PCSing with pets can be stressful but even more so when your dealing with an Overseas PCS. I wanted to share some PCSing to Guam with Pets info that will hopefully help make this process a bit easier for Newcomers to the island. We just went through this process 7 weeks ago so it’s still fresh on my mind. I’ve also reached out to a few others who have recently done it as well and compiled this information for you, they have shared their personal experiences to help as well.
First I want to say that while there IS a quarantine process here in Guam, it’s NOT nearly as bad as it seems when your reading the literature for the process. Everything you’ll read will say you need to start the process 120 days out BUT if that doesn’t happen to be the case for you, don’t stress! It’ll take a bit of research but you too can have a quick quarantine process. We found out we were PCSing to Guam with a less than 90 day notice, we had about 70 days! Even with the short notice PCS our dog was only required to stay 1 day in the quarantine facility, he ended up staying 3 nights until we could get him out to stay with some friends.
There are 2 major bases on the island Andersen AFB for the Air Force folks (and a few from other services) and US Naval Station Guam, known here at Big Navy. There is also Navy Hospital which is a separate location that houses the hospital and High School but more about that in another post as it’s not important to pet info. With that being said the process for both bases and services for PCSing in with pets is the same, so that’s at least helpful to make sure people are getting the information. The only difference is that there is Pet TLF only on Big Navy, and none available on Andersen AFB. Pet TLF on Big Navy books up fast so make sure to make reservations as far out as possible if you’d like to use it. There are also some pet friendly hotels off base but reviews for them are not that great, if you have to stay off base with a pet the Westin is your best choice. Lodging can book the accommodations for you if there is no availability on base. Booking as far in advance as you can will help you to get better accommodations.
If your planning on bringing your Pet with you to Guam I highly encourage you to start with the Andersen AFB Shipping Your Pets info they have online, it’s got ALL the information you need and I’ll expand on it more here as well. Then I suggest you go run by your local military vet as they will have a checklist of what is needed for a PCS to Guam. Some of the links on the Andersen page are no longer working so I’ve uploaded the Guam Pet Quarantine Guide and the Andersen Pet Lodge Quarantine Facility Handbook. I highly recommend downloading both, printing them out and putting then in your PCS Binder or with your PCS paperwork.
You’ll need to choose a quarantine facility, I’d recommend the one on Andersen as they deal with pet PCS’s often, but you can use one off base as well. The Andersen Pet Lodge has info online as well. You’ll need to have a facility accept your pet to be able to complete the Entry Forms for the Department of Agriculture (DOA). If using Andersen Pet Lodge they will email you everything that you need to fill out for your pet to stay there, then after you send it back they will send you a letter of acceptance that you send with the DOA paperwork.
As soon as your able to book your flights I recommend doing it so that your able to get your pet on the flight as well. There are only so many pet spots per flight. It’s cheaper if your pet is traveling with you on the same flight, often as excess baggage, but you can ship your pet without you as well. Many people use the United PetSafe program to get pets to and from Guam, I’ve heard some wild stories from people who used them so do your research before deciding.
If your flying from Germany like we did and not using your COT en route you’ll use Korean Air and fly from Frankfurt to Incheon, Korea, then on to Guam. You won’t get to see your pet during the layover at Incheon but we did ask the flight staff to make sure our dog was getting on the flight with us. They were happy to call and check on him and let us know that he was doing well and would be getting on the flight. The flight was only $200 and the staff was fantastic, it was our easiest flight process so far with our dog!
If your flying from the US you’ll go either through Hawaii or through Japan. The only airlines that fly pets to Guam from the US are currently Delta and United. Also know that Delta is the only airline that allows small pets to fly in the cabin. I’ve had several families recommend using Delta to fly through Japan if possible.
Jennifer Everhart was willing to share her recent experience with us, they flew from Detroit>Tokyo>Guam on Delta. Jennifer said “Once we landed we went to the delta desk and asked if we could see our dog and relieve him…they scheduled an “appointment” for about an hour later. We were told to come back to the desk at that time…we were then escorted down past security and I believe was basically baggage claim. We stepped outside and they drove our dog up in his kennel…we then could let him out, offer food and water, and attempt to relieve him. Unfortunately their idea of a pet area was a handicap bathroom with a pee pad on the floor. Our dog refused to go since he wasn’t used to it but did drink a ton of water and eat a little. Escorts were with us the entire time, they were all very friendly and put no time constraints on us!” It’s great to know that you are able to see your pet in Japan, which is nice to piece of mind!
