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Service Members Get New Benefit: Pet Travel Allowance

As of Jan. 1, active-duty service members are now authorized to receive reimbursement for costs related to relocation of one household pet due to a permanent change of station move.

A cat poses for a photo.
Cracker Jack
Cracker Jack the Sailor Cat is celebrated by sailors on International Cat Day, Aug. 8, 2023.
Photo By: Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class Ashley Cheesman
VIRIN: 230808-N-FN525-1001

The relocation expense for either one dog or one cat includes travel costs within the U.S. or overseas and any other travel requirements, according to the Joint Travel Regulations Office.  

Since taking office, Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III has prioritized efforts to strengthen support for Defense Department personnel and family members under his "Taking Care of Our Service Members and Families" campaign.

Those efforts include key initiatives to improve the lives of service members and their families through access to quality and affordable child care and by easing the burden of relocation for military families, among other things. 

"DOD recognizes that pets can be a source of stability and security to service members and families who often move. Defraying the cost of PCS moves involving a pet acknowledges the role played by these emotional constants and will improve quality of life for the force," said Jennifer McPherson-Todd, director of the Defense Travel Management Office.

A soldier gives a dog a big hug.
Canine Comfort
A soldier assigned to the Virginia National Guard reunites with his dog in Sandston, Va., after returning from almost a year of supporting security operations in East Africa, Sept. 29, 2022.
Photo By: Army Sgt. 1st Class Terra C. Gatti
VIRIN: 220922-D-D0439-001

Other Travel Expenses Covered Under the Regulations
Quarantine fees
Mandatory microchipping
Boarding fees
Hotel service charges
Licensing fees at the new duty station
Shipping fees if the service member flies, rather than drives

Also, service members' dependents, DOD civilians, and DOD civilian employees' dependents who are ordered to evacuate from a foreign duty station are authorized for transportation and quarantine fees for up to two pets — dogs or cats.

For more details on this new benefit, click here.

Two airmen carry a large animal crate from the back of a truck.
Puppy Travel
Air Force Staff Sgt. Corey Klucker, right, and Air Force Senior Airman Jeff Cannella carry a dog to a commercial aircraft outside the passenger terminal at Ramstein Air Base in Germany, May 29, 2020. Klucker and Cannella are passenger service specialists with the 721st Aerial Port Squadron.
Photo By: Air Force Airman 1st Class Taylor D. Slater
VIRIN: 200529-F-PJ020-1099I
A dog sits in a crate.
Crate Care
Fritzi, a corgi, awaits transport in a dog crate in the passenger terminal at Ramstein Air Base, Germany, May 29, 2020.
Photo By: Air Force Airman 1st Class Taylor D. Slater
VIRIN: 200529-F-PJ020-1004J

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