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Moving and Flying with Pets

This is my last bit of advice concerning moving with pets. I’ve done it…I’ve analyzed it, and I’ve beat it to death and will end it here. Be sure to read my other posts on moving and pets. I had a bit of a steep learning curve, as my first big move with pets was by plane and overseas, but I am happy to say we all made it okay and in one piece.

Here are…hopefully…my final thoughts:

  • If you are moving overseas and need a valid 10 day pet health certificate, I encourage you to use a military vet. Not only is the check-up and paperwork free, but military vets are more familiar with the procedures. I think ours mentioned something about our paperwork having to go thru the USDA or some other entity, and if we use a civilian vet, we’d have to fax paperwork, and my husband immediately said…those are too many moving parts. A friend of ours was missing one signature on her paperwork and ended up having to leave her dogs at Frankfurt International Airport for EIGHT hours (and having to pay kennel costs), while she tried to figure it all out.
  • Use piddle pads inside the bottom of the crate. I know your doggie is a good doggie, so is mine. But you know how Murphy can strike whenever you least expect it. I had one friend whose dog got really sick, and luckily the pad absorbed most of it. Another, the dog got stuck in the crate on the tarmac because of delays and just couldn’t hold it anymore. Newspapers just don’t cut it…do your pet a favor and just put the piddle pad (puppy training pads) underneath your pet’s regular bed or mat.
  • If you are flying, pick the shortest flight route. We drove from Florida to Virginia, visited relatives there, dropped of our van to be shipped through Baltimore and flew out of Dulles. This gave us a direct flight to Frankfurt, Germany. You want to avoid any flights where you have to change planes. More chance for things to go wrong, and your pets to be stuck on the hot….or cold…tarmac and potentially left behind or put on the wrong plane. Less moving parts again my husband would say.
  • Check airlines pet flying policies and prices. Even though the military arranges your flight, if you are going overseas, check beforehand, which airport is closest to your destination and which airlines are most pet friendly. Consistently, I heard plugs for United and Lufthansa. We flew United in the middle of a hot summer and the pets were fine, because all of United’s planes are temperature controlled. Many of the others are not and have restrictions on when you can fly pets. Also check those prices. A friend was charged what must’ve been the cargo freight fee for her two medium sized dogs…yep, over $2,000. We were only charged $310 for a cat and a large 100 lb dog (with a 50 lb grande size kennel). That broke down into the cat flying for $105 and the dog for $205 one way.
  • Visit the airline’s pet travel webpage. Each airline has a page…or group of pages on their requirements for pet air travel. If you can’t find it in writing, then ask about it. For example, I called the airline to make sure this super giant dogcrate would fit on the plane. The reservationist was actually able to look up the airplane type and what size crates would fit. Not all planes fit all size crates, and if you are stuck on a plane that is too small, you risk the chance of having to ship your pet air freight which equals $$$$$$…..or leaving your pet behind.
  • Make sure your pet’s travel information is in your PNR. As soon as you get your reservation, call the airline and make sure your pets and what crate models you have, are noted in your record. Planes can only take a certain number of pets per plane, and you don’t want any mistakes on crate sizes vs plane cargo hold space. Most airlines only allow two pets per passenger cabin (more in the cargo hold), so make sure that is noted as well if that’s what you plan to do. I knew someone who showed up at the airport and was denied boarding her pet because two other passengers had their pets noted in their records. Because of some kind of oversight, her kitty was not. This brings me to my next point.
  • Have back up arrangements for your pet.Things can go wrong at the airport or with your family or with your schedule. I knew someone who last year had a dog and crate who were five pounds over the limit, and they would not allow the dog to board. She was also traveling with a little dog and four kids! Since she had planned ahead, she was able to give the dog to a friend…who was helping them at the airport at check in…and made arrangements for her to ship the dog at a later date…after he was put on a little diet.
  • Put something in the crate that smells like you. In the week before we moved, I put a washcloth for each pet on our pillows. Right before we flew, they each got one. I honestly think this had a calming effect on both of them. When I first saw the cat, he had it burrowed all around him.
  • If you have a litter box trained cat, plan for your sponsor or someone on the receiving end to have a litterbox and litter ready for you. My husband didn’t…think he was too embarrassed. We got to Frankfurt airport, and the poor cat refused to go to the bathroom at the airport on a plot of grass or at our first highway rest stop. Of course, the dog had no issues with this. After a three hour drive to our destination, my husband had to run and buy the goods, brought the stuff to the hotel and the cat….it was truly a sight to see…jumped in there and must’ve scratched for a full minute, eyes wide, meowing to no end….before finally going….poor thing. I don’t think he’s ever not gone in a litterbox and probably never will!
  • Tape a cheap leash and a photo of your pet to the top of its crate.You never know when there might be delays and a sympathetic airline employee might take out your pet. Also, if your pet somehow escapes, they will at least know what he looks like.
  • Tape a ziploc bag of one food portion to the top of the crate. I chose not to feed my pets…so they wouldn’t have to go to the bathroom. They won’t totally starve by missing one meal. But let’s say there are major delays. You don’t want your pets going too long without food.Do you have any tips to share?


