How to Ship Animals to Another State? Moving Pets State to State

CitizenShipper CitizenShipper · Updated January 16, 2024

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A woman is hugging a young girl on a sidewalk while discussing how to ship animals to another state.

For many of us, traveling with animals is one of life’s little pleasures. And you’re not alone, in a survey by the American Pet Products Association (APPA), they found that 37% of animal owners travel with their pets each year. There’s nothing quite like exploring the great outdoors with a furry companion by your side. Unfortunately, most of the time when we’re traveling we don’t have the time to enjoy this experience. Because what’s most important to us is being able to ship animals to another state safely, we try to make the trip as quick and efficient as possible. It may cost you more money, but there are plenty of options for safely transporting pets from state to state.

This article breaks down every step of the process, from preparing the animal for transit to paperwork and logistics, to the actual process of shipping pets. Read on if you need to transport a pet and don’t have the time or resources to undertake the trip yourself.

How Do I Prepare 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. States handle pet transportation in different ways. Look for a transporter that understands the specific rules of the origin and destination state. Before you hire a pet shipper, ask questions to be sure they understand local and interstate guidelines.

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, and the cost can very by location.

  • For an animal to be issued a CVI, it must be vaccinated and in good physical condition.
  • Some states waive this requirement for cats and dogs under certain conditions.
  • Regardless of the origin and destination, you at least need proof that your pet is fully vaccinated. When you visit the vet, explain your travel plans and ask them about techniques to ease your pet’s stress during the journey.
  • Anti-anxiety medication isn’t advised for air transport because it can have serious side effects for the animal. In fact, many airlines will turn you away if they suspect you’ve given your pet sedatives.

Pet Carriers

Whether you’re shipping your pet by plane or by car, you need use the right pet carrier. Airlines have very strict rules about the kind of carrier they’ll allow in the cargo area or cabin. If you’re transporting the animal on the road, the crate needs to be comfortably-sized.

  • 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!)
  • The carrier should be leakproof and padded.
  • We recommend using a carrier with a solid frame; in fact, a solid-frame carrier is required for air travel.
  • Choose a crate that’s made of rigid material like wood, plastic or metal.
  • It’s even more important to make sure the carrier 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.
  • Look for a carrier that doesn’t have wheels, but if it does, they should be removeable. Carriers on wheels may be more likely to shift in the car or airplane, which could cause the animal to panic.
  • 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.
  • If you book a driver personally, they might offer USDA-approved carriers or crates of their own. This is a major advantage of using ground transportation to ship your pet to another state.

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 which will help authorities reunite you with your pet in the unlikely occurrence it’s 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 option is to 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. However, your animal will have to be small enough to fit under your seat for the entire flight.
  • Neither option is cheap or risk free.
  • Brachycephalic dogs are specifically banned from flying with most airlines.
  • Because of staffing and logistical issues, most airlines are unwilling to transport pets at all.

So how do you transport a pet across the country, then? You can’t just put them in a car and drive them to the destination yourself, can you?

Wondering how to ship animals to another state? CitizenShipper has you covered!

Find a Reliable Driver at an Online Marketplace

Well, maybe you can’t. Driving your pet across country expensive, it takes a lot of time and the logistics can be 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 pet transportation marketplace like CitizenShipper, you can get in touch with these independent contractors and arrange the pet travel. Why use CitizenShipper?

  • It’s much cheaper than air shipping, and more importantly, it’s fully customizable.
  • There are professional drivers with years of experience shipping pets.
  • These transporters are skilled in keeping your pet happy and healthy as well as reacting to your pets’ individual needs.
  • With the marketplace structure and reverse bidding system you’re able to negotiate the best possible price for your transport.
  • Nearly 80,000 pets have been safely transported using CitizenShipper.
  • CitizenShipper is the first in the industry to offer a Pet Protection Plan on every shipment.

Using CitizenShipper is easy and it’s free to review quotes. First, post your shipment with all of the information about your pets, any special needs and the distance you want them to travel. Then, you wait for a driver to contact you with a quote — most shipments receive quotes within minutes. Then, you can use our internal messaging system to negotiate details of the shipment before accepting a bid. Between reviews from previous customers, a robust About section and the messaging system, you’ll be able to get comfortable with their experience. 

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 how tough it can be to leave your little buddy in a stranger’s care. A million worried thoughts may run through your head. Maybe you’re having trouble falling asleep or you lost your appetite. Separation anxiety works both ways. 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, when 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.

If you’ve been asking yourself “How do I transport my pet long-distance”, hopefully, you’ve found an answer here. When you need to transport your pet out of state and don’t have time for the DIY approach, post a shipment on CitizenShipper and receive quotes from experienced pet transporters within minutes!

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

4 thoughts on “How to Ship Animals to Another State? Moving Pets State to State

    1. We’re happy to help, if you are interested in receiving a quote from qualified transporters using our marketplace, please visit https://citizenshipper.com/shipments/new, 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 https://citizenshipper.zendesk.com/hc/en-us/articles/360015998911-The-CitizenShipper-customer-interface. Happy shipping!

  1. 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.

    1. 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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