Being a pet owner can be one of the most rewarding things that anyone could experience, and for military personnel and their families, it can be beneficial in so many ways. This is likely the reason why nearly 70 percent of military families own pets since these furry creatures provide emotional and social support, especially during a loved one's deployment. They can even bring comfort to veterans who are constantly stressed or dealing with PTSD. However, there are some challenges that some military personnel have to face when it comes to pet ownership, and these concerns become more apparent whenever they have to move to another base or if they get deployed on an overseas mission. Not only do they have to deal with the logistics of moving their pet from one place to another, but they also have to make arrangements if they can't bring their dog with them due to safety reasons. 

It can be difficult to be a pet owner if you're regularly assigned to locations where you can't take your pooch along. Fortunately, there are ways to look after your pup and ensure their wellbeing while you're away. Here's a guide to care for your dog while you're on active duty.

Taking Your Dog to Your Base

If you're serving in the military, you need to know that there are certain restrictions to pet ownership. For instance, if you're assigned a military-owned home on a base, then your dog will likely be allowed to live with you. However, if you're assigned a place in the barracks with other military personnel, then you'll have to make other living arrangements for your pet since dogs, cats, and other types of domesticated animals aren't allowed in this type of housing. 

Since your role and the Army's needs dictate where you'll live, you may have some flexibility as to where you'll be stationed and what type of housing will be assigned to you. If you’re assigned a home on the base, you can take most of your belongings with you and have them transported. Your car, for instance, can be transported through a company that specializes in military car shipping to your new base. As for your pet, you can look for a pet relocation company to bring your dog safely to your new place. If you're going to be living in a base abroad, make sure that your dog has completed all vaccine, licensing, and quarantine requirements, and know what types of health documents and air travel requirements are needed for your pet. Keep in mind that you'll be covering the costs of your pet's relocation since the military does not reimburse the cost for this type of expense. 

Finding Suitable Boarding Options for Your Pooch

As someone who is on active duty in the army, you know that there will be times where you'll be deployed to a combat zone or a remote location. As such, you won't be permitted to bring your loved ones along, and the same rule applies to your dog. If you're married, your spouse and kids can easily care for your pooch while you're away. But if you're single and you don't have anyone who'll willingly look after your pet during your deployment, then you'll need to find a suitable boarding option for your dog. 

There are several military pet boarding programs that you may want to consider if you don't have a relative or a friend to watch your fur baby. One of them is Guardian Angels for Soldier's Pet, which has two facilities in Texas and a pet foster home. They offer veterinary care, as well as short term pet boarding (2 weeks or less) and mid term boarding (one month or less). There's also PACT for Animals, which places dogs in foster homes for the duration of your deployment. When researching boarding programs, make it a point to visit the facility to ensure that they're clean, have lots of space for pets to run around, good ventilation, and well-maintained bedding and pet exercise equipment. 

Take Advantage of Military Pet Discounts

Military pet ownership can be costly. Apart from food, you'll also need to cover the costs of lodging, boarding services, travel, and veterinary care, among others. Look for companies that provide military discounts on these expenses to help you save money and make pet ownership more manageable. You may also want to look into getting pet insurance for your dog, which will cover the costs of vet fees, medication, tests, surgery, and hospitalization, among others. Some pet insurance companies that offer discounts to veterans and active military include Fetch Pet Insurance, MetLife, and Embrace Pet Insurance. 

Pets can enrich an active military personnel's life, so make sure that you dog gets the best care if you're moving to another base or are going to be deployed for a few weeks. Know your options for you pet's transport and boarding, and get pet insurance to ensure that your pooch is safe, healthy, and happy while you're apart.