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  • Writer's picturePAWS yokosuka

As you may have heard, the Department of Defense has approved a policy to cover pet travel expenses, like pet shipping or quarantine fees during a PCS. Since it was introduced, the policy has faced several rounds of restrictions, so the final version has limitations that pet owners should know about.


We did some research and, as of February 2024, the following appears to be the reality of the situation. If you or your friends have successfully applied for and received the reimbursement, we'd love to hear how it went and how we can update this information!


Email us at usskittytalk.yokosuka@gmail.com if you have any knowledge to add to this post or if you want to get involved in animal rescue in Yokosuka!


What does the PCS Reimbursement Apply to?

  • Service members can be reimbursed up to $2,000 for one dog or cat for each permanent change of station move to or from the continental United States.

  • Service members can be reimbursed up to $550 for one dog or cat for each permanent change of station move within the lower 48 states.

  • The reimbursement applies to household pets, which are defined as cats or dogs only. 

  • PCS orders must be effective on or after Jan. 1, 2024.

  • The benefit is not retroactive.

  • Costs can only be reimbursed for one pet. If service members pay to ship more than one household pet, they can choose which pet costs to claim for reimbursement.*


*if a dual-military couple is traveling on separate PCS orders, each may seek reimbursement for one household pet — meaning two pets could be covered in total.


What does the reimbursement apply to:

  • Mandatory microchipping

  • Quarantines

  • Boarding

  • Hotel service charges

  • Virus immunity testing

  • Pet licenses at the new duty station


Does the reimbursement apply to pet shippers? Yes, the following applies:*

  • Cost of shipping a pet via air, if the service member flies 

  • The cost of shipping a pet via air, if the pet is shipped separately from its owner


*A member can ship their pet as soon as their PCS orders become effective


What type of air travel qualifies?: When transoceanic travel is involved…

  • service members must use government-run travel, if it’s available or 

  • service members must use federally contracted transportation to ship their pet, if it’s available

  • If neither of these is an option, service members must get a “non-availability letter” in order to be reimbursed for travel they book separately *


*A “non-availability letter” states that a government ride for a pet wasn’t available, and is issued by the office processing the transportation request. 


What do i need to provide in order to receive the reimbursement?:*

  • Alert outgoing and incoming commands BEFORE PCSing; Reimbursement will be paid by receiving command but you must submit your intention to your outgoing command

  • Required receipts include:**, ***

  • receipts related to pet travel must be provided and itemized, and indicate which pet they are for**

  • Include specialized care such as pre-travel vaccinations. 

  • Include receipts for expenses even those under the typical threshold of $75.

  • If the pet is flying cargo because it exceeds the weight limit, the receipt must include the pet’s weight.

  • Completed form DD 1351-2 

  • All documentation used to get a non-availability letter (if applicable), such as a mission impact statement and the animal’s weight restrictions.


*Please refer to the Defense Travel Management Office website for the latest

**travelers using AMC Patriot Express government-contracted flights will get a receipt for their pet travel fees when checking in for a flight.

***The Navy and Marine Corps don’t require any additional documentation outside of the Joint Travel Regulations


When do we get the refund?: when the travel claim is settled.


If you don’t qualify or need more info: 


  • Army Emergency Relief and the Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society spend about $3,000 per client, on average.

  • Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society launched an interest-free loan program in 2021, providing funds cover the cost of up to two pets during a PCS move.

  • Army Emergency Relief’s program offers no-interest loans and grants may be considered as an exception. The policy also allows for retroactive reimbursement as a loan if you already paid through a credit card or high interest loan.

  • Air Force Aid Society also provides financial assistance to airmen/guardians for assistance with pet travel in the form of grants and interest-free loans.


For more information, service members can contact:



This post was published on February 26, 2024. Please refer to government websites for the latest information. Sources include: Military Times, Af.mil

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