Personal Property Office
2623 LeHardy Street
San Diego, CA 92136-5180
Phone 619-556-6683 / Toll Free 1-855-HHG-MOVE (444-6683)
Phone (DSN) 312-526-6683
Before you attempt to bring your pet to San Diego (especially if you are transferring from an overseas location), you should check with the following national, state, and county agencies to ensure that your pet’s species is permitted, and if so, what (if any) permits or certificates are required for their entry. If flying, also check with your airline.
Before your departure, make sure you have:
Click here for community services, including a list of pet boarding facilities. There are hundreds of different facilities for pet boarding in San Diego. Military OneSource can also help you research for your specific breed or pet needs. Costs vary but it's not uncommon to see rates at roughly $30 per day for dogs or cats, with higher costs for more exotic pets. It is critical to plan for pet boarding arrangements prior to your arrival in San Diego. Contact FFSC for relocation support, including referrals to various community resources that can assist you.
Moving to a new home can be stressful on your pets, but there are many things you can do to make the process as painless as possible. Here are a few tips:
1. Update your pet's tag. Make sure your pet is wearing a sturdy collar with an identification tag that is labeled with your current contact information. The tag should include your home location, telephone number, and cell phone number so that you can be reached immediately during the move.
2. Ask for and travel with your pet's veterinary records.
3. Keep medications and food on hand. Keep at least one week's worth of food and medication with you in case of an emergency. Vets can't write a prescription without a prior doctor/patient relationship, which can cause delays if you need medication right away. You may want to ask for an extra prescription refill before you move. The same preparation should be taken with special therapeutic foods - purchase an extra supply in case you can't find the food right away in your new area.
4. Seclude your pet from chaos. Pets can feel vulnerable on moving day. Keep them in a safe, quiet, well-ventilated place, such as the bathroom, on moving day with a "Do Not Disturb! Pets Inside!" sign posted on the door. There are many light, collapsible travel crates on the market if you choose to buy one. However, make sure your pet is familiar with the new crate before moving day by gradually introducing him or her to the crate before your trip. Be sure the crate is well-ventilated and sturdy enough for stress-chewers; otherwise, a nervous pet could escape.
5. Prepare a first aid kit. First aid is not a substitute for emergency veterinary care, but being prepared and knowing basic first aid could save your pet's life. A few recommended supplies: Your veterinarian's phone number, gauze to wrap wounds or to muzzle your pet, adhesive tape for bandages, non-stick bandages, towels, and hydrogen peroxide (3 percent). You can use a door, board, blanket or floor mat as an emergency stretcher and a soft cloth, rope, necktie, leash, or nylon stocking for an emergency muzzle.
6. Play it safe in the car. It's best to travel with your dog in a crate; second-best is to use a restraining harness. When it comes to cats, it's always best for their safety and yours to use a well-ventilated carrier in the car. Secure the crate or carrier with a seat belt and provide your pet with familiar toys. Never keep your pet in the open bed of a truck or the storage area of a moving van. In any season, a pet left alone in a parked vehicle is vulnerable to injury and theft. Talk to your vet for information on other types of pets and the safest way to transport them by plane, car, or other means.
8. If you'll be using overnight lodging, plan ahead by searching for pet-friendly hotels. Have plenty of kitty litter and plastic bags on hand, and keep your pet on its regular diet and eating schedule.
9. Get ready for takeoff. When traveling by air, check with the airline about any pet requirements or restrictions to be sure you've prepared your pet for a safe trip. Some airlines will allow pets in the cabin, depending on the animal's size, but you'll need to purchase a special airline crate that fits under the seat in front of you. Give yourself plenty of time to work out any arrangements necessary including consulting with your veterinarian and the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
10. Call the state veterinary medical association (VMA) for veterinarians in your location. When choosing a new veterinary hospital, ask for an impromptu tour; kennels should be kept clean at all times, not just when a client's expected. You may also want to schedule an appointment to meet the vets. Ask yourself if the receptionists, doctors, technicians, and assistants are friendly, professional and knowledgeable. Are the office hours and location convenient? Does the clinic offer emergency or specialty services or boarding? If the hospital doesn't meet your criteria, keep looking until you're assured that your pet will receive the best possible care.
11. Upon arrival to your new home, immediately set out all the familiar and necessary things your pet will need: food, water, medications, bed, litter box, toys, etc. Pack these items in a handy spot so they can be unpacked right away. Keep all external windows and doors closed when your pet is unsupervised, and be cautious of narrow gaps behind or between appliances where nervous pets may try to hide.
12.Once you find a new veterinarian, ask about local health concerns such as heart worm or Lyme disease, or any vaccinations or medications your pet may require. Also, be aware of any unique laws. For example, there are restrictive breed laws in some cities.
13. Most communities, military or otherwise, require pets to be on leashes. Click here for information on license requirements, leash laws, and other important regulatory information for pet owners.
There are currently no quarantine regulations for normal pet imports into San Diego. For more information, consult the agencies listed in the “Getting Started” section of this article.
Vaccinations, Licensing & Registrations
Pets are allowed at some military housing communities within metro San Diego. Contact the San Diego Housing Office ahead of time to let them know that you have a pet and need information on restrictions. You will need to register your pet with the Housing Office and follow the community policies with regards to the number of pets, weight and breed restrictions, pet security deposit and the care of your pet. Please refer to the pet policy available for each San Diego military family housing neighborhood on the Lincoln Military Housing website for more information.
It is highly advisable to contact the military installation that you plan to visit prior to bringing a pet on the base via your car or on foot. Each base has its own regulations, and certain pets are not authorized on any installation due to the potential for harm to others. The base quarterdeck can provide you with general information on installation policies.
San Diego's 3.2 million residents share the County with more than 1 million pets and sheltered animals. Visit the County of San Diego website for the latest policies on licensing and registration. Costs vary; typically lower for pets that have been surgically altered, such as spayed or neutered. On average, three-year licenses for dogs could cost roughly $36 for altered dogs and around $72 for unaltered dogs. General information and online licensing for dogs is available at the County of San Diego Animal Services website or call 619-767-2675.
The San Diego County Veterinary Medical Association is a membership organization comprised of over 585 members. The purpose of this association is to promote the art and science of veterinary medicine, including their relationship to the public health; to elevate the standards of the profession; and to provide excellent continuing education programs. The general public can find veterinary referrals or emergency hospital locations by visiting the San Diego County VMA website or calling 619-640-9583.
Visit the Better Business Bureau of San Diego or call 858-496-2131 for list of accredited business, to include veterinarians, with statistics and customer reviews.
Call your relocation manager »
Or, for 24/7 assistance, call Military OneSource. »