How Much Do Pet Transport Services Cost?

Adaeze Nwakaeze Adaeze Nwakaeze · Updated February 23, 2024

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A woman is playing with her golden retriever on the street and interested in pet transport services cost.

It’s time to get your beloved pet moving — but what does that mean for your wallet? Pet transport services are designed to ensure your furry friend travels safely and comfortably. From small pet stores to large animal hospitals, these services can provide various transport options for all kinds of pets. But exactly how much do pet transport services cost?

The short answer is: it depends. The cost of pet transport services can vary significantly, depending on the frequency of use, distance traveled, type of transport used (air or ground) and any special accommodations needed. Other factors, including availability and seasonality, can also come into play.

So, how do you give your pet the comfort it deserves without breaking the bank? Read on for a breakdown of pet travel costs, factors that affect them and how to save on pet transport costs.

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Understanding Pet Delivery Services

About 90 million American families own pets. And, like any member of the family, they sometimes need to be transported from one place to another. But rather than trying to figure out how to drive them around yourself, the easy solution is to hire a pet transport service.

These professional transport companies provide a safe and convenient way to get your pet from point A to point B for medical appointments, vacations, or other trips. They also offer a variety of services, such as door-to-door delivery and sometimes even specialized care for your pet during the journey.

In addition to transport within a state, many pet transport services offer long-distance and international pet shipping options. You can also hire them to manage all the paperwork and logistics needed for both domestic and international travel.

So, whatever your needs are, pet transportation services can help you handle the entire travel process from start to finish.

Of course, all this convenience comes at a cost which we will discuss in a bit — but first, let’s take a look at the factors that affect pet transport costs.

Factors that Affect the Cost of Pet Transport Services

Your pet’s delivery cost depends on several factors, including:

#1. Distance — How Far is it From Point A to Point B?

When it comes to the cost of pet transport services, distance is a major factor. Transporters will usually consider your pet’s origin and destination to determine the cost.

If your pet is moving a short distance, your costs could be lower. But for long-distance and international travel, you should expect higher prices. The rule of thumb is that the farther away your pet needs to be transported, the higher the transportation costs will be.

Airlines will consider the distance, too — if your pet is flying domestically, airfare fees can start at $125 and increase depending on the distance. And for international trips, airfare fees can go as high as a few thousand dollars.

Ground transportation costs are usually based on mileage and may cost anywhere from $0.5 to $1.60 per mile, depending on the distance and the pet transport company you choose.

#2. Size — How Much Does Your Pet Weigh?

Are you transporting a kitty or small dog breed like a Chihuahua or Pomeranian? If yes, you can expect to pay less than if you’re shipping a large breed, such as a golden retriever or St. Bernard.

First, your pet’s weight will determine the crate size or carrier they need to travel in. The bigger the container, the higher your cost will be. Smaller crates for pets weighing between 20 and 40 pounds usually cost around $35 to $200, while larger ones can cost above $200.

Then there’s the actual transportation cost. If you are flying your pet, they can only stay in the cabin space if they weigh less. Otherwise, they will have to travel in the cargo area, which can be a bit more expensive.

So, more weight means more space, which translates to more money.

#3. Type of Service — What Kind of Transport Service Do You Need?

Different types of pet transportation services offer different levels of convenience and safety. The transport service you choose will typically depend on your budget and your pet’s needs.

You can expect to pay less if you’re looking for a basic transportation service without any frills. But full-service pet transport that includes VIP pet transportation, air nanny and door-to-door delivery service will be more expensive.

Also, international pet travel services can cost more if you require the transport company to help you prepare your pet’s travel documents and manage the entire travel process.

#4. Mode of Transport — What Type of Transport Will You Use?

Generally, air travel is the most expensive option in pet transportation. If you decide to ship your pet by air, you might need to pay more than if you chose the ground transportation option.

And depending on the pet transport company you use, ground transport can range from $0.5 to $1.60 per mile.

You can also transport your pet by train or ship, which are usually relatively affordable. But it’s important to note that these modes of transport may not be available for all destinations and will require longer travel times.

#5. Season — What Time of the Year Will You Transport Your Pet?

Seasons can also affect the cost of pet transportation services. If you’re shipping your pet during peak travel times, such as summer and holidays, you should expect to pay more than if you were traveling during off-peak times.

Also, when booking any service (especially during peak season), it’s wise to make your reservation at least a few weeks in advance. Booking ahead can help you get the best rates and confirm availability as well.

Finally, ask about any additional fees or taxes associated with the pet transport services you’re considering. This will help you estimate how much the service will cost and keep any surprises to a minimum.

Expenses Associated with Pet Transport Services

When budgeting for pet transport services, it’s important to consider the expenses beyond just pet transport fees.

In addition to the actual transport costs, you’ll also want to factor in many other requirements to facilitate travel. Here are some of the most common expenses associated with pet transport services:

#1. Vet Visits

You will need to have your pet examined before the journey. The vet will run a various tests to check the overall health of your pet and make sure they’re fit for travel.

