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Preparing Your Family And Pets For A PCS Move

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Moving is a daunting task for anyone, but for military families, it comes with its unique set of challenges. A Permanent Change of Station (PCS) move isn’t just about packing boxes; it’s about uprooting lives, adjusting to new environments, and ensuring the well-being of every family member, including our beloved pets.

At Military Movers, we understand the intricacies of such transitions. With our decades of experience in assisting military families, we’ve seen firsthand the stress, anticipation, and emotions that come with a PCS move.

This guide aims to provide you with comprehensive insights and actionable steps to ensure that both your family and pets are well-prepared for the journey ahead. Whether you’re moving stateside or overseas, our goal is to make your PCS move as smooth and stress-free as possible.

Understanding the Importance of a PCS Move

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Every PCS move holds profound importance in the lives of service members. It’s not just about changing addresses but adapting to new environments and challenges.

1. The Significance of PCS in Military Life

For military families, a PCS is not just a move; it’s a new chapter. Every duty station offers unique experiences, challenges, and opportunities. Service members often view these relocations as both a professional requirement and a personal journey.

The PCS process can be daunting, especially when considering pet relocation costs. It’s not just about moving belongings but ensuring that every family member, including pets, transitions smoothly. Understanding the significance of this move helps in better preparation and reduces the stress associated with it.

2. Emotional and Physical Challenges Faced

A PCS move can be emotionally taxing. Leaving behind familiar surroundings, friends, and routines can be challenging. For pet owners, watching their pets adjust can add another layer of emotional stress.

Physically, the move demands a lot from military families. From packing to settling into the new duty station, every step requires energy and effort. Pets, too, face the challenge of adjusting to new environments, which can sometimes lead to anxiety.

3. The Role of Preparation in Easing the Transition

Preparation is the key to a successful PCS move. A well-thought-out plan can significantly reduce the challenges faced during the transition. From understanding pet shipping requirements to organizing personal belongings, every detail matters.

For many, the preparation phase starts months in advance. This includes researching the new duty station, understanding pet regulations, and budgeting for unforeseen pet expenses. A well-prepared move ensures that both the family and pets settle in comfortably in their new home.

4. The Impact on Children and Pets

Children, much like pets, require special attention during a PCS move. They leave behind friends, schools, and familiar surroundings. Similarly, pets face the challenge of adjusting to new environments, which can be stressful.

It’s essential to have open communication with children about the move. Discussing the new duty station, schools, and activities can help ease their anxiety. For pets, introducing a few familiar things from the old home can provide comfort in the new setting.

5. Benefits of Early Planning

Early planning can make a world of difference. It gives military families ample time to address concerns, gather essential records electronically, and make necessary arrangements for pets, including visits to the veterinary treatment facility.

Starting early also allows families to budget for the move. From understanding boarding fees and travel costs to getting health certificates for pets, early planning ensures that no detail is overlooked.

Read More: Navigating School Changes During PCS Moves: A Guide for Parents

Preparing Your Family for the Move

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A PCS move is a family affair. Ensuring that every member, including pets, is prepared for the transition is crucial for a smooth move.

1. Discussing the Move With Family Members

Open communication is vital. Discussing the move with family members ensures that everyone is on the same page. It provides an opportunity to address concerns and set expectations.

For children, understanding the reasons for the move and what to expect at the new duty station can ease anxiety. For pets, gradual introduction to new things, like carriers or toys, can make the transition smoother.

2. Addressing Concerns and Setting Expectations

Every family member will have concerns about the move. Addressing these concerns early on can prevent unnecessary stress. Whether it’s about the new school, neighborhood, or pet regulations at the new duty station, open discussions can set clear expectations.

Pets, too, can sense changes. Pet owners can ease their pets’ concerns by maintaining routines and ensuring that their favorite toys and belongings are easily accessible during the move.

3. Organizing and Decluttering Before Packing

Before the packing begins, it’s a good idea to declutter. Not only does it reduce the number of items to be moved, but it also provides an opportunity to organize belongings.

For pet owners, this is a good time to check on pet supplies. Ensuring that all items, from toys to health certificates, are in order can prevent last-minute hassles.

4. Creating a Moving Checklist

A moving checklist is a lifesaver. It ensures that nothing is overlooked, from gathering essential records electronically to scheduling visits to the veterinary treatment facility.

