Happy dog owner posing with his pet during moving

The Best Pet Shipping Companies of 2022

By Sarah Horvath

If you’ve ever taken a vacation away from your pet, you probably left them with a friend or for a stay at the local kennel, as pets can be notoriously difficult to travel with. Unfortunately, these aren’t viable options if you’re moving across the country. It’s often necessary to schedule services with a pet shipping company when you’re flying to the new area where you’ll call home due to airline boarding policies. Pet shipping companies operate throughout the United States, specializing in identifying your pet’s needs and meeting them while you travel stress-free.  

With so many pet transportation companies offering service, how can you possibly tell which company is best for your needs? Choosing the right pet shipping company can be crucial for animals who have never flown before or who have separation anxiety. Thankfully, there are a number of reputable pet travel service providers to help your furry friend get into their new home safely. From the bustling streets of New York City to the gorgeous beaches of Los Angeles, we’re taking a look at some of the best pet transportation options for moving across the country. 

The 7 Best Pet Shipping Companies 

Our top recommended pet shipping companies of 2022:

Compare The Best Pet Shipping Companies

Company Website Our Take BBB Rating Cost rating
uShip Click here Best Pricing Control A+ $-$$$$
Airpets International  Click here Best for Pet Comfort A+ $$$-$$$$
Happy Tails Travel Click here Best for Military Members A+ $$
Air Animal Pet Movers Click here Best for Pet Health A+ $$-$$$
Royal Paws Click here Best for Personalized Moves A+ $$$

uShip: Best Pricing Control

Why We Recommend uShip

No matter if you’re looking to move your prize-winning horse or your rescued kitten, uShip can help you find an option that’s right for your pet through its marketplace style platform. uShip acts as a connection service between families and moving companies, allowing you to name your price and connect with moving companies in your area. Simply create a uShip listing detailing your and your pet’s needs when traveling, name a price that you’re comfortable paying, and allow moving companies to apply for your job. Not sure how much to charge? You can also request that movers submit their own bids for your job as well. 

As you receive quotes from moving companies near you, you can compare rates and connect with professionals entirely through uShip’s platform. You can also vet movers on their uShip profile, reviewing previous customer testimonials and reviews before you book. uShip makes it easy to find affordable, reliable pet transportation, no matter where you’re headed. 

Pros & Cons of uShip

Pros  Cons
  • A+ BBB rating and BBB accredited 
  • Allows you to name your own price on your move or collect quotes
  • GPS tracking options available
  • Can list any type of pet for moving 
  • uShip is not responsible for providing the services you schedule on the platform, instead acting only as a marketplace

Services Offered

uShip is not a pet shipping company itself, and it does not actually provide the services you’ll schedule through its website. Instead, the marketplace-style platform allows you to connect with movers in your area that have the expertise necessary when moving your pet. You can currently schedule shipping services for any of the following on uShip:

  • Full moving processes for both homes and apartments
  • Shipping for vehicles (cars, RVs, motorcycles, and trailers)
  • Shipping for car parts and equipment
  • Shipping for individual items of furniture and household appliances
  • Shipping for livestock, cats, and dogs
  • Transportation services for heavy equipment
  • Freighting services for both a truckload shipment and a partial truckload shipment

uShip is able to schedule transportation for a wide range of animals, including livestock. However, individual moving companies may refuse jobs at their discretion. Be sure to collect multiple quotes from competing providers before booking your moving services. 

How Much Does uShip Cost?

One of the reasons why we recommend uShip is that you have complete control over the pricing that you pay. If you cannot reach a mutually beneficial price point with one mover, you can instantly begin reviewing competing companies. While uShip may provide you with recommended pricing on your move, it’s important to know your budget when creating your listing. 