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50 Responses to “Moving and Flying with Pets”

  1. Krista says:

    I really appreciate the advice in this blog! I am heading to Germany as well in March (spangdahlem). I have the unfortunate luxury of doing it all by myself w/ a cat and dog since my husband is in Korea till then. I’ve also taken notes from your moving posts. Thanks for all your input!

  2. Anonymous says:

    WOW! Pets do get expensive!! I have a 75 lb. dog and a 20 lb. dog…Delta is charging me $846!!! I have heard from other military members that the army pays for this. Is this true? Has anyone heard of this?
    I have heard of a e-9 having 2 90lb. dogs shipped at all cost to the army, but how do we go about doing this? Moving in 2 weeks…NEED HELP!!!

  3. ****Veteran Military Wife at Life Lessons of a Military Wife**** says:

    And this is why military folks are known for “people who abandon their pets”, because instead of going through the “hassle” of shipping a pet, they are just abandoned. I remember before the Gulf War, there were actually packs of abandoned pets running throughout the training area!

    No, sorry, the military does not pay for transporting your pets….so make sure you budget for that. You will be asked how many pets will travel, and they’ll even make the reservation for them as well as you and your family, but you’ll be the one at the ticket counter handing over your money or credit card.

  4. Jenny says:

    We flew United to Frankfurt from Dulles with our two dogs last year. It cost about $200 and United took really good care of them, even giving us a little card assuring us that the dogs made it onboard. I put hamster bottles with water in our crates. If I had to do it over again, I would have frozen the water beforehand so it wouldn’t have made quite as much of a mess. Also, we were told we had to get bigger crates when we go back to the States. Apparently, the Germans are a lot stricter about crate size than the Americans are.

  5. petblogger says:

    Great advice, especially the warnings about the price. Moving a pet, especially internationally, can be very expensive! We are an international pet relocation company and offer a 10% discount to all members of the military, but even with that, it still can be out of many family’s price ranges. It is hard for most people too because a lot of the more expensive locations, like Okinawa, are very difficult to understand with regards to the import requirements. We offer free consultations, so I always try to help as many people figure out how to do it on their own.

    Anyway, great blog! I added you to our links on our sidebar on our blog!

  6. Melissa says:

    My husband just joined the Army and is off to BCT and AIT in 2 weeks. We have 2 dogs, 1 of which has severe anxiety problems. I am extremely concerned that if we get posted overseas that she might not even make the flight. Do you know of any airlines that fly the dogs in the cabin vs cargo, or that the owners can fly with them? She is 65lbs.

    Thank you.

