Military Options for Transporting Pets

Transporting Pets By Air Mobility Command

DoD regulations allow for a maximum of two pets per family (dogs and cats only) to travel with their owners on Air Mobility Command (AMC) flights. A 14-day travel window is required. The pet is limited to a total of 99 pounds (including carrier). The cost is $80 per pet up to 70 pounds, paid at the owner's expense. Pets between 71 and 99 pounds cost $160 per pet. Waivers are required to transit more than two pets. There are no travel entitlements for pet transportation or pet preparation for travel. For more information and help with pets and the general moving process, contact the nearest Navy Passenger Transportation Officer (NAVPTO).

The NAVPTO requires some necessary paperwork to book flights on AMC or commercial flights. If you are transporting your pet to the U.S. from a foreign country, see the military veterinarian on your base to make sure you have all the information you need to get your animal(s) out of the country. Required documents usually include a veterinary health certificate (DD 2209), which must be issued within 10 days of your departure and a rabies vaccination certificate (DD 2208). This must be issued at least 30 days prior to your departure but cannot be more than one year old.

Pet travel may be problematic depending on the season. Summer months are typically high travel months, and space is at a premium. If no pet space is available on AMC, the NAVPTO will book the servicemember and family on the lowest cost commercial air carrier and will do a courtesy reservation for the pet traveling as accompanied baggage in the cargo hold of the aircraft. Some U.S. air carriers have already announced a "pet embargo" between May 15 and Sept. 15. Servicemembers should personally confirm all pet travel arrangements in the event of short notification by airlines, which could change pet shipment plans. A simple phone call to check can make all the difference.

Plan Ahead

Pets traveling from one country to another usually must have a health certificate from a veterinarian. Due to the rise in summer moves, many base vet clinics have extended hours over the next couple of months to help people who are taking their pets. Also, some countries ban certain types of pets, or require a quarantine period. Pets may also have to be inspected by the customs service in the country from which they are departing. Base veterinary clinics and animal rights groups can provide more information and help set up a transportation plan for pets.

Pet owners are responsible for all pet shipment requirements such as documentation, immunization and country pet entry requirements. Owners must provide a hard-shell U.S. approved International Air Transport Association (IATA) kennel. The cage must be large enough for the animal to be able to stand up, turn around, and lie down with normal movements. Rules governing pet travel are very specific, and travelers should pay close attention to them and plan accordingly.

When transporting pets, be sure to do the following:

  • Make arrangements for transportation well in advance.
  • Carry health and rabies certificates with you.
  • Ask about vaccinations needed to travel to foreign countries.
  • Attach an ID tag to your pet's collar.
  • Check on the type and size of kennel needed for overseas shipment of pets.
  • If you're traveling across the country, you can check on pet-friendly hotels at Petswelcome.com.
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