Overseas location specific requirements for pet owners

25 May 2018 | Cpl Nikki L. Morales Marine Corps Installations East


For example: Pet health certificates are only valid for 10 days, so it’s necessary for travelers to plan their overseas travel with enough time to arrive at their host nation before their pet’s certificate expires.

“A lot of times there’s a lot of stress going on with moving your household and your family,” said Army Capt. Gretchen Powers, officer in charge, Camp Lejeune Veterinary Treatment Facility. “There’s almost more paperwork for your pet (than there is for yourself).”

Regulations that a service member’s pet must adhere to varies depending on the overseas location.

“Every place is different,” said Powers. “Probably the most important things are a 15-digit international compatible microchip and rabies vaccination. The number and timeline varies, but having the microchip already implanted and the rabies vaccination, which are associated together, are pretty much the basis of what is needed.”

When traveling to places such as Hawaii and Japan, the pets will have their blood drawn to estimate the animals’ immune response against the rabies virus. This is called a rabies antibody titer and after it’s drawn a quarantine period begins before the pet can enter the duty station.

“(You should prepare your pet for PCS) as soon as you have orders which sometimes is not enough time,” said Powers. “The longest prep time is for Japan, which is six months. If you know that you’re pending orders, start to think about the worst case scenario.”

Without proper planning and preparation, pets may have to be left behind with friends or family until all requirements are met.

“Pets are a part of our family,” said Victoria Long, pet owner stationed on Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune. “They do mean a lot to us and the biggest tip I can give is prepare in advance. If you’re going to ask for orders overseas or if you think there is a chance (you could go) overseas start preparing to take your pet with you rather than just waiting for your orders.”

For more information, visit, or contact the Camp Lejeune Veterinary Treatment Facility at 910-450-1607.