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Have you recently received Permanent Change of Station (PCS) orders?

We know that uprooting your life to move to a new location can be stressful. Every military relocation is different — from the distance of the move, to the size of your family, and whether or not you have children or need military pet relocation services.

If this is your first PCS or you’re new to the military, knowing how to plan your move can be confusing. Luckily, the military and companies like CitizenShipper can help make it a smooth transition.

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Army Veteran Maurice Guski’s Journey to Become a Beloved Pet Transporter

Will The Military Pay for Pet PCS?

When you receive a PCS, you may be worried about the financial burden of moving household items, vehicles and even pet transportation costs. Moving with pets for military families is just one more layer of stress. Will the military help out with pet relocation costs? Yes, they will!

“as of January 1, 2024, military Service members going through a PCS (permanent change of station orders) 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.”

The new policy regarding reimbursement for PCS pet relocation services was approved by the Department of Defense in June 2023.

Click here for instructions on how to fill out the pet PCS reimbursement form DD Form 1351-2.

Ground-Based Alternatives for Military Pet Transport

The best option for military pet shipping is ground travel — especially if you have a large dog, multiple pets or a snub-nosed breed like a boxer or a Boston terrier. Or, if your furry family member is prone to anxiety or has health conditions, having a transporter right there at all times makes ground-based alternatives the way to go.

The three most common ways to transport a dog by ground are:

  • Transporting the dogs yourself
  • Hiring a traditional ground transportation company
  • Using a two-way marketplace to find experienced dog transportation experts

If you’re already taking the DITY approach to your PCS move, adding a pet to the mix can be a non-starter. Traditional ground transportation companies have served in this niche for years, but most are mom-and-pop operations that lack the resources of larger companies like CitizenShipper and its dynamic two-way pet transportation marketplace.

How Military Can Use CitizenShipper To Transport Pets

There are many benefits to using CitizenShipper — ease of use, the short turnaround time to receive multiple quotes, the variety of options and unique offerings like 24/7 televet access and a $1,000 pet protection plan. Because we’re the #1 pet transportation platform in the United States, we work hard to ensure your peace of mind throughout the entire process.

How Do I Post a Listing on CitizenShipper’s Pet Transportation Marketplace?

  1. Click “Get Transportation Quotes” on CitizenShipper’s home page.
  2. Select “Dogs” from the list — if you need cat transportation or any other pet transportation, we can ship those too!
  3. Enter the details of your transport, including a date range, destination and origin point, information about your dog and any other special needs.
  4. In a matter of minutes, a fleet of vetted and screened drivers will send you a variety of quotes.
  5. You can use an internal chat system to discuss the details of the transport with every driver that submits a quote.
  6. Additionally, you can read reviews from previous customers and check out their rating (on a scale of five stars).

Can Military Members Fly with Dogs?

Yes, you can fly with your dog. In fact, many airlines have a special policy for military pet travel services.

  • If you own a dog that’s small enough to meet weight and size requirements, it can fly with you in the cabin.
  • While only a few airlines allow civilian-owned pets in the cargo area, most make exceptions for military members.

Pet Ground Transport Vs. Shipping a Dog by Air

While it’s possible to fly with your dog, there are several reasons that pet ground transportation is a better option than flying:

  • Airlines prohibit pets other than cats and dogs.
  • Flying can put considerable stress on your pet, especially if they’re in the cargo area.
  • Flying can be unreliable — between holiday delays/cancellations and inclement weather, there’s no guarantee your dog will be allowed on the plane.
  • Ground travel is easier and offers door-to-door delivery, which is impossible with air travel.
  • You’ll have to hire an air nanny or accompany your pet on the plane, even if you’re planning to drive to your new base.

What are the Requirements for Dog Transportation?

When it comes to pet shipping for military families, there are requirements to adhere to. These requirements for military pet relocation services range from obtaining a health certificate, to having the proper crates, to ensuring your pet has all the necessary vaccines. There may even be a military pet quarantine regulation in the country of destination.

Here’s a list of the vaccines your pet needs. Check with the destination country when you are supposed to schedule your vaccinations.

Vaccinations for dogs

The list of required vaccinations for dogs:

  • Canine parvovirus
  • Distemper
  • Canine hepatitis
  • Rabies

The list of recommended vaccinations for dogs:

  • Bordetella bronchiseptica
  • Borrelia burgdorferi
  • Influenza
  • Leptospira bacteria

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What Are Permanent Change of Station Orders?