  7. ****Veteran Military Wife at Life Lessons of a Military Wife**** says:

    So sorry to hear about your extra stress! No, you won't find ANY airline that allows dogs of that size in any cabin. Your best bet is to go with a pet shipping company, as they specialize in shipping more difficult pets. I would advise against taking her with you on the day you go, as the stress would be enormous for you worrying about her in the hold, and she'll pick up on that beforehand. I know most vets advise against drugging dogs, as they can really hurt themselves, but maybe you can find one willing to work with you. My only other recommendation, which you won't like at all, is to leave her in the States with someone temporarily or permanently….always try to think of what is best for the dog and not necessarily for you if it comes down to such a decision. Please let me know how things go, as we can put your information up on this blog to help the next person faced with similar challenges

  8. Anjali says:

    Thanks for this very informative post. I just found it. Actually, there IS an airline for pets now. Pets travel in the main cabin, NOT in cargo. Here's the web site for PetAirways:

  9. ****Veteran Military Wife at Life Lessons of a Military Wife**** says:

    Yes, I know it's brand new and was started well after I wrote this blogpost. BUT, for those of us traveling overseas, it is not available. They only have limited availability right now…who knows, maybe it'll catch on?

  10. AAsquared says:

    My husband is already over in Italy and we know we want to get a pet…Ive wanted to get one before we leave since Ive looked at websites for animals over there and they are crazy expensive and not what I want…anyway I want to get a small tiny dog and was wondering if I get one before I leave am I able to take it in the cabin with me…and what are the rules of taking a pet overseas- shots etc..??

  11. ****Veteran Military Wife at Life Lessons of a Military Wife**** says:

    Dog or puppy? I would not take a puppy on such a long flight, plus they have to be a certain age. Your vet will tell you what shots they need, but they are standard ones. I think only two pets (cat or dog) are allowed per cabin (check airlines' international travel webpages). All airlines may have different restrictions and requirements. Expect to pay at least $200 for flying the pet over with you, plus cost of kennel, food, etc….

    Lots to think about taking a pet to a new country where you will already be stressed out just moving yourself.

    There are plenty of pets of ALL breeds in Italy from military folks who thought they wanted a pet and then didn't realize the cost, limitations (it will put a crimp in your European travel plans at some point) and just hassle (Europeans don't leave their pets alone for long hours
    like Americans; plus it is against the law over here). Our Stars and Stripes newspaper is FULL of dogs and cats (and snakes, etc) of all different sizes and breeds, especially through the summer where PCSing folks feel like they can just discard a member of their family (if you are not prepared to treat a pet as a member of your family and give them the time and effort they deserve, then don't get one).

    I would personally not get a pet right before moving…just creating more unneeded stress for yourself and will cause you to make unrational decisions…

  12. Joy says:

    uuugh! my husband is at AIT and of course will not receive his PCS until a couple weeks before finishing. if we are lucky, we will have about 3 weeks notice (counting his time off) before we move. 4 kids 2 dogs and 1 kitty. we are praying for a station within the US so we can drive there and there will be less paperwork needed for the pets. overseas paperwork and cost of flying with no advance notice would be really rough. no family support for this choice of Army life so we are on our own. our pets are part of the family and where we go they go. it's insane what some places (like hawaii) wants before moving your pet. is there any arrangements that the army has with certain state or governments to make it easier than if we were moving over on our own?


  13. ****Veteran Military Wife at Life Lessons of a Military Wife**** says:

    Joy, you've got a lot on your plate! It sounds like you have some prepping to do…and saving money. Yes, you can get advances from the military (your husband can get parts of his pay early when you move)…but I would certainly save to offset moving costs!

    The Army does not look at pets as family. You are on your own there. The good thing is that there are vet clinics on most posts that will do the 10 day exam for free (if you are flying overseas). You would also have to live off post, wherever you go, since you are only authorized two pets in ANY military housing, that includes inside the US too.

    I always recommend to folks to not go over the pet limit until they retire….even though it can still be a hassle moving, it is more manageable. Many leave pets with relatives when they go overseas as well.

    You've got some choices to make, but on the other hand, you wouldn't be the first one going overseas with more than two if you choose to go that route.

    Just prepare yourself both mentally and financially, and you should be okay.

