We love our pets; it’s as simple as that. This love may prompt you to transport your pet when you’re moving to a new home or even going on a trip. Thankfully, there are many pet transport services available that move animals domestically and internationally. However, it can be tough to discern which are the best, most affordable, and most trustworthy. In this post, we’ll list some of the best domestic and international pet ground transportation businesses in the United States so you can find the perfect provider and avoid pet scams. You need to keep quite a few factors in mind when choosing between pet transport services – like whether you want to ground or air ship your pet, the timing of your move, and your budget. Make sure to read in-depth reviews of each service and do the required amount of research before reaching a decision. With this information, nothing should interrupt your pet’s journey home.
10 Best Pet Transportation Services
CitizenShipper sets the standard for affordability, flexibility, and overall quality as a ground transportation company. Operating within the continental United States, CitizenShipper aims to satisfy your pet transportation requirements with its top-rated online marketplace that connects transporters to customers. The company also boasts great reviews on Trustpilot! What makes CitizenShipper stand out from other pet transport services is the amount of control you have over your pet’s transport experience. When you post a free listing on the marketplace, start by giving the transport details like where the trip will start and the destination, what dates you need the animal shipped, and other factors like the size and breed of your pet. You’ll also want to include any other critical information, such as dietary or health needs, which you can discuss with the drivers. After you have submitted this information, you’ll receive bids from experienced, trusted drivers. You can read reviews of these potential drivers, ask them questions and weigh your options before accepting a bid. The personalization doesn’t stop there: While your pet is en route, you can request location updates, road trip snaps, and even call your driver to get reassurance. Another benefit that separates CitizenShipper from the competition is it’s the only transport service that offers pet transportation protection plans for every trip! It has excellent customer service with rapid response times and guarantees booking assurance when booking a trip.
2. Animals Away
Animals Away is a US-based professional air transport firm with offices in Los Angeles, Seattle, Boston, and New York. It has provided logistics services for over 50,000 pets since it was established in 1992. It offers some ground transportation services, but those are handled on a case-by-case basis, and it only ships pets by ground one at a time. Animals Away offers domestic and international shipping all around the world. The door-to-door service offers easy-to-use first-class packages to facilitate all of your pet relocation needs. Animals Away will help you to navigate the logistical aspects of pet shipping, which can be daunting if you’ve never done it before.
3. Pet Pros
Pet Pros provides easy, convenient, and reliable moving services for your pets in the USA and some parts of Canada. In terms of door-to-door delivery, this company prides itself on being a safe, reliable, and convenient option. Pet Pros is licensed, bonded, and insured. Pet Pros offer door-to-door delivery of your pets by utilizing transportation crates that are approved for use by the International Pet and Animal Transportation Association (IPATA). Your pet will be happy, stress-free, and comfortable for long or short excursions because trained coordinators cater to your pet’s individual needs. Pictures are sent to owners every four hours to ensure transparency.
4. Happy Tails Travel Inc
As a member of the IPATA since 1996, Happy Tails Travel Inc offers a pet courier service within the United States. Happy Tails Travel provides fast and free estimates to facilitate your queries. Happy Tails Travel offers facilities for large breed dogs and limits the number of animals in each vehicle. Furthermore, Happy Tails Travel also offers private or group dog and cat transportation services, with group discounts.
5. Four Paws on Wheels
Four Paws on Wheels is a smaller and relatively new pet travel firm operating in the United States. Founded in 2007, it’s successfully shipped more than a thousand pets through private and group transportation. It offers secure, reliable transport packages tailored to individual requirements and budgets. As the name suggests, Four Paws on Wheels is a ground-only transportation company and doesn’t provide air nanny service. You can call or email for a quote.
6. Starwood Animal Transport Services
Starwood Animal Transport offers ground pet and animal transportation within the continental USA. It offers hub services akin to those found in airports, with its primary hub cities being New York, Portland, Oregon, Chicago, Dallas, Los Angeles and Atlanta. Starwood Animal Transport offers safe, hub-to-hub shipping service for your pet at a flat rate. For door-to-door service, you’ll need to pay a fee of $3 a mile from the hub to your home. The drivers are well-trained in the art of pet grooming, comfort, and overall animal care. Trips include comfort stops at four-hour intervals.
