Why Military Pets Are Part of the Family: Research on Benefits

Patrick MacFarland Patrick MacFarland · Updated May 20, 2024

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A man and a woman sit in an old military jeep with a brown and white dog between them, embodying the spirit of camaraderie often seen with pets in the service. The jeep has a decorative wreath on the front. People are gathered in the background, some holding flowers.

Having a pet is a blessing. They add so much value to your life — sometimes they can complete a family. This is especially the case for military members, who have to deal with beloved family members being away for long periods of time.

Military pets are definitely part of the family and they can really be a benefit when it comes to stressful times and even PCS moves. Let’s take a look at why military pets are part of the family and the benefits of having a pet.

Considering Adding a Pet to Your Military Family

Adding a pet to your military family can be the best choice you ever make. If you have children or a partner, they’ll love the loving addition to the family when you are deployed far away. Even if you don’t have kids or a partner, there are great benefits.

You’ll have someone to curl up to and watch television with. These lovable pets will be a great addition and will make life much more whole.

Benefits of Adding a Pet to Your Military Family

There are various reasons why adding a pet to your family is the way to go. A pet can:

  • Create compassion and empathy for the entire family.
  • Be good for your mental health and your physical health.
  • Be a learning opportunity because it can prepare you for many things in life.
  • Ensure that you have a deep bond with an animal that’s going to love you no matter what.

Don’t Let Potential PCS Orders Stop You From Adopting a Pet

When you have a pet, things can get a little stressful. For example, moves or trips are more difficult to handle when you have a pet.

When you’re in the military, you may get PCS orders — which means you’ll have to move to another location, often internationally. Military moves can be extremely stressful and when you have a pet, it’s even more difficult.

But the possibility of PCS orders shouldn’t stop you from adopting a pet. Despite it feeling daunting to transport a pet, there are many ways to get it done. And the best part is, you can get reimbursed for the pet transportation.

Department of Defense’s New Pet Transport Reimbursement Policy

In June 2023, the Department of Defense released new policies regulating pet relocation reimbursement after Congress passed a new law in December 2022.

The new policy states as follows: “As of January 1, 2024, military Service members going through a PCS within the continental United States can be reimbursed up to $550 for one household pet, either cat or dog, and up to $2,000 for moves to or from a location outside the continental United States to cover costs related to the transportation of a pet.”

This is a first — before, military members had to pay for pet relocation costs themselves. Keep your pet transportation-related receipts and fill out this form and follow the instructions to qualify for your reimbursement. Unfortunately, the new policy is not applied retroactively.

The Bottom Line

The bottom line is that having a pet is just wonderful. and if you have to deal with pet relocation because of your PCS move, you should rely on CitizenShipper. It’s the most humane and safest way to transport a pet. They also make reimbursement easy.