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Nov 2005

Table of Contents

WASHINGTON, D. C. 20310-0300


PURPOSE. To provide DoD employees and family members with information regarding the transportation of pets during an evacuation.

This memorandum addresses Department of Defense (DoD) movement of pets for DoD families during an evacuation. Families are financially responsible for their pets from the point of departure to the final safe haven destination. Transportation of pets at government expense is NOT an entitlement. Neither are there entitlements for a pet’s preparation for travel. To fly on most Air Mobility Command (AMC) or commercial airlines, including Department of State (DoS) chartered aircraft, requires some necessary paperwork for your pet. Required documents typically include completion of the DD Form 2209, Veterinary Health Certificate and the DD Form 2208, Rabies Vaccination Certificate. Samples of these forms may found in Annex S. Evacuees are advised to consult the pet transport guidance issued by a specific commercial carrier they are using for additional pertinent information or to access AMC for their latest pet transport guidance at Also note that many commercial carriers do NOT transport pets during certain periods, e.g., very hot summer months, and at other times space available can be at a premium, e.g., holiday periods. Hence, families should be prepared accordingly.

Because most families think of pets as additional family members, DoD authorities have gone to great effort in the past to evacuate pets along with the families. This may or may not be feasible in future evacuations; therefore, families must make plans for their pet to stay behind or to be transported out commercially. The cost of any commercial transport of the pets, either out of the theater or from the Repatriation Site to the final safe haven location will be borne by the family.

In the event that DoD can accommodate the transportation of pets through a military or chartered aircraft, families must bring the following with their pets to the NEO assembly area/evacuation control site/center:

  • Separate pet containers for each animal except those with nursing litters. Containers must be airline-approved crates and large enough for the animal to stand up, lie down and turn around. Bedding such as towels or blankets may be included to provide cushion and warmth; however, too much makes it difficult for the animal to move freely. Crates with water bowls are preferable. Pet food items manufactured outside the United States often cannot be imported into the U.S.; therefore, do not ship items such as rawhide chew toys with the pet. Dog and cat food will be available at OCONUS assembly areas to the extent possible, intermediate staging areas and CONUS repatriation sites.
  • Movement orders, health certificates and vaccination certificates should be attached in a waterproof pouch or bag to the outside of the crate, not inside. Written medication instructions and special care requirements should be given to personnel at the assembly point. Sufficient medications to cover the duration of the evacuation process should accompany the pet. Airlines generally require health certificates signed by a veterinarian within 10 days of the flight. Most states require a rabies vaccination less than one year old. Consult with the local veterinarian for other recommended vaccinations. Heartworm preventive is recommended for dogs entering many areas of the U.S.; testing and medication should start before the evacuation.
  • Dogs and cats must wear collars with owner identification information unless restricted by a medical condition. Microchip identification is highly recommended.
  • For pets other than dogs or cats: The pet carrier, cage or crate must meet airline requirements. Families should check to see if special permits are required for importation into the U.S. or if it is illegal to import the animal (for example, is the pet an endangered species). Include a copy of the permit, when applicable, in the special waterproof pouch or bag on the outside of the cage. The family should also verify any necessary quarantine requirements in advance. The family will supply special foods for these pets to cover the duration of the evacuation process.


Veterinary assistance will be available at the intermediate staging base and repatriation site. Families will arrange for follow-on transportation of their pets before they leave the Repatriation Site. In the event that pets are brought out to an alternate Repatriation Site, families will coordinate follow-on transportation arrangements with the processing team at the alternate site before leaving the area. Again, follow-on transportation costs are assumed by the family. Travel entitlements to the final safe haven location do NOT include the family’s travel to the alternate site to pick up pets while enroute. Pets will be provided overnight boarding at the Repatriation Site, if needed; however, thereafter there is no guarantee of furnished boarding which will be on a space available basis only. Any boarding of pets at a local kennel or quarantine costs will be the responsibility of the pet owner.

Things to consider in becoming a responsible DoD pet owner, especially if an overseas assignment is in the offing, are provided in Appendix 1 to this Annex.

