PCSing Pets

Nebula, a military pet at Holloman Air Force Base, waits in her carrier, to be seen by the Veterinarian at the Holloman Veterinary Treatment Facility on June 29. Pets that are moving overseas are required to meet all the specific requirements of that country. The most important thing to do for the animal is to notify the Holloman Veterinary Treatment Facility. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. E’Lysia A. Wray)

Nebula, a military pet at Holloman Air Force Base, waits in her carrier, to be seen by the Veterinarian at the Holloman Veterinary Treatment Facility on June 29. Pets that are moving overseas are required to meet all the specific requirements of that country. The most important thing to do for the animal is to notify the Holloman Veterinary Treatment Facility. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. E’Lysia A. Wray)

Aurora, a military pet at Holloman Air Force Base, is getting a check up at the Holloman Veterinary Treatment Facility on June 29. Pets that are moving overseas are required to meet all the specific requirements of that country. The most important thing to do for the animal is to notify the Holloman Veterinary Treatment Facility. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. E’Lysia A. Wray)

Aurora, a military pet at Holloman Air Force Base, is getting a check up at the Holloman Veterinary Treatment Facility on June 29. Pets that are moving overseas are required to meet all the specific requirements of that country. The most important thing to do for the animal is to notify the Holloman Veterinary Treatment Facility. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. E’Lysia A. Wray)

HOLLOMAN AIR FORCE BASE, N.M. -- Permanently changing stations overseas can be a stressful and overwhelming time for service members, families and pets. Any way to make the process smoother and easier can be a relief.

Pet owners should be aware of the requirements, and sometimes lengthy process, to have their pets join them overseas.

The first step is to notify the Holloman Veterinary Treatment Facility of the overseas PCS location as soon as possible.

"As soon as you have an assignment notification, make an appointment to make sure your pet is on track to PCS with you," said Captain Katherine, the officer in charge of the Holloman Veterinary Treatment Facility.

When moving overseas, a pet’s health certificate is the most important document needed during the PCS process. Health certificates are a declaration of requirements being met for entering another country. All airlines require one, and they are good for up to 10 days.

"Different countries have widely varying requirements for pet imports," said Katherine. "Those requirements can be as simple as an up-to-date rabies vaccination and an International Health Certificate, to an eight month or longer process."

The approval process and length for each pet can vary on the breed and health history of the animal.

"It is crucial to keep all pet records with original blue ink signature, especially from civilian veterinary clinics," said Katherine. "It can be a very lengthy process to acquire the original documents or proof of records."

The location of the PCS will determine the length of time it will take to get the animal cleared for travel.

"Island states and island nations have more onerous requirements because they have sometimes succeeded in eliminating certain diseases,“ said Katherine.

Japan has a specific requirement for pets, including a test that requires the animal to be quarantined for a minimum of 180 days.

"There have been cases where a military member has a short notice PCS and their pet gets left behind with a friend or family member to finish the process," said Katherine. "So it is very important that as soon as the military member is notified or even suspects they might be PCSing overseas, they need to come in to make an appointment to get the process started as soon as possible."

These are general requirements for PSCing with pets. For any questions, concerns about specific requirements for each country, please contact the Holloman Air Force Base Veterinary Clinic during their operating hours at 575-572-3303, Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.