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How to Ship Your Dog (+ What to Look for in Dog Shipping Companies!)

Profile picture of the author - Anna Lengacherby Anna Lengacher

Your dog needs to get from here to there and you’re wondering where to turn.

Perhaps you just adopted a puppy and want to know the best way to get her home.

Or you are making grand vacation plans and you’re looking for ways to take your dog along.

Perhaps a friend just adopted your pal and you need to get her to her new home.


Whatever the case, thanks to a variety of transport options, today it is easier than ever to get your dog safely to his or her final destination.


It today’s post, we are talking about all things related to transporting your dog or puppy.  You’ll learn the cost associated with dog shipping, the different modes available, things to consider before shipping your dog, and so much more.

If you are looking to personally ship your pal, you’ll learn how to set up a flight, get a proper carrier, and what to provide alongside your pet while traveling.

Or if this sounds like too much, we’ll direct you to a five-star professional pet transport company and equip you with questions to ask before shipping your dog.

*Heads up: This post may contain affiliate links.  If you buy something through one of these links, you won’t pay a penny more, but we’ll get a small commission.  Thanks!


Why Dog Shipping?

Why would I need to ship my dog, you ask?

Perhaps you are purchasing your very own puppy from a state far away.

Or a friend from another side of the country is wanting to adopt your dog.

Maybe you are wanting to travel together with your furry pal.


While some folks put their pets up for adoption when life calls them to new places, you want to keep your Bowser with you all the way.

So whether you are moving or adopting or putting up for adoption, consider dog shipping to your rescue.

In the next section, you’ll learn how to transport your dog across long distances.

If you recently adopted or purchased a puppy and your puppy’s breeder is taking care of all the shipping details, simply ask the breeder to keep you informed all along your puppy’s journey.


For Dog Owners: How to Transport Your Dog

If you are looking to personally transport your dog, there are two modes available: by land and by air.  Let’s first take a look at what it looks like to transport a pet by land.

Dog being transported by land in a car.

Travel by Car

It sounds simple at first, but the safest way to transport your dog is in your very own personal car.  It’s not all a piece of cake, though.  To better your journey and lower your dog’s stress while traveling, be sure you are doing each of the following.


1. Introduce your dog to the car prior to traveling.  If your pal has never been on a drive before, don’t expect her to suddenly thrive on a ten-hour ride to visit relatives.  Instead, prior to long road trips, take your bowser on short drives around town and through the neighborhood.  This way she can get familiar with the scent in your car as well as learn to feel comfortable while traveling.

Unlike babies, there are no car-seat laws for dogs.  Yet this doesn’t mean that it isn’t safer for a dog to be strapped in while moving.  You’re safer when strapped in, your baby is safer in the car seat, so common sense says your dog will also be safer when she’s strapped in too, whether she likes it or not.

So before you pack your bags and hit the road, consider getting a special seat belt to keep your dog safe while traveling.

Here is our favorite dog seat belt.  It’s simply a dog harness that lets you strap your bowser safely into your car while your driving.  It has a fully adjustable strap, sturdy swivel clips, and durable metal buckles.  When you’re planning your next road trip, consider this baby a must.

Or here’s another fantastic option.  It’s a chest harness with breathable fabric, plus it’s easy to use and fully adjustable.  What’s not to love about it?

2. Plan time to exercise.

Be sure to plan for extra stops when Fido is along.

No matter how much your furry pal likes to travel, she will still need time to stretch and relax throughout your journey.

Not to mention stopping to relieve herself is always a must.

So especially if you are accustomed to traveling alone, be patient with yourself as your road trips stretch into a bit longer than before.

Also, during your stops always keep your dog on a leash when outside your car.  This way you will not need to worry about her escaping should she appear scared by new noises and surroundings.


3. Clearly identify your dog. 

Include an ID tag on your dog’s collar that includes her name, your name and phone number, and any emergency contact (this could include someone at your destination).

In addition, you might consider microchipping your dog for further identification.

Keep a current photo of your dog with you so if calamity strikes and your dog escapes, you’ll be better equipped to spread the word and find where she is.

Plus, remember to pack any medical records and keep them handy as well, just in case you need to make an emergency visit to the vet.

Lastly, never leave your dog alone in the car.  Temperatures can change surprisingly quickly when a vehicle is not running.

Instead, when you make necessary stops, look for pet-friendly places to visit so your dog can join you and grab a bit of exercise on the side.


Travel by Air

Dog with hat and tie in suitcase ready to travel.In addition to traveling by land, a second way to ensure your pet arrives on time is by air.