  14. Rachel says:

    I am so happy I found this blog! Thanks for sharing all of this information, it is very helpful. I was hoping you could advise me on something regarding an international move with a small cat. We are moving from Ft Bragg to Germany (my husband is already there). I will be traveling with just myself and my kitty Tigger. I have already had her micro-chipped and gotten her shots updated as required 30 days before flight. We are going to be leaving in 3 weeks, and I know we need to get the 10 day health certificate prior to flying. Here's the confusing part: While I was on the phone with the vet clinic (it's an Air Force clinic – I'm staying with parents until I can travel), they informed me that I will have to take my cat to the USDA office to get checked out/do paperwork 4 months before travel. Now I have never heard this before, not at the Ft Bragg vet clinic whom I spoke extensively about the Germany move with, nor on the official travel website for Ft. Bragg. I'm wondering if this is indeed true, or if whoever I spoke to didn't know what they were talking about. Any info about this would really help me out, I'm distraught about possibly having to leave my Tigger behind!

  15. ****Veteran Military Wife at Life Lessons of a Military Wife**** says:

    It is my understanding that the 10 day health certificate is paperwork that somehow comes from the USDA. Our Army vet in Tampa on Macdill AFB was authorized to do all the paperwork, which can be done no more than 10 days before your flight. There is no other paperwork required unless this thing you are talking about is something new, but I can't imagine that…there is no press or articles and no one is talking about this "additional requirement". Are you close enough to go to that vet clinic in person and ask what paperwork you need? Perhaps there was someone new on the phone who maybe didn't understand the process? That's all I can think of. If you do go to a civilian vet, you need to go to one that does this health cert regularly and also be prepared to pay for it. Sorry I couldn't offer more insight! Safe travels!

  16. Damon says:

    Thanks for the good info. Really helpful. I'm in a strange situation if you can help though. I'm in Korea right now and PCSing to Hawaii. My dogs are with my parents in Omaha, NE right now. Any ideas? I will be in Vegas for a few days before I go to Hawaii so I was thinking of flying them into Vegas then sending them to Hawaii but I'm not sure if that'll work. Any help would be much appreciated :)

  17. ****Veteran Military Wife at Life Lessons of a Military Wife**** says:

    I would really check into this, because Hawaii has some strict entry requirements and possibly quarantine, and depending when your flight arrives…delays where you can't take your pet right away.

    You also have to look at the weather (and other delays), and if your pets are unable to fly out of Vegas with you, what is the back up plan?

    I would also compare pet shipping services vs. your parents possibly visiting you in Hawaii and bringing the dogs along.

    A lot of things to mull over, but if you have a plan, it can be done low-stress.

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  19. dog training says:

    You are so interesting! I do not believe I’ve truly read something like this before. So good to find someone with some unique thoughts on this subject matter. Really.. thank you for starting this up. This site is something that is required on the web, someone with a bit of originality!

  20. militarybratspousedogbreeder says:

    There is -nothing- wrong with flying a puppy in the cabin. I’ve done it many times before as not only a spouse but as a dog fancier (Fanciers show and breed dogs) You just have to make sure you have everything done right (paperwork and supplies). My dogs were just fine on the flights and these were across the atlantic!

  21. Jasmine says:

    How in the world did you only pay $305 to bring a 50lb dog and a cat on United?? My husband is in Korea already and I’ll be leaving shortly with our two 8 lb Miniature Pinschers. United hasn’t been helpful or military friendly at all! I called and spoke with two different agents and got the same answer, that despite the fact that I will be checking the pups as luggage (per their military exception to do so) I have to pay the cargo fee of $839 per pet! Please help!!

  22. admin says:

    Unfortunately since this Spring and the rule changes at United (after combining with Continental) the prices went WAAAY up. We came over before the rule change:-( Please be sure to read my more recent article on bringing pets internationally. There is more info there.

  23. Jess says:

    I’m coming a little late to this thread, but it looks like there’s so much great information I wanted to ask my burning question. I’m looking at a potential move to Lakenheath this next summer. I’m an officer with no official dependents, so I don’t qualify for on base housing. I do however have 3 cats and a dog. They are part of my family and I want to bring them with me on any move. The housing office at Lakenheath said that I would likely be able to find a place to rent on the economy that would allow that many pets. Has anyone had any experience finding a place to live with that many pets? Also, along those same lines, how easy/hard is it to travel in England with a dog? Alternatively, can you board your pet(s) while you travel? Thanks so much in advance for any words of wisdom you can offer!

