Is it safe to ship a puppy? | CitizenShipper

CitizenShipper CitizenShipper · Updated January 29, 2024

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Shipping puppies is perhaps the most challenging task in pet transportation. (It’s right up there with moving pets suffering from serious health conditions.) Is it okay shipping a puppy before it’s of a certain age? Definitely not. But even past the age limit, young dogs with underdeveloped immune systems can be exceptionally vulnerable to illness. So let’s look into this and see what steps must be taken to assure safety in transportation.

Is it safe to ship a puppy by plane?

On domestic flights, the standard requirement is for the puppy to be at least 8 weeks old. Different airlines may have more stringent requirements. For small dog breeds, it’s usually best to wait until pets are 10-12 weeks of age and 2 lbs in weight.

For international flights, the puppy must typically be 12 weeks or older. The regulations in your destination country take precedence, of course. You’ll need to contact your airline to work out the specifics when traveling internationally.

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These age requirements are a necessary precaution: air travel can expose dogs to extremes of temperature and atmospheric pressure. The younger the puppy, the less equipped it is to handle the stress of long-distance travel. But even when old enough, puppies of certain breeds may be considered too risky to fly

It should go without saying that your pet will need a clean bill of health before takeoff. Airline regulations vary here as well, but vet certificates and vaccination records are requirements with good reason. 

So, Can you ship a puppy by car?

While road transport offers an alternative to flying, it also comes with certain hazards. Puppies traveling by car are required to be fully weaned. Taking them away from the litter before the pets are 6 weeks old is considered animal cruelty. Perhaps more importantly, their immune systems make them susceptible to contagious diseases.

In most cases, puppies transported in cars will be in close proximity to other, older dogs. That may not be an issue if proper sanitation is maintained, but this isn’t always the case. Diseases and parasites preying on pups include heartworm, parvo, coccidia, and more. It’s absolutely vital for owners and transporters to ensure that all dogs are healthy and vaccinated before the pet hits the road!

Having puppies in the car can also be a dangerous distraction. US state laws require animals to be suitably restrained so that pets cannot significantly distract the driver. Portable kennels and carrier crates, preferably USDA-approved, are a must. Additional equipment may also be needed to secure the containers, depending on the type of transport.

Puppy shipping safety tips

And finally, here are some tips when transporting puppies. 

  • Ask a vet. Before arranging your puppy’s transport, be sure to visit a local veterinary clinic. Your vet should be able to provide both health certificates and advice on safety measures.
  • Do research. When it comes to safety, nothing beats the hands-on approach. If choosing an airline, call them to get the latest on their fees, approved carriers, and more. If hiring a driver, check out his ratings and reviews for the feedback left by the previous customer. 
  • Sort out the paperwork. Your puppy will be safer if you can move things more smoothly and swiftly. Try to have all the necessary documentation on hand well ahead of time. We know it’s a hassle, but it really is in the dog’s best interest to get through it quickly.
  • Consider all alternatives. If the trip seems to be too hazardous for the pup, consider adjusting your plans. Maybe you can wait until it’s old enough to fly? Maybe you can afford the cabin fee after all? Or is pet-sitting the more practical option while you traveling?
  • Again, ask a vet! We can’t stress this enough — you need to follow the vet’s recommendations to the letter. Never neglect the advice of trained medical professionals!

So, is it safe to ship a puppy? It is if you make it safe! Follow the advice outlined here to ensure your furry friends get to their destination swiftly and securely. If you run into any trouble along the way, be sure to contact our support teams for assistance. 

Stay safe, and happy shipping!

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