They will also administer any necessary vaccines or medications and issue health certificates required for the journey. Expect to pay anywhere from $50 to $250 for this service.

#2. Travel Crate/Carrier

Pets are sensitive creatures, and space and comfort matter for them as much as it does for humans. Therefore, you’ll need to invest in a travel crate or carrier that meets the standards of your chosen transport service.

The cost of this item will typically range from a few dollars to several hundred dollars, depending on the size and type of crate or carrier you choose. Travel crates for pets can cost as little as $50 for small pets and up to $500 or more for large dogs.

#3. Import Permit Fees

Any pet traveling outside its home country will likely need an import permit. Keep in mind that the cost of this document can vary depending on the country you’re transporting your pet.

Be sure to ask your pet transport service provider for advice on the documents and permits you need. They can provide additional information about what to expect in terms of fees and requirements.

#4. Microchipping Fees

Microchipping involves inserting a tiny chip containing identifying information into your pet’s skin. This ensures they can be safely returned to you should they become lost during their travels.

While all transport providers may not require it, it’s still a good idea to have your pet microchipped before transport. Microchipping costs an average of $50.

#5. Cost of Pet Transport Services

Airline Fees

Finally, you’ll need to consider the actual transport fees. If you are using an airline to transport your pet, you will pay a pet fee which will vary depending on the size and weight of your pet.

This fee can cost anywhere from $125 — but check with the airline for exact prices. Other forms of transport, such as ground and train, will likely cost much less (again, this is relative to both the distance and size of your pet).

Ground Transport Fees

For ground transportation, your pet’s travel fee will vary with different providers but can be as low as $.50 and as high as $1.60 per mile. So, the longer the distance of travel, the more you will pay in transport fees.

For instance, if your pet is moving from New York to Los Angeles, that’s approximately 2,800 miles. At an average cost of $1 per mile, you can expect to pay around $2,800 for the transport.

Although the Pet transport fee you pay to transporters may constitute the bulk of the cost, there may be other fees that you need to consider. Fees like customs duties, taxes and insurance can easily add up, especially if your pet is traveling across international borders.

With this in mind, it’s wise to budget accordingly and ask your pet transport professional for advice on what to expect in terms of costs.

How CitizenShipper Helps You Save Money on Safe, Convenient Pet Transport

CitizenShipper is a great resource for saving money on pet transport. Our online pet shipping marketplace makes it easy to find professional, pre-screened pet transportation providers who can help make your pet’s journey safe and stress-free.

You can take advantage of the platform’s bidding system to compare quotes from different transport providers and find the most affordable and suitable option for your pet’s trip.

CitizenShipper also offers an array of features designed to make the pet transport process easier and more convenient. These include:

  • An instant messaging system that allows you to talk directly with the driver.
  • A $1,000 Pet Protection Plan
  • 24/7 FirstVet services.
  • A bidding system for comparing quotes and services.
  • Vetted transporters with experience in pet handling and transportation.
  • Pet transport options and services like VIP pet transport, regular ground transport, air nannies and more.

And that’s not all — you can post a non-obligatory pet travel listing on CitizenShipper for free and receive competitive bids from transport providers in minutes! Here’s how to get started immediately:

#1. Create an account and post your pet’s travel needs.

#2. Receive bids from transport providers.

#3. Review and compare bids, drivers’ profiles and customers reviews.

#4. Choose your favorite driver and message them directly.

#5. Finalize the details and book your pet’s transport.

It’s that easy! CitizenShipper allows you to save money while ensuring that your pet enjoys a safe and stress-free journey. 

It’s easy to see why we are the #1 pet transportation platform in the United States, and we are trusted by over 100,000 pet lovers that have moved their pets with us.

Product Recommendations for Pet Transport

If you’re looking to make your pet’s travel more comfortable, safe and hassle-free, here are some great product recommendations:

#1. Pet Carriers and Crates

Pet carriers and crates come in different sizes and shapes, but the most important factor is ensuring that your pet has enough space to move around while in the carrier.

#2. Leashes and Collars

A comfortable pet leash and collar are essential for keeping your pet safe and secure during transit. Go for one with an ID tag for added security.

#3. Toys and Treats

Keep your pet entertained with some of their favorite toys or treats during travel. That way, they won’t get bored or anxious while in transit.

#4. Collapsible Travel Bowls

During long journeys, your pet needs water to keep them hydrated. A collapsible travel bowl is easy to store and can be used for both water and food.

#5. Pet Travel Bag

A travel bag helps you store all your pet’s essentials during the journey. You want to ensure your pet’s food, treats, toys and other items are all in one place.

Final Thoughts

While the exact cost can vary depending on many factors, you can save money with CitizenShipper. Our simple bidding system makes it easy to find reliable, affordable pet transport services that you can trust to get your furry friend safely to their destination.

Whether you are a pet owner or a breeder looking to transport your dog, cat or even an exotic pet, CitizenShipper has you covered. 

Post a free listing today and receive bids in minutes!


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