How Much Does Pet Transportation Cost?

Cagri Sarigoz Cagri Sarigoz · Updated February 23, 2024

Your Pet's Journey Matters!

  • Fast and easy
  • Only pay when you book
pet transportation, cost

Planning pet transportation logistics can be challenging, but determining the final cost of your transport budget can be even trickier. Several factors can influence the cost of transporting your pet, including its size and age or the distance you travel. Calculating pet transportation costs accurately by asking the following questions can help you set an accurate transportation budget.

What Type of Pet Do You Have?

One of the most significant determining factors when it comes to budgeting for pet transportation is the type of pet you have. Prices are drastically different for dogs, cats, and exotic animals.

Cats are typically the most cost-effective pet to transport. Not only are cats small, usually weighing less than 20 pounds, but they are relatively easy to care for and low-maintenance. Most airlines accept cats, and your feline friend is the perfect candidate to ride in the main cabin with you. To ride in the main cabin, expect about a $125 fee each way for your pet.

Dogs can also be quite affordable to transport, pending they are small. Major airlines will allow small dogs to ride in the main cabin if they can safely fit under the seat in their carrier. Large dogs can still use air transportation but must ride in the cargo hold. Dogs are also ideal for ground transportation, including train and car transport.

Exotic pets can be tricky to transport, but not impossible. Unfortunately, most airlines only allow cats and dogs onto planes, with some rare exceptions for aquatic life. Ground transport is always preferred when traveling with birds, reptiles, fish, and small rodents. Not only is ground transport more affordable, but it’s often safer and more manageable when transporting multiple exotic pets.

How Large Is Your Pet?

Size matters when it comes to calculating pet transportation costs. Generally speaking, larger animals cost more to transport than smaller animals. Big dogs usually need more attention and specialized care and are too big to fit in the main cabin. Flying in the cargo hold can be more expensive and incur additional costs for a certified and approved crate. Cargo hold prices vary but usually start around $500 per pet each way.

No matter how you travel, large dogs are typically more expensive to transport than small dogs. The one exception to this general rule is puppy transportation. Although small and usually able to ride in the main cabin of a plane, puppy transportation will cost more because they require a higher level of care.

Where Are You Going?

Distance is one of the most significant contributors to pet transportation costs. Generally, it’s safe to assume the longer the distance, the higher the cost. Long cross-country trips are priced higher than shorter trips, whether you are traveling by air or ground. For ground transportation, expect between $0.50 and $1.60 per mile.

Other factors, like long layovers or frequent stops along the highway, can also increase the pet transportation cost. International pet transport can increase the total price because of the long distance and additional required permitting or quarantine for your pet.

What Kind of Transport Is Best?

You know your pet best and understand what transportation will be the easiest. Ground transportation is a great option for animals with severe anxiety. If your pet requires regular medication or frequent bathroom breaks, ground transportation will allow you to stop and pause along the journey.

If your pet has anxiety, a long flight with a layover is not the best choice. Alternatively, a laid-back cat or dog might be perfectly well suited for a flight in the aircraft’s main cabin. Remember that ground transportation is the only safe option if you have a brachycephalic cat or dog.

Understanding what your pet will tolerate will help guide your transportation decisions. While your hand may be forced to choose one transport method over the other, cost should not be the determining factor for your pet’s safety.

Do I Need a Transportation Service?

Pet transport services are efficient, reliable, and safe. These services offer a convenient way to help transport your pet affordably. Pet transport companies, like CitizenShipper, help tackle the complicated travel logistics and bring your pet right to your front door.

A pet transportation service is perfect if you can’t accompany your cat or dog. Pet transporters can help with air and ground transportation and even stay with your pet through long layovers.

Listing your trip is always free on CitizenShipper. Simply tell us a bit about your pet and your journey. We’ll connect you with a community of experienced and professional pet transporters who will give you a customized price quote.

Our team works to keep the cost of pet transport affordable, so you’ll only pay a small fee to CitizenShipper. You’ll work independently with your chosen pet transporter to agree on a price and payment method. CitizenShipper also provides FirstVet Tele-Vet service for your pet’s journey, as well as a $1000 Pet Protection Plan to ensure that your pet’s safety is the number one priority.

What Other Expenses Can I Expect?

Transporting a pet can come with additional expenses indirectly related to travel. Be sure to account for necessary expenses from:

  • Vet Visits – Ensure your pet is safe enough for travel with a wellness exam from your veterinarian. You may also need a Certificate of Veterinary Inspection if you fly with your pet or use a pet transport service.
  • Crates – Your pet needs a safe carrier for any mode of transport. Carriers should be leakproof and have plenty of ventilation. Your pet should have enough room to turn around, sit, and lie down comfortably.
  • Quarantine – International travel often requires a brief time spent in quarantine. Countries like Australia can require up to 10 days in quarantine to ensure your pet isn’t bringing parasites or potentially dangerous diseases into the country.
  • Permitting – Your pet will likely need special permitting if entering a different country. Each country has specific requirements, and various animals may need special permits. Cats and dogs are usually relatively standard, but exotic animals may require extra attention.

Pet transport costs should certainly be considered, but they should never prohibit you from traveling with your furry companion. Transportation services like CitizenShipper can help make pet transport affordable and efficient while keeping your pets happy and safe.