How Much Should I Expect Pet Transportation Services to Cost?

Patrick MacFarland Patrick MacFarland · Updated July 1, 2024

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There are many reasons why you may need a pet transportation service. Maybe you have to move across the country because you got the job of your dreams. Or perhaps you were tired of the cold winters in Maine and decided to move to sunny San Diego. Maybe you just want to take an extended vacation in Florida. Whatever the reason, you’re looking into pet transportation services cost and may have some questions.

After doing some research, you now have 16 open tabs on your web browser! It’s becoming a stressful endeavor to know which type of pet transportation is the most affordable. 

Things shouldn’t be that hard and you shouldn’t want to pull your hair out trying to figure out how much pet transportation services cost. We’ll outline the types of pet transportation services, what to look for in terms of quality service, and how much you can expect pet transportation services to cost.

Pet Shipping with CitizenShipper
Pet transportation service cost can vary by method.

Types of Pet Transportation Services

Many types of pet transportation services are available — from air travel to ground transport. There are various types that only take dogs and cats, but others can take other animals, including exotic pets.

Traditional Ground Transport

A traditional transport service is a very popular option. There are hundreds of companies that provide pet travel services. The factors that determine the costs are wide; sometimes, they have specific requirements. If you have particular breeds of cats and dogs, or you have a pet boa constrictor, they may not allow them or the cost of shipping them may increase.

When doing your research, look for warning signs of scammers. There are many online posing like real companies enticing you with cheap prices. If they use untraceable phone numbers or personal email accounts, require you to give out personal information before paying, or want you to pay with Western Union or MoneyGram, then beware.

According to The Environmental Magazine, costs can run from hundreds to thousands of dollars, depending on different factors.

Air Travel

Air travel is the fastest way to transport a pet. However it is usually the type with the most requirements. Many transport companies also offer air travel services, complete with air nannies.

When it comes to flights, airlines usually don’t take exotic pets. Cats and dogs are the only ones allowed. Smaller pets have an advantage because of their size. They can ride in the cabin since they fit under the seat. The good news? Air transport companies will take care of all the logistics so you don’t have to worry.

Before calculating the total cost, you should buy a carrier. For ones in the cabin, they run about $25 to $75. The total one-way amount for pets in the cabin with airlines like United, Delta and American sits at $125. Larger pets must go in the cargo hold, which cost about $100-$200, and the cost of transporting your pet in the cargo hold can range from $500-$1,000. The exact charges will be determined at the time of booking. 

Air transport companies will add pet handling and other fees to the total cost of their services.

Air Nannies

An air nanny is someone you hire to take care of your dog or cat on a flight. They can either be in the cabin with the nanny or in the cargo hold. It’s the latest fad and becoming quite popular. The air nanny job exploded in popularity recently because of a viral TikTok video.

You will have to buy a roundtrip ticket for the nanny and the pet fees. Sometimes you’ll get lucky that the air nannies have connections where they could waive the pet fees for you, decreasing the total transport cost.

You can use CitizenShipper to get quotes and estimate pet transportation services cost.

What to Look For in a Pet Transportation Service

The best pet transportation service and one that follows the Department of Agriculture’s regulations is one that is registered with the USDA. It means they follow the law and will treat your pet like one of their own.

By visiting the International Pet and Animal Transportation Association, also called IPATA, you can see various posts about trusted pet transporters (and warn you about fake shipping companies), read articles about pet travel, animal transport services and answers to frequently asked questions.

When you’re researching pet transportation services, they must have  qualities that you can look back at and say unequivocally that it was a good choice. 

Good qualities include:

  • They advertise all breeds and animals they allow, so you are not fooled during the process. It’s also essential they give you the prices upfront.
  • The pet transporter is always with your pet, and they are the only pet during the journey.
  • They offer door-to-door delivery instead of having you drop off your pet and pick them up in another location. This will also relieve stress for you and your pet.
  • They communicate well with you at every step and provide regular updates during the journey.
  • They have excellent customer service. They pay attention to detail and ensure proper, loving care for your pet throughout the process.

What Factors Affect Pet Transportation Services Cost?

The price tag for transporting your pet will vary on  several factors.


Distance plays a major factor in the price of pet transportation. If the journey is a few hundred miles, it’s safe to assume that the costs will be less than a journey cross country. Be aware that you can expect to pay more for longer trips. This accounts for the transporter’s hours and other costs associated with the journey.

Pet Size

Pet size will determine how much the total cost will be. You will pay less for a smaller pet, like a cat or Yorkshire terrier. The price will increase if it’s a bigger pet like an Akita. Another thing to consider is if the pet is considered exotic (like reptiles, amphibians, or even birds), then extra fees will be included in the total cost. Securing a package deal is also smart when you have multiple pets to transport.