NOTE: In addition to the DoD guidance provided herein, because the Department of State often arranges for chartered flights, evacuees should be aware of the Department of State’s official guidance on the evacuation of pets which is contained in their “Mission Drawdown Guidance” and reads as follows: “Pets: Potential evacuees should be warned as far in advance as possible that pets usually cannot be accommodated on an evacuation flight, and should be advised to plan accordingly.” In addition, all potential evacuees may wish to consult the Department of State’s official guidance regarding the preparation and transportation of pets under normal traveling conditions. This guidance provides some excellent pet care tips, is entitled “Traveling with Pets,” and can be found at as well as at Appendix 2 of this Annex.

The Humane Society of the United States maintains another extremely helpful website that contains a wealth of information and can be found at Numerous articles are posted on this site, including one devoted especially for military pet owners entitled “Military Personnel: Making Arrangements for Your Pets.” Other articles address general issues and concerns, e.g., moving and pets, care tips, boarding, spay/neuter information, etc.



Table of Contents

WASHINGTON, D. C. 20310-0300


Table of Contents

WASHINGTON, D. C. 20310-0300


While the guidance issued by both the Department of State and the Department of Defense is clear that “pets usually cannot be accommodated on an evacuation flight,” the DoS’ circular “Traveling with Pets” is included below to provide potential evacuees with excellent tips regarding preparation of their pets for travel in the event they can be accommodated on an evacuation flight.

Traveling With Pets
For U.S. government employees: 

  • Visit or e-mail the Overseas Briefing Center (OBC) to inquire about pet entry requirements.
  • Notify the post that you will be bringing a pet and what kind.

For anyone traveling outside the United States with pets:

  • Call the appropriate embassy in Washington to confirm the entry requirements. Some embassies will provide forms printed in English and in the host language for your veterinarian to complete. Some countries do not permit importation or have long quarantine requirements .
  • Check the requirements to see how close to departure the required veterinarian examination, shots, and tests must be scheduled.
  • Arrange with your veterinarian for required shots and certificates within the specified time period.(Even though not always required, it is recommended that you include shots for distemper and hepatitis).

Certification requirements vary from country to country. Some countries simply require the veterinarian who examines your pet to be licensed in the state of origin, and no USDA endorsement of the veterinarian's examination statement is required. Some countries will accept a standard letterhead health certificate and rabies certificate issued by a licensed veterinarian and endorsed by the USDA. However, other countries may require that your pet be checked by a federally accredited veterinarian and that a United States Interstate and International Certificate for Health Examination for Small Animals (AHPIS Form 7001) be issued by that veterinarian and endorsed by the USDA.(Since August 1994 only a federally accredited veterinarian can sign this form.) Carefully check the OBC country briefing box or call the embassy to determine the exact requirements before making an appointment with a veterinarian. Also check the airline you will be using for your pet. There have been cases where a country does not require a certification, but a particular airline does. There is a USDA endorsement fee of $16.50 per certificate for cats and dogs. (More than one dog or cat may be on a certificate.) For other animals, call the USDA at the numbers below.

The timetable for obtaining examination statements and certifications can be very tight. Plan well in advance to be sure all paperwork is complete in time for your shipping date. You may send your paperwork by mail or courier along with a rabies certificate, the appropriate fee for service, and a self-addressed stamped envelope or a pre-paid Federal Express envelope (if you are short of time) for return to you. Be sure that the veterinarian's name is legible, and include a contact person with a daytime telephone number. Pets examined by veterinarians in other U.S. areas should have the papers certified by the USDA-APHIS veterinary office in that state. The offices closest to the Washington, D.C., area are:

U.S. Department of Agriculture
Animal & Plant Health Inspection Service (USDA-APHIS)
Veterinary Services
1598 Whitehall Road Suite #A
Annapolis, MD 21401
Tel: (410) 349-9643 or (301) 261-8072
(If driving: Take Rt.50 East. Just before the Bay Bridge, take Exit 31 to small outlet mall called Jamal's Bay 50)


U.S. Department of Agriculture
Animal & Plant Health Inspection Service (USDA-APHIS)
Veterinary Services
Washington Building, Suite 6000
1100 Bank Street
Richmond, VA 23219
(804) 771-2774
If you wish to deliver the certificate in person, call 24 to 48 hours in advance for an appointment.