7. Royal Paws Pet
A name with regal authority, Royal Paws Pet provides private door-to-door international pet transportation for puppies and dogs within the United States and Canada. The fact that this company is USDA APHIS licensed speaks to the emphasis placed on health regarding your dog or puppy. Trips are manned by two-person teams with the aim of ensuring that your dog is comfortable and happy for the duration. Clean bedding is provided for healthy relaxation. Your dog can even take its personal belongings to facilitate calmness and comfort. Because your pet is being shipped privately, your pet doesn’t need up-to-date vaccinations or a vet inspection.
8. Exec Pet
This Atlanta-based pet ground transportation service focuses on speed, comfort, and health, primarily serving the lower 48 states. It offers a luxurious, safe, and reliable service with certification as a USDA Class T carrier. The company provides private, white glove, nonstop door-to-door pet transportation services. All drivers are professionals, and the company makes a point of hiring active or retired military personnel. Exec Pet pays pecial attention to animals with disabilities like deafness, blindness, mobility issues and characteristics like anxiety. Transportation vehicles are spacious, lending themselves to the overall comfort of your pet – especially large dog breeds.
9. Pet Van Lines
As one of the most trusted pet ground moving service providers, Pet Van Lines Luxury Pet Mover offers safe, reliable transportation for all dog and cat breeds. After all, it has been reliably transporting pets for over 15 years. Trips are facilitated with efficient climate-controlled vehicles manned by animal care providers. But that is not all – stops are scheduled based on trip duration to facilitate dog walks for comfort and exercise. All services are fully insured.
10. En Route Pet Transportation
En Route Pet is a pet ground transportation company that operates exclusively in the USA. It offers a convenient service to make monthly payments instead of one large lump sum, collected in increments after the actual shipping. En Route Pet will deliver your dog anywhere nationwide. It offers the option of having an individual vehicle or utilizing a group plan. In addition to this, En Route pet transportation takes pictures at various intervals to facilitate transparency.
Summary of the 10 Best Pet Transport Services in 2023: Outstanding Features, Pros and Cons
To help you make an informed decision about which pet transport service to choose, we’ve compiled a comparison table of the top 10 pet transport services in 2023. The table lists each alternative, along with their features, pros, cons, and best uses. By comparing these options, you’ll be able to find the right service for your pet’s transportation needs, whether you’re relocating within the US or internationally.
|CitizenShipper||Nationwide coverage, vetted drivers, personalized service, competitive pricing, $1,000 Pet Protection guarantee, 24/7 TeleVet access||Affordable, flexible, reliable and secure, excellent customer service, customizable services, saves money compared to traditional services||Not suitable for international transport||Ground transport within the US, cost-conscious pet owners|
|Animals Away||Domestic and international shipping, door-to-door service, over 50,000 pets shipped||Experienced, professional air transport, worldwide service, logistical assistance||Limited ground transportation options||International pet transportation, air transport|
|Pet Pros||Door-to-door delivery, licensed, bonded, insured, IPATA-approved transportation crates||Safe, reliable, convenient, trained coordinators, photo updates every 4 hours||No international service||Pet transport in the USA and parts of Canada|
|Happy Tails Travel Inc||IPATA member, pet courier service within the US, fast and free estimates||Facilities for large breed dogs, group and private transport, group discounts||Limited international options||Domestic pet transportation|
|Four Paws on Wheels||Ground-only transport, private and group transportation options||Secure, reliable, tailored packages to individual requirements and budgets||Smaller company, no air nanny service||Ground pet transportation within the US|
|Starwood Animal Transport Services||Ground transport within the continental USA, hub services in multiple cities||Safe, hub-to-hub shipping, trained drivers, comfort stops every 4 hours||Extra fee for door-to-door service||Hub-to-hub ground pet transportation in the US|
|Royal Paws Pet||Private door-to-door international pet transportation, USDA APHIS licensed||Two-person teams, clean bedding, no need for up-to-date vaccinations or vet inspection||Only serves dogs and puppies||Private pet transportation in the US and Canada|
|Exec Pet||Atlanta-based, ground transport in the lower 48 states, USDA Class T carrier||Luxurious, safe, reliable, professional drivers, special attention to pets with disabilities||No international service||Ground transport for pets with disabilities|
|Pet Van Lines||15 years of experience, climate-controlled vehicles, fully insured||Efficient, safe, reliable, regular stops for dog walks||No international service||Ground pet transportation in the US|
|En Route Pet Transportation||Ground transport within the US, monthly payment options||Individual or group transport, photo updates during transit||No international service||Ground pet transportation within the US|
International Pet Transportation
What to do in cases which you’re transporting a pet to another country? The majority of pet transportation services operate domestically only. However, there are options!