If your going through Hawaii know your pet may have to stay at least 1 night for quarantine reasons, possibly more depending on how late you arrive in what cities, etc. So check all that before flying. Due to most pets needing to stay at least a night for quarantine I was unable to locate someone who flew WITH their pet through Hawaii. Most sent them either a few days prior or the day before. If you have traveled through Hawaii WITH your pet, please feel free to leave a comment with your experience 🙂
Shipping your Pet as cargo with United PetSafe is a more expensive option often than having them on your flight. I’ve heard several crazy stories and have a few mild ones to share here. A recently arrived Navy family shipped their cat from CA>HI>GU using the United PetSafe. They had to drop the cat off at the cargo area and they took her 2 hours prior to their flight, it took them an hour to get her dropped off! So plan accordingly! They were able to track their cat and her flight all the way to Guam. They called the Hawaii quarantine facility to check on her as well. (POC: Dallas 808-479-1308 & Holding area 808-833-2049). Their only complaint was that they were not notified that she had landed and was picked up by the Pet Lodge. So they had to drive all the way out to United Cargo to ask if she was safe and on island. They were told they Pet Lodge had picked her up and they went the next day to pick her up from the Andersen facility. They paid $500 for the United PetSafe to fly their cat here to Guam.
Another Navy spouse, Kylie Collier, was gracious enough to share her experience with us as well. They shipped their dog the day before they departed using the United PetSafe program. The dog flew from Maryland>Denver>Hawaii>Guam on his journey. Kylie called United PetSafe to book the flight and was told she would pay $349 for her 20 lb dog plus kennel, and $119 was for the 1 night in Hawaii. She called the day before the flight to verify everything and was told there were $300 of additional charges! When the showed up at the airport they were surprised to find another $200 in fees tacked onto the above charges! After complaining to the manager they were given an email to the refund department and told to email them. So they had to pay $1100 on the spot to fly their dog. After they arrived they contact the refund department and after a huge run around they found that they were overcharged by $300, but the amount was still way over the initial $349 they were quoted to begin with. He arrived on a Friday and on Saturday her friend when to visit him at the Pet Lodge. Kylie was told if they paid over the phone her friend could take him home on Monday. It took a bit of work to get the over the phone payments authorized, requiring some authorizing emails, but they finally got it done and he was able to go home with her. United also lost their leash it was in a ziplock bag taped to the top but never arrived. So if you leave one get a cheap one in case it doesn’t make it and have an extra with you. They are also told only soft neck collars and no body harnesses for the flight.
Once you arrive in Guam you won’t be able to see your pet at the airport as they arrive in a different location. They will be picked up by the quarantine facility that you made arrangements with. We arrived in at 1 am and the staff in the baggage claim area radioed out to the pet area and made sure that he was there and doing well for us. When the Andersen Pet Lodge opened Visitor’s hours at 11 am we went there to check on our Westie. He really did well during the 28 hour travel experience and was happy to see us. You get to stay with them for 30-45 mins but know that it’s an outside, uncovered area where you visit with them so if there is bad weather you may not be able to visit.
You need to do this BEFORE arrival in Guam and you need to stay on top of the process as I’ve had friends get theirs just a few hours before leaving for their flight. I sent everything in ahead of time and called to make sure they received it and then called again a week prior to leaving and we had the Entry Permit in hand 4 days prior to leaving Germany. I cannot stress enough that after you send the emails you need to call to verify that they got the info! Also remember kindness goes a long way 🙂 POC for the DOA is Ms. Jackie: 671-300-7965 & 671-300-7966.
The Entry Permit that needs to be filled out is located in the Guam Pet Quarantine Guide that you can download above, it’s on the last page, page 12. You need to send the filled out form with your rabies certificates and the current immunizations for Guam to the DOA.
Then then you get the health certificate (no more than 10 days prior to leaving) you’ll send that with your flight confirmation, and the quarantine facility confirmation.
Also don’t forget to send the money order to the DOA as well, it needs to arrive before they issue the permit so send it early. Address is in the Guam Pet Quarantine Guide and the Andersen Pet Shipping Info above.
This needs to be done before the rabies shot is given as the number will be recorded on the rabies certificate.
Your pet will need to have 2 rabies shots/certificates, the last one can be given no less than 30 days from arrival on Guam and no further than 12 months prior to arrival. After the rabies shot you’ll need to get the rabies OIE-FAVN test to gain entry. Your pet needs at least 0.5 I.U. per milliliter of rabies antibodies or greater. If less than that they will have to stay the 120 days in quarantine, the time starts the day the blood work reaches the lab so some/possibly all of it can be done prior to arrival. However if your pet has a level of 1.0 I.U. per milliliter of rabies antibodies or greater they will qualify for the 5 days or less, even if the test was not done 120 days prior to arrival. Your vet may tell you that you only need to wait 10 days after the rabies shot to get the FAVN drawn but the longer you wait the higher the results and better chance of passing will be. The German vet told us to get it drawn after 3 weeks. Also on the KSU Lab that does FAVN tests they recommend waiting 21-30 days for optimal antibodies results, you can read more HERE.