For pets, the checklist can include items like updating the microchip information, understanding pet shipping requirements, and scheduling health checks.

5. Ensuring Continuity in Children’s Education

A PCS move can disrupt children’s education. Ensuring continuity is crucial. Researching schools at the new duty station, understanding the curriculum, and arranging for school records to be transferred can ensure a smooth transition.

For families with pets, it’s also essential to understand the pet regulations in the new area. Some places might have breed-specific rules or require specific vaccinations.

6. Addressing Healthcare Needs and Medical Records

Healthcare is a primary concern during a PCS move. Ensuring that all family members, including pets, have their medical records handy is crucial.

Visiting the current healthcare providers and the veterinary treatment facility to gather records and understand any specific needs can ease the transition. For pets, this is also a good time to get the health certificates required for the move.

7. Connecting With Support Groups and Communities

Support groups can provide invaluable insights and assistance during a PCS move. Connecting with such groups can offer guidance, from understanding pet relocation costs to settling into the new community.

For pet owners, local pet communities can provide information on pet-friendly areas, parks, and services in the new location.

Special Considerations for Pets

critters favorite toys, pet owner

Pets are family. Ensuring their comfort and well-being during a PCS move is paramount.

1. Understanding the Emotional Impact on Pets

Pets, like humans, get attached to their surroundings. A move can be stressful for them. Understanding this emotional impact can help pet owners take steps to ease the transition.

Introducing pets to their carriers, ensuring they have a few familiar things during the move, and maintaining routines can provide comfort. For pets prone to anxiety, a visit to the veterinary treatment facility to discuss anti-anxiety medication might be beneficial.

2. Pre-move Vet Visits and Health Checks

Before the move, a visit to the vet is essential. This ensures that pets are in good health and have all the necessary vaccinations for the move.

During this visit, pet owners can discuss any concerns, from travel anxiety to dietary needs. The vet can also provide health certificates required for pet shipping.

3. Preparing a Comfortable Travel Environment for Pets

Travel can be stressful for pets. Ensuring they have a comfortable environment can make a world of difference. This includes a comfortable carrier, familiar toys, and regular breaks during the journey.

For pets prone to anxiety, introducing them to the travel environment gradually can help. This includes short trips in the car or spending time in their carriers at home.

4. Addressing Dietary and Hydration Needs During Transit

Maintaining regular dietary and hydration routines is crucial during transit. This ensures that pets remain healthy and comfortable during the move.

Pet owners can discuss dietary needs with their vets. For pets not used to travel, introducing them to travel-friendly food and water options before the move can be beneficial.

5. Familiarizing Pets With Their Carriers

For many pets, carriers can be a source of stress. Familiarizing them with their carriers before the move can ease this anxiety.

Introducing pets to their carriers gradually, placing their favorite toys inside, and ensuring the carrier is comfortable can make the transition smoother.

6. Microchipping and Updating Pet IDs

Microchipping is a safety measure. Before the move, ensuring that pets are microchipped and that the information is updated is crucial.

For pet owners who already have microchipped pets, checking that the information is current can provide peace of mind. This ensures that, in case of any mishaps, pets can be easily identified and returned.

7. Researching Pet Regulations in the New Location

Every location has its pet regulations. Understanding these regulations before the move can prevent unnecessary hassles.

This includes breed-specific rules, vaccination requirements, and any quarantine rules for overseas moves. Being well-informed ensures that pets settle into their new homes without any issues.

8. Quarantine Requirements for Overseas Moves

For overseas moves, quarantine requirements can be a concern. Understanding these requirements and preparing for them can ensure that pets transition smoothly.

This includes ensuring that pets have all the necessary vaccinations, health certificates, and any other documentation required for the move.

Read More: Military Household Goods Moving: Tips and Tricks

The Moving Day: What to Expect

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The moving day is a culmination of months of planning. Ensuring that everything goes smoothly requires coordination and preparation.

1. Coordinating With Moving Companies

On the moving day, coordination with the moving company is crucial. This ensures that all belongings, including pets’ items, are packed and transported safely.

For pet owners, discussing pet shipping requirements with the moving company can prevent last-minute hassles. This includes understanding the transportation environment for pets and ensuring their comfort during the move.

2. Ensuring Safety and Comfort for Children and Pets

The safety and comfort of family members, including pets, are paramount on a moving day. Ensuring that children have a safe space away from the moving chaos and that pets are comfortable can make the day go smoothly.

