8 Qualities To Look For in a Great Pet Delivery Service

Patrick MacFarland Patrick MacFarland · Updated: June 20, 2023 / Published: March 10, 2023

You looked into pet shipping because you’re moving to another state or relocating somewhere else. The problem is when researching a pet delivery service is you don’t know what to look after. Do you go with air travel or ground transportation? Do you go with a company that is expensive, but they will do the right job or go with a newer company where there aren’t many reviews?

The options are endless. It’s a stressful endeavor that overwhelms you. Sometimes you wish there was a list that outlines the best qualities to look for in choosing the right pet delivery service. Lucky for you, there is. We’ll outline the 8 qualities to look for in a great pet delivery service, as well as other great tidbits, so you can make the right decision.

Qualities of the Best Pet Shipping Companies

The best pet shipping companies have qualities that stand out from the best. When you’re doing research, look out for these good qualities.

1. IPATA Membership

Make sure the pet shipping company is associated with a professional pet travel association. Check the International Pet Travel Association (IPATA) website to see if the business is a member of one.  Because the organization is dedicated to the safe and humane transport of pets, you can trust its members are legitimate. 

The IPATA website has a lot of advice and tidbits about pet travel, how to recognize fake shipping companies or puppy scammers and anything related. The ATA, Animal Transport Association, also has information you should take a look at before transporting a pet.

2. Customer Service

Excellent customer service means that the pet shipping service drivers will take care of your pet as if it were their own. When you are looking at their website and communicating with them about what they offer, pay attention to the small details and their customer service duties. If they treat you and your pet with outstanding consideration, then that’s the one.

3. Communication

Communication is directly tied to customer service. Going further, communication is essential for the safety of your pet safety and your own peace of mind. If the pet shipping company has good communication skills during the entire process and they outline all fees beforehand without throwing hidden fees at you, then you are looking at a good company. The pet shipping service should also provide regular updates.

4. Pet Safety & Health

This is a very important quality to look after. The best pet delivery service’s number one priority should be the safety and health of the pet they are transporting. When that’s at the top of the list, you know you will have the peace of mind that your pet will be in safe hands throughout the transport journey and will arrive safe and sound at their final destination.

5. USDA Certification

All pet shipping services should adhere to the USDA’s rules and regulations in pet handling. USDA certification is necessary because it means they will follow the law. If they do not, it could be a red flag, whether that means they have inhumane pet practices or have questionable business practices. No matter what the reason, you should steer away from them.

6. Climate Controlled Transport

The means of transport is always something to keep in mind. If they do not have climate controlled transport, it means your pet can be very uncomfortable during the journey. It can also be very dangerous because extreme temperatures affect pets heavily. Having climate controlled transport ensures your pet’s safety during the trek.

7. Door-to-Door Delivery

This is an important quality for your peace of mind and busy schedule. If you’re running around before and after your move, the last thing you want to do is more running around by dropping off and picking up your pet. Door to door delivery makes your life easier and stress-free.

8. Diverse Selection of Pets

The best pet shipping companies accept a diverse selection of pets. They will take all breeds of dogs and cats and all types of pets. They will also know how to take care of each breed and type of pet.

Protecting Yourself from Fake Shipping Companies

We’ve looked into qualities that you should look for in a great pet delivery service. Now we want to let you know about fake shipping companies. These pet scammer sites pop up on the web all the time. It’s important to stay vigilant. To protect yourself from these fraudsters, follow these essential tips.

  1. Don’t disclose any personal information to these sites unless it’s a genuine breeder or legitimate company.
  2. Do not, under any circumstances, send any money through Western Union, MoneyGram, Facebook Marketplace or a personal bank account. It’s almost impossible to get your money back, even in cases of fraud.
  3. If you spot a scammer website, don’t hesitate to report it to IPATA and other sites that publish scammers online, like petscams.com.
  4. Lastly, you should always contact the authorities and relevant government websites if you spot a fake shipping company or puppy scammer. This will put the government on alert to shut them down quickly.

Pet Delivery Services Through Ground Transportation

The most popular option when it comes to pet delivery services is ground transportation. There are a myriad of companies that offer pet delivery services through ground transport. Several factors will determine the cost:

  • Distance (the further the distance, the more it will cost).
  • Pet size/breeds (the larger the pet, the larger the cost).
  • Health documentation requirements.
  • Equipment needs.

There can also be specific requirements. For example, some transport services may not allow specific breeds or take exotic pets like certain reptiles or amphibians. The type of pet can be more expensive, as well.

Be careful not to fall victim to the trap of fake pet shipping companies. Look for warning signs, like using untraceable phone numbers or personal email accounts and never give out personal information before doing proper research and vetting.

