It's high Permanent Change of Station (PCS) season, and military families are busy packing up and moving out. As always, the more complex the family, the more complex the move, and that's especially true for families with multiple pets. As a military family, the decision to have pets, and especially to have multiple pets, comes with a significant list of extra responsibilities when it comes to travel and housing. These responsibilities are increased if you receive orders to a location Outside the Continental United States. Moving pets is always complicated, and it can be expensive.
TravelThe military does not provide allowances for the transport of pets during a PCS move. Costs can vary dramatically depending on how you are traveling, the size and type of animal, the location to which you are moving, whether the animals can travel with you or separately, and any special requirements, such as local regulations or weather-related issues. Each additional pet compounds the logistical challenges and expenses.
It's not horribly uncommon for the costs to transport a single pet to an overseas location to run hundreds of dollars, and some locations are even more expensive. For example, moving a large dog to the UK can cost $600 to $800, or more, just for the transportation portion of the process.
In addition, pets may need to be quarantined, at your expense, to move to your new home. The military does offer an allowance to offset a portion of quarantine costs, but there is a maximum cap of $550 per PCS move. Just for comparison, the costs to quarantine a single cat or dog in Australia start at $1560 (in 2016.)
Temporary LodgingLodging during travel and temporary lodging options become significantly more limited when you have pets, and even the hotels and lodging that accept pets typically limit the number of animals per unit. Two is common.
HousingDepending on your location and the type of pets you have, having pets makes house hunting more challenging. This is particularly true if you have large dogs or breeds that are considered more dangerous. Generally speaking, military housing permits no more than two pets. In addition to limiting the choices, most landlords require pet deposits or additional pet rent based upon the number of pets that you have.
Pets are an important part of the family, but they bring many extra costs with them. Military families must consider not only the usual costs of food, supplies, and veterinary care, but the sometimes shockingly high expenses of moving pets to a new location every few years. Be sure you consider each new pet carefully to ensure that you can handle the additional financial burdens.