  24. admin says:

    I unfortunately don’t know much about the UK! I know on the mainland it can be a bit more difficult finding housing…and even if a listing says no pets, see if you can ask anyway, especially if your pets are well behaved. Also have a plan for your pets once you start working…you may spend a lot of time tdy or out of town…try to get an idea of your schedule beforehand. Here on the mainland too, it’s more pet friendly as a whole than stateside.

  25. Tia says:

    Me and my husband have a pcs move to Italy in 2 weeks! We just got our flight booked, but the airline that the army booked us with does not allow pets! We have a pug, and have been trying to research a seperate flight for him all morning. Prices that we have found are around $1500! We want him to fly out and arrive around the same time as us, but not sure if this is possible. Please let me know if anyone has any advice!

  26. admin says:

    The only other thing I can think of is to research what flights cost and have a family member or relative fly on one of the airlines that charges a lower rate for accompanied pets. Otherwise, cargo is going to cost around that amount. We have been lamenting the high costs of shipping pets since early this year. As far as I know, costs remain high…sorry!

  27. Dorothea Sinclair says:

    Just wanted to add a quick note to anyone searching for information on this topic. My husband and I just landed in Germany less than a week ago and we PCS-ed with 2 cats which we were able to take with us. Here is a small list of things I learned.

    1.) If you are able, try to definitely take your pets with you in-cabin on your flight. United is THE ONLY airline as of 08 Oct 2012 that allows any live animals in-cabin on international flights. Be very careful because most Travel Offices are unaware of this as well as reservation agents, so if traveling internationally…be specific and ask for them to send you to their online sites’ information that specifically stating that you can travel with animals internationally. If your animals are too large to check-in as carry-on baggage, then you will be forced to ship them via cargo. Most airlines I found (Delta, United, U.S. Airways) offer this service as well as pet shipping companies. All of these offer military discounts, but just two cats with a combined weight of less than 30 pounds, we were looking at estimates of $1200-$1700. Delta currently has an embargo with Frankfurt regarding live animal shipments, so you might have to look at using another airport…but overall, I recommend United due to their stringent requirements for the animals and their attention to safety. Cargo shipments must be accompanied with certain shippers, so their prices reflect that, plus you must meet your pets at the airport and/or have a permanent local address where they can be dropped off. You might want to contact the base veterinarian clinic if you can use their address. Most will not allow this as you must be present to register your animal with documentation to the base as a new arrival, but try anyway. Maybe you can fax documentation for the pets before their arrival. REGISTER your animals’ microchips online with so in case the shipper has issues, you can locate the animal or prove ownership.

    2.) Make a pet reservation with the airline THE SECOND you have your ticket. Even if you don’t have the actual ticket and just a reservation number from your Travel Office, you can call the airline and they can look you up by your last name and set-up your pet reservation over the phone with a credit/debit card. Each pet must be under 50lbs and fit under the seat in front of you. They charge $125 per pet which is costly, but much cheaper than cargo options. PLEASE get a confirmation number FOR EACH pet reservation. United only allows fours animals in the whole cabin and if there are too many babies and/or passengers with special needs they can deny any animals period. This saved us when people waiting for standby at the airport during our initial domestic leg of the flight had a family full of kids and wanted to push our cats off, but they could not as our reservations were already made.

    3.) Buy an appropriate animal carrier. If you ship your animal via cargo, their carrier must be hard-sided while those in cabin due to space limitations must be soft-sided with mesh and able to be crammed. Yes, crammed. More likely than not, the first leg of your flight(if flying internationally) will be in a very small business commuter flight (ours was to Chicago) and will be full, oversold, and over-packed with little overhead compartment space. If possible, take up the ticketing agents on their offer and check any extra carry-on bags for free as your foot space is already taken by the pets. KEEP all documentation with the animals. We bought the large Sherpa Travel Pet Carrier which is fleece lined and with a large back pocket that fits a file folder. Perfect!

