What’s The Cheapest Way to Ship a Dog?

Adaeze Nwakaeze Adaeze Nwakaeze · Updated February 23, 2024

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A woman demonstrating Pet Relocation Services by affectionately kissing her dog near a red car.

Traveling with your beloved pup can be expensive. You are dealing with the cost of moving yourself and boom! There’s Fido’s to think of as well. Whether you are driving or flying, transporting your pup can add up. And for most pet parents, finding the most affordable way to transport a dog is top of mind. And we know that traveling with your pet is important. In fact, according to IPATA, over 4 million pets are transported via plane. Well – the good news is that you don’t have to completely break the bank to get your dog from point A to point B!

With the right knowledge and a great pet transportation service, you can keep costs down while still making sure your doggo is comfortable and safe on their journey. Read on to find out the cheapest way to transport a dog.

Dog Transport Methods: Which is the Cheapest?

The first step in finding the cheapest way to transport a dog is understanding your options. Depending on how far your furry friend will be traveling, you may have several choices.

#1. Air Travel

Air travel is a popular option for transporting your pup. It may be necessary if your pet is traveling internationally or over a long distance, but it does come with some drawbacks.

  • Most airlines that allow pets on board have strict regulations about size, breed and other requirements.
  • You’ll have to pay for your pup’s ticket, which can cost anywhere from several hundred to several thousand dollars depending on the airline and distance.
  • But the cost of using air travel to transport your dog doesn’t end at the price of tickets you must also factor in the cost of a pet carrier and other necessary items.
  • Not to mention the overwhelming amount of paperwork (health and vaccination certificates, import permits) that are often required by airlines — all of which can add to the overall cost.

Costs aside, flying may not be the most ideal method of transportation for dogs. The entire situation can be quite taxing on dogs — they’re required to remain in their carrier amidst an unfamiliar and loud environment. Plus, you — the pet parents, may need to brace yourself for the possibility of delays, cancellations and other issues that may arise while flying.

Air Transport Isn’t For Everydog

Air travel may not be the best option for your pup, depending on their age and size.

  • Many airlines will not accept puppies under eight weeks or dogs over a certain size.
  • Same for brachycephalic (short-nosed) breeds such as pugs, bulldogs and shih tzus. These breeds are more susceptible to breathing problems at high altitudes, so airlines do not accept them.
  • If your pup is eligible to fly, it’s important to read up on airline regulations and policies before booking.

Doing research ahead of time can help you avoid expensive fees, as airlines often charge extra for overweight carriers and other items. In any case, air travel should be a last resort for transporting your pup — and only if absolutely necessary. So, while air travel may be necessary in some cases, it can be the most expensive option for transporting your fur baby.

A woman holding a black and white Royal Paws puppy in front of a car.

#2. Ground Transport

Ground transportation is a much more affordable alternative to flying with your pup and can be done in various ways. You can drive your pup yourself, transport them on a train or hire a pet transportation service to do it for you.

Driving Your Dog By Yourself

DIY pet transport method sounds good until you factor in the cost of gas, hotels, and other items that you may need along the way — this can incur costs that are way more than expected.

  • Not only that, but it can also be physically tiring for you and emotionally taxing for your pup in case the journey is too long.
  • Plus, you need to make stops for bathroom breaks and meals, which can pose a security challenge if you are traveling alone.

Train Travel

Taking your pup on the train is also a relatively affordable option, but it’s important to ensure that the train you are traveling on allows pets like cats and dogs. While the train ticket may be cheaper than flying, the cost of a pet crate and other items may add up quickly.

  • You may need to ensure that your pup is comfortable during the ride, as train cars can be loud and crowded — making it difficult for them to relax.
  • You may also need to factor in the cost of additional items such as food, toys, and treats.
  • Train travel may be cheaper than air travel, but can be costly depending on the duration of your journey.

Hiring a Pet Transportation Service

Considering the hassles and costs of DIY and air travel, hiring a pet transportation service is often the best option. Ground-based dog transportation companies provide safe and comfortable transport for pets, so you can rest assured that your pup is in good hands.

  • Depending on your budget, services may offer various packages, including door-to-door delivery, VIP pet transport service and more — which can be significantly cheaper than flying.
  • Although you may find traditional pet transport services in your local area, the most cost-effective option may be finding a pet transport service through an online pet transport marketplace.
  • An online marketplace allows you to compare and choose from various pet transport services, so you can find one that fits your budget.
  • This is exactly what CitizenShipper does. You get quotes from professional pet transport services, compare them and make an informed decision based on cost and quality.

This way, there is no monopoly on the market, and you can get the best possible transport service without breaking the bank. So, if you’re looking for the cheapest way to transport a dog, consider hiring a pet transport service through CitizenShipper — it’s fast, convenient, and, most importantly — cost-effective.

