How Much Does Pet Courier Service Cost?

Matt Matasci Matt Matasci · Updated: June 20, 2023 / Published: February 20, 2023

You have been researching pet transport for a while now because got a new job across the country. Now you have to make all the arrangements for your big move and come across the term “pet courier service.” Now, you’re probably wondering what that is. A pet courier service is a company that takes care of all of your pet shipping needs. But how much does a pet courier service cost?

There’s a lot that goes into pet shipping. There are the logistics that need to be handled and the actual day of transport. There are also fees and costs associated with the pet transportation that come into fruition before scheduling the transport of your cherished cat (or any other pet, for that matter).

What you have been researching is the method of transportation. There’s air travel, train travel for those Amtrak-loving people, ground transport, a two-way marketplace like CitizenShipper, and the do-it-yourself option. 

If you are too overwhelmed with your move, choosing a pet courier service to handle your pet transport is a smart idea. But how much does it cost? We’ll give you some hard numbers so you can make the best decision. Plus, we’ll throw in a few product recommendations that can come in handy during your pet’s journey to their new home.

Why Ground Transport Is Best for Your Pet

Let’s be honest here. There are two main ways to transport your pet: air or ground. Unless you live in the 17th century, using a ship to transport your beloved Fido isn’t an option. 

Air Travel

Like it was stated above, air travel is the fastest way to transport a pet. But there are restrictions that airlines have on customers. First off, most of them won’t take exotic pets or large dogs that can’t fit in the cabin. Also, if you have brachycephalic (or snub-nosed) dogs and cats, they are not allowed on flights at all. The reason? The flight poses a significant health risk to your pet.

Airline policy allows only one pet per passenger and two pets per flight. If you are lucky to get that coveted spot in the cabin, you’ll pay approximately $100-$125 one way for transporting your pet (in a carrier) under the seat in front of you. If you choose to hire an air nanny, you’ll have to pay her fees plus her round-trip ticket.

Ground Transport

By using ground transport, you eliminate many of the restrictions posed by air travel. Although there could be many variables regarding cost, the bottom line is that ground transportation is more reliable than air travel.

Pet shipping companies help reunite you with your best friend.

Benefits of Ground-Based Pet Courier Service

Let’s take a look at the benefits of ground-based pet courier services. Because it doesn’t have the uncertainty of air travel, it’s a more reliable option that can ease your stress.

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

  • As we outlined earlier, most airlines have restrictions on pets other than cats and dogs. Some airlines do allow rabbits, household birds, and other small pets, but it’s usually a no-go on large pets. Ground transportation, on the other hand, usually doesn’t have restrictions with any type of pets, including breeds like snub-nosed dogs and cats.
  • Flying can stress your pet. Sure, while going the ground route will take longer, it’s a less stressful option than flying. Your pet is susceptible to extreme temperatures or drastic elevation swings that airplanes cause. By going by ground transport, you eliminate that stress. Your pet will be much happier.
  • With flight cancellations (especially during the holidays), flying can be unreliable because of weather and other factors. Guess what? Ground transport does not have that unreliability. Regardless of the weather, your pet will get to its final destination in a matter of days (if you’re moving cross-country) or hours (if it’s a state away).
  • Ground travel logistics are easier and can offer door-to-door delivery, which is impossible with air travel. Door-to-door delivery is popular and offers you peace of mind. You don’t have to run around dropping off your pet or picking them up. It’s easy and convenient — perfect for eliminating that stress!

The Factors that Affect Pet Courier Service Cost

There are numerous factors that can affect the price tag of transporting your beloved birdie to its final destination. Let’s take a look at these factors.


The distance of the pet transport plays a major role. Usually, a short journey may be less expensive. A long journey can be more expensive, but there are times when a longer journey can actually save you money. The costs associated with distance usually include gas, the vehicle’s wear and tear, and the longer hours the driver is on the road.