State Availability: 50 States

Airpets International: Best for Pet Comfort

Why We Recommend Airpets International

Airpets International specializes in both domestic and international pet shipping. They offer services to destinations in every single state and to any and every country that allows pets to enter. Although Airpets International may be more expensive than other pet shipping companies, you can rest assured that your furry friend will be taken care of in comfort all throughout each step of the journey. Within the U.S., Airpets can transport your beloved pet by air or over land. If you choose to pay for a flight for your pet, they will transport your pet from airport to airport or door to door; it’s up to you. If you opt for a road trip for your pet, they will provide door-to-door service. Airpets is a member of the International Pet and Animal Transportation Association (IPATA), revealing its commitment to your pet’s safety and health. 

Airpets also offers pet nanny services, which is when a competent and attentive member of staff will accompany your pet in the airplane cabin where the other passengers travel. Airpets International makes sure that your pet can travel in climate-controlled conditions and have access to the same air that the other passengers on the plane breathe. Your pet will be safe and secure in its own crate, providing a more relaxed atmosphere for travel. This add-on service can greatly improve your pet’s mood while flying. 

Pros & Cons of Airpets International

Pros Cons
  • Offer safe and secure lodging for your pet if layovers or any delays in the trip occur
  • Accommodations before or after the trip in climate-controlled, comfy environment
  • Services to virtually every country
  • Work with all breeds of all sizes and has custom crating
  • May be pricier than competitors
  • Limited pickup area

Services Offered

Airpets International can currently provide moving services for the following types of pets: 

  • Sugar gliders
  • Cats
  • Dogs 
  • Guinea pigs 
  • Iguanas
  • Lizards and geckos 
  • Bearded dragons
  • Rabbits 
  • Skunks (descented only)
  • Snakes

Airpets International provides both domestic and international animal relocation services.

How Much Does Airpets International Cost?

In our review, we found that a higher than average volume of Airpets International’s previous customers were often unsatisfied with the price of the services that they received. This may indicate that the company is more expensive than its competitors. However, you can’t be 100% sure what you’ll pay until you request a quote from the Airpets team. 

State Availability: AR, CO, LA, NM, OK, TX

Happy Tails Travel: Best for Military Moving

Why We Recommend Happy Tails Travel

Happy Tails Travel, Inc., is a pet shipping company that transports cats and dogs all over the U.S. and internationally. You have the option to choose ground transport or transport by air for domestic transportation. Happy Tails has 27 years of experience in pet relocation, and they pride themselves on being the ones to provide you peace of mind when having to move your pet from state to state or even internationally. They have contacts all throughout the U.S. and in many international locations with pet transport agencies as well as airlines to ensure an easy journey. Happy Tails even provides pet transport to Hawaii, one of the most notoriously difficult pet shipping feats in the world.

Happy Tails offers a very informative pricing chart for different destinations. Members of the armed forces and veterans enjoy advantageous pricing over standard customers, making your pet’s move hundreds of dollars more affordable. Under ordinary circumstances, Happy Tails fills out all international customs forms for your pet and handles every detail of pet shipping to make this experience stress-free for you and your furry family member, like proper vaccinations and medication administration. Happy Tails offers discounts for each additional pet you want to transport after the first pet, which can be ideal for owners of multiple pets.

Pros & Cons of Happy Tails Travel

Pros Cons
  • Newly established focus on restricted cat and dog breeds; breeds barred from airline travel can be shipped using ground transportation
  • Regularly attends the IPATA Conference to stay on top of updates and developments in pet shipping services
  • 100% safety record with pet arrivals
  • Only works with dogs and cats; no other animals

Services Offered

As a professional pet shipping company, Happy Tails prides itself on offering a complete range of transportation services. You can currently book the following processes with your pet moving package: 

  • Professional pet pickup and delivery 
  • Long-distance air or ground transportation 
  • Assistance obtaining travel cages and vet records required and approved for boarding if traveling by air
  • Lodging, if required
  • Medicine administration, if required

Your package from Happy Tails will include all of the tickets and documentation your pet requires to fly–all you need to worry about is transporting your own family to your new home. Happy Tails currently only offers shipping services for dogs and cats. 