A woman using pet transport services holds a white dog in front of a brick wall.

Factors That Affect the Cost of Pet Transportation

Let’s face it — transporting a dog can really add up. But several factors may affect the cost of pet transportation. No one likes to be surprised by hidden charges and additional costs, so it’s important to understand what factors influence the price of transporting a pup. The reality is that, regardless of how economical a service may appear, the total cost can depend on several factors, such as:

#1. Your Dog’s Size and Weight

A lot of people do not realize that the size and weight of their pup can influence the cost. But the reality is that certain sizes and weights require specialized carriers and additional equipment, which can significantly increase the cost. That’s only half the battle. Your pup’s size may also determine how much space they take up in the vehicle or aircraft, which can also lead to extra costs.

#2. Distance Traveled

The farther you’re traveling with your pup, the more costly it’ll be to transport them. Of course, this is a no-brainer, especially when you are traveling via air or over long distances. Since most transport services charge by the mile, the cost of transportation will increase as the distance increases. If you opt for a marketplace like CitizenShipper, you can find transporters from near and far who can provide you with a competitive rate — saving you lots of money in the process.

#3. Time of Year

Time is a major factor when it comes to the cost of pet transportation. During peak travel seasons (such as summer, Christmas, and New Year’s), you may find that prices are higher than normal due to increased demand. In addition, certain airlines and transport services may charge additional fees for holiday travel, so keep that in mind when planning your trip.

#4. Transport Method

Ultimately, the type of transport you choose will determine the cost. For example, if you are looking for a budget-friendly way to transport your pup, opting for a road trip or train ride may be the most economical option. On the other hand, if you want to travel long distances in a short time, air travel may be the best choice — just be ready to pay a bit more to cover the extra costs.

#5. Type of Ground Transport Service

Believe it or not, the type of service you choose can also influence the cost. For instance, if you are looking for a more luxurious experience, you may opt to hire a pet transport service that offers door-to-door delivery, or a VIP service may cost more than a basic, one-way service. Of course, these services come with extra charges — but they can certainly be worth it if you want to ensure your pup has the best possible experience.

If you prefer to go with the regular pet rideshare, you don’t have to worry about any of this — just pay the standard transport fee, and you’re good to go. At the end of the day, you want to ensure that any pet transport service you choose is reliable, trustworthy, and provides the best possible care for your pup, regardless of the cost.

#6. Additional Services

Think of additional services like a cherry on top of the transportation sundae. Depending on the company, you can get a variety of extra services for an added fee. These can include pet insurance, specific food for the journey, overnight kenneling, overnight layovers and pickup/drop-off service. These are all great options if you want to ensure your pup is as comfortable as possible during their journey — but again, these services come with extra costs. So you might have to pay a bit more if you want them.

A woman is hugging a young girl on a sidewalk while discussing how to ship animals to another state.

How to Find Affordable Pet Transport Service on CitizenShipper

All across the country, pet owners just like you are looking for the most economical way to transport their beloved fur babies while still ensuring a safe and comfortable journey. Fortunately, CitizenShipper is here to help. Our marketplace connects pet owners with experienced, reliable transporters who offer competitive rates and a wide range of services. Plus, we make it easy to compare rates and services so you can find the perfect transporter for your needs — and your budget.

That’s not all; you also enjoy other value add-ons like a $1000 Pet Protection Plan, 24/7 First Vet Services, a messaging system, vetted drivers, and a competitive bidding system that allows multiple drivers to bid on your transport request.

Here is how it works:

  • Visit our site and create an account.
  • Enter your pet’s travel details, such as your pet’s origin and destination points.
  • Receive multiple bids in seconds.
  • Search through the profiles of different transport companies and compare their services to find the one that best suits your needs.
  • Pick the transporter with the most reasonable rate and book your pet’s journey.

Recommended Products For Pet Travel

If you’re planning to use a transport service, there are certain products that you should consider buying in order to make your pet’s journey as comfortable as possible.

Here are some products that we recommend:

  • A comfortable pet crate
  • Leashes or collars with ID tags
  • Collapsible bowls for food and water
  • Calming treats to help reduce anxiety
  • Toys and chews

These products can make your pet’s journey more comfortable and ensure that they stay safe and secure throughout the trip.


Finding an affordable way to transport your pup doesn’t have to be a hassle. With CitizenShipper, you can easily connect with experienced and reliable transporters that suit your needs — and your budget. Just remember to factor in the cost of additional services and products when budgeting for your pet’s transport, and you’ll be good to go.

Give your pet an unforgettable journey at an affordable price — try CitizenShipper now! Post your pet’s travel details today and get multiple bids in seconds.