Pet Size/Breed/Type

This factor contains many modules to pull apart. First, there’s size. The bigger the pet, the bigger the cost. It’s as simple as that. Snub-nosed breeds could incur additional costs because of the health risks that are involved. Finally, the pet type is an important variable. A dog or cat or even a bird may not cost much, but if you’re shipping a reptile, a tank full of fish, or an exotic pet like a Komodo dragon, then the costs will increase. Securing a package deal is also smart when you have multiple pets to transport.

Health Documentation

Before the pet travel can begin, you need to go to a USDA-registered veterinarian to get a health certificate and ensure all your pet’s vaccinations are up-to-date. The health certificate costs vary, but they are usually $100-$300. You should check to see what health documentation is required at your destination.


To ensure your pet’s safety during the long-distance trek, you should definitely buy a durable, good crate. Crates for small pets can range from $50-$100, but larger crates can cost up to $200 or more. You should consider buying other products, including a first aid kit, some toys or blankets that will ease your pet’s stress, and other items that could make the trip easier on the driver and your lovable pet.

Discover pet courier service cost when you need to move a pet.

How Much does Pet Courier Service Cost?

We looked at the various factors that go with the price, and now the question you’re asking yourself is how much it will cost.

As we explained before, the equipment costs can range from $100 to $300 (which includes the crate, the first aid kit and other products that can come in handy). The health documentation will cost between $100-$300. Until now, we were looking at a range of $200-$600.

After this comes calculating the cost of the length of the trip for your pet (how much it will be from Point A to Point B) and the costs associated with your pet type and breed. Those costs can vary wildly. Upon doing research online and checking out various websites, the consensus is that it can range from as low as $1000 to as high as $5000.

Why the big range? That usually depends on the company and any added benefits you may want to purchase to make the pet travel experience easier and safer for you. So there you have it. The total costs range from as low as $1,200 to as high as $5,600. Now it’s your turn to decide how you want to transport your cherished pet.

Benefits of Using CitizenShipper

Rated the #1 pet transporter in the nation, CitizenShipper has a lot of benefits. First, it is the best place to ensure affordable pet transportation because drivers compete for your business. We have thousands of reviews on TrustPilot, with an average rating of 4.7 out of 5.

Don’t just pick the cheapest bid because sometimes the better, more trusted drivers charge a little more. You should always read reviews and driver profiles.

The Benefits and Advantages of CitizenShipper

Our platform offers many advantages over traditional pet transporters. Let’s take a look at them!

  • You’ll get drivers who are background-checked and USDA-registered drivers
  • You can compare bids and chat with drivers across our network before you book your trip when you get drivers’ quotes after posting your pet’s info.
  • You can discuss your transport details directly with the driver using our instant messaging system. The driver will also give you updates while on their journey.
  • You can save up to 60-70% compared to traditional shipping services by using CitizenShipper. 
  • You can do a “rideshare” where you can get a better price because drivers will take several pets along at the same time. It’s a fantastic deal (but you can always opt for “solo rides, too)!
  • You get added benefits like a VIP Service, a $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.

The Wrap-Up!

Although there are many options for pet transportation, there are really two main ways to travel with a pet — either air travel or ground transport. Ground transport is definitely easier. Using a pet courier service can also solve a lot of problems, but there could be hiccups along the way during the process. There could be requirements or restrictions that may hinder your pet’s transport. 

There is an alternative that can solve all your problems. You can get affordable rates with a better quality than a traditional pet transporter or pet courier. Trusted by over 100,000+ pet lovers, CitizenShipper is the best option. It is safe and secure, and drivers on CitizenShipper know your pet means everything to you. They will make sure your pet is properly taken care of during the journey to the final destination without stress and chaos.

When you trust drivers on our CitizenShipper network, you won’t need to pull your hair out from the stress. You may even get actual, real-life superheroes, because the drivers on our network can save your day! The bottom line? Your pet will be in the best of hands. 

Get a driver that will be your superhero. Post your pet’s transport now, and get free quotes in an instant!