Many military families have four legged members. Preparation for both national and international travel will make the process as simple as possible. After all, an organized PCS in a smooth(er) PCS. Here are 6 things to consider before you PCS with your pets!
Crate Train: Before moving with a pet, "crate training" is imperative. Cramped quarters are inevitable on a flight or in a car. Familiarity with small spaces and spending some time in them will prevent him or her from defecating and/or urinating in the tight quarters. (Which would make for an unpleasant trip).
Microchip: Have your pet microchipped. This will make them much easier to find should they get lost. Tags and collars can fall or be torn off, but a microchip inserted under the skin is a safe and easy way to ensure your pet can always be identified.
Health Certification: Any travel across international borders requires a health certificate. Some states may also require the health certificate. Following a full physical exam and evaluation, your veterinarian can provide a certificate ensuring that your pet has up-to-date vaccinations, is free of any diseases, and is medically ready for travel. Not only is the document absolutely essential for travel, it must be dated no more than 30 days prior to the expected travel dates. If the 30 day window is passes, the entire process must be repeated.
Service Animal Verification: Service animals require not only all the health certificates and veterinarian exams, but current service papers. In some countries both family pets and service animals may be required to remain in quarantine for a certain amount of time.
Safety Check: If you're flying, bear in mind that not all airlines put pet safety at the top of their list. Thoroughly research the airline requirements, and safety protocols before your pet is loaded on the plane. If European travel is on the agenda for your pet, the American Veterinary Medical Association recommends traveling with Continental, KLM, British Airways, and/or Lufthansa Airlines (note: most of these are part of the StarOne Alliance), who all have optimal guidelines in place for the four-legged traveler.
European Laws: If you'll be abroad in Europe for an extended period of time, you may be subject to the Commission Regulation (EC) No 998/2003 of the European Parliament and of the council. What that means is simple: every European country (with the exception of the UK, Sweden, and Norway) requires your pet to have a microchip and a series of up-to-date vaccines if they are to stay with you for an extended period of time. For dogs, the required vaccines are: Distemper, Hepatitis, Parvo, Leptospirosis (DHLPP), and Rabies within the last 12 months or a minimum of 4 weeks before arrival. For cats, the required vaccines are: Feline Viral Rhinotrachetis, Calicvirus, Panleukopenia (FVRCP), and Rabies within the last 12 months or a minimum of 4 weeks before arrival. Finally, but certainly not less importantly, your dog and cat must have a completed EU certificate of veterinary health in order to remain in Europe for an extended period of time. Forms may be downloaded at PetRelocation.com -- and brought to your veterinarian for completion. If you'll be in a non-English speaking country, a list of local, English speaking veterinarians will be a must in case your pet becomes ill.
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(Article originally appeared on Relobase.com)