How Much Does Dog Shipping to Los Angeles Cost?

Patrick MacFarland Patrick MacFarland · Updated January 16, 2024

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The opportunity arose and you’re moving to Los Angeles. It is a land of many opportunities, but it is also a land of many pets. You’ve seen celebrities walking down Santa Monica Boulevard or Rodeo Drive with their dogs in purses, and you’ve seen dogs hanging out with their owners at Venice Beach. You know your pet will be welcome! But how do you approach dog shipping to Los Angeles, and how much will it cost?

Your pet is a special part of your family — whether it’s a dog, bird, or giraffe. For dog lovers out there, you know they have warmed up your household with their affection and cuddles. So, of course, you have to think of a way to transport them from wherever you live. 

It could be easy if you live in California and all you have to do is drive up from San Diego. It’s also fairly easy if you’re from one state away like Nevada. But what if you live across the country? How will the move affect your dog? Transporting your dog to Los Angeles shouldn’t be a hassle or cause you stress.

The logistical matters for every scenario can be overwhelming. Most airlines may have a weight limit or allow only one dog per person. If the dog weighs too much, you will have to transport your dog to Los Angeles in the cargo hold, which can be a traumatic experience for your beloved pet.

There are a variety of ways to transport your dog to Los Angeles. Here’s some information on how to safely ship your dog to the Land of the Stars —  by airplane, train, or car.

Fun Facts About Dogs in Los Angeles

Before we delve into dog transport, let’s look at fun facts that you’ll enjoy. Pet ownership is high in Los Angeles, with 33% of Angelenos owning a dog. Pet services are vast in this hustle-and-bustle city, ranging from pet hotels to pet spas. 

While Los Angeles sits at Number 52 among the most pet-friendly cities, there are still many things to do with your beloved dog in LA. For one, you can go to the countless dog parks and the dog beaches. Unfortunately, dogs aren’t allowed on the LA metro.

Popular Pet Breeds in the Tinseltown

According to Wag!, the most popular breeds in Los Angeles are:

  1. Golden Retriever
  2. Beagle
  3. Havanese
  4. German Shorthaired Pointer
  5. Whippet
  6. Mutt
  7. Chihuahua
  8. Bulldog
  9. French Bulldog
  10. Doberman Pinscher

The Ways to Transport your Dog to Los Angeles

There are various ways to transport a dog to Los Angeles, and the costs are different. Let’s look at the most common ways to transport your dog.

Transporting Your Dog via Air Travel

As stated above, air travel could be the fastest way to transport a dog, but it can be logistically challenging. First, consider whether air travel is the right choice for you and your best friend.

Tips for Transporting Your Dog via Air Travel

  • Traveling off-season will help reduce costs, as well as taking direct flights.
  • Freeze water and put it in a large crate bowl so your dog can have enough to drink the entire flight.
  • Carry all veterinary certificates and pet requirements, so you’re prepared when you arrive at your destination.
  • Make sure all your contact information is on the crate and your dog’s collar.
  • Arrive at the airport at least half-hour earlier to check in, and don’t let airline attendants take your dog until thirty minutes before departure. 
  • Before departure, watch until the airline baggage handlers have loaded your dog onto the plane.
  • Make sure you have a picture of your dog in case you get separated at arrival.
  • Do not give your dog any sedative unless your veterinarian suggests it.

Costs Associated with Air Travel

Smaller dogs have the advantage because of their size. They can ride in the cabin with their owners since they can fit under the seat. Make sure you call in advance because airlines will only allow one or two pets per flight inside the cabin. 

Your pet’s carrier — a cost roughly running from $25 to $75 — should be small enough that your dog can fit inside and underneath the seat in front of you. The total one-way amount for airlines like United, Delta, and American sits at $125. That isn’t much, but the costs increase substantially if you have a larger pet.

Many costs go into traveling with a large dog. Larger pets must go in the cargo hold. These special crates cost an estimated $100-$200, and the cost of transporting your precious Fido in the cargo hold can range from $500-$1000. The exact costs are determined at the time of booking.

Requirements for Dogs in the Cabin or Cargo Hold

Being in the cargo hold can be a traumatic experience for your dog, but you also must follow many requirements. A small dog that can fit in a carrier can go in the main cabin, but airline policy has it set with only one per passenger and two pets per flight. When your dog is over a specific weight and cannot fit under your seat, the airline will require you to put your dog in the cargo hold.

Pet Cargo Crate Requirements

  • Make sure your dog can stand up, turn around in the crate and does not touch the top.
  • The crate must have secure locking with pins extending past the extrusions above and below the door.
  • The crate must be ventilated on all sides.
  • The crate must have your dog’s name and your contact information visible.
  • Water and food bowls must be attached to the door, and they must be accessible from outside of the crate.
  • The crate must be secure with hardware instead of plastic fasteners.