When traveling by air, there are several options available for dogs and puppies.


1. In the Airplane Cabin 

If you are flying together, small dogs are actually allowed in the cabin of an airplane.

In order to qualify for cabin occupancy, dogs typically need to weigh less than twenty pounds as well as be able to fit underneath the seat in front of you.

Do be aware that you may need to pay an extra fee ranging anywhere from approx. $50 – $125.

You’ll also want to make the airline aware that you plan to travel with your dog and inquire what their pet-specific policies entail.


2. Same Airplane but as Cargo 

If your dog does not meet airline requirements for joining you in the cabin, you aren’t required to leave her behind.

Instead, she is still able to join you; she’ll just need to travel in the cargo section instead.

Before snagging the next cheap flight though, first, take into consideration local weather.

Because the cargo area does not include heating or air conditioning, avoid flying in extreme temperatures.

The best times to fly are during Spring and Fall.

If you must fly during the summer, try booking an early morning or late evening flight.

Or if the winter is when you intend to travel, then snag a ticket during the warmest part of the afternoon.


Always before checking your fur-pal in, be sure to include a dog tag with your name and information.

Also clearly label your dog’s carrier too.  Include your final destination, your name, address, and phone number, along with your personal e-mail address.


3. Different Airplane in Cargo Area 

If you do not intend to accompany your dog, this third option maybe your best option.

As mentioned earlier, avoid shipping your dog in extreme temperatures.

Also, note that the price tag is typically higher to ship a dog alone.

Label your dog’s carrier well, and include a bit of water to enjoy during travel.


Hire a Professional Dog Shipping Service

An alternative to shipping the dog yourself is to hire a professional dog shipping service.

Five-star dog shipping companies are knowledgeable about the easiest and safest travel experiences for pets.

They also clearly understand the value of your pet along with the best ways to treat a dog during travel.

When choosing which service to go with, always look for a five-star company that will handle your dog with care.


Among other options, there are numerous ground shipping companies that offer excellent door-to-door service.

However, before you hire the first company to pop into your Google browser, you’ll want to note a few things:

  • Group Transport.  Some companies opt for group transport in which your dog is expected to travel with other live animals.
  • Private Transport.  Often more expensive, private transport companies will transport your dog alone in either a truck or van.

Additional questions you’ll want to ask your ground-shipping company include:

  • How many stops will be made?  Added stops can quickly add unnecessary stress to animals.  Look for a company that limits its stops to as few as possible.
  • Will your dog be in a climate-controlled environment? Learn what type of ventilation is expected and how the temperature is managed.
  • Is exercise provided?  Exercise is a must for dogs during travel.  Be sure the shipping company you choose provides adequate exercise throughout the journey.
  • What type of carrier is provided, if any?  Inquire whose responsibility it is to provide a comfortable carrier for your dog during travel.  If the company is providing the carrier, double-check that it is large enough for your dog.
  • What is the feeding schedule?  Discover what your dog will be fed, along with when and how feedings occur.  To decrease doggy stress, consider including your dog’s personal food so she can enjoy food that is familiar.

One company we recommend for both air and ground shipping is Animal Transportation Worldwide.

Transport your dogs with a professional dog shipping company.

This company is happy to either assist you or do it all for you if you prefer.  They’ll book your puppy a flight, assist you at the airport, guide you through required paperwork, and even transport your pup to and from the airport if needed.


For Dog Breeders: How to Ship Your Puppies

Again you can ship via either land or by air.

Let’s first talk about air travel.


Dog Shipping Via Air

You have a cute little puppy who is ready to go home and there’s a family from the other side of the country who wants to welcome him/her home.

Now how to get the puppy from your home to theirs.

Here’s all you need to know to make puppy travel as easy and stress-free as possible.


9 Steps to shipping a dog by air infographic

1. Get info from the buyer. 

Confirm with the buyer their full name, address, and phone number.


2. Set up an appointment with your local vet. 

Before shipping your dog, you will need to first get a health certificate from your local veterinarian.  However, you’ll need to wait until your puppy is at least eight weeks old.  You’ll also need to get the health certificate within ten days of when your puppy will be flying.  This way the airlines can confirm that your puppy is healthy enough to fly as well as up-to-date with appropriate vaccines.

(Bonus: remember this health certificate when taking your puppy to the airport.)


3. Order a flight ticket for your puppy. 

You can do this in several ways.  You can either contact an airline directly or work with an agent who specializes in lining up flights for pets.

Plan to purchase a ticket for your puppy anywhere from several days to one week in advance.

