How to ship animals to another state? Moving pets state to state

CitizenShipper CitizenShipper · For Shippers · Pet Shipping · 13 April 2020

how to ship animals to another state

how to ship animals to another state

For many of us, traveling with animals is among the greatest of life’s little pleasures. There’s nothing quite as satisfying as delving into the great outdoors with a furry friend at your side. But all too often, we’re denied this opportunity. Instead, we end up trying to sort out a pet journey quickly and efficiently, but all we want is to make sure the best pet travel for our adored creatures. Whether you’re buried in work or on lockdown, you might be wondering how to ship animals to another state safely.

We’ve prepared a step-by-step guide to assist pet owners in tackling this task. It describes the preparation, the paperwork, the logistics, and the actual process of shipping pets. Here’s all you need to know about how to ship pets across state lines and stay sane while you do it!

How to ship my pet to another state?

Whether you opt for airline travel or road transport, you’ll need to comply with local rules and regulations. Different states handle pets in different ways. The transporter that you hire should be able to inform you of the specifics. Ask your provider so you can be sure about local and interstate guidelines.

Pet Shipping with CitizenShipper

But we’ll look into the logistics later. For now, let’s consider what you can do for your pet before the trip even begins.

Health certificates: Before your pet crosses any state lines, you’ll need to secure a Certificate of Veterinary Inspection (CVI). Your local veterinarian should be licensed to issue one, but keep in mind that their fees vary. For an animal to be issued a CVI, it must be vaccinated and in good physical condition. Note that some states waive this requirement for cats and dogs under certain conditions. Still, regardless of route, you’ll at least need proof that your pet has had all its shots. If you are already visiting your vet, inform them about your plans and ask them about possibilities to ease the stress of your pet during the journey. Maybe they share other tips with you on how to make a calm moving experience for your furry friend or can prescribe medication against stress. The last option is not advised for air transport, because it can have possible unpredictable side effects for your pet, so it’s even more important to consult with your local vet.

Container crates: Whether shipping your pet by plane or by car, you’ll need the right container to make sure they arrive safe and sound. As a general rule, the crate must be large enough for the animal to stand and safely turn around. (But don’t go overboard – it shouldn’t be so roomy that they bounce around!) It should be leakproof, padded, and if possible, feature a solid frame. Choose one made of rigid material like wood, plastic, or metal, and make sure it has ventilation openings on at least three sides of the container. Your container should have a handle, so it can be carried without contact with the animal and should have removable wheels or be wheel-free to avoid unnecessary movements for a calm traveling experience. The door should have a ledge, so you can close it safely, but it should never be locked, so it can be opened fast in case of an emergency. Make sure you label your carrier with “THIS SIDE UP” and “LIVE ANIMAL” stickers as well as your contact information and your pet’s name. Also, if you book a driver personally, they might offer USDA-approved carriers or crates of their own.

Microchip ID: While this is not a requirement, chipping your pet before a long-distance trip is highly recommended. Accidents do happen, and pets that end up lost are much more easily retrieved if they have microchips implanted. A Microchip ID gives your pet a long term identification number, which can’t be removed and stays readable for your pet’s life. It will include your contact information and therefore can reunite you with your pet, in case it gets lost.

But how do pets get shipped, in practical terms?

As to the specifics of the move itself, air travel is the most common choice for long-distance travel. Traditionally, airlines ship a live animal in one of two ways. One, you can have the pet loaded into the cargo hold inside its crate. Two, you can have a passenger bring the pet into a cabin as carry-on luggage. Neither option is cheap or without its risks. Brachycephalic dogs, in particular, are vulnerable to changes in air quality in temperature.

Because of this added risk, many airlines refuse to ship short-nosed breeds outright. In fact, fewer and fewer are willing to transport pets at all, giving how understaffed they are. So how do you transport a pet across the country, then? You can’t just put them in a car and drive them over, can you?

Find a reliable driver at an online marketplace

Well, maybe you can’t – it’s expensive, it takes a lot of time, and the logistics are a nightmare. But there are shipping services with professional drivers willing and able to do just that, for a fraction of the cost. Using an online marketplace, you can get in touch with these independent contractors and arrange the pet travel. It’s much cheaper than air shipping, and more importantly, it’s fully customizable. There are professionalized drivers out there, which are experienced in shipping pets and skilled in keeping your pet happy and healthy as well as reacting to your pets’ individual needs. The marketplace structure ensures there is the right pet driver for every wallet.

You can just post your shipment with all of your information about your pets and their special needs and the distance you want them to travel on the marketplace website and wait for a driver to contact you.

When a driver bids on your shipment, you can negotiate every last detail before accepting their offer. They’ll tell you about the experience they have on the job and invite you to browse through their reviews. If their previous customers seem satisfied, it’s a safe bet that they know what they’re doing. Another practical thing about this marketplace is that you can always contact your driver with your individual questions and see in a conversation if your needs and their offer match.

So that’s the simplest answer to our initial question. How to ship animals to another state? You just find a reliable pet mover and get them to do it for you!

Pet shipping and essential self-care

Finally, let’s spare a few words for a worried pet owner’s frazzled nerves.

We know full well how tough it can be to leave your little buddy in a stranger’s care. A thousand thoughts go through your head. Maybe you’re having trouble falling asleep, or you lose your appetite. Separation anxiety works both ways, it’s just one of those things. When your pet is on a long-distance trip, time seems to stand still!

Luckily, technology now lets us transcend distance! Before booking a driver, make sure to talk with him about updates from the road. They can send you images or videos at regular intervals, for example as they’re about to cross state lines. That way, you’ll be able to see how well your pet is doing or how the trip has been going. And this, we promise, does wonders for calming the nerves.

So there you have it. If you’ve been asking yourself “How do I transport my pet long-distance”, hopefully, you’ve found an answer here. If you need more information on any of the options at your disposal, please feel free to contact us at any time of day or night.

We wish you a safe travel for you and your pet friend!

Last updated at January 17, 2022

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Glenda Freeman
Glenda Freeman
1 year ago

Yes I need a puppy s*** from North Carolina to Burlington Iowa and how much would it cost and how long would it take

Reply to  Glenda Freeman
1 year ago

We’re happy to help, if you are interested in receiving a quote from qualified transporters using our marketplace, please visit, choose your shipment category and then follow the prompts to specify more details on your pet. If you need any additional assistance in the process of making a decision on your preferred transporter, visit Happy shipping!

Christopher Ogilvie
Christopher Ogilvie
9 months ago

I have a cat I’ve had for 8 years in Florida and I need to get him shipped up to me in New Hampshire. I am a military veteran which on certain flights allows me to fly with him in my lap but I can’t exactly hop on a flight cross country to do that. I’m really confused as to how to go about this. He is neutered and has his shots. Would I need proof from the vet and maybe his registration tags? Could I get that from the vet he got them from? It’s been a long time. So many questions. If anyone can help, please do.

Reply to  Christopher Ogilvie
8 months ago

Hi Christopher. First, thank you for your service. Second, to know what you need for a flight you need to call the airline you intend to use. I’m fairly certain you have to keep a cat in a carrier and not on your lap (they are tricky and will escape when they can) but check with your vet to see if he’s healthy enough for flight and the airlines will let you know what you need for the flight. If you are unable to fly with him, you can hire an Air Nanny to fly with him, or you could hire one of our transporters who can drive him to you. You have quite a few options, so don’t lose hope.

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