Best Pet Transportation Services

Airpets International is the best overall due to its wide range of services

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The 6 Best Pet Transportation Services of 2022

Spruce Pets / Design by Amelia Manley

So, you're planning a move and you need to ship your pet? This certainly adds a level of stress to the overall upheaval of your life. Luckily, there are several reputable pet transportation services that not only move your pet from here to there but also offer additional services to assure his comfort. Consider companies that have a climate-controlled pet cargo area, provide exercise and support for your animal in transit, and even have a veterinarian on staff in case anything goes array.

To take one thing off your relocation to-do list, we've rounded up our choices for the best pet transportation services. Each of these companies guarantees a safe and comfortable ride for your pet to wherever his destination may be.

Best Pet Transportation Services of 2023

Best Overall: Airpets International

Airpets International

Key Specs

  • Minimum cost: $1,000 for a domestic move
  • Transportation type: Air and ground
  • Additional services: Grooming, exercise, custom crates, and veterinary services
  • Domestic or International?: Both

Why We Chose It

Airpets is one of the most reputable pet transportation services available, and they will ship several types of pets domestically or internationally.

Pros & Cons

  • Transports pets domestically and internationally

  • Provides both air and ground transport

  • Pet nanny services available

  • Lodging provided when needed

  • Expensive


Airpets International is one of the most well-known pet transport companies available. Based in Texas, Airpets is backed by USDA certification and has been in business since 2000 and began transporting pets before it opened its doors.

The company ships a wide assortment of animals, like dogs, cats, turtles, and rabbits, and assures your furry friend will always be on a pet-friendly flight with temperature-controlled cargo.

This transportation service also offers add-on options—like grooming, exercise, and custom crates—to give your pet the best experience possible. It has a veterinarian on staff, if needed, and offers ground transportation to and from the airport.

Airpets' prices are based on how far your pet is traveling (domestic or international) and start at $1,000. An international trip may cost you more than $2,000, however.

Best Communication: Air Animal

Air Animal Pet Movers with hot hair balloon illustration

Air Animal

Key Specs

  • Minimum cost: $1,750 for domestic ground transportation
  • Transportation type: Air and shared ground
  • Additional services: Home pickup and drop-off, health reviews, travel updates
  • Domestic or International?: Both

Why We Chose It

Air Animal will consistently monitor the health of your animal while in transit and provide you with regular updates.

Pros & Cons

  • Veterinarian founded

  • Concierge services and U.S. customs clearance offered

  • Offers health exams and international pet health certificates

  • Provides regular feedback on traveling pets

  • Expensive

  • International logistics can be tricky


Air Animal is known for its frequent updates and impeccable customer service, so you can monitor your furry friend from the moment they leave your arms to when they arrive safe and sound.

Founded in 1977 by a veterinarian, Air Animal will transport most domesticated animals. Its customer-friendly website offers videos and tutorials to help prepare you and your pet for the big trip.

Domestically, Air Animal offers various transportation levels, ranging from the most basic “book and fly” option to a VIP service. The basic travel package includes a concierge who books and coordinates the move with an airline carrier. The VIP package includes pickup and drop-off from your home, transfer to a commercial airline, and extensive health reviews.

International pet travel plans start at roughly $1,750 for the basic travel option and go up to $8,895 for the VIP package. When your pet is traveling, you will receive constant updates alerting you to her progress, helping put your mind at ease until you are reunited again.

Best for Multiple Pets: Happy Tails Travel, Inc.

Happy Tails Travel, Inc. Featuring image of a globe with a dog on horseback

Happy Tails Travel, Inc.

Key Specs

  • Minimum cost: $775 and up, depending on airfare
  • Transportation type: Air and private ground
  • Additional services: Private pickup and delivery, purchase of an air-approved pet carrier, and arrangement of boarding or grooming
  • Domestic or International?: Both

Why We Chose It

Happy Tails Travel is one of the most reasonably priced pet transportation services available, and it offers discounts for multiple pets.

Pros & Cons

  • Reasonably priced

  • Offers a mailed VIP pet packet, including all documentation

  • Provides customs clearance

  • Your animal flies alone


Transporting multiple pets can get expensive, but Happy Tails Travel offers a discount for multiple furry friends. Based in Arizona, Happy Tails Travel ships pets to most countries and has a stellar safety record.