How Much Does Happy Tails Cost?

Happy Tails conveniently lists its pricing online, allowing you to get a general idea of what you’ll pay for transportation services. Expenses involved with Happy Tails moving include: 

  • Air travel consultation fee (priced per pet)
  • Ticket fees 
  • Mailed VIP pet packet fee
  • Pet’s airfare (based on weight, breed, and additional factors) 
  • Vet travel packet (provided for moves to Hawaii and internationally)
  • Customs clearance documents (provided for international moves)

Explore pricing using the charts below.

Air travel consultation standard pricing

Destination Cost of first pet Cost of second pet Cost of three or more pets each
Continental United States, Alaska, Puerto Rico $425 $325 $325
Hawaii $500 $400  $400
Continental United States, Alaska, Puerto Rico (round-trip) $800 $600 $600

Air travel consultation military pricing

Destination Cost of first pet Cost of second pet Cost of three or more pets each
Continental United States, Alaska, Puerto Rico $375 $325 $325
Hawaii $450 $400 $400

Other standard fees

Fee Cost per pet
Continental airfare $350 to $1,400
Airfare to Alaska or Puerto Rico $400 to $1,400
Airfare to Hawaii $500 to $1,900
Ticket purchase fee $40 to $90
Mailed VIP pet packet $50+
Vet packet and application (Hawaii trips) $200+
Customs clearance fee (international moves) $850+
Rush, weekend, and holiday fees $200 to $300 (as needed)

State Availability: 50 States

Air Animal Pet Movers: Best for Pet Health

Why We Recommend Air Animal Pet Movers

Because Air Animal Pet Movers was founded by veterinarians, they provide one of the most thorough health checks for your beloved pet prior to your pet’s move. They scan your pet’s microchip, which they use to create a global health certificate for your pet. They offer ground transportation for domestic pet transport. They also offer concierge services for international transport through U.S. Customs.

Air Animal Pet Movers has been in the pet transport business since 1977; they are one of the most reputable companies in the business and they take your pet’s well-being and safety seriously. They also accept a variety of small pets as well as cats and dogs, meaning that services are not exclusive to felines and canines. If your pet has been injured in the past and you’re worried about how well they’ll fly, Air Animal Pet Movers can be a choice that puts your mind at ease. 

Pros & Cons of Air Animal Pet Movers

Pros Cons
  • GPS tracking on ground transportation
  • Option of shared van transportation or private van transportation
  • Over 50 years of experience in veterinary medicine
  • IATA air cargo agency endorsed by over 200 airlines
  • No lodging option available
  • No discounts available

Services Offered

You can currently book the following processes through Air Animal Pet Movers:

  • Domestic transportation services
  • International transportation services
  • Health certificate preparation

Though Air Animal does not specify which pets they cover beyond dogs and cats, their company representatives are happy to help you create a custom package for your pet. 

How Much Does Air Animal Pet Movers Cost?

The price that you’ll pay for your services from Air Animal Pet Movers will depend on:

  • Your destination
  • Your pet’s weight 
  • Where you want your pet to be picked up and dropped off
  • The amount of time Air Animal has to plan and book your flight

Review some sample pricing from Air Animal Pet Movers using the table below before you get your free quote.

Destination Weight of pet Booking type Planning time Average price
Continental US 31 to 65 pounds Shared ground transport 15 to 30 days $3,500
Europe 30 pounds or less Private ground transportation services, residence to residence delivery 15 to 30 days $4,895
Europe 66 pounds or more Airport to airport transportation 60 to 90 days $3,995
Asia 31 to 65 pounds Private residence to residence transport 60 to 90 days $6,195
Australia 31 to 65 pounds Airport to residence transportation 60 to 90 days $9,995

State Availability: 50 States

Royal Paws: Best for Personalized Moves

Why We Recommend Royal Paws

Royal Paws has served the traveling pet owners of the U.S. for over 20 years. They do not offer overseas moves, but they do transport pets all over the United States. Their mission is to dedicate everything they do to the pets we all have in our lives and to provide for them with love and respect. Although their primary transport requests are for dogs and cats, Royal Paws does transport other species. They will do their best to accommodate your travel requests. In the past, Royal Paws has relocated ducks, turtles, and even a mini cow to their new homes.

