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Source: Standard Installation Topic Exchange System (SITES) for LIFELines

In addition to the stress that people in your family experience, you must look out for the welfare of the critters that your family has adopted: your family pets.

  • Some pets are not adaptable to travel. For example, it may be wiser to sell your aquarium and fish and start all over again at your destination. Aquariums are very heavy 1 gallon of water = 8 lbs., so it will be expensive to move. 
  • Pets are very sensitive to changes in their environments, too. When dogs and cats sense stress, they can become alarmed, run away, become unruly, start wetting the carpet, etc. It is important to take them for walks, keep them comfortable, and spend time with them. It may be wise to board them for packing and moving days. 
  • As much as possible, keep the pets' schedules and feedings normal. Make sure they have favorite toys or blankets on the trip. If they will be flying, line their cages with old blankets, robes, etc that "smell familiar" or have your scent on them. 
  • Contact your veterinarian for a complete checkup and a certification of health. Make sure that inoculations are up to date, and carry the papers stating so with you. Make sure that any prescribed medications are in abundant supply in order to keep the pet comfortable. Depending on the pet, ask your vet to recommend a tranquilizer for the travel time. 
  • If you are planning to take pets in the car with you, be sure to have plenty of water and food for the pet. Make sure animal and bedding are free of fleas, ticks and other parasites.  Also, be alert to the dangers of too hot or cold cars while family is dining. Make sure pets get plenty of exercise at rest stops. 
  • Motion sickness pills usually need to be given 30 minutes before the trip starts.
  • The first signs of carsickness are drooling, followed by restlessness and anxiety. Vomiting may occur. If you stop the car and let your dog out for some exercise, he'll feel better. 
  • Cats are usually frightened of car travel and may be more comfortable in a carrier. 
  • Portable kennels can be handy for overnight trips in a motel or hotel when you go out for dinner. 
  • Trim your pet's nails to prevent damage to car upholstery. 
  • Keep your pet out of restaurants. 
  • Try not to leave a pet in a parked car – it maybe illegal in some places. If you must, park the car in the shade and open all the windows an inch or two to get cross ventilation. 
  • Carry a room spray deodorant or air freshener. This can be important if your pet is in a motel overnight. 
  • Never put a pet in the trunk of a car - the temperature becomes extreme and the carbon monoxide will poison it. This is very important.
  • Not all motels accept pets. Be sure to call ahead to find accommodations where your pet is welcome, too. Some larger motels even have nice kennel accommodations for the critters. Auto clubs and hotel/motel guides provide information on restrictions. 
  • If your pet will be going by airplane, be sure to call the airlines ahead of time and check on regulations for pet carrier sizes and construction. Some military flights allow pets, check this out with the installation transportation office. 
  • Consider having your favorite kennel arrange for your animal's movement. Then your pet can be boarded a few days ahead, and the kennel can arrange for transportation and care at both ends.  [Editor Note: Find your local kennel on at your current location and / or future location to help with this process.] 

Helpful Web Sites:

  1. Military Traffic Management Command Provides information on military transportation matters such as personal household shipping status.
  2. Air Force Crossroads Pets and Relocation Section provides numerous resources on pets and travel.
  3. Department of Agriculture-Traveling with Pets Rules and regulations about transporting all kinds of pets.
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