Also, be sure to book direct flights for your puppy’s greatest comfort.

In addition to purchasing a ticket, contact the airline which you plan to ship with and enquire about specific guidelines they have pertaining to dogs.

Learn which accommodations are required by the airline, as well as what they will provide for your dog while in transit.


4. Get a suitable pet carrier. 

Again, learn from the airline what type of carrier you will need to meet their standards.

You’ll also want to make sure the carrier is both large enough for your pet to turn around easily, as well as be at least a few inches above your dog’s head.

Look for a crate that is well ventilated and be intentional about making it especially comfortable for your puppy during travel.

You could consider adding a bed pad or a cozy blanket.  Or you might line the bottom of the carrier with newspaper or carpeting to increase puppy comfort.

To purchase a pet carrier, you can search at your local pet store or at a nearby Walmart.

Alternatively, we love these carriers that you can get delivered right to your door.

5. Prepare your puppy.

To help ease all the change your puppy will encounter during his/her move, acclimate your puppy to the carrier prior to ever needing to fly.

Consider putting the puppy in the carrier for an hour each day prior to flying.

In addition, prior to leaving for the airport, give the puppy a bath so she is clean and smelling good.

Once the day arrives to ship your puppy, decrease the amount of food you feed her to help keep motion sickness at bay during the flight.


6. Label your puppy’s collar.  

On your dog’s collar, include the flight information, your contact information, and relevant health info.

This way should calamity strike and your puppy escapes, it will be much easier to find your fur-ball and be reunited again.


7. Provide water during your puppy’s flight. 

While you’ll want to avoid feeding your puppy during the flight to avoid air sickness, always include water during your puppy’s travels.

You can affix a water dish with zip ties to keep it from dumping over.  In addition, consider putting ice cubes in your puppy’s dish so your puppy can enjoy freshwater throughout the flight without it sloshing about.

In case of delay or emergency, attach a bag of doggy food to the outside of your puppy’s crate.


8. Arrive at the airport early. 

Because airlines restrict the number of pets permitted on each flight, be sure to arrive at the airport early with your little pupper.

It’s a first-come, first-serve basis so be sure to always arrive ahead of schedule.


9. Be respectful when dropping off your puppy. 

We understand how frustrating it can be to have plans suddenly change.

However, when it comes to shipping a cute little puppy, being flexible is key.

You might encounter flight delays due to unpleasant weather.  Temperatures could drop too low or rise too high.

The airplane may encounter maintenance issues, and the list goes on.


In such cases, you may simply need to change your puppy’s ticket and try again a few days later.

Each airline is different and has its own set of rules and regulations.

So always, be respectful and choose to be flexible.


Dog Shipping Via Land

In addition to flight, land is another option for getting your puppy to his/her new home.

Again you’ll need a health certificate for your puppy.

Also, search for a reliable animal transport company.

Look for a company with good reviews.  Or you might ask your local veterinarian for recommendations.


Dog Shipping FAQ

How much does it cost to ship a dog?

The price to ship a dog depends on distance traveled, a dog’s size, and whether a dog is transported by air or land.  Prices typically vary between $125 – $500.


Can I send my dog on a plane alone?

Yes.  Your dog will travel as cargo so avoid traveling in extreme temperatures.  Also, arrive early at the airport as space is limited, and contact your airline for dog-related policies.


Can you ship a dog UPS?

Yes.  Although UPS has agreed to only ship live dogs who are guaranteed next day delivery.  In addition, UPS will not ship dogs on a Friday or before holidays.


Can you ship a dog through FedEx?

No.  FedEx does not transport live puppies or dogs.  FedEx will not handle live-animal shipments as they have agreed to never transport live household pets.


How can I transport my dog to another state?

Dogs can be transported by either land or air.  While it may feel stressful for you, five-star professional animal transport companies are skilled in safely transporting pets every day.


Can my pet fly without me?

Yes.  However, your dog will be transported as cargo so you’ll want to avoid flying in extreme temperatures.  In addition, check the airline’s policies to learn any pet-related regulations.


That’s all for today.  All the best as you get your puppy safely home!

Until next time,

VIP Puppies


P.S.  If you are looking for a new puppy to bring home, see our current selection of puppies for sale here.  Many of our breeders are skilled in dog shipping and are passionate about getting your puppy safely home.



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Profile picture of the author - Anna LengacherAs the Editor in Chief, Anna Lengacher helps dog lovers learn the ropes of finding, raising, and caring for their dogs so they can enjoy many happy memories together.



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