    4.) This brings me up to the next point. If flying more than an hour, buy an accompanying fleece insert. Planes are cold and no matter how much fur you animal has and their body temperature drops when they sleep. Water bottles are more or less useless as there is not enough space to place them on the carrier, nor do the stewardesses like you take the pets out of the carrier to give them water. We did however use the plastic top of a water bottle as a mini dish. Every three hours or so, you want to see if they are thirsty. We also bought high fat cat treats that perk them up and give them enough calories to get them through the trip without issues. One of our cats has lymphoma and the veterinarian oncologist told us that cats do not do well without eating for long periods of time. Their livers actually begin to break down and can cause internal issues. So keep your cats’ caloric intake as high as you can. The worst case scenario is that they poop. Buy training pads and bring a couple with you for each pet depending on the length of your flight. Our cats peed themselves at takeoff and so we quickly changed the pads out of respect for our fellow passengers : ) and everything was okay.

    !!Important!! Always check where the carrier is placed under the seat! Shoes block air what little air comes through the mesh. Remember the air vents in a plane are overhead so it take a while for the entire plane cabin to get fresh oxygen with the pets at foot level being the last. Again, our Sherpa carriers have a zipper on top which we could slightly open and touch their heads calming them and allowing more air in. I don’t recommend keeping the top open for long or unattended as pets are very wily, but keep checking on their breathing after take-off and make sure they are not struggling. Turning the mesh side to face the aisle helps
    with the airflow. If you do not have two aisle seats you can switch up the pets and rotate who gets the aisle. Either way, they usually settle down and a head pat every once in a while is as comforting for them as it is for us!!!

    Again, this is just what I experienced with our particular trip. I did travel with two cats, one of which has lymphoma and had major gastro-intestinal surgery less than a month before… if anyone has questions regarding pet military travel situations, please ask. I had to go through a bundle of forms, questions, and multi-steps to not only release the cats for travel, but also coordinating with various vets.

    Please do not hesitate to contact me if you have any questions!

  28. Dorothea Sinclair says:

    Tia says:
    September 25, 2012 at 6:55 pm

    Me and my husband have a pcs move to Italy in 2 weeks! We just got our flight booked, but the airline that the army booked us with does not allow pets! We have a pug, and have been trying to research a seperate flight for him all morning. Prices that we have found are around $1500! We want him to fly out and arrive around the same time as us, but not sure if this is possible. Please let me know if anyone has any advice!


    If you specifically told your Travel Office that you will be traveling with pets, you can fight to have the flight(s) changed. We had to do this as our original flight was with U.S. Airways which does not allow pets in-cabin internationally. We argued with out Travel Office as my husband had sent them an email specifically listing what we needed (pets, and not flying in on a weekend or fed holiday) and what dates. She was forced to change the reservation which cost the unit money, but she did it incorrectly on multiple accounts.

    You might want to check your dates, especially if they have you in-coming on a day where no shuttle is running or no one is coming to meet you. Our flight was change the Friday before that Sunday we flew out. So it is never too late!

  29. Victor says:

    Hi, I followed the recommendations listed above.We were travelling with a cat and dog, and wound up using Condor, an excellent carrier for pets and persons, as Delta would not accommodate pets out of their Atlanta hub, and US Air had a no pets policy. So we were forced to fly over on our dime. Pet prices were more reasonable on Condor as well, 150.E dog 100.E cat in the hold. I fed my dog in the kennel prior to leaving and now wish we would have taken a few road trips with him in the kennel as he FREAKED when we put him in at the airport, then we had to remove him for the TSA kennel inspection and put him back in,he was a trooper going back in but started shaking again. The gate agent was the same as the one who walked us to TSA kennel inspection she said the my dog just lied down after TSA so this some what helped me relax and worry less, we kept him active early in the day and all day so he would sleep on the plane, don’t know if this worked though. The Army vet pre-printed up the paperwork for the airline,German customs, attached to crate,and copy for us, so we didn’t have to have them make copies, so you need three full sets,(Condor would’ve but the US carries probably would not have,sorry to say) WE used the piddle pads in both crates they absorbed a great amount of liquid, I would recommend taking a pair of disposable gloves and some wipes to empty and clean out crate upon arrival. German customs was a breeze for us we had no problems. BTW the 12 year old cat took all this in stride not at all excited. I agree and strongly advise using an Army or Military vet as the civilian side doesn’t deal with this often enough. On the medical side for the pets the Army vet asked for all my animals paper work I had so they could include it in the history as other countries like to see we take good care of our pets. Things to remember-Three (3) signed copies of rabies certificate, in blue ink no copies, a stamped copy in blue ink will not work. Proof of a microchip, you will probably need a new one or at least a fifteen number European one if traveling within EU but this was not necessary for us to arrive in Munich. Rabies must be given at least 21 days after chip is inserted or 21 days before but not at the same time, be care full on this one as this is what we were told. Hope this helps some one else as the information read above helped me immensely. A big Thanks You to the Army Vet on Nellis AFB too!