You can work with a company that specifically deals with international pet transportation. These businesses are experienced with all of the details that go into moving a pet from one country to another, like specific paperwork, vaccinations and health clearances. Keep in mind that your pet likely will need to be quarantined for a period of time, depending on the destination country.
Another option is hiring an air nanny through a marketplace like CitizenShipper. Air nannies accompany your pet every step of the journey, from the airport terminal before departure, to the plane ride, to the drop-off point at the destination. If you do use air travel to transport your pet (whether domestically or internationally), consider buying a GPS tracker to place in the carrier. While it’s extremely rare for airlines to lose track of dogs, the GPS tracker can help locate the pet if it does happen.
Question & Answer Time!
After reviewing the best pet transportation services out there, you may still have some questions. Let’s take a look at the most common and popular questions people like you have about pet transportation companies.
What Are the Qualities of the Best Pet Transportation Services?
The best pet transportation services are usually ones that are registered with the USDA and IPATA (which is the International Pet and Animal Transportation Association). These organizations post informative articles about anything related to pet transport. A few qualities to look out for in a great pet transportation services include:
- They take all types of breeds and pets (including exotic pets).
- Conversely, if you have an exotic pet or a temperamental dog breed, look for transporters that specialize in those species or breeds.
- There’s an animal handler who will always be with them.
- They adhere to the USDA’s rules and regulations in pet handling.
- Comfortable accommodations are provided during transit
- They communicate in a timely manner, providing regular updates.
- They offer door-to-door delivery, which relieves the stress of dropping off and picking up your pet.
- They provide excellent customer service, which means they will take care of your pet as if it were their own.
Are There Breed or Species Restrictions?
Some airlines and transportation companies may have certain breed restrictions due to safety concerns or regulations. In fact, all airlines have banned brachycephalic breeds from the cargo area because of health concerns. Most ground transportation companies will accept any breed of dog or cat, and many transport exotic pets and other animals. However, it’s important to check with each company regarding their policies regarding specific breeds and species before booking their services.
How Much Do the Best Pet Transportation Services Charge?
The price tag for transporting your pet will vary depending on a number of factors. It’s impossible to have an estimate before crunching all of your pet’s information. Let’s take a look at the varying factors.
- Moving Distance: The farther you go, the more expensive it will cost because of the variables attached to distance (gas, accommodation, etc.). On the other hand, longer transporters typical have lower per-mile rates.
- Pet Size and Breed: The smaller the pet, the more affordable it will be to transport them. Another variable is the breed or type of animal — certain breeds of cats and dogs will be more expensive, as well as exotic pets like snakes or reptiles.
- Health Documentation: This is required anywhere you go. Check online to see what requirements are needed, but usually you need your pet’s vaccination documents and a pet health certificate filled out by a USDA-registered veterinarian, which can cost anywhere from $50 to $300.
- Equipment: You can either buy a crate for your pet for a long-distance journey or hire a transporter that provides a crate. Crates for small pets can range from $50-$100, but larger crates can cost up to $200. If you don’t anticipate transporting your pet frequently, look for those transporters that provide their own crates.
What Makes CitizenShipper Different From Other Pet Shipping Services?
Traditional pet transportation services can be too expensive or they can hit you with hidden fees. Sometimes they may not take your pet because of the particular breed or type. Using a two-way marketplace like CitizenShipper to find an independent pet transporter is a great solution. You save money on transportation costs because drivers bid for your business, saving you 60%-70% compared to a traditional pet transportation company.