Pet Delivery Services Through Air Transportation

Air travel could be the fastest way to transport a pet, although it can be logistically challenging. Transport companies offer complete air travel services. Smaller pets have the advantage because of their size. They can ride in the cabin since they can fit under the seat. Most airlines only take cats and dogs and have restrictions on certain breeds, as well.

Costs will include a carrier (soft or hard) that can range from $50 to $200. The one way amount for taking a small pet in the main cabin ranges from $90 to $125. Most airlines only allow small pets in the main cabin and larger dogs are prohibited to go in the cargo hold. For international flights, however, most airlines do allow pets in the cargo hold. Air transport companies will include all costs in their services.

Air Nannies

Some companies have the option of having a person accompany your pet to its destination. But you’re probably wondering what that is. The term for this particular person is called an air nanny. Air nannies get hired to take care of your dog and fly it to your destination. It’s the latest thing in pet transport, becoming very common in shipping pets long-distance. Some companies provide their very own air nannies, too.

You’ll have to buy a roundtrip ticket for the nanny, but the great news is that sometimes air nannies could have the ability to waive the pet fees, which can reduce what you have to pay.

How Can You Transport Multiple Pets?

Because pet transport is popular, you’re probably wondering if you can transport multiple pets all at once. When it comes to air travel, because airlines have a limited number of pets that can be on board, sometimes it’s not possible to bring all your pets on the same flight.

However, when it comes to ground pet transport, multiple pet transport is a possibility. Sometimes, ground transport companies offer discounts when you choose to have all your pets transported at once. If you choose a two-way marketplace like CitizenShipper, they also have a “rideshare” option where you can get a better price since drivers are taking multiple pets at the same time.

The Safest Way of Shipping Pets

The safest way to ship pets and to ensure you have the peace of mind that your pet will arrive safely to its final destinations is not that method you would think. Sometimes people assume that because air travel is faster, it’s safer. The reality is that ground transportation is safer and more reliable, which can ease your stress

Here are some reasons why ground-based pet courier services are the better option:

  • Most airlines have restrictions on pets other than cats and dogs. Some airlines do allow rabbits, household birds and other small pets, but larger pets are not allowed (with the notable exception of Hawaiian Airlines and Alaska Airlines). Ground transportation, on the other hand, usually doesn’t have restrictions with any type of pets, cat breeds, or dog breeds.
  • Flying can stress your pet. By going by ground transport, you eliminate that stress. Your pet will be much happier, even though it may take longer for your pet to arrive at their final destination.
  • With recent flight cancellations (especially during the holidays), flying can be unreliable because of weather and other factors. Ground transport does not have that unreliability. 
  • Ground travel logistics are easier and can offer door-to-door delivery, which is impossible with air travel. Door-to-door delivery is a popular option that can offer you peace of mind. 

Estimated Cost of Pet Moving

The cheapest way to ship a pet is a bit challenging to pinpoint in one sentence. Let’s start with equipment costs. They can range from $100 to $300 (which includes the crate, the first aid kit and other essential products). Next, we’ll tackle the health documentation. That will cost between $100-$300.

For air travel, because most airlines only take cats and dogs in the main cabin, it may leave you looking at other options. If you own snub-nosed cat breeds or dog breeds, you’ll also be out of luck using air travel. 

If you are lucky that you do have a small pet, then transporting it one way will cost between $90 and $125. For those two airlines like Hawaiian and Alaska that do allow pets in the cargo hold (or if you are traveling internationally), you will need to buy a special crate that meets airline requirements, have the health documentation handy and the cost of a checked pet ticket could range from as low as $100 to as high as $500.

When it comes to ground transport, several factors come into play in determining the cost but after some research online and checking out various websites, the consensus is that it can range from as low as $200 to as high as $5000, if you choose to add benefits and perks.

The Bottom Line

Choosing the right delivery service is complicated and hard work. If you find yourself overwhelmed, sometimes the best option is a two-way marketplace like CitizenShipper. Our platform offers many advantages over traditional pet transporters. Most of our drivers are USDA-registered and all of them pass background checks. We also pride ourselves in making pet shipping run the way it should — safe, seamless and stress-free. We want your beloved pet to be in good hands with the drivers on CitizenShipper.

Because drivers compete for your business, we can save you up to 60-70% compared to traditional shipping companies! CitizenShipper also provides some added benefits for you, so you’re even calmer — up to $1,000 pet protection guarantee, Booking Assurance Guarantee, direct communication with the driver who provides updates and 24/7 TeleVet access through our partner FirstVet.

When you trust drivers on our CitizenShipper network, remember this: you will have peace of mind knowing your pet is in the best of hands. You shouldn’t get overwhelmed and stressed over pet shipping. Here at CitizenShipper, we got you covered. Starting the process today will be a total game changer for you. Post your pet’s transport info now and get free quotes instantly!