Has your pooch packed his bags? Whether it’s for vacation, relocation, or anything in between, you’ll occasionally need to move your pet from one place to another.
There are a few different ways to get Fido from point A to point B, but pet transportation services are often the easiest option. They also tend to provide cushier canine accommodations than some other approaches, making it a win-win proposition.
But you don’t want to trust your beloved pet to just anyone, so you’ll want to make your choice carefully. Below, we’ll compare some of the best pet transport services so that you can find the perfect fit for your furry friend.
Best Pet Transport Services: Quick Picks
- #1 Airpets America [Best Overall Pet Transport Service]: A 30-year-old domestic and international pet transport service that offers several travel upgrade options, such as grooming and exercise breaks.
- #2 Air Animals [Best Door-to-Door Pet Transport Service]: A veterinarian-owned owned pet transport service that offers door-to-door shipping options for your convenience.
- #3 Happy Tails Travel [Most Affordable Pet Transport Service]: A high-quality pet transport service that offers very affordable travel rates, as well as discounts for owners shipping multiple pets.
How Do Pet Transport Services Work?
Pet transport services work by escorting your pet from one location to another, typically via ground or air.
Most commonly, they’re used as an alternative to transporting your pet via one of the major pet-friendly airlines.
Many owners opt to use pet transport services because they tend to provide the kind of specialized care dogs need and deserve.
Pet transportation is, after all, their primary focus.
Additionally, it’s important to note that some pets do not react well to air travel. But many pet transport services give you the chance to keep your canine comfortably on the ground — even if the rest of the family is flying.
Ground travel isn’t always an option (it depends on your drop-off location and destination), but pet transportation services can help your canine feel as comfortable as possible if a trip through the air is necessary and can mitigate some of the common dangers and risks associated with flying your dog as cargo through a standard airline.
These services are oftentimes more expensive than traditional airline-curated pet travel since they offer a more personalized service for your pooch. But many owners find the extra expense well worth the peace of mind they provide.
Benefits of Using a Pet Transport Service
Every pet transportation service functions a bit differently, but some core benefits of using these types of services include:
- Personalized Attention. Pet transport services are focused primarily on the safety and comfort of your pet, which can be hugely comforting for owners. Plus, many offer a variety of extra features like GPS tracking and door-to-door transport so that you only have to worry about your own trip, not your pet’s.
- Experienced Pet Handlers. These services often hire experienced pet handlers to move and work with your dog, which can offer some additional peace of mind. At the very least, staff that work at pet transport services will be more familiar at handling your dog than the average airport baggage claim attendant.
- Roomier Cargo Conditions. Many transport services that offer to fly your pet will do so in more comfortable, temperature-controlled, roomier conditions where your dog won’t be toe-to-toe with a stranger’s luggage bag. Somer services can even fly your pet without any other animals on board, which may be preferable for reactive dogs.
- Careful Monitoring. Most risks associated with flying pets involve layovers and delays where a pet is accidentally left out in the heat or cold due to improper management. A pet relocation service has your pet as their number one priority, ensuring your pet doesn’t get left out in the heat or is misplaced.
- Paperwork Assistance. Depending on where you’re relocating to, there can be a lot of paperwork to fill out when it comes to moving pets, from health certificates and import permits to air waybills. Many pet transport services will help you get your documents together and ensure all your ducks are in a row.
The Nine Best Pet Transport Services
Without further ado, here are some of the best pet transportation services you can use to safely ship Spot.
Note that some of the pet transportation companies only offer estimated pricing via custom quotes, but we’ve tried to provide as much information as possible, so you’ll know what to expect.
1. Airpets America
International and domestic pet transport service that offers several upgrade options.
About: Airpets America is a USDA-accredited pet transport service that not only accepts dogs but a variety of other animals too. Providing domestic and international services, Airpets America utilizes temperature-controlled cargo holds to keep your canine safe and comfy, and they offer a number of service add-ons, including custom-crate sizes, grooming, and exercise opportunities.
- Offers air and ground transportation options
- Handles domestic and international travel
- An experienced company that has been operating for more than 30 years
- Flexible crate accommodation for big dogs
- Domestic moves start at $1,000; international moves start at $2,000
- An experienced service that ships dogs, cats, turtles, rabbits, and more.
- Airpets America is experienced with international regulations regarding pet travel.
- Offers grooming and veterinary services via partnered professionals.