  30. jerry mishler says:

    I find it so sad that there is so much MIS-information floating around out there. And, unfortunately, many professional pet shippers add to this just so they can make more money
    We here at Action Pet Express pride ourselves in providing
    correct information at all times. I am also a veteran.
    For example: pets going to EU. Must have microchip first. Then a rabies booster AFTER chipping ONLY. Can be done same day as chip. Then, a minimum wait of 21 days before travel.
    Military vets do NOT always have correct info. Costs are less with mil vet as no USDA endorsement is required.
    Temperature in cargo pet compartment is same as cabin.
    Some pet shippers offer discount. BUT. Look out… Their prices are so expensive that a discount means nothing.
    The cargo shipping charges are not all so bad, it is the charges of the pet shippers that is so high. Always demand a complete itemization of ALL services and charges…
    Pick your pet shipper VERY carefully….
    Best of luck to ALL

  31. Nicole M. says:

    This blog is so very helpful!! I am possibly moving to San Diego from New York. I will be flying due to I will have a new born baby for the move. What are some reconditions for transporting my three cats?

  32. admin says:

    Congrats! Read the specific conditions and restrictions for the particular airline you are flying…not sure what the max # of animals might be. You’d also have to get each animal written into your flight record, because only so many can go per flight AND cabin!

  33. Michele Chanpuang says:

    I don’t have any tips or advice just questions. I was actually wondering which airline or pet shipping service you used. We do need something pet friendly as we have a 65little lb pitbull so we would like him handled kindly. Thank you so much for your help and your blog has been very eye opening annd helpful.

  34. admin says:

    You’re welcome! We flew our pets over on United BEFORE they increased all those fees last year…so I’m not help there. Are you coming or going? I mention some of the pet shipping companies friends have used here Also check on the rules for pitbulls…there may be some restrictions in Germany if you are headed this way and possibly a temperament test.

  35. Kristi says:

    Hi! This blog has been so helpful as we might be PCSing overseas at the end of the. My question is that I have one dog who can be not so friendly to strangers. He’s gotten a lot better but we still muzzle him if we take him in public as a precaution. He’s never bitten anyone but snaps if someone comes close to his sensitive ears. Is this going to be a problem to fly him overseas? My boys are 4 and I’ve had them since they were 5 weeks old, I can’t bear to part with them. :(

  36. admin says:

    I personally don’t think so, but each individual airline may be different. I would check their pet shipping pages on their sites and then call them if you don’t see anything definitive. Typically, the dogs are not even taken out of their crates…ours never were.

  37. B. Tanguma says:

    Sooo, although very interesting and helpful, the military does not pay for the dog to go? We have a great dane weighing in at 126lbs… We have two of them but only taking one, but I saw 800+ 1500+ in $$$$$ to ship?! That’s crazy! Can we get a buddy pass?! I love her but 1500? And if I have to make this move alone as his report date is coming fast…IDK if I being pregnant with 3 kids to travel with can handle that stress too… What are the requirements for a PCS to Italy? Do they quarantine the dog for certain time frame? Is a flight like that even going to allow a dog her size on? On top of a huge crate to send her? On top of a procrastinating husband who has no clue the stress not only for the dog or me as he gets to travel alone due to procrastinating on paperwork for the family…UGH now I am really worried…HELP! lol

  38. admin says:

    So sorry. The good news first. No quarantine for Italy. Bad news. Save oodles of money. It’s going to cost you dearly whether you make the arrangements yourself or use a pet shipping company. If I were in your shoes, I would hire a pet shipping company. They’ll make sure the crates are the correct size for dog and each plane along the way, make sure all paperwork is in order, etc. then vow not to get another big dog until you retire! I’m cheap, and that’s why we didn’t get another German Shepherd in Germany….as much as I would love to have one.

