s important to know upfront that the military doesn’t pay for pet transportation. Any expenses you incur as part of your pet’s move are personal and non-reimbursable.
The exact cost of shipping your pet overseas depends on several variables, including the size of the animal, the airline you’ll fly use, whether your pet will travel with your family or be shipped at a later date, and the cost of veterinary care in your area.
While I can’t tell you exactly what each aspect of pet shipping will cost your family, here is a list of items to consider when budgeting for your move:
Airline-Approved Pet Crate – $30+
Check with the airline you’ll be traveling on for crate specifications. Crates start at around $30 for a small pet, and can be several hundred dollars for large-breed dogs.
Pet Shipping Fees – $150+
Every airline is different, so again, check directly with the airline you’ll fly when you PCS for details. Our 12-pound dog cost around $150 in cargo fees on Patriot Air from Baltimore to Ramstein Air Passenger Terminal.
Pet Medication – Varies
Many pets experience anxiety or motion sickness during travel. Be sure to budget for the cost of any special medications your pet might need during transit. You might also want to stock up on any regular medication your pet uses in case those medications are more expensive or harder to find overseas.
15-Digit ISO Pet Microchip – Varies
Even if your pet already has an American microchip, he or she will likely need a 15-digit ISO microchip (the international standard) before you travel. In many countries, this isn’t an option: immigration has the right to refuse your pet entry if your pet doesn’t meet your host country’s requirements, so be sure your pet has the right microchip well in advance of your PCS.
Updated Rabies Vaccine – Varies
Your dog or cat may still be covered by his or her most recent rabies vaccination, but that doesn’t mean that he or she will be allowed to travel into Germany with that current vaccination. If your pet’s vaccination is more than one year old, you’ll probably need a new one before you move. Note: If your pet needs both a 15-digit microchip and an updated rabies vaccination, the microchip must be implanted at least 21 days before the vaccine can be administered.
Dangerous Dogs – Varies
Germany has a list of dangerous breeds that aren’t allowed to immigrate into the country. If your dog is a “dangerous breed” by German standards, you’ll need to find a new home for your pet before you PCS.
Pet Health Certificate – Varies
Within 10 days prior to arriving in Germany, your pet will need a health certificate, written in German and in English, and signed by a USDA-certified veterinarian.
Veterinary Examination Fee – €55
When your family arrives in Ramstein Passenger Terminal with your pet, you’ll be charged a €55 veterinary examination fee in accordance with the EU Ordinance #998/2003.
Don’t forget to add your veterinarian’s basic appointment fees into your budget for each vet’s appointment you’ll need between now and your PCS to Germany.
The sooner you begin planning for your pet’s OCONUS PCS, the better off your pet — and your budget — will be. Many of the pet preparations for an OCONUS move must be done in a specific order, and there are specific waiting period between steps. For instance, your pet’s 15-digit microchip must be implanted at least 21 days before your pet receives his or her updated rabies vaccine. And your pet’s rabies vaccine needs to be at least 30 days old when you get his or her international health certificate.
While the exact cost of your pet’s OCONUS PCS will depend on a number of variables, this list should help you estimate your pet-related OCONUS PCS expenses. You can find more information about PCSing to Germany with a pet on the Ramstein Passenger Terminal website.
Preparing for an OCONUS PCS? Check out Melissa’s other OCONUS PCS Budgeting Tips:
Meet Your Contributor:
Melissa Gilliam Shaw is a freelance marketing professional and the creator of MilliGFunk: a blog about resilience, adventures, and deeply planted roots. Melissa’s husband is an officer in the Army, and they live in Germany with their daughter and their scruffy rescue dog who still hasn’t forgiven them for making her fly cargo from the U.S.A. to Germany. You can find Melissa on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Bloglovin’, LinkedIn, and Google+.