If you are traveling domestically, Happy Tails Travel offers ground transportation without breed restrictions, which is a great option for anyone who wants to avoid long-distance air travel. It also gives a discount for military moves.

In addition to travel costs, Happy Tails charges a consulting fee that starts at $300 for ground transportation and $425 for air travel. While the company can typically accommodate last-minute moves, there are additional fees for rush transportation services. That said, Happy Tails Travel is still one of the most affordable options available.

Best for Ground Transportation: Royal Paws

Royal Paws Logo featuring silver filigree and animal silhouettes

Royal Paws

Key Specs

  • Minimum cost: Varies
  • Transportation type: Private ground
  • Additional services: Transportation services for other animals like ducks, birds, mini cows, and turtles
  • Domestic or International?: Domestic

Why We Chose It

Royal Pets offers door-to-door ground service nationwide and assures your pet will never be left unattended.

Pros & Cons

  • USDA certified

  • No sedation required

  • No health certificates or vaccinations required

  • Drinking water always available

  • Scammers have disguised themselves as Royal Paws


While air transportation is safe, some pet owners feel better knowing their pets are not sedated and moving on the ground. Luckily, Royal Paws focuses on private, ground transportation throughout the United States for your cat, dog, or other animals.

The services provide door-to-door pickup and drop-off in an entirely climate-controlled vehicle. Royal Paws will transport pets in your vehicle, too. And, your pet will be routinely walked to reduce stress.

You can opt to crate your pet during this journey or avoid confinement if your pet is well-behaved and experiences anxiety in closed spaces. Pricing varies, but you can request a quote online.

Best for Tracking: Blue Collar Pet Transport

Blue Collar Pet Transport logo featuring blue dog collar and animal silhouettes

Blue Collar Pet Transport

Key Specs

  • Minimum cost: Varies
  • Transportation type: Shared and private ground, air, and private jet
  • Additional services: Pet tracking, private jet transport with luxury care
  • Domestic or International?: North America

Why We Chose It

Blue Collar Pet Transport allows you to track your pet's progress every step of the journey. Plus, you can receive photo updates if you chose to transport via private jet.

Pros & Cons

  • Experienced airplane nannies

  • No cargo transport

  • Accommodates last-minute scheduling

  • Constant updates

  • Ground transport can take longer than quoted


Blue Collar is USDA registered and serves the United States and Canada with premier ground transport (in USDA-approved kennels) or air transportation. Once you book your transportation type, the customer service department helps you set up a tracking system so you can watch your pet throughout its journey. Every pet handler has been thoroughly background checked and screened, so you can be sure your pet is in good hands.

Pricing varies depending on whether you choose shared ride pet transport, private pet transport, or in-cabin air pet transport. Check with the company for details.

It is important to note that while you can typically schedule last-minute rides, availability may change throughout the year, and expect an added fee for expediting this request.

Best Marketplace: CitizenShipper

Citizen Shipper logo in blue with running man icon

Citizen Shipper

Key Specs

  • Minimum cost: Varies
  • Transportation type: Ground
  • Additional services: Varies by driver
  • Domestic or International?: Domestic

Why We Chose It

Citizen Shipper is like an Uber service for shipping your cat or dog. Simply fill out the form to receive bids from professional drivers before choosing the best match.

Pros & Cons

  • Aggregator for pet transporters offering several bids

  • Offers $1,000 in pet protection

  • Available in all 50 states

  • In business since 2009

  • You work with individual drivers instead of a certified company


Citizen Shipper is a website that allows you to gather bids from qualified, professional pet transporters from across the country, so you can find the solution that fits your budget and needs perfectly.

The process begins once you create a listing that includes all of your pet’s details: location, breed, weight, and any restrictions your pet may have, such as crate anxiety. Citizen Shipper then matches you to pre-vetted pet transportation experts and allows you to read through estimated quotes and specifics regarding each option.

All pet transportation professionals on Citizen Shipper have reviews and testimonials, so you can be sure to trust the driver in charge of your pet’s move.

This online marketplace is a great solution for anyone with a tight timeline, or for those who want to shop around for the best price for your pet’s move.

