A permanent change of station (PCS) presents military families with many unique challenges. Aside from the stress associated with moving and having to adapt to a new location, there is also the question of how they're going to get their belongings from point A to point B. This is especially true when it comes to moving their pets, who often require special attention. While there are obstacles, taking the appropriate steps can make it easier for troops to bring their pets with them when they move.

Act quickly
Perhaps most importantly, servicemembers need to start planning as soon as they learn where they are moving. This includes a number of steps, but the first one should be to visit the veterinarian. Pets need specific certification to fly on planes – whether overseas or within the United States – and vets can provide military families with the correct documentation. Experts recommend heading to a doctor with experience in the military community.

"I would definitely start with a veterinarian, particularly military, since we do this all of the time," Erin Stough, veterinary corps officer, Combat Center Veterinary Services, told "I would encourage people to read records and keep copies of the vaccine and health records. Be informed."

Do research
Families flying on commercial airlines need to be well-researched when they're making arrangement to transport their dog or cat. For instance, dogs that weigh more than 100 pounds can't be shipped on a commercial flight, and if the temperature is too hot or too cold airlines may not allow them to be shipped either. Military families also should look into whether there are any border crossing fees for animals they may encounter.

After arrival
The process is not done once families reach their ultimate destination. Experts also stress the importance of servicemembers taking steps to ensure their pets can adjust to their new surroundings. While this may be easier said than done, there are a few things that can make the process go more smoothly. For instance, pet owners try to keep a normal routine for the immediate time period after their arrival, and for those families with dogs, it's imperative for them to keep their canines leashed until they get used to their new surroundings.