  39. NavyWifetoJapan says:

    First, LOVE this blog! Thanks for all the advice! We just found out that we will be PCS-ing from San Diego to Yokosuka, Japan on three year orders…far too long for us to be without our dogs! We have a Great Dane (125lbs) and a lab (95lbs)… any advice on Japan? I have seen Germany and Italy and EU…but no japan…could really use some help on this one! Thanks!

  40. admin says:

    Congrats on your new assignment! I unfortunately know nothing about Japan…but I did hear their rules are even stricter…and less options for military families. Please ask the folks on the sister site of Germany Ja, called Okinawa Hai…I bet they can help you. The earlier you get started out with this, the better! It looks like you need an XXL crate for your Great Dane (we had to special order one for our GSD)…and for international travel, you’ll need one with airholes on four side, so holes in the back..not all crates have these. Best of luck to you!

  41. Ty Boxwell says:

    Have you ever considered writing an e-book or guest authoring on other blogs? I have a blog based on the same topics you discuss and would love to have you share some stories/information. I know my audience would appreciate your work. If you’re even remotely interested, feel free to shoot me an e mail.

  42. admin says:

    I should take the time to write an ebook! I think it could be fun too. I do have a few blogs who repost my articles. I think that’s fine as long as I am credited with the writing and there is a link back. Let me know if you’d like to do that.

  43. Liz says:

    My husband and I are currently stationed in Italy and we just found out that we are leaving next month to go back to the States. I’ve been trying to find out a price for how much it will cost us to add our dog to our flight and people are quoting anywhere from $200 to $2000! Which is right? Our dog is a 50 pound hound mix and we’ve had him since he was a month old so there is no way that we’re leaving him here so I need to know a good estimate for how much its going to cost. Can you help me figure it out?

  44. admin says:

    Liz if it’s anything like Germany, expect to pay at least $1,000 to $2,000 unfortunately. I doubt you’ll head up to Ramstein and catch a rotator but that is your cheapest bet at a couple hundred. Since he can’t fly in cabin due to his size, he’ll be underneath. I know in Germany we always recommend United or Lufthansa, especially in the summer…not sure on Italy. I’d call your onpost vet clinic for recommendations and advice. It is key to have your pet written into your flight record, as there are limited pet places per plane. I agree, they are part of our families and can’t be left behind!

  45. Liz says:

    When I was doing more research I discovered that SPCA International has a program to help family members pay for the cost of moving their pets. You have to submit an application and if you are approved they will give you a grant up to $2000. There is a wait list though. Here’s the link to their website:

  46. admin says:

    Thanks I’ve mentioned the site before, but it is worth repeating!

  47. says:

    Any guidelines on getting your pet back to the states? We were planning to take our dog back on Tuesday, thought we had all of our ducks in a row, went to get her health certificate, and now the vet is saying “someone” gave the dog only a 1-year rabies vaccination last year instead of the 2-year vaccination. But “the airport usually doesn’t check those things”. :\ What is the process if she’s flying under my seat?

  48. tjhancock says:

    What do we say to the transportation office to get them to book us on flights that allow pets? They say they have to book the cheapest flight (and in our case those flights do not allow pets)

  49. admin says:

    You have two options. Pay up front and get reimbursed (after checking what you allowance is) or requesting to speak to a supervisor (and it’ll help if you can find someone who did indeed use that transpo office doing the same thing). Some transportation offices are easier to deal with than others.

  50. admin says:

    I’m not going to tell you what to do but I’ve never had anyone check paperwork with a pet under the seat. The worst that can happen is that the quarantine your pet.

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