Final Verdict

We chose Airpets as the best pet transportation service due to its solid reputation and the fact that it ships several different types of animals—like dogs, cats, turtles, and rabbits—both domestically and internationally. Airpets provides ground and air transportation and offers add-on services, like grooming, exercise, custom crates, and veterinary care. The company is USDA-certified, and while costly, Airpets assures your pet has the best experience possible.

Compare the Best Pet Transportation Services of 2023

Company Minimum Cost Transportation Type Additional Services Domestic or International?
Best Overall Airpets International  $1000  Air and ground   Grooming, exercise, custom crates, and veterinary services Both
Best Communication Air Animal $1750 Air and shared ground Home pickup and drop-off, health reviews, travel updates Both
Best for Multiple Pets Happy Tails Travel, Inc. $775 Air and private ground Private pickup and delivery, purchase of air-approved pet carrier, and arrangement of boarding or grooming Both
Best for Ground Transportation Royal Paws Varies Private ground Transportation for animals like ducks, birds, mini cows, and turtles Domestic
Best for Tracking Blue Collar Pet Transport Varies Shared and private ground, air, and private jet Pet tracking, private jet transport with luxury care North America
Best Marketplace CitizenShipper Varies Ground Varies by driver Domestic

Guide to Choosing the Best Pet Transportation Service

Pet's Needs

Before selecting a company or a mode of transport, first, take into account the needs of your pet. Is he anxious? Does she have a weak bladder? Is he crate trained? To assure the least amount of stress, choose a company that will cater to these needs. Some companies enlist the help of nannies for air travel, while other ground transportation companies don't require crating. Research each company's offerings to make sure they provide exactly what your pet needs.

Mode of Transport

If you are shipping your pet overseas for an extended vacation or a move, you most definitely will need a company that offers air transport. Some companies use standard airlines to ship animals, whereas others offer private jet transport (for a premium price). Ground transportation may be suitable if you are shipping your pet domestically. And some services provide private transport, while others transport several pets at a time.

USDA Certification

Make sure the company you chose is certified by the USDA. This certification assures the highest standards of practice and also provides guidelines for the proper care and comfort of your pet. Additionally, companies licensed by the APHIS (Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service) need to go through a rigorous screening process to make sure all rules are being followed. APHIS-licensed companies must have skilled handlers and comply with crate and restraint protocols, as well as specific protocols for removing the pet from its shipping enclosure.

Customer Reviews

Reading customer reviews is one the most efficient ways to know you're choosing the right company. Positive and timely reviews should give you a snapshot of recent experiences. Choose a company that boasts rave reviews where customers have gone out of their way to praise everything from customer service to their pet's travel experience, to the handler's communication.

  • How Much Does it Cost to Ship a Pet Across the Country?

    The cost to ship a pet ranges drastically depending on the distance, mode of transportation, and additional services. Small ground trips under 300 miles can range from $200 to $500, whereas air shipping can cost thousands of dollars.

  • How Do I Ship My Dog to Another State?

    The quickest way to ship your pet long distances is on an airplane. Ground travel can take several hours, or days, whereas domestic air travel may only take a few hours, causing your pet less stress. That said, you need to factor in your budget and the specific needs of your pet. Do your research and select a company you feel comfortable with.

  • Is There an Airline for Dogs?

    Yes. Pet Airways is a private airline that flies only pets in the main cabin—not in the cargo space—of the plane. Pets check in at a pet-friendly lounge and are then escorted to their crate and onto the plane with other crated pets. The crates are then secured for takeoff and landing. The airline has its own pilots and onboard attendants who constantly monitor the crated animals.

  • Can You Send a Pet on a Plane by Itself?

    Yes. Most pet-friendly airlines will let you book a one-way, or round-trip ticket, for your dog or cat. Most airlines also have specific compartments for dogs and cats that are temperature and pressure regulated, similar to the main cabin.


We researched several companies before coming up with our list of the best pet transportation services. We included companies that offer domestic ground and domestic and international air service, as well as those with add-on offerings like private pickup and drop-off, grooming, and tracking. We chose less expensive companies that ship multiple pets at once, as well as pricier options that fly pets in private jets. Above all, we made sure the companies we chose were reputable, USDA certified, and have trained handlers or veterinarians on staff.