Top 4 Questions People Ask About Pet Shipping

Matt Matasci Matt Matasci · Updated: August 28, 2023 / Published: February 3, 2023

If you’re a pet owner, you know that transporting your beloved animal can be nerve-wracking – not to mention you’ll have many logistical questions about pet transportation.

How will my pet get from one place to another safely? Will my furry friend be comfortable during the journey? How much does it cost to ship a pet? These are just a few of the most commonly asked questions.

We’re pet lovers too! We know your dog or cat is an important member of your family. Most pet owners prioritize safety and reliability when choosing a transporter, though cost and travel time are other important considerations.

Pet Shipping with CitizenShipper

For over a decade, CitizenShipper has connected nearly 80,000 pets with transporters. We know a thing or two about the ins and outs of pet transport. If you have questions about pet shipping logistics, read on.

1. What’s the Cheapest Way to Ship a Pet?

There are a few different methods of transporting your pet, from air travel to ground shipping. The most affordable way to transport a pet depends on a few factors: the way you transport the pet, the size and type of pet, the distance the pet needs to be transported and any other special needs of the pet.

Additionally, the cost of transportation depends on whether or not you’ll accompany the animal on its journey. Many pet owners aren’t able to fly with their pet or drive them across the country. In those instances, you’re likely to pay more to ship a pet alone.

In the few circumstances when it’s possible, the cheapest pet transportation option is to bring them on board with you in the cabin. However, most dogs are too large to be transported in the cabin.

However, it’s important to understand that airlines put strict size and weight restrictions on the types of pets they’ll allow in the cabin. 

  • The pet carrier must be able to fit under the seat.
  • Weight limits differ by airline, but generally the maximum weight for the pet plus its carrier is 20 pounds.
  • There are limits on the number of pets that can be on a single flight.

If you have a larger animal or pet that requires transport in the cargo area, then this will be significantly more expensive. 

Flying in the cabin isn’t an option if you cannot accompany your pet. Hiring an air nanny is one option, though that will increase the price to transport your pet because you’ll need to buy a round-trip ticket for the nanny — not to mention you also have to compensate them for their time!

Depending on the distance, the cost of transporting a pet via ground transportation may be more economical than flying in the cargo area. For shorter trips, ground transport is more cost-effective since it eliminates airfare and costs like cargo fees or extra kennel requirements for air travel.

Ground Transportation Cost vs. Air Transport

Ground transport also allows for greater flexibility in terms of scheduling. Flights can be delayed or canceled due to weather or other factors that are out of the pet parent’s control. It can add to the cost of the transport if you need to stay the night at a hotel to catch a flight the next day.

Additionally, traveling by land reduces stress on animals. This is because they won’t have to endure long flights in a noisy environment with limited space and amenities.

The cost of ground transport varies based on the size of the pet and the distance traveled, but typically falls well below what it would cost to fly a pet in cargo. 

CitizenShipper is one way to find more affordable pet transportation without sacrificing quality. On the marketplace you get competitive bids from vetted drivers who transport your pet safely and efficiently. Best of all, it comes at a fraction of the cost of most traditional pet transportation companies.

Drivers using our marketplace offer convenience and reliability. With detailed profiles, you can make an informed decision about who is responsible for getting your pet to their final destination. A booking assurance guarantee comes with every transport — you’ll have support teams available to help with any questions or concerns that may arise during the transport process.

2. Does Fedex Ship Pets?

FedEx doesn’t ship household pets, whether for commercial or personal use. Due to the complexity of ensuring a safe and comfortable travel experience for animals, FedEx has determined that it is not in the best interest of the pet or animal to ship them.

To protect both your pet’s safety and comfort throughout its journey — as well as that of other customers and our employees — FedEx will not accept any shipment involving household pets under any circumstances.

3. What’s the Best Way to Ship a Pet?

The best way to ship a pet really depends on the pet! The age, size and needs of the animal determine what approach is best. For instance, if you have an adult medium-sized dog, it’s probably safer and more comfortable for them to travel by ground transportation than by plane.

Air Transport

Riding in the cabin of an airplane is typically the fastest and least way to get your pet from point A to point B. However, there are downsides:

  • Waiting in long terminal lines and not being able to take your pet out of its carrier while at the airport.
  • If your pet is too large or doesn’t meet certain airline requirements, they may need to fly as cargo.
  • Flying in cargo can be much more expensive and causes additional stress to the animal.
  • Airlines don’t allow brachycephalic breeds of dogs and cats in the cargo area for the safety of the pet.

Train Transport

Amtrak is another option for shipping a pet. It’s much cheaper than flying but has limited routes and can take several days, depending on your destination. 

Amtrak also requires special kennels with secure latches that will withstand bumpy rides — make sure that any kennel you purchase meets those specific standards before booking a train ticket for your pup! 

Different Amtrak stations may have varying policies regarding traveling with pets.

  • Some may allow them onboard but require that they remain confined inside their kennel during the entire trip.
  • Other stations may only allow pets outside of their kennels when passengers get off at designated stops and then back onto the train again when boarding resumes. 

Train cars don’t always have consistent temperatures like airplanes do; make sure your pet’s container or kennel has adequate ventilation.

Ground Transportation by Vehicle

Ground transportation is a third method of transporting pets. You can hire a traditional pet transportation company or use newer marketplace-based technology to book a driver.

In addition to being cheaper, many ground transporters using CitizenShipper offer additional services such as door-to-door service, climate controlled vehicles and overnight stops at pet-friendly hotels along the way. While these services may cost extra, they add peace of mind for pet parents. 

Ground transport allows for more frequent check-ins with your pet during their journey which may not be possible while they’re in transit via air travel. Ultimately, when considering pet transport options, weighing both cost and convenience is essential in making an informed decision that best suits the needs of you and your beloved fur baby!

Overall, choosing how best to ship a pet ultimately comes down to understanding its age, size and needs – as well as weighing the pros and cons of each method of transportation available. With proper preparation and research beforehand (especially regarding airline requirements), you can ensure that your furry companion gets safely from one place to another while experiencing minimal stress!

4. How Much Does it Cost to Ship a Pet Across the US?

The cost of shipping a pet across the US can vary significantly. There’s simply no way to give a one-size-fits-all answer to the question of pet shipping cost.

The most important factor is the distance. Simply put, the further the transport, the more you’ll be charged. 

The next most important factor is the method of transport. Flying in the cabin of an airplane is usually the least expensive way to transport a pet. However, you have to factor in the cost of an airline ticket for the pet’s human companion, whether you or an air nanny.

Ground transportation and cargo transportation can have comparable costs, though it’s possible to save significantly when you use a marketplace-based transporter on CitizenShipper.

The size of your pet is also important. Larger pets require more space and therefore typically require larger crates which drive up costs. They also make it difficult for transporters to “stack” transports and drive with multiple pets, which adds to the cost.


For a safe and affordable option for transporting pets, CitizenShipper is an excellent choice. We have years of experience moving pets, from cats and dogs to reptiles and small mammals. 

Plus their team of professional pet transporters will ensure that your furry friends receive the best care possible along the way. CitizenShipper offers competitive rates for transporting animals across the country, providing great value for money when booking through them.

Find out how much you can save by booking through CitizenShipper! It’s always free to review quotes and communicate with transporters. Create a free listing on our marketplace today and get quotes within minutes!