- Airpets America is one of the priciest transport service options around.
2. Air Animals
A veterinarian-owned shipper, providing door-to-door transportation options.
About: Air Animals is a veterinarian-owned, domestic and international transportation company, which is known for providing frequent updates on your furry friend to put your mind at ease. And if your pooch doesn’t mix well with other mutts, you have the option of purchasing private ground transportation for domestic trips to keep your canine comfortable.
- Door to door service options available
- Domestic and international transport offered
- Members of the IPATA and the ATA
- Offers frequent updates on your furry friend throughout the journey
- Pricing starts at $1,095 for domestic travel and $1,795 for international travel
- Provides excellent customer service to keep your mind at ease.
- The company ships to more than 165 countries.
- Air Animals provides door-to-door, private ground transportation options for domestic trips.
- No option to purchase grooming or exercise add-ons is provided.
3. Happy Tails Travel
Happy Tails Travel
An affordable pet transport service that offers multiple discount options.
About: Happy Tails is one of the most affordable pet transport service providers, around, and they not only offer competitively priced base rates, but they also provide discounts for multi-pet households who need to ship more than one doggo. This Arizona-based company also transports cats and birds and offers discounts for military relocations.
- Members of the IPATA
- Offers ground and air transportation travel options
- Ships pets domestically and internationally
- Provides discounts for multiple pets and military relocation
- Prices start at $425 for domestic ground service
- Happy Tails Travel offers the most affordable rates we could find.
- They’re a great choice for multi-pet households.
- They offer pickup and drop-off service upgrade options.
- Happy Tails does not offer personalized caretaker accompaniment during flights.
4. Royal Paws
A U.S transportation service that moves pets privately, in climate-controlled vehicles.
About: Royal Paws specializes in private, ground-based domestic transportation services for pets. In other words, your pooch won’t travel with other pets (except other pets from your family). Four-footers shipped via Royal Paws travel in roomy, climate-controlled SUVs to keep your canine comfortable while traveling cross-country. Family-owned and operated, this shipping service accepts both dogs and cats.
- Private pooch transportation for your fur babies
- Provides ground-based services in climate controlled vehicles
- Door-to-door service provides pets with outdoor breaks every 4 hours
- Dogs can be crated or allowed to roam free during travel
- Pricing is customized based on the trip, so you’ll need to inquire for a quote
- A portion of Royal Paws sales goes to animal rehabilitation organizations
- Unlike some other pet transport services, Royal Paws welcomes all breeds.
- Royal Paws customized pet shipping services keep your canine comfortable.
- Private shipping means your pet will not travel with other, unfamiliar animals.
- Pricing isn’t publicly available.
5. Blue Collar Pet Transportation
Blue Collar Pet Transportation
Domestic and international pet transport provider that offers GPS tracking services.
About: Blue Collar Pet Transportation is best known for its GPS tracking feature, which allows you to keep tabs on Fido from your drop-off to destination. A flexible, user-friendly provider, Blue Collar Pet Transportation does not charge extra for puppies or breeds with special needs, and they offer a discount on multiple pets. You’ll also have the chance to choose between shared rides, private rides, and air transportation options.
- GPS tracking system with included photo updates
- Shared ride, private ride, escorted air, and private jet options available
- Ground transportation services include exercise breaks, kennels, and insurance
- Discount for additional pets
- Shared rides start at $500 and private transportation starts at $1,500
- You can track your pet’s journey and see photos of your pooch with the company’s GPS-enabled tracking feature.
- They offer flexible travel options for multi-pet families.
- Blue Collar Pet Transportation is USDA-certified for ground and air transportation.
- Fewer international travel destinations are offered than many other transport services.
6. Pet Express
A pet-travel company that implements a routine veterinary monitoring program.
About: Pet Express is a California-based company that has helped transport dogs and cats since 1978. They provide both air and ground travel options and work with veterinarians to ensure your pet remains healthy while traveling. Additionally, all of their ground transportation drivers are certified pet handlers, thus providing even more peace of mind.
- Provides both domestic or international travel options
- Airport delivery service add-ons offered
- Quarantine services provided for international destinations where it’s required
- Veterinary checks and treatments available
- USDA- and IPATA-accredited
- Great option for pets with health concerns, as mobile medical monitoring and treatments are provided.
- They offer travel services for both dogs and cats.
- Owners loved the frequent photo updates Pet Express provides.
- No publicly published pricing information is available.