Royal Paws provides a new, fresh litter box for each cat family. Each transport team is made up of two people so they can walk your pet every four hours or more frequently upon request. Since Royal Paws only does private, single-family pet transport, your pet will not travel with anyone else’s. Each move is individualized for one family’s pet transportation.

Pros & Cons of Royal Paws

Pros Cons
  • Donates a portion of their profits to organizations that help to rehabilitate abused animals and that find homes for homeless pets
  • Climate-controlled, roomy SUVs or vans
  • Luxury vehicle transportation available 
  • Private ground transportation in the U.S. only
  • No pricing available online; each move is individually tailored to your needs, so pricing comes after consultation

Services Offered

Royal Paws currently offers the following services to its customers: 

  • Private dog ground transportation
  • Private cat ground transportation
  • Other private ground pet transportation
  • Updates over the move via Facebook

How Much Does Royal Paws Cost?

Royal Paws focuses on customized pet moving packages, which means that pricing is not available online or through an online quote system. Be sure to contact a Royal Paws representative to learn more about pricing for your specific move.

State Availability: 49 States (service not available in Hawaii)

What To Look For In Pet Shipping Companies

There are more things to look for when it comes to pet shipping companies than you might expect. Unfortunately, there are people out there who pose as reputable movers in order to scam you out of your money, and they even represent themselves as legitimate companies that already exist. What else should you look for to make sure your pet’s safety and needs are taken care of on a long-distance journey? Be sure to take the following into consideration before you book your pet’s move.

Locations and availability: In order to begin the moving process for your pet, you will need to see if any pet transport service works in your area and in the destination you’re headed to. This is usually not a problem because the staff who transports your pet will travel to get the pet and make sure your pet safely heads to the destination. However, many pet transport companies do not move pets to Hawaii, so if that’s your goal, you’ll need to make sure to find one which specifically does this (like Happy Tails Travel). If your destination is overseas, you will have to make sure the service you’re looking at provides international transportation and customs documentation for your pet.

Reviews and reputation. Reading online reviews is a must-do when looking up any type of moving company, but it’s even more imperative when you’re searching for a competent mover for your pet. You need to move a member of your family, after all. Once you’ve chosen one or several companies to compare to see which one fits your needs, you should check out reviews. Customer reviews can be useful, but unless the company replies directly to them if there is a complaint, you’re only hearing one side of the story. It’s best to get reviews from a variety of sources so that you can make an educated decision.

Certifications and registrations: You should always check to see if a pet shipping service you’re interested in using is a member of IPATA, the International Pet and Animal Association. They only allow members who have been thoroughly vetted and confirmed to ethically treat and transport animals. You can visit www.ipata.org to see a list of members of this organization. You should also make sure that if you’re moving your pet domestically or into the U.S. from overseas that the company is registered with and approved by the USDA. They should also have extensive and up-to-date knowledge of international pet moving rules and regulations.

What Costs Are Involved with Pet Shipping 

As we mentioned above, pet shipping, especially internationally, is never an inexpensive undertaking. Ground transport is usually a more affordable option than air transport. Here are a few other things that make pet shipping, especially international pet shipping, so costly.

Customs clearances: In order to enter (or exit) many countries, you must pay a fee for each pet crossing the border. This fee can be upwards of $600-$800 depending on where you are, sometimes even more. If you’re moving with a pet shipping company, they will usually prepare and file customs documentation on your behalf. 

Vet checks: Some pet shippers, like Air Animal Pet Movers, complete health checks on each animal they ship before the trip, and this is included in the overall cost. However, some shippers may not include medical clearance or vet checks in their initial cost and will add that on after you book if your pet requires one.