One way to ensure your furry friend has a safe and comfortable journey with a reputable pet shipping company is by reading reviews. Take a look at third-party review sites like TrustPilot, Google, Yelp and others. You’ll glean insight into other pet owners’ past experiences with the companies. However, even reviews of the companies as a whole can make it tough to know about the exact driver you’ll be assigned.
That’s why a transportation marketplace like CitizenShipper is so unique. Yes, you can look up our 4.7 rating on TrustPilot and see that over 85% of reviews are five stars but you can also look at the specific reviews of the drivers that bid on your listing. What better way to gauge a driver’s performance than through real user experiences? Reviews on CitizenShipper provide pet owners with a much more detailed profile of their potential transporters — unlike a review of a company at-large, it’s a review that’s specific to the driver. These reviews provide comprehensive insights into various aspects of each company, including their services, pricing, communication and overall performance.
Another advantage of CitizenShipper is you can communicate directly with the transporter. Through an internal messaging system, you can discuss details like the type of carrier they provide and how often they take rest breaks while on the road. It’s not impossible to discuss these details with traditional transporters, but CitizenShipper makes it so much easier.
Using CitizenShipper is Easy!
- Post a free listing on our marketplace and within minutes a fleet of screened, USDA-registered drivers will send you quotes.
- Compare bids and instantly chat with drivers across our network. Because drivers compete for your business, you’ll be able to select a quote that fits your budget with the driver you like best.
- You get added benefits: up to $1,000 Pet Protection guarantee, a messaging system where you can communicate directly with the driver and 24/7 TeleVet access through our partner FirstVet.
CitizenShipper cares about your pet and we ensure the driver’s on our network do too. We want them to treat your pet as if they were part of their own families. We work hard to ensure your peace of mind throughout the entire process.
What Do I Need to Do To Prepare for Pet Transportation?
There are several steps you should take to prepare yourself for animal transport. These simple steps should be completed promptly based on the requirements of your final destination state and the airline or pet transport company.
Step 1: Vet Visit
The first step is to go to a USDA-accredited veterinarian. They will check your pet and give you a CVI (Certificate of Veterinary Inspection). Pets will not be allowed to travel without this document. The health certificate must be completed with the veterinarian 10 days before travel.
Step 2: Up-to-Date Vaccines
Besides the health certificate, all pets must have the required vaccines in order to travel. Your pet should be immunized with the proper vaccinations no more than 21 days before travel.
Step 3: Destination State Requirements
Research any other requirements that your destination has. Find a list of states’ Department of Agriculture pages on the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture website. Find a list of requirements from each state on the USDA’s page for interstate pet travel.
Step 4: Buy a Carrier and Other Equipment
Buy a carrier that is durable for your pet’s journey. These carriers or crates usually cost around $100; larger crates can run up to about $200. There are also essential products you should buy to make it stress-free, including: calming products for dogs and cats, a first aid kit for emergencies and other essential items.
Step 5: Reserve Pet Transport
Lastly, reserve the pet transportation service you want. It could be ground service, air travel, hiring an air nanny, or using a two-way marketplace.
FAQs About CitizenShipper
What is the top pet transportation marketplace?
CitizenShipper is the best option for transporting your pet across the country. Unlike traditional pet transportation companies, CitizenShipper is a marketplace that connects pet owners with pet transport professionals. Because of its unique properties, the marketplace is a great way to find a transporter you trust that fits within your budget.
What qualities set CitizenShipper apart from other transportation companies?
CitizenShipper's marketplace is different due to a few different traits:
1. You post a listing and transporters come to you with quotes. No more spending hours filling out online forms or calling transporters just to get a quote.
2. Once you receive bids from transporters, you can view their profiles, read previous reviews and even chat with them using an internal instant messaging system.
3. Because the drivers are competing for your business, you can find lower rates on CitizenShipper.
4. Every pet transport comes with a pet protection plan.
Patrick Macfarland has been a teacher, a candidate for public office, and a local tour guide. But now he dedicates his time writing full-time, currently at CitizenShipper and VeraContent.