For pets, this might include keeping them in a quiet room away from the moving activity or ensuring they have their favorite toys and a comfortable carrier.

3. Handling Last-minute Hiccups

No matter how well-planned a move is, last-minute hiccups can occur. Being prepared for these hiccups can prevent unnecessary stress.

This includes having a list of emergency contacts, from the moving company to the veterinary treatment facility. For pet owners, having a pet first aid kit handy can also be beneficial.

4. Keeping Essential Items Accessible

During the move, having essential items accessible is crucial. This includes important documents, medications, and any items required for immediate use at the new home.

For pets, this means having their food, water, and any medications easily accessible. It also includes having their health certificates and other documentation handy.

5. Saying Goodbye to the Old Home

Saying goodbye is never easy. Taking a moment to bid farewell to the old home, neighbors, and familiar surroundings can provide closure.

For children and pets, this can be an emotional moment. Ensuring they have a chance to say their goodbyes and understand the reasons for the move can ease the transition.

Read More: How to Cope with Separation During a PCS Move: A Guide for Families

Why Choose Exceptional Services From Military Movers?

At Military Movers, we pride ourselves on offering a suite of services tailored to meet the unique needs of military families and their pets. Our extensive experience and dedication to excellence ensure that every move is smooth and stress-free.

Tailored Moving Solutions

  • Personalized Planning: Every move is unique. We work closely with you to understand your specific needs and create a custom moving plan.
  • Expert Packing and Unpacking: Our team of professionals ensures that your belongings, including your pet’s essentials, are packed securely and unpacked with care at your new home.
  • Real-time Tracking: With our advanced satellite tracking technology, you can monitor your shipment in real time, giving you peace of mind.

Specialized Pet Relocation Services

  • Comprehensive Pet Shipping: From health certificates to comfortable carriers, we ensure your pets are moved with utmost care.
  • Pet-Friendly Recommendations: We provide insights into pet regulations, pet-friendly areas, and services in your new location.
  • Emergency Pet Care Coordination: In the unlikely event of a pet emergency during the move, we have partnerships with veterinary treatment facilities to ensure your pet receives prompt care.

Storage Solutions

  • Flexible Storage Options: Whether you need temporary storage or long-term solutions, we’ve got you covered.
  • Climate-Controlled Units: For sensitive items, including some pet essentials, we offer climate-controlled storage units to ensure their safety.

Transparent Pricing

  • No Hidden Fees: Our transparent pricing ensures you know exactly what you’re paying for. No surprises, just exceptional service.
  • Affordable Rates: We strive to offer the most competitive rates in the industry, ensuring that quality service doesn’t break the bank.


Relocating, especially for military families, is more than just a physical move; it’s an emotional journey filled with challenges and opportunities. At Military Movers, we understand the intricacies of such transitions and are committed to making your move seamless.

With our tailored services, expert team, and dedication to excellence, you can rest assured that both your family and pets are in capable hands. As you embark on this new chapter, let Military Movers be your trusted partner in ensuring a smooth transition.

Ready to make your next move stress-free? Reach out to Military Movers today and experience unparalleled moving services tailored just for you.


What measures do Military Movers take to ensure the safety of my belongings?

At Military Movers, we prioritize the safety of your belongings. Our expert packing and unpacking services, combined with real-time tracking and secure transportation, ensure that your items are handled with utmost care.

How do Military Movers handle pet relocation?

We offer comprehensive pet shipping services, ensuring that your pets are moved with care. From obtaining health certificates to providing comfortable carriers and coordinating with veterinary treatment facilities if needed, we’ve got your pets covered.

Are there any hidden fees in your pricing?

No, at Military Movers, we operate on a transparent pricing model. We ensure that our clients are well informed about all costs upfront, eliminating any surprise fees.

How early should I contact Military Movers before my move?

We recommend reaching out to us as soon as you know about your move. Early planning allows us to provide the best possible service tailored to your specific needs.

Do you offer storage solutions for items I don’t want to move immediately?

Yes, we offer both temporary and long-term storage solutions. Whether you need to store items for a short period or longer, we have flexible options, including climate-controlled units for sensitive items.

Mia Miller

Mia Miller, a true wordsmith, documents the journey of Military Movers through her engaging blog posts. She ensures that our stories, mirroring our commitment and dedication to facilitating military moves, reach a broad audience.