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How to put TLC in your PCS with Pets

September 16, 2013

If you think moving is stressful for you, imagine how confusing it can be for your pets. Everything that is familiar to them—the potted plants they sniffed daily, the comfy couch they weren’t allowed on, the kids’ shoes they stumbled over by the front door—gets packed up and taken away. Then, they’re cooped up in their carrier in the back of the car for a long road trip. In the short term, it is a bit more stressful to PCS when your pets are along for the ride. But in the long term, they make moving more enjoyable for everyone.

Here are some things to keep in mind that may make moving with your furry friends or two a little bit easier:

Think like a pet.

PCSing is a stressful time for any military family. Pets can sense when you’re feeling tense, and it can make them feel unsettled, too. When you find yourself feeling worried about the detail of your move, try thinking like a pet.

Go outside, take a walk, or curl up for a quick catnap. Everyone needs a little break every now and then.

Stay pet-friendly.

Pets can get comfy almost anywhere, but you’ll feel more comfortable if you ensure your accommodations are pet-friendly. Websites like and let you search for pet-friendly hotels by route or destination. Be sure to ask in advance if the hotel charges a pet fee or requires a deposit for unforeseen damages or extensive cleaning. Some hotels are truly pet-friendly and do not charge anything at all! When making your reservation, ask about their pet policy—hotels may have restrictions on weight and the number of pets allowed per room.   

Keep your best friend close.

PCS’ing can be especially tough on kids, but moving with a pet can make things a bit easier. While children may be nervous about moving away from their friends, it can help them feel at home when their furbabies move with them. Encourage kids to help get pets ready for a move by giving them tasks like packing treats and caring for your animals while on the road. This teaches responsibility, strengthens their bond with pets, and helps alleviate the anxiety of relocation. Pets remind us to take life less seriously and have more fun!

Be prepared.

You don’t want to forget any needs for your pets. Here are a list of supplies to make sure you have within easy reach:

  • Pet carrier: A carrier helps keep your pet safe and secure in the car and provides a familiar “retreat” in hotel rooms.
  • Pet food and treats: Your pet’s favorites may not be available in stores along the way.
  • Favorite pet toys: These can make travel more fun and relaxing for pet and human alike.
  • Leash and collar with rabies and ownership tags: Remember to always leash your pet before getting out of your car.
  • Lines for outdoor runs (if used): Some hotels offer outdoor runs for stretching your pet’s legs (and your own).
  • Travel blanket: The smell and texture of a blanket that’s familiar to your pet can have a calming effect.
  • Portable water and food bowls: These are easy to clean and can often be collapsed to take up less space.
  • Pet medications: Make sure you have enough for the trip and at least two additional weeks after you arrive at your destination.
  • Calming products: If your pet is prone to carsickness, ask your vet about safe medication options.
  • Vaccination records: There are required if you unexpectedly need to board your pet in a kennel.
  • Updated microchip contact information: Be sure your mobile phone number is listed on your contact information.




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The Days Are Long as a Milspouse

The Days Are Long as a Milspouse

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