Shipping Pets Across Country

Relocating across the country with your pet means examining the various options available and making the right choice for your four-legged family member.

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

Getting ready to move your dog across country or your cat across country? Read on to find out more about the rules and learn 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.


Why You May Want to Reconsider Using Pet Ground Transport Services

If you’re planning to move within the United States, is it really necessary for your pet to fly? Wouldn’t it be easier and safer just to drive?

Though many people seek out pet ground transport when preparing for a move across the country, after a little research you may find this option less than ideal for the following the reasons:

It may be more stressful for your pet

Flying across the country only takes a few hours, but driving can take two days or more once rest stops and traffic are factored in. Think about which experience your pet would prefer -- being in the car for over 24 hours or hopping on a flight and being home later in the day.

It may be more expensive

Since driving takes longer, ground transport services tend to be more expensive due to the time and labor involved. Hiring a driver and factoring in gas and possible hotel fees makes this a significantly more expensive than the more streamlined event of shipping pets across the country by air.

It may not be safer

Though many pet owners initially feel nervous about the prospect of flying pets via cargo, the data shows it’s quite safe, especially when you choose a pet friendly airline. Driving is a longer process with more complexity (rest stops, overnight stays, etc.) and more opportunity for uncertainty.

Of course there are a few exceptions. If your pet is a snub-nosed breed they may not be able to fly and ground transport might be your only option. In this case, check Ipata.org to find a reputable ground transport agent.

After considering these points, it becomes easier to see why many pet owners decide to ship their pet across country by air rather than hire ground transportation.


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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