Shipping Pets Across Country

moving two dogs across the country

Relocating across the country with your pet means examining available options and making the right choice for your four-legged family member. Here is our new program, The Ulitmate DIY Guide, for moving your pet across the United States

This can be an overwhelming experience, especially if shipping pets across the country is new to you. After learning more about pet-friendly airlines and pet travel best practices, you may find air travel the best and most streamlined option.

When flying with a pet-friendly airline and with the approval of your vet, pet travel by air is a safe option, and it’s the method preferred by many pet travelers -- and by PetRelocation.

Are you ready to move your dog or your cat across the country? Read on to learn more about the rules and why air travel may be your best option.

Rules and Requirements for Pet Travel Within the United States

If you are moving from one state to another within the United States (excluding Hawaii), you’ll need the following:

  • Microchip (recommended but not required)
  • Current Rabies Vaccine (recommended but not required)
  • Fit to Fly Health Certificate issued within 10 days (in the US, this is known as the APHIS 7001 form)

If you’re traveling to Hawaii, view the rules here.

Using Pet Ground Transport Services

If you’re planning to move within the United States, you may encounter significant obstacles in booking a flight for your pet. Recent changes in airline requirements have made it more difficult to fly large dogs and snub-nosed breeds, especially within the continental US. We've helped many pet owners navigate this by partnering with reliable ground transportation providers specializing in moving pets. While it's typically more expensive than flying, it may be the only option feasible for your pets (if you cannot drive them yourself).

Information on pet-friendly hotels:

  • If you're traveling long-distance with your pet, you may need to stay in a hotel overnight. Many hotels have pet-friendly policies, but it's important to research in advance to avoid surprises. Look for hotels that offer pet amenities such as designated pet areas, pet beds, or food and water bowls. Ask about any weight limits, breed restrictions, or additional fees. Some hotel chains that are known for being pet-friendly include La Quinta, Kimpton Hotels, and Motel 6.

Stuck deciding how you should proceed? Don't fret! We've assembled a ground transportation guide to answer some commonly asked questions. And you can always contact us with questions or concerns about the process!

Tips for preparing your pet for air travel:

  • When preparing your pet for air travel, ensuring they feel comfortable and safe in their travel crate or carrier is important. A few weeks before the trip, start getting your pet accustomed to spending time in their crate by placing treats or toys inside and rewarding them for going in. You can also gradually increase their time in the crate each day. On the day of the flight, ensure your pet has plenty of water and has gone to the bathroom before being placed in the crate. 

  • Moving can be stressful for pets, and it's important to take steps to keep them safe throughout the process. Ensure your pet wears a collar with up-to-date identification tags, and consider microchipping them as an extra precaution. Keep your pet on a leash or in a carrier, and avoid leaving them alone in a vehicle. If you're driving, make frequent stops to allow your pet to stretch their legs and go to the bathroom. Offer plenty of water and treats to keep them hydrated and comfortable.

  • Moving with a pet can be overwhelming, but many resources are available to help make the process easier. Check out the USDA's pet travel website for information on pet travel requirements and regulations

Have questions about your pet’s travel across the United States? Learn more about PetRelocation’s safe, door-to-door services.

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