Pet Moving Costs Could Be Covered on Your Next PCS

A corgi sits in a dog crate at the Ramstein Passenger Terminal.
Fritzi, a corgi, sits in a dog crate at the Ramstein Passenger Terminal, Ramstein Air Base, Germany, May 29, 2020 (U.S. Air Force/Airman 1st Class Taylor D. Slater)

Military members may no longer have to pay pet transportation costs out of pocket during permanent change of station (PCS) moves, thanks to a new rule making the costs reimbursable.

Congress allowed the new military PCS entitlement in the 2023 National Defense Authorization Act.

The Defense Department currently covers dependents' travel expenses, but troops must pay out of pocket to move their pets.

The 2023 NDAA says service secretaries "may" reimburse up to $550 per move within the continental U.S., and up to $4,000 per move to or from a foreign duty station. Pentagon officials did not immediately reply to a question about whether any headway had been made on a policy.

The DoD's Joint Travel Regulations currently cover only the mandatory quarantining of household pets -- specifically cats and dogs -- reimbursing up to $550 per PCS move. The department will also reimburse both transportation and quarantine fees in the event of evacuating from a foreign permanent duty station.

Congress' upper threshold of $4,000 for overseas moves appears to acknowledge the thousands of dollars in expenses some families incurred moving to and from overseas locations after the COVID-19 pandemic triggered changes within the military and commercial travel systems.

Military families moving within the continental U.S., who aren't driving between duty stations, may pay hundreds to fly their pets. Pets are allowed to fly overseas on Air Mobility Command's Patriot Express flights, also costing in the hundreds, depending on the combined weight of the animal and its kennel. If space isn't available, a pet shipping service can cost in the thousands of dollars.

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