5 Pet Transportation Alternatives to PetRelocation

Patrick MacFarland Patrick MacFarland · Updated July 1, 2024

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A small, grey and tan puppy stands in a vehicle with a pet carrier in the background, showcasing one of the many pet transportation alternatives to traditional pet relocation. A hand is visible near the puppy.

Our pets are cherished family members, our “one-and-onlys”. And when we have to transport a pet, we have to ensure their safe and comfortable transport during moves or long-distance travels. This is most likely the number one priority for pet owners.

Pet shipping services offer amazing solutions because they provide specialized care and attention to ensure pets’ well-being throughout their entire journeys. Pet Relocation has been in the pet transportation business since 2004.

  • PetRelocation has moved over 40,000 animals, giving them plenty of experience and a leader in the field of pet transportation.
  • The company specializes in international transportation to over 150 countries.
  • You’ll receive a travel plan and timeline after you submit all of your pet’s information, including vet records.
  • They handle most of the transportation process, including booking the flights, working with your vet to be sure immunizations are up-to-date and advising you on purchasing a travel crate.

Unfortunately, PetRelocation doesn’t transport pets domestically. Luckily, there are many domestic pet transportation companies in the United States. Let’s explore five of the best domestic and international pet transport alternatives to PetRelocation. These businesses offer reliable and efficient pet transportation services tailored to meet diverse needs.

silhouette, running

1. CitizenShipper

CitizenShipper stands out as the #1 pet transport marketplace in the country. They offer a comprehensive range of ground transportation services for domestic pet shipping needs, plus air nanny service. Let’s take a look at the numerous things that CitizenShipper has to offer.


  • User-friendly platform that connects pet owners with a network of reliable, vetted transportation providers.
  • Transporters are people who specialize in ensuring the safety and well-being of animals during transit.
  • The quote process is easy — all you have to do is plug in your pet travel info and in seconds, you’ll have transporters sending you quotes.
  • CitizenShipper provides numerous extra perks like a variety of pet protection plans for additional financial protection in case of an emergency, a messaging system where you can communicate directly with the driver, and 24/7 TeleVet access through our partner FirstVet.
  • CitizenShipper offers door-to-door delivery to real-time tracking.


  • The company does not offer international pet transportation.
  • Not a designated pet transportation company.

Logo of Starwood Pet Travel featuring a stylized image of a dog and a cat inside a green diamond, with the company name in teal lettering to the right, specializing in flying dogs internationally.

2. Starwood Pet Travel

Starwood Pet Travel is an good alternative to PetRelocation with its dedicated team of pet transportation professionals. Their team has a combined 50 years of experience in the industry.


  • Great customer service and attention to detail.
  • Offers international pet transportation.
  • Personalized attention and two-way communication services to customers.
  • Comfortable carriers for all pets.
  • Offers extra perks like comprehensive insurance coverage.


  • Only offers international transportation.

Pet Express, the ideal alternative for pet travel from Royal Paws.

3. Pet Express

Pet Express is similar to PetRelocation in that it specializes in international pet transportation. They’ve been in the business since 1978, so you know they provide plenty of expertise.


  • Offers pet transport services for cats and dogs.
  • Provides international pet transport.
  • Family owned and operated.


  • Doesn’t offer domestic pet transportation.
  • Service is limited to dogs and cats.

Pet shipping logo.

4. Air Animal

Air Animal specializes in pet transport that is efficient and stress-free for its customers. Let’s take a look at what Air Animal has to offer.


  • They are reliable and professional when dealing with its customers.
  • You can choose from a variety of extra perks so that your pet gets VIP treatment.
  • They provide you with several options for pet transport — ground and air.
  • You can also choose to have GPS tracking for more reliability.


  • May not offer discounts or ability to do pet lodging.

Airpets International logo

5. Airpets International

Airpets International has made a name for itself in domestic and international pet transport. Let’s take a look at what Air Animal has to offer.


  • Provides personalized care and assistance throughout the shipping process, ensuring a smooth and hassle-free experience for both pets and their owners.
  • Has on-staff veterinarians if you need them.
  • Provides comfortable carriers for all pets.


  • Prices may be higher than other pet transporters.
  • Only offers international service.

Downsides of Pet Air Transportation

Pet air transportation offers fast and efficient means of travel for pets, especially for long-distance journeys or international relocations. However, it also comes with its own set of pros and cons. Let’s take a look at them now.


  • Speed: Air transportation is often faster than ground transport, making it ideal for time-sensitive moves or long-distance travels.
  • Convenience: Airlines offer direct flights to many destinations, reducing travel time and minimizing the risk of delays or layovers.
  • Accessibility: Air transport allows pets to reach remote or distant locations that may not be easily accessible by ground transport.
  • International Travel: Air transportation facilitates international pet relocation, ensuring pets can accompany their owners on overseas journeys.


  • Stress: Air travel can be stressful for pets, as they may experience anxiety due to the unfamiliar environment and confined spaces.
  • Temperature Control: Airlines may not always provide adequate temperature control in cargo holds, posing risks to pets, especially in extreme weather conditions.
  • Health Concerns: Pets may be exposed to health risks during air travel, including dehydration, respiratory issues, and motion sickness.
  • Cost: Pet air transportation can be expensive, especially for long-distance or international flights, adding to the overall relocation expenses.

Two dogs sitting in the trunk of a car driven by an Animal-Loving Driver for CitizenShipper.

Why Pet Ground Transportation is Safer and More Humane

While air transportation offers speed and convenience, pet ground transportation is often considered safer and more humane, particularly for shorter journeys or sensitive pets. Let’s take a look at why.


  • Reduced Stress: Ground transportation allows pets to travel in a more familiar and comfortable environment, minimizing stress and anxiety associated with air travel.
  • Personalized Care: Ground transporters can provide individualized attention to pets, ensuring their specific needs are met throughout the journey.
  • Controlled Environment: Ground vehicles offer better temperature control and ventilation, reducing the risk of temperature-related health issues for pets.
  • Flexibility: Ground transporters can make frequent stops for pets to rest, exercise, and relieve themselves, promoting their well-being during the journey.

Humane Treatment:

  • Direct Interaction: Ground transporters can interact directly with pets, providing comfort, reassurance, and companionship throughout the journey.
  • Avoids Cargo Holds: Ground transportation eliminates the need for pets to travel in cargo holds, where they may experience discomfort or isolation.
  • Accommodates Special Needs: Ground transporters can accommodate pets with special needs, including medical conditions, behavioral issues, or mobility challenges.
  • Personalized Attention: Ground transporters can cater to the unique requirements of each pet, ensuring they receive the care and support they need during transit.

Wrapping Up Dog and Cat Transportation Alternatives!

In conclusion, while both air and ground transportation offer viable options for pet relocation, pet owners should carefully consider the specific needs and preferences of their pets when choosing the most suitable mode of transport. Whether opting for the speed and efficiency of air travel or the safety and comfort of ground transportation, the well-being of pets should always remain the top priority. These five alternatives to PetRelocation all offer amazing options for your pet transport. They are making pet transport affordable, easy, and stress-free. The next move is yours.

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