As I said we found out that we were PSCing short notice so I sent the the FAVN blood work to be tested on May 25th, even before we found where we were going because Guam was #2 on our list. Due to a mishap with our Spangdahlem Post Office the blood work did not arrive until June 9th, which is when the 120 days started for our dog. We arrived 70 days later to Guam! However his FAVN was so high at 3.46 I.U. per milliliter of rabies antibodies (this is an amazing result!) that he was only required to stay the 5 days or less! We would’ve been able to get him out the following day however there is no pet TLF on Andersen so we had to make arrangements for a location for him, we did get him out after 3 nights.
Our vet in Spangdahlem used KSU Lab for the FAVN testing and I have to say they were amazing! I had to call a few times and then correspond by email and I had fantastic customer service each time! We didn’t pay the expedited fee either but the results were done within 2 days of arrival. You can track your results online as well on their site.
Also note that no more 14 days prior to arrival you’ll need to get dogs tested for heartworm, this can be done at your health certificate appointment so that you don’t have to make several appointments. We did our health certificate appointment 7 days prior to leaving that way if we got delayed a few days anywhere it would still be valid for the 10 day period. Our dog only needed one more vaccination according to the Guam list so we just got that at one of the appointments we had set up for the PCS.
Also stock up on flea/tick meds and heart worm meds as they are required for your pets here. You vet will also need to apply the liquid flea/tick meds and have it noted on the health certificate.
Your pet will need to be cleared by the vet before they can leave the facility and have passed the FAVN results or served out the quarantine period. After the vet has cleared them and you’ve paid the fees your able to take your pet. It really was a much easier process than I thought it would be! You do need cash or a check to pay for the Vet fees since it goes to a separate facility.
**NOTE: As far as Quarantine fees go the Military (both AF & Navy) will refund the quarantine fees, up to $225 per pet with a max of $550 for 2 animals. If you’ve already arrived and didn’t know about it go file a supplemental for your travel voucher and you can get it refunded.
You’ll have several fees and expenses to get your pet here to Guam.
Airlines – you will have to pay for the airline tickets (ranges from $200 to $1100 from what I’ve seen on the modest end) if flying through Hawaii it’ll include and overnight fee if your pet is required to stay overnight.
Entry Permit – $65 as of Oct. 2016
Quarantine Fees – $225 for the quarantine and 5 days in the pet lodge. This is reimbursable by the AF/Navy when filed on your travel voucher for up to $225 per pet with a max of $550 for two pets.
Off Duty Pet Pick up – varies from around $90-100 and is charged by the Andersen pet lodge.
Vet Quarantine Clearance Fee – $35 to Andersen vet to get pet cleared to leave the facility.
Rabies/FAVN Bloodwork – $85 as of Oct 2016 for the KSU Lab
Vet Fees – these will vary by your Vet and if you see a Civilian/Military vet. We had 3 Vet visits (Rabies shots, FAVN blood draw, and Health Cert with Heartworm test) this cost us around $235.
It cost us $935 to get our dog here and we got back the $225 so a total of $710. I have to note that our flight from Germany to Guam was only $200 so way less that what most are paying from the US.
WHAT TO SEND IN THE KENNEL
First make sure you have an airline approved kennel with the metal bolts, that will save you a lot of trouble! We’ve heard of people having their kennel rejected at the airport due to plastic instead of metal, one was lucky enough to be able to buy a kennel from the airline. Not sure what would’ve happened if they hadn’t been able to! Also make sure it’s large enough for the pet to sit down/stand with their ears not touching as they check this at the airport.
We always put in a thin padded mat that has pee pads under and over it and then we put it in a pillowcase that I’ve slept on. This helps him to have our scent with him. We also sent his ‘baby’ which is his comfort item, it’s a stuffed dog. We had the bowls attached on the inside but did not send food as he won’t eat under stress. I did buy an awesome water bottle so that he’d have water for the full 28 hours of travel, and it worked great!
If you want to send a leash taped to the top make sure it’s one you don’t care if you get back. KoreanAir didn’t even want us to leave a leash so we didn’t. Also carry a back up in case it doesn’t make it.
Taped to the top should be your quarantine info, we put it in a page protector and folded it over and taped it to the top, yes we just may have had duct tape in our carry on 😉
You can check out this free PCSing to Guam Checklist that I made to help make it a smooth process HERE