For most people looking to transport their dog long-distance, air travel is the only option they’ll ever consider. If you haven’t had much experience with pet transportation services, you’re probably in this boat too. I mean, what other options could there be? How can you ground-ship a dog if the destination is halfway across the country?
But flying with dogs has been getting more and more complex over the years. Breed restrictions and staff shortages have left a lot of people searching for alternatives. One of them is ground-based transport, and here’s why it’s definitely worth considering.
How do you relocate dogs using ground transportation?
The most direct option, obviously, would be to get your pet into your car and hit the road. You stay in control of the process all the way through, and the dog is in a familiar environment. However, this isn’t practical for most people. Few people can spare the time and resources required to drive their own puppies from point A to point B.
But hiring a driver to do it for you, that’s a much more reasonable proposition. There are countless ground-based transporters specializing in pet moves. You let them know what you need, they quote you a price, and then you negotiate. The price is usually based on mileage, but it’s not all that goes into it. Routes and dates are factors too — people already driving in the direction you need can offer great deals.
The transporters will usually let you choose between the “group” and “private” options. The former means your dog’s crate is in the same vehicle with a bunch of others. The latter means it’s just your dog in the car, with no other animals. Either of these should be perfectly viable, but exclusive transport is a little pricier.
There are plenty of differences in the level of service different ground transporters provide. Some are veterans of the business, others are just starting out. One might have experience transporting dogs of a specific breed or age group, another might not. Some will proudly let you know of the animal care certificates that they hold. One driver’s profile might feature a host of five-star reviews, while another’s record might be less stellar.
Ultimately, it’s up to you to decide what level of service is right for your dog. No one else can make that call for you.
How does ground-shipping stack up against the other options?
There are upsides and downsides to any shipping method. Let’s go through some of those, comparing ground transport to air transport.
Upside: It’s cheaper than flying. Air travel covers great distances and is usually affordable for a human traveler. But when air-transporting animals, fees start to stack upon fees until you’re paying through the nose. Not so with ground-based travel! Driving a dog, long-distance or not, sets you back hundreds of dollars less than airline fees do.
Downside: It’s slower than flying. Obviously, it takes a lot less time to fly coast-to-coast than to drive the same distance. Ground transporters will provide you an ETA, and you’ll need to take that into account considering your options. If the pup simply must get to where it’s going ASAP, flying is still the way to go.
Upside: Direct contact with the people handling your dog. With hiring a driver, you get to meet and greet the person you’re entrusting your dog to. And this can mean quite a lot! Many of us make decisions based on the general vibe we get from the people we’re dealing with. You don’t have that luxury when you entrust a dog to a faceless airline. There’s no expectation of them treating the pet as if it were their own.
Downside: Lesser-known transporter brands. On the other hand, the name of a multi-million-dollar company can also mean a lot. Some people rely on established brand names rather than independent operators, and that’s perfectly valid. There are some big names in ground-transportation too, but not nearly as big as airlines.
Upside: A wide variety of options to choose from. Online marketplaces bring you a whole host of opportunities. Choose who you want to deal with — there really is something out there for everyone.
Can you ground-ship a dog while staying safe?
For a lot of pet owners and breeders, safety is the number one concern when choosing a transporter. That’s why ground-based pet transporters work tirelessly on attaining and maintaining a reputation for safety. This is based on not only the feedback left by previous customers but also any credentials they have available. Whether a driver is USDA-registered, IPATA-approved, or certified for animal care can be the difference between success or failure.
So, can you ground-ship a dog safely? Absolutely you can! Just make sure you book the most reliable transporter available, satisfying the highest safety standards. It may take a little extra effort to find the best person for the job, but it’ll be worth your while.
Stay safe, and happy shipping!