7. Animals Away
A domestic and international service provider offering air and ground options.
About: New York-based Animals Away provides air transport services for domestic and international destinations, and they also offer ground transportation services between some of the United States’ northeastern premier pet cities, like Boston, New York City, and Philadelphia. USDA-accredited, this 20-year-old organization accepts dogs, cats, and birds.
- Offers services for dogs, cats, and birds
- International and domestic air travel
- Ground travel throughout northeastern U.S.A
- USDA accredited company has been in business for more than 20 years
- Custom crates available for purchase
- Animals Away accepts multiple types of pets.
- International and domestic transportation are offered.
- A great alternative for families in the north east, as most other pet transport services are based in California or Florida.
- No public pricing is available.
- Limited ground transportation options outside of the northeast.
8. Worldwide Animal Travel
Worldwide Animal Travel
A Canadian pet transport service offering both concierge services and “comfort stops.”
About: The perfect option for Canadian canine owners, Worldwide Animal Travel is a trusted provider with a track record stretching back more than 20 years. This company provides air transportation within Canada’s borders, and they also offer trips from Canada to Australia, New Zealand, the UK, Japan, South Africa, Asia, the Middle East, Europe, Africa, South America, and, of course, the U.S.
- Worldwide Animal Travel has provided travel services since 1998
- Door to door concierge service available
- Bonded cat and dog kennel
- Offices based in Vancouver and Toronto
- “Comfort stops” offered for connecting flights
- Dogs passing through the Vancouver airport receive walks, exercise, and mealtime before meeting their connecting flights.
- Delivery services are available in all major Canadian cities.
- Worldwide Animal Travel accepts dogs, cats, and birds.
- The company does not provide trips originating outside of Canada.
9. Citizen Shipper
An online marketplace that lets you choose the rate and pet-care pro you like best.
About: A different kind of pet transportation option, Citizen Shipper is a marketplace rather than a specific travel service. The site allows you to the chance to list your pet’s needs and your budget and pick your favorite ground transportation provider. All drivers are vetted by Citizen Shipper, so you can rest easy while your pet is en route.
- Individualized, private care for your furry friend
- Select a driver based on user-provided testimonials
- Bidding system results in very competitive pricing
- No breed restrictions
- Carriers are pre-screened through by Citizen Shipper
- You’ll have the chance to choose between a wide variety of pet-care transportation professionals.
- You can set your own target budget.
- This is a great service for dogs who need specific, individualized care.
- This service only provides domestic ground-based travel options.
Is It Safe to Ship Your Pet with a Transport Service?
Accidents can always occur, but as long as your pet is healthy and you select a professional, experienced service that employs all of the relevant health and safety practices, your pet will likely complete the journey in problem-free fashion. Many pets travel this way every year!
However, some pets will be at greater risk than others.
For example, brachycephalic breeds often have a more challenging time while flying, as will dogs with some existing health problems.
Dogs suffering from separation anxiety or other emotional issues may also have a tougher time while traveling. Before signing up your dog for ground transportation, make sure to work on easing your dog’s car anxiety and desensitize your pup to spending long periods of time in the car so that they don’t panic on the road!
With these factors in mind, try to select a pet transport services that provides the level of care your pet needs to stay healthy and happy while traveling.
How Much Does It Cost to Ship Your Pet?
The cost of shipping your pet depends greatly on your destination, your pet’s individual needs, and size. But generally speaking, you can expect to pay an average of $500 to $2000 per pet for an established pet transportation service.
Keep in mind that this usually includes the transportation of your pet in a climate controlled environment, care for your pet while you’re apart, and many times, consultation regarding the pet regulations of your final destination.
Can You Ship Your Pet Internationally?
Yes. In fact, many pet transportation companies specialize in international shipments.
However, while international travel is an option, it is almost always more expensive and complicated than domestic travel. Depending on the destination, your pooch may also need to quarantine with the pet carrier company for a significant length of time before being reunited with you in your new country.
Moreover, each country also has its own vaccination requirements, which need to be discussed with your transportation provider. Luckily, pet transportation companies are typically well-versed in this process and can provide you with a more efficient, less confusing experience than handling the details on your own.
Shipping your pooch from one place to another can certainly be stressful. Luckily, pet transportation services mitigate much of the hassle so that your canine companion arrives safe and sound.
Has your furry friend used a pet transport service? Does he like to travel? We’d love to hear all about it in the comments below!