Transporting Your Dog on a Train

Train travel is not as common in the United States anymore. The good news is that the bill recently passed by Congress and touted by President Biden will have more funding for more public transportation projects. This and the political speeches touting public transit, trains may gain popularity again. Amtrak allows dog transportation, but there are several requirements and costs. Here they are:

  • Only one pet per passenger.
  • The trip cannot last more than seven hours.
  • Your dog must be more than eight weeks old.
  • Your dog must be under your seat at all times inside a carrier.
  • Your dog has to be 20 pounds or less.

There is good news and bad news associated with transporting your dog on Amtrak trains. The good news: it only costs $25. That’s almost nothing! The bad news: only small dogs are allowed. If you have a large dog, you must go with another alternative — either air travel or by car.

Transporting Your Dog by Car

This method of transportation is definitely the easiest because there are no requirements besides the documentation needed when you arrive in the city of the stars. However, it can be overwhelming to plan the logistics and the multiple variables involved with this option. If you live in North Carolina and are going to Los Angeles, it will be more expensive to drive cross country than living in Nevada and going to Los Angeles, which is only one state away.

Let’s consider the variables — driving cross-country and driving from one state away. The table below shows you a breakdown of costs if you transport your dog by automobile.

The table above shows the variables you’ll have to consider when traveling to Los Angeles with your dog and another person (because, let’s face it, sometimes you need to take a break from driving). These factors are different depending on the state where you are coming from. As you can see, driving cross country will cost you $1,680, almost three times more than driving from a state away. Keep in mind that when arriving in Los Angeles, there will be high costs associated with parking and the infamous wild traffic of this SoCal city.

Using CitizenShipper for Dog Shipping to Los Angeles

After looking at all options involved, consider using a pet transport marketplace like CitizenShipper! Our platform offers many advantages over traditional pet transporters.

  • Once you post a listing on our site, a fleet of screened, USDA-registered drivers will send you quotes within minutes. 
  • You can compare bids and chat with several drivers across our network, and once you choose the driver you like best, you’re ready to book your trip! 
  • Payment is received before or after delivery, an option usually decided by the driver.
  • There is a modest fee that we charge that varies per mileage and accounts for our stringent vetting process. For example, from Oregon, we would charge $124.99, and from North Carolina, it would increase to $204.99. 
  • That’s how it works — it’s really that easy!

We pride ourselves in making pet shipping safe, seamless and stress-free. Your cherished dog will be in good hands with our qualified drivers, who provide frequent updates for your convenience, like video and phone calls.

Because drivers compete for your business, we can save you up to 60-70% compared to traditional shipping companies! And the best part? There are no hidden fees!

Dog Entry Requirements to Los Angeles

Before leaving your respective state, you should check with the Public Health’s webpage for exit requirements. You can check the list of requirements by accessing the US Department of Agriculture’s page here. The entry requirements for your dog into Los Angeles are simple and similar to other states. If you want to check their official page, you can click here.

To enter Los Angeles, dogs need:

Entering California (and by extension, Los Angeles, as all pet requirements are handled by the state’s Department of Public Health) is easy for dog owners because all you need is a rabies vaccination certificate for dogs over the age of four months. That’s it. Easy, right?

However, if the dog changes ownership upon arrival in Los Angeles, there will be more requirements.

A Certificate of Veterinary Inspection (CVI) is needed and must be

  • Issued by an accredited veterinarian and signed.
  • Completed no more than 10 days prior to arrival in California.
  • Sent to the Los Angeles Public Health Department prior to the dog’s arrival.


There are so many methods you can use — from airplane, train, to automobile — but whatever you decide on will have a massive effect on your dog. If your dog is small, it may be easier to fly directly to the international hub of Los Angeles, but there could be hiccups and requirements to fulfill. The same goes for riding the train.

If you live cross country, it may take days and a lot of money on food, gas, and accommodation. If you live a state away, it’s just an easy drive that may take less than a day. However, the hassle of driving can be overwhelming for you and your dog. 

The alternative is booking a driver through CitizenShipper. Our drivers understand your dog means everything to you and will ensure proper, loving care during the trek. CitizenShipper also provides added benefits for you, so you’re even calmer— up to $1,000 pet protection coverage and 24/7 TeleVet access through our partner FirstVet.

By trusting drivers on CitizenShipper to transport your dog, you will have peace of mind and comfort knowing your cherished dog is absolutely in the best of hands. Shipping your dog long-distance doesn’t have to be stressful or overwhelming. Fill in your pup’s information today, and get free quotes in minutes!