Rush fees and weekend fees. It is common for companies to charge extra for shipping pets on the weekend for several reasons. The weekends are the busiest time of the week for airlines, so it can be a greater challenge to book a flight for your pet, bringing us to our next point — rush fees. You need to allow a certain amount of time before your move when you book a pet shipper in order to avoid these extra charges. We do know that sometimes life happens and a last-minute move cannot be helped, but if you know you’re moving, plan months in advance to get the best rates on pet shipping services.

Final Thoughts

Shipping a pet internationally or even just across the country can be a dangerous and stressful process. We strongly urge you to consult with a pet shipping company before you plan any major move. The best pet shipment companies will provide you with pricing information well ahead of time, as well as recommend services and other options to reduce your pet’s anxiety before travel.

Pet Shipping FAQs

How much does it cost to ship a pet internationally?

International moving can cost anywhere from around $400 all the way up to $2,000 (and sometimes more), depending on the size of the pet. A small cat can even cost around $900 to ship, and that’s just a charge from the airline without hiring any pet shipping companies. It depends on where you’re going, but moving a pet internationally is never a cheap endeavor.

What breeds do airlines restrict or ban from flying?

Snub-nosed dog breeds have been massively restricted from flying in recent years due to some deaths of these dogs while in air transit. These dog breeds include English bulldogs, Boston terriers, pugs, and French bulldogs. When it comes to cats, Persians are banned under most airlines’ policies.

Is my pet going to ride in the cabin or in cargo?

This truly depends on what the airlines you’re using allow. Some airlines allow cats and dogs and perhaps even other small pets to ride in the cabin with other passengers. However, it is more common for an airline to place them under the main cabin area of an airplane. Many people mistakenly think that their pet is placed into “cargo” with the rest of the plane’s luggage, but there is actually a separate section under the plane that is properly pressurized, temperature-controlled, and oxygenated. This is where your pet will spend the journey on most flights.

What documents do I need to allow my pet to travel?

You will need your pet’s passport, which holds a record of all vaccinations, and it is best to have your pet microchipped so all of your information can be readily accessed. In fact, many airlines will not allow a pet without a microchip to travel. Your pet will need a rabies titer test (a test that checks for proof of rabies vaccination) in many cases. Some airlines also require a certificate of acclimation for air travel so they know your pet can handle flight. You must label your pet’s crate with a travel ID tag and provide a certificate of veterinary inspection. Be mindful that this certificate must be obtained close to the flight date in most circumstances.

Can you ship a pet by itself?

Yes, and it is not uncommon to do so. Airlines have special procedures in place to help provide your pet with a comfortable, pressurized cabin to travel in. If you aren’t also flying to your destination, a pet shipping company can handle all of the caveats of air travel for pets on your behalf. 

House Method Rating Methodology

At House Method, transparency and trust are our most important values for the reader. We’ve done the homework for you and have researched several dozen moving companies so you can have the information you need to make the best choice for your move. 

To make the most of our research, we developed a formula to objectively determine the best moving companies on a 10-point scale based on the following criteria:

  • Moving Services (3.0): Does the company offer international, interstate, or local moving services? Or all three?
  • Additional Services (3.0): Does the company offer additional services such as packing/unpacking or loading/unloading?
  • Insurance Coverage (1.0): What kind of moving insurance coverage does the company offer, such as released value protection or full-value protection?
  • Trailers and Containers (1.0): How many trailer or container sizes does the company offer to customers?
  • Benefits (1.0): What additional perks does the company offer? Some examples: storage, packing, free boxes, moving truck rentals, financing, etc.
  • Scheduling (.5): How are customers able to schedule their move, online, through the phone, or both? What is the ease of the scheduling process?
  • Reputation (.5): What kind of ratings does the company have on popular review sites such as Yelp, the Better Business Bureau, and Trustpilot?

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