May be required by the country to which you will be traveling. Check with the embassy or with the pre-arrival cable available in the OBC country briefing box. If required, go to the:

Department of State's Authentication Office
State Annex 1 (Columbia Plaza)
518 23rd Street NW
Washington, DC 20520
Tel: (202) 647-5002

The office is open on a walk-in basis from 7:30 a.m. to 11:00 a.m., Monday through Friday. The authentication fee is $5.00 per document, and the average waiting time is one hour. Check should be made to U.S. Department of State.

If you are taking a relatively uncomplicated flight to post, it may be to your advantage to take your pet along as excess baggage. Ask the travel agent to provide you with a cost comparison of excess baggage versus air freight shipment.(Remember also to save your receipts for shipment as a legitimate "moving expense" for the IRS.)

Reserve air space for shipment as early as possible. Be sure to schedule arrival on a weekday and not a weekend, as it is usually necessary for animals to be cleared by a veterinarian upon arrival.

Alert the post in advance of flight and particulars, as it will often help speed the processing. Also, the post will then arrange temporary housing that allows pets.

Provide a sturdy, leak-proof crate (lined with absorbent material such as newspaper) that is large enough for the animal to stand, lie down, or turn around in, but not so large that the animal would be battered around in rough weather. Most U.S. carriers have shipping containers in various sizes available for purchase. However, shop early as they may not have all sizes in stock at the particular time you need one. (Once again, this is a moving expense; save the receipt.)


  • Let your pet become accustomed to the crate before shipment by having practice sessions that build in time of confinement. Be sure the pet has a comfortable pad to lie on and a few familiar toys. A leash should also be included with the crate.
  • Put identification tags that include an emergency phone number around your pet's neck.
  • Print your name and destination address clearly on the shipping crate itself; also include your pet's name, so that attendants can talk with him. If the pet has special habits--or bites--also include that information. You might want to list this information in other languages, depending on the countries transited. You should carry a photo of your pet with you. Feed him just a light meal about six hours before shipping--no water within two hours unless it is very hot (or the animal is very small). A water dish that is attached so it cannot tip should be provided, but it should be conveniently located to allow an attendant to provide water at stopovers without being bitten. Send dry food along if the trip is long. If you send canned food, fasten an opener and dish to the crate in a cloth or mesh bag with feeding instructions clearly marked on the crate.
  • Do not tranquilize the animal without your veterinarian's approval.
  • Exercise your pet just before shipping so your animal will sleep better during the trip.
  • Check with the agent who meets the flight about your pet's progress when you are changing planes. Have your airway bill number readily available when doing this.
  • Allow plenty of time between connecting flights to be sure your animal is transferred to your flight if traveling with you.
  • If there is a delay, the airline will kennel the pets when kennels are available. State on your airway bill that your animal is to be taken to the animal port if there is a delay or stopover, if you desire the service.
  • Arrange to have your pet picked up immediately upon arrival. Airline facilities for pets may be limited or nonexistent.


There is a privately owned veterinarian shelter at the Kennedy Airport for traveling animals. It is open 24 hours a day, including weekends and holidays. It is equipped to handle any kind of animal and has more than 140 species pass through its doors. The staff will examine, feed, water, exercise, and care for your pet during stopovers; veterinarians are available on the premises.

You can also write for crating directions and crates by sending a self-addressed envelope and postage stamp to Vetport. If there is a delay, they will kennel the pets. Normal rates per day (or part of a day) are: cats, $11; dogs, $16-20 (by size); extra for special diets, etc. Have all necessary vaccinations administered prior to shipping your pet. (The Vetport requires proof of vaccinations.) State on your waybill that your animal is to be taken to the Vetport if there is a delay or stopover! The address is:
(This is not an endorsement but for informational purposes only. The U. S. government can provide no guarantees and accepts no responsibility thereof for any action taken on the visitor's part based on the information provided.)

Air Cargo Center
Kennedy International Airport
Building 189
Jamaica, New York 11430
Tel: (718) 656-8295
Fax: (718) 995-4757

For more information on the Washington area services that will help prepare and ship pets, contact the Overseas Briefing Center for a list of pet transporting services in Maryland and in Virginia.


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