Pet transportation services offer a stress-free way to help your furry friend relocate with you — whether you’re heading across state lines or a whole ocean away. But not all pet shipping companies were created equal. We help you cut through the noise to figure out what service is right for you and your furry companion.
Compare pet shipping services
Here are a few quick facts about some popular pet shipping companies.
- Domestic and international ground and air transportation
- Pet customs clearance
- Global pet health certificate services
- Domestic and international transport
- Pet crate sales and crate modifications and customization
- Departure and arrival amenities, including grooming, exercise and veterinary services
|Happy Tails Travel||Yes||Yes|
- Domestic transport
- International transport (temporarily suspended)
|Blue Collar Pet Transport||Yes||Yes|
- Nationwide and international transport
- Central Florida local pet transport
- Pet purchase fraud protection service
- Domestic and international transport
- Ground transport within local regions of the Northeast, from Philadelphia to Vermont
- Pet customs clearance
- Pet shipping crate sales and customization services
What pet transportation services are available?
A pet transportation company is dedicated to safely moving your pet by land, water or air. There are many different types of pet shipping providers. Some specialize in pets like dogs and cats, whereas others concentrate on small animals like rabbits, turtles and ferrets.
If you are transporting your pets by air, contact the airline to ensure they’ll accept your pet. It’s completely safe to fly animals. They are kept in a temperature-controlled environment much like the passenger area, but it’s dark and quiet. Some airlines will allow passengers to carry small cats or dogs in the plane’s cabin if their carrier can fit under the seat in front of you.
Pets should be kept in a crate or carrier when traveling in a vehicle. Anchor the carrier down using a seat belt to keep it from sliding or bouncing around as you drive.
Animals should be kept in the backseat when transported. Stop often to allow your pet to exercise and relieve themselves. Never leave your pet alone, and monitor your vehicle’s inside temperature.
Amtrak permits some pets to travel on select lines, and some smaller railroad companies allow pets on board. Many European countries also allow pets aboard their trains. Generally, the pet’s care is the owner’s responsibility for the trip’s duration.
If you’re crossing overseas by boat, only a few cruise lines welcome pets and only on ocean crossings. Some lines permit pets in the cabin, but most will keep pets in the ship’s kennel. Make arrangements with the cruise line to regularly check on your pet.
What about service animals?
Service animals are typically defined as dogs specially trained to assist people with disabilities and are permitted in any public venue with their handler. Under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), service animals can accompany their handler to stores, restaurants and any other space open to the public — including all means of transportation.
What is included in a pet moving service?
In general, what’s included depends on the specific service and the price. A pet transportation service typically includes:
- Pet carrier or crate if you don’t have one
- Pet pickup from your home
- Arrangement of transportation logistics
- Quarantine booking, if required
How much does pet transportation cost?
Many factors go into calculating pet transportation costs. It depends on the pet’s size and weight and the destination. To get an accurate price for transportation services, get in touch with the company to provide specific details about your pet and the trip.
For example, to move your pet using an individual freelancer on a platform like TaskRabbit, you may pay $100 to $150 for shorter distances within a city. For interstate pet shipping, expect to pay anywhere between $200 and $1000 depending on the size of the dog or cat and the destination. International pet transport can cost several thousands of dollars depending on the destination and the size and type of pet.
How should I prepare my pet for shipment?
Moving a pet should be planned carefully, as it can be a stressful experience for an animal. Introduce them to the travel kennel early, to help them become familiar with it. If you can, try driving around with the animal in the kennel so they know how it feels.
Get your pet checked by a vet to ensure they are ready for the transportation process. They may also need vaccines if they are traveling abroad. Give any medication or special items your pet will need during transportation to the service provider, plus a list of emergency contacts.
Before putting your furry pal on the road, wash them to make sure they’re clean. Follow the service provider’s policy on feeding, and supply any food and water for your pet during the trip. Try to place your pet in the carrier with some form of distraction like something to chew, a blanket or a cuddly soft toy.
Does my pet need a checkup beforehand?
Yes, it’s a good idea to consult your vet about shipping your four-legged companion at least 10 days before you depart. They can answer any questions you may have, create any required documents and advise you on any potential issues.
What risks are there when moving my pet?
Generally, moving a healthy pet with a reputable pet transportation company has low risks, but there are still some considerations including:
- Transport may cause your pet stress
- Some dogs with short nasal passages may be more at risk of heat stroke and other conditions when being transported
- Sedation can increase the risk of health complications in some pets
Pros and cons of pet transport
There are two sides to consider when choosing a pet shipment service provider:
- Offers less stress for you and your pet
- Service is tailored to your pet’s needs
- Experienced professionals take one the responsibility
- You can’t monitor your pet
- More expensive than relocating them yourself
What to consider when booking pet transportation services
If you’re transporting your pet internationally, you should familiarize yourself with the rules and make sure the transportation company is also aware. Check if the pet transportation company knows the area or country you’re moving between.
Some airlines are more pet friendly than others. Do some research and check with your transportation to see which carrier they recommend based on your destination. Also, consider the vaccinations and documents your pet may need and whether the transportation service will provide this.
Do I need to be there when my pet is picked up for shipment?
We recommend being there when the shipment service picks up your pet. You can see that your pet is comfortable and ensure the service provider has all the documents, food and bedding. If your pet requires quarantining, you may not be able to be there beforehand.
If your pet is going to arrive at the destination without you, the service provider will need to arrange boarding for them. Alternatively, you can have a designated person pick up your pet.
Frequently asked questions about pet transport
Get even more of your pet shipping questions answered here.
Do I need to travel with my pet when I ship them?
No, you don’t. Many pet service providers will carry your animal separate from you.
Alternatively, you could choose to move your pet yourself by traveling with them. Some airlines allow passengers to bring a small dog or cat as carry-on luggage, although it depends on the pet’s weight and size plus the flight duration and itinerary.
Can I move my pet under COVID-19 restrictions?
If you’re planning to transport your pet internationally, your plans may need to be modified or delayed while many countries take steps to control the spread of the coronavirus. As restrictions are always changing, we advise getting in contact with the pet transportation service or airline for advice.