As you are counting down the day until you leave for your next duty station, it’s time to get your pet PCS plan in place.
There is so much on your plate before your move – packers, clearing housing, making arrangements for your new home. A necessary part of the to do list is taking steps to square away your pets for a smooth transition.
Before Your Trip
1.Health Check & Microchip
Before you head out on your trip, make sure that your pet is healthy with a thorough check up. It might take a while to find and get an appointment with a vet at your new duty station so make sure that you have plenty of any needed supplies. If your pet gets car sick or very anxious, you may also want to check with your vet about medications that could help make the trip easier. If you haven’t already, take this opportunity to get your pet micro-chipped, make sure the chip is still scanning and the information is up to date.
2.Check Rules & Regulations
Every state, city and town has their own rules about pets that range from requiring microchips to licensing to nothing. There also maybe areas where you need a health certificate from a vet to travel through with a pet. Know what the rules are before you leave so you can make sure your pet has any necessary vaccinations and paperwork.
3.Pet ID Tag
Before you leave, get an up to date and easy read pet ID tag for your pet’s collar. One of the easiest times for a pet to get lost is while traveling. In an unknown and busy area, when tired of the car and being on a leash, even the most obedient pet may get away from you.
If your pet doesn’t regularly travel in the car and walk in unfamiliar areas on a leash, you don’t want to test their reaction for the first time while you’re mid-PCS. Take the time to test reactions before you leave while you have time to adjust and help your pet travel successfully.
During Your Trip
It’s tempting to give your pet the ability to move around your vehicle in an effort to make them more comfortable during your drive. But this presents a serious increased risk to both you and your pet. Loose pets can cause accidents if they become upset or agitated. In the case of an accident, an unrestrained pet is at much higher risk of being injured or getting loose on a busy road and running away. For everyone’s safety, a seatbelt leash, crate or other restraint option is the best choice.
If your PCS travel will involve overnight stays on the road or at your destination, take a little time now to find pet-friendly accommodation. The last thing you want to deal with at the end of a day driving with a loaded car is discovering that the hotel you planned to stay at doesn’t accept pets or charges a hefty pet fee. Some hotels will also assist pet owners by offering them first floor rooms so it is easier to take pets outside for walks and bathroom breaks.
7.Maintain the schedule
As much as possible, attempt to keep your pet’s routine in place as you travel. Do they eat breakfast or dinner at a specific time? So they typically take a walk a certain point?
Although it might take a little creativity and planning, planning breaks or stopping points as close to those times as possible is worth the effort to have a more relaxed pet as you travel and get settled at your new installation.
8.Make it feel like home
Just as you have a few key belongings that make a new place feel like home, your dog needs some reassurance to get comfortable. Their bed, food and water bowls, toys and getting back in a normal routine as quickly as possible.
Like with most aspects of our PCS, a smooth trip for your pets depends on anticipating the most likely issues and planning for them. For a more complete plan to prepare for your PCS, print out the 2016 PCS Toolkit!
We want to know:
What is the most challenging part of PCSing with pets for you?