PCS are orders that require military members to move or transfer to another duty station. The move can be a significant distance or just a few states away.

  • If the move is within the continental United States, it’s referred to as CONUS.
  • Moves outside the continental United States are called OCONUS.

PCS orders may be temporary or permanent — a short-term reassignment is called a Temporary Duty Move (TDY). These can last from just a few days to a few months.

The military gives members three options for moving. Basically, you can either have the government handle every aspect of the move, you can take a do-it-yourself approach or you can do a blend of both.

Government PCS Move

The military is in charge of the move when you choose a full government PCS move. They will plan the move - including selecting the dates, pack your belongings, transport them to your new station and unpack in the new home. One major benefit of a Government PCS move is that they’re liable for any damage that occurs during the process.

Personally Procured Move (PPM)

The other option is to take care of the move yourself — this used to be known as a do-it-yourself (DITY) move, but now the official term is a PPM. You’ll still be reimbursed thousands of dollars for this type of move, but you need to keep all receipts for movers.

Partial Do-It-Yourself Move

That’s right, there’s a best-of-both-worlds option for PCS. If you want to control some aspects of the move but would like the government to handle others, you can do a partial-DITY move. You’ll pack up your vehicle and/or trailer and make sure it meets interstate weight requirements — keep those receipts because the military will reimburse you for the scale costs. Then, whatever is left will be packed and transported by the government. This is the best choice if you have valuable items or items that you want to have with you at all times.

What PCS Expenses are Reimbursable for Military Members?

Whether you choose a government PCS move or take the PPM route, the military will reimburse you. However, there’s a specific list of items for which the government offers reimbursement:

Authorized Expenses

  • Rental truck and trailer
  • Hand truck and dolly rental
  • Furniture pads
  • Boxes and tape
  • Oil and fuel
  • Tolls
  • Hired movers or other labor
  • Ropes, tarps, tie-downs and tie straps
  • Packing material
  • Weight ticket fees
  • PODS
  • Environmental fees

Unauthorized Expenses

  • Safe move insurance
  • Purchase of an auto transporter
  • Purchase of dollies
  • Extra drivers
  • Totes
  • Oil change or lube
  • Meals and lodging
  • Sales tax
  • Hitch fees or tow bars
  • Storage
  • Routine maintenance
  • Locks
  • Tire chains
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Kerry is absolutely amazing. I 100% recommend for military moves and travel. By far the best priced service to ship home my 2 Olde English Bulldogges. Not only is Kerry reasonably priced but her professionalism and commitment to give us a no stress trip helped so much. She was coaching us through a crowded airport with 2 puppies and at no point did we feel worried or stressed with how supportive and detailed she was with her instruction. 5 stars all day.

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See what CitizenShipper customers have to say

Kyle McQueen

"He delivered my cat Willow with such care and very fast from Colorado to Indiana. I’m in the army and currently PCSin and my cat being older I didn’t wanna fly with her. I highly recommend him!"




"My dog got denied his flight because the destination temp rose 1 degree over the 80 degree limit the morning of our flight. Luckily citizenshipper was easy and fast. I was able to arrange someone to drive my dog from VA to AL while my Family was traveling from VA to HI almost effortlessly. So great full for this program and the people working it, it kept the 5th member of our family out of a kennel and instead with Family until the temps are safe for his travel here in HI."

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Frequently Asked Questions

Do Pets Need to Be Quarantined After Transport for PCS?


It depends on where you are traveling to. Currently, military pet relocation for PCS doesn’t require you to quarantine your pet if you are traveling within the United States. However, there are countries abroad that may require you to quarantine your pet. It’s best to check with your destination country about the requirements for military pet shipping services.

Is There a Limit on the Number of Pets Military Families Can Own?


There is no limit on the number of pets military families can own. There is a limit on how much the Department of Defense will reimburse you. You can get up to $500 back for one pet within the continental United States and $2000 back for one pet everywhere else in the world.

What Other Resources Are Available for Military Members Given PCS Orders?


In 2012, the Defense Personal Property System (DPS) was introduced. This is your one-stop-shop for everything related to your move. You’ll make an account on the system and use it to receive information from customer service representatives, schedule the move and keep track of any shipments.

Automated Housing Referral Network is an organization that works with military members that have PCS orders. You’ll be able to find more resources that go in-depth about how to prepare for and what to expect from a PCS move.