What is the Safest Way to Transport a Dog?

Cagri Sarigoz Cagri Sarigoz · Updated January 16, 2024

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Dog transport can be stressful, especially if you don’t know what to expect or are unprepared for your trip. Learning about different transport options can help you choose the right pet transport for your and your dog’s needs. Look forward to quality bonding time with your pet by finding safe, efficient, and reliable pet transport.

Air Transport

While many myths still circulate regarding pet air transport, this travel method remains safe and efficient. Air transport will look different, depending on the size and breed of your dog.

Small dogs may be able to fly in the main cabin. Most airlines will allow a dog to qualify as a “carry-on” item, pending their soft-sided carrier can fit comfortably under the seat.

Pets flying in the main cabin are under stringent regulation. Certain seats, like exit rows, don’t allow pets, and pets are limited to one per person. Further, most airlines limit the number of pets allowed on a single flight. Always check your airline’s pet policies before reserving your dog’s transport.

Larger dogs don’t have the luxury of flying in the main cabin. Large breed dogs must fly in the cargo hold. Airlines have progressed significantly to ensure the cargo hold is safe for pets. The air pressure and temperature remain constant in the hold, keeping your pet comfortable and healthy. Airlines have rigorous hard-sided carrier requirements intended to keep your pet safe throughout the flight.

Be mindful that certain dog breeds, called brachycephalic or snub-nosed breeds, cannot fly on a plane. Changing air pressures can make breathing difficult for these dogs, causing severe health concerns. Common brachycephalic breeds include French Bulldogs, Boxers, and Pugs.


Train travel is safe for pets and can be a fantastic low-stress option. Amtrak allows small dogs aboard the train, pending their total weight, including the carrier, is under 20 pounds. The dog must stay in its carrier, which has to fit under the seat. Amtrak has a strict limit of five pets per train, so reserve your pet’s space early.

Ground Transport

Use a vehicle to get your pet to a new city using ground transport. Regardless of your trip’s duration, ground transport is affordable, safe, and efficient. Both large and small dogs can benefit from ground transport, and this transport type is an excellent option for people traveling with multiple pets.

Choose to drive your pets yourself or hire a pet transportation service to help. Utilizing a pet transportation service is an excellent way to streamline logistics and take the guesswork out of transporting your pet.

Pet Transportation Services

Travel logistics can be tricky, especially with the chaos of a move or vacation to a new city. A pet transportation service can accompany your pet through a flight or drive your pet to a new city. Pet transportation services are affordable and reliable, with safe, certified, and passionate transporters.

CitizenShipper is an online platform that unites a community of pet lovers. Listing your transport needs on the platform is always free of charge. Connect with passionate pet transporters, finalize your transport details, and pay a small fee to CitizenShipper. Remain in contact with your transporter and pet throughout the trip, and reunite with your pet upon arrival in your new city. The process is fast, safe, and straightforward.

Tips to Move Your Pet Safely

Keeping your pet safe through long-distance transport is of the utmost importance. Taking steps to prepare for your trip ahead of time can help keep your pet safe and healthy, even when trekking across the country.

  • Veterinarian – Schedule an appointment to ensure your dog is healthy enough to travel, even for long distances. Your vet will perform a wellness exam, administer necessary vaccinations and check for certain infections or parasites. The state you’re entering may require a CVI or Certificate of Veterinary Inspection, which your vet will administer within ten days of your journey. Many airlines and pet transport services require a CVI for transit.
  • Medication – Fill your pet’s prescription medication before your trip. You want to ensure you have plenty of medicine to get your pet through the journey. Your destination may not have a veterinarian office with your pet’s medication available, so it’s best to plan for the worst-case scenario.
  • Carrier – Your pet’s carrier will be its home for several hours or days, depending on your journey. Ensure the carrier is large enough for your pet to sit and turn around comfortably. Your pet’s carrier should be leak-proof and have plenty of ventilation. If traveling by plane, check your airline’s size restrictions to ensure your pet’s carrier can fit under the seat. If traveling in airline cargo, speak with the airline’s customer service representatives about transporting your dog. Some airlines, like Delta, have their own pet crates required for safe air travel.
  • Time Management – When you’re stressed, your dog becomes stressed. Be sure to give yourself plenty of time, regardless if you plan to travel by air or ground. Leave time at the airport to get yourself, and your pet checked in for your flight and through security. If driving, leave plenty of time for additional bathroom breaks and overnight stops along the way.
  • Comforts – Keeping your pet safe also means keeping your pet stress-free. Having the comforts of home with familiar smells can help lower your pet’s stress level. Pack your dog’s favorite blankets, bedding, or toys in its carrier. Having some comforts of home can be soothing, even when surrounded by new sights and smells.


Pet transportation doesn’t have to be confusing if you have the right plan. Whether traveling by airplane, train, or vehicle, set your pet up for success in advance with a plan for safe travel. Let the experts from CitizenShipper help you along the way, promising a safe and happy journey for your pet. Get a free quote for reliable, safe pet transportation!