5 Best Pet Shipping Alternatives to Happy Tails Travel

Patrick MacFarland Patrick MacFarland · Updated June 4, 2024
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In the modern world, pet owners often find themselves needing a reliable and safe pet shipping service. From a cross-country move to a vacation to any other situation that requires pet transportation, finding the right service is important.

There are many pet shipping services out there, but not offer the same level of quality. Happy Trails Travel is one of the more established companies, but there are myriad options available — each with its own pros and cons. We compare and contrast the top five pet shipping services in the United States: CitizenShipper, Air Animal Pet Movers, Starwood Pet Travel, Airpets International and Blue Collar Pet Transport.

Alternatives to Happy Tails Travel

When looking for reliable pet shipping alternatives to Happy Tails Travel, consider a variety of transportation services. Exploring several pet shipping alternatives allows you to select the most suitable, safest and most humane means of transportation for your beloved furry family members.

For domestic trips, ground transportation services are preferable. There are many reasons why ground transport is the safest, most comfortable and most humane way to relocate a pet.

  • On airplanes, pets must remain in their carrier for the entire trip — meaning any issues won’t be addressed until the pet disembarks.
  • Ground transporters are right there in the vehicle with your pet, able to stop and address any issues.
  • Reputable transportation companies offer diverse benefits such as climate-controlled vehicles, knowledgeable handlers and comprehensive safety measures.
  • Large pets cannot travel in the cabin; they must be transported in the cargo area.

You wouldn’t transport your children in the cargo area of a plane, don’t do this with your pets! Ground transportation takes a little longer, but it’s comparable from a price perspective and a much more humane way to move an animal you love.

silhouette, running

1. CitizenShipper

CitizenShipper stands out as the #1 pet transport marketplace in the country. They offer a comprehensive range of ground transportation services for domestic pet shipping needs, plus air nanny service.

It’s a user-friendly platform that connects pet owners with a network of reliable, vetted transportation providers who specialize in ensuring the safety and well-being of animals during transit. It’s easy to get matched with a transporter. All you have to do is plug in your pet travel info and in seconds, you’ll have transporters sending you quotes.

The marketplace provides numerous extra perks like:

  • A variety of pet protection plans for additional financial protection in case of an emergency
  • A messaging system where you can communicate directly with the driver
  • 24/7 TeleVet access through our partner FirstVet.

From door-to-door delivery to real-time tracking, CitizenShipper prioritizes customer satisfaction and pet safety above all else. The bottom line is your beloved pet will be in good hands with CitizenShipper’s qualified drivers, who are animal lovers who will treat your pet like he’s a part of their family.

Logo of Starwood Pet Travel featuring a stylized image of a dog and a cat inside a green diamond, with the company name in teal lettering to the right, specializing in flying dogs internationally.

2. Starwood Pet Travel

Starwood Pet Travel is renowned for great customer service and attention to detail. The international pet transportation company has been around for years and has a reputation for providing stress-free pet transportation.

Starwood Pet Travel has a commitment to offer personalized attention and two-way communication services to customers. Their comfortable carriers ensure that pets travel in the safest and most comfortable way throughout their journey.

You can even add extra perks that can be stress-free lifesavers like comprehensive insurance coverage. This offers you peace of mind during the entire process.

3. Air Animal Pet Movers

With decades of experience in the pet transportation industry, Air Animal Pet Movers has earned a reputation for reliability and professionalism. Their team of dedicated experts goes above and beyond to ensure that every cat receives VIP treatment from start to finish. Air Animal Pet Movers also provides international shipping, being one of the leading voices in pet international transportation.

4. Airpets International

Airpets International is renowned for its excellence in air transportation services for pets, offering reliable and efficient solutions for international pet shipping needs. It also handles all the complexities of international pet transportation. This will lower any stress levels you have because they will handle everything. The company also provides personalized care and attention to each pet, ensuring their safety and well-being throughout the journey.

5. Blue Collar Pet Transport

Blue Collar Pet Transport is dedicated to providing exceptional ground transportation services for domestic pet shipping, prioritizing the safety, comfort and well-being of all pets under its care. Furthermore, the company has a team of experienced and compassionate staff members who ensure your experience with them is a positive one. Their goal is to provide excellent care to your pet throughout their journey. Blue Collar Pet Transport has gained a reputation for being a trusted and dependable choice for pet owners.

Man with beard and glasses taking a selfie in a car with his furry friend, a beagle resting its head on his shoulder during a sunset drive.

Factors to Consider When Choosing a Pet Shipping Service

Selecting a pet shipping service requires careful consideration of essential factors such as USDA approval, adherence to regulations and insights from customer reviews to ensure the best possible experience for pets and their owners.

Your Pet’s Specific Needs

When evaluating pet shipping services, it’s crucial to prioritize your pet’s specific needs, including considerations for comfort, breed restrictions and any special requirements based on their health and well-being.

Comfort is a top priority, so ensure the transportation arrangements provide adequate space and ventilation, keeping the pet’s comfort and safety in mind. Breed-specific regulations may apply, particularly for brachycephalic breeds, so verify the shipping company’s policies.

For pets with health concerns, such as older animals or those requiring medication, it’s essential to inquire about accommodations and care during transit to prevent any unnecessary stress. Taking these individual needs into account can significantly impact the pet’s overall experience and well-being during transportation.

USDA Approval and Regulations

Ensuring USDA approval and adherence to pet shipping regulations is important to guaranteeing the safe and compliant transportation of animals, with a focus on the proper documentation and regulatory protocols.

By obtaining USDA approval for pet shipment, it ensures that the animals are being transported in a manner compliant with the highest standards of animal welfare and safety. Adhering strictly to pet shipping regulations demonstrates a commitment to the well-being of the animals.

It’s a good sign when pet companies have proper documentation displayed and that they follow all regulatory protocols aligned with USDA standards.

Positive Reviews

You should always take the time to read reviews and testimonials from previous customers to gauge the company’s reputation and reliability. A great idea for you to do is go on to Facebook groups and ask others that have used the company’s services about their opinions. Searching for these companies and reading reviews from other sites can provide valuable information.

Insurance Coverage

Choose a company that offers comprehensive insurance coverage to protect your pet against unforeseen circumstances during the journey. You should also look for a pet transport service that offers extra perks like door-to-door delivery. This will relieve you of the stress in dropping off or picking up your pet.

Woman smiling, holding a stuffed toy, a small dog, and a blue binder at night with houses and a car in the background during her Journey to Happiness.

Cat Transport and Dog Transport Alternatives to Happy Tails Travel

Happy Tails Travel aren’t the only ones that provide dependable cat transport and dog transport. There are several alternatives to Happy Tails Travel you can choose from when it comes to cat relocation and dog relocation.

The companies listed above — CitizenShipper, Starwood Pet Travel, Air Animal Movers, Airpets International, and Blue Collar Pet Transport — are reputable, efficient, affordable and most importantly, care for your cat and dog at all times during their pet journey.