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There are some things to consider when bringing pets to Alaska. Housetraining and daily walks take on a whole new perspective when temperatures are below zero.

First, make sure the animal’s health certificate is current. You’ll need it for traveling the Canadian portion of the Alaska Highway. If flying, check with the airlines for their rules.

Some people may want to consider leaving their pet behind with friends or relatives while getting settled at Eielson. Pets are allowed in the temporary living facility, but space is limited. Boarding facilities in this area are also limited and expensive. They require distemper and rabies shots, in addition to other vaccines. Dogs must be checked for kennel cough and corona, and cats must be checked for leukemia and FIP. Fecal, flea and tick checks are also required.

Rental agreements spell out rules regarding pet ownership. Most landlords will not allow pets. If you find someone willing to rent their house, apartment, or cabin, make sure you understand all deposits and penalties before signing a lease. Ask the landlord if there is a limit on the number and size of pets. As mentioned earlier, winter weather requires special consideration, especially if the animal is small. In weather of 20 degrees below zero, small pets shouldn’t be left outside for more than a few minutes. This confines the pet to the house for long periods of time.

Special dog houses can be built for animals that will be left out in the extreme cold, and even then, owners should limit exposure time. Before buying or building a dog house, ask housing which types are allowed on base and provide the best protection.

All animals, including cats, must be on a chain or leash when outside. Base regulations don’t allow animals to run free or to be left unattended in vehicles.

No more than two pets per family are allowed in base housing. Also, in 2011 the Air Force established a new pet policy whereby residents are not allowed to board any breed (including mixed breeds) that is deemed an “aggressive or potentially aggressive” dog such as a pit bull (American Staffordshire terrier or English Staffordshire bull terrier), Rottweiler, Doberman Pinscher, Chow Chow and wolf hybrids. The prohibition extends to other breeds of dogs or individual dogs that demonstrate or are known to demonstrate a propensity for dominant or aggressive behavior. Contact your military housing office for details. Small caged pets such as hamsters are an exception to the two-pet limit. Dormitory residents can have pets too, including fish, caged birds, hamsters, gerbils or caged lizards (not exceeding 12 inches in length).

Visitors to the base should view wildlife from a distance. Moose can be dangerous and base residents are reminded that feeding wild animals is strictly prohibited both for their protection and yours.


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