Health Documentation

You should check to see what health documentation is required at your destination. All states and pet transportation companies require your pet’s vaccination documents and a pet health certificate, which costs from $50 to $300.


You should buy a crate for the long-distance trek, even if your pet travels alone (instead of with other pets). Crates for small pets can range from $50-$100, but larger crates can cost up to $200 or more.

Product Recommendations for Pet Transportation Services

Once you decide on the best pet transportation option, you’ll want to buy some products to make the journey easier for your pet and transporter.

Luckily, we have some recommendations that will help you out. No need to worry and do last-minute research that may put off other pressing things aside.

For Cats and Dogs

Baglher Travel Bag

  • The tote bag has multi-functioning pockets, zippers and fasteners to store all your essentials.
  • The unique design can meet your pet’s daily needs.
  • Easy to travel with and sturdy, which means it’s long lasting.

Hemp Calming Max Strength Chews for Dogs

  • The chews are made in a way that dogs will like to eat them.
  • They are extra strength, which means they can give you results and calm your dog.
  • The chews are veterinarian recommended and safe for your dog to eat.

ARCA Pet Cat and Dog First Aid Kit

  • This is an essential first aid kit that can be used in emergency situations.
  • There are 100 pieces to this kit, all directed for your pet’s safety.
  • This kit also contains an emergency pet thermometer, emergency collar, tick remover and a 4×6 mini pouch.

Pet Water Bottle

  • Easy to use design which ensures it does not leak.
  • Safe to drink from and also lightweight.
  • Long lasting and perfect for traveling.

For Birds, Fish, and Exotic Pets

Travel Carrier Cage for Parrots

  • Weighing just 13 pounds, this cage is lightweight and portable.
  • Sturdy and long-lasting, which is great for all travels.
  • Easy to assemble.

Foldable Terrarium Kit with Plants

  • The terrarium is comfortable and breathable for all types of animals placed in the cage.
  • A heating lamp can be used for those animals needing heating and cooling.
  • The terrarium has wheels you can put on for easy transport.

Aqueon Betta Bowl Kit

  • It’s a low maintenance kit that can fill up to half a gallon of water.
  • There is an easy feeding door allowing for fish to access food with no problems.
  • The aquarium plant, gravel, and food samples are included in the purchase.

How CitizenShipper Helps You Lower Pet Transportation Services Cost

Because there are many options to choose from with a great range in costs, consider a groundbreaking alternative to traditional pet transportation: CitizenShipper. Instead of searching for transporters online and doing independent research, CitizenShipper makes the process much easier. We have thousands of reviews on TrustPilot, with an average rating of 4.7 out of 5.

Our platform offers many advantages over traditional pet transporters:

  • When you post a listing on our site, a fleet of background-checked, USDA-registered drivers will send you quotes within minutes. 
  • You can compare bids and chat with several drivers across our network, and once you choose the driver you like best, you’re ready to book your trip! 
  • We charge a modest fee that varies per mileage, which accounts for our stringent vetting process. 
  • You can discuss the details of your transport directly with the driver using our instant messaging system. The driver will give you updates while on their journey with your pet! 

Drivers on CitizenShipper compete for your business, which means you can save up to 60-70% compared to traditional shipping services. However, don’t just pick the cheapest bid without  due diligence. You should read reviews and the driver profiles!

Your beloved pet will be in good hands with the qualified drivers on CitizenShipper. It’s safe, seamless and stress-free. In short, it’s easy and ,above all, hassle-free!

The Bottom Line!

There are a variety of methods and options you can choose from. Pet transportation services are abundant on the internet. Sometimes it’s hard to pick just one, and often it’s overwhelming to understand the exact costs. 

The price of pet transportation services can fluctuate depending on different variables. If you are transporting a pet across the country, it will be more expensive. If you have an exotic pet, it will be more expensive. Sometimes, pet transportation companies have surprise fees that jump at you during the booking process or afterward.

If you want a hassle-free, transparent process, booking a driver through CitizenShipper is for you. It can be less expensive, and there are no hidden fees. Plus, our drivers understand what your pet means to you and will make sure they are properly taken care of, with love and understanding during the ride. CitizenShipper also provides added benefits for you for your peace of mindr — up to $1,000 Pet Protection, VIP Service, Booking Assurance Guarantee, and 24/7 TeleVet access through our partner FirstVet. By trusting drivers on CitizenShipper to transport your pet, you will rest easy knowing your beloved dog is in the best of hands.

Don’t wait, enjoy a stress-free journey by relying on CitizenShipper for your pet transportation! List your transport now and get free quotes instantly.

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