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Best Pet Shipping Companies (2024)

Updated February 20, 2024

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Moving with your pet is more difficult than you might assume. It gets even more difficult if you have multiple pets. Read the top choices for the best pet shipping companies with our in-depth guide.

Author Icon By Shane Sentelle + 1 other Reviewer Icon Reviewed by Kent Sisneros Updated 02/20/2024

Packing up your pets for a long-distance move is difficult, and it’s even tougher if it’s an international move. If you’re moving internationally, you may not know where to start or what regulations you need to follow. In those cases, a pet shipping service comes in handy. A pet shipping company can safely transport your pet by ground or air to your destination.

We reviewed the best pet shipping companies available, comparing them on cost, services, security, and more. Below are the pet shippers we most recommend.

7 Best Pet Shipping Companies

Based on our research, we find the following companies to be the best pet shipping companies:

  • Air Animal Pet Movers
  • Starwood Animal Transport
  • Airpets International
  • Blue Collar Pet Transport
  • Royal Paws
  • Happy Tails Travel, Inc.
  • uShip

Before having your pet shipped, make sure your pet is protected with affordable pet insurance coverage.

Compare Pet Shipping Companies

Here’s how pet transportation companies compare at a glance.

CompanyGround TransportAir TransportGPS TrackingCost

Air Animal Pet Movers

$2,500 for ground cross-country move

Starwood Animal Transport

$1,800 for cross-country hub-to-hub service, $3,055 for cross-country door-to-door service

Airpets International

Starts at $900 for U.S. moves, starts at $2,000 for international

Blue Collar Pet Transport

$1,600–$2,500 for in-cabin transport, $2,500–$7,500 for international flights

Royal Paws

Requires a consultation

Happy Tails Travel, Inc.

Starts at $300 for transports under 500 miles, starts at $950 for moves over 500 miles


$350–$600 for long-distance, $100–$300 for short

Air Animal Pet Movers

Since 1977, Air Animal Pet Movers has provided reputable international pet transport services. Founded by veterinarians, Air Animals provides excellent vet services in which a USDA-accredited veterinarian examines your pet and verifies the microchip to create a global health certificate. Air Animal offers both air transportation and ground transportation for domestic and international moves.

Pros and Cons

We like the company’s commitment to pet health and vet services, though it averages on the more expensive end of our list.

✔ Provides thorough vet services for health certificates
✔ Offers useful online resources, such as how-to videos
✔ Offers pet customs clearance at all major gateways
✘ Does not offer any pet lodging options
✘ Prices may run higher than some competitors
✘ Doesn’t offer discounts


Air Animal offers a comprehensive selection of pet shipping services. The company offers both shared and private ground transportation services, as well as air transportation options.

Air Animal Services

Here are Air Animal’s services:

  • Shared ground transportation
  • Private van transportation
  • Air transportation
  • Express pet shipments
  • VIP transportation
  • GPS tracking
  • Vet services
  • Concierge services for U.S. Customs clearance


We calculated the cost of shipping an animal between 25–50 pounds (including a kennel) with shared ground transportation going from the eastern United States to the West Coast for a total of $2,500.

State Availability

Air Animals helps move pets in all 50 states, as well as internationally.

Why We Chose Air Animals

Air Animals is a trusted name in the pet shipping industry. It features an accreditation with an A+ rating on the Better Business Bureau.* With its strong background in veterinary services that it still provides today, Air Animals is a great option if you are looking to transport your animal long-distance and you are concerned about the overall health of your furry friend.

*BBB information accurate as of October 2023.

Starwood Animal Transport

Having safely shipped more than 10,000 household pets, Starwood Animal Transport is a great option for both domestic and international pet shipping services. The company works as a member of the International Pet and Animal Transport Association (IPATA) that partners with other businesses to provide comprehensive pet shipping services for door-to-door moves. Starwood offers peace of mind about your pet through its pet protection plans and its 24/7 dispatch teams.

Pros and Cons

✔ Awarded Pet Relocation Company of the Year by the Australian Emigration Awards
✔ Offers comprehensive pet protection plans
✔ Holds more than 50 years of experience in pet shipping
✘ Requires you use one of its 12 travel hubs for cheaper prices
✘ Isn’t BBB accredited
✘ Is difficult to communicate with according to some customer reviews

*BBB information accurate as of October 2023.


Starwood Animal Transport provides a comprehensive selection of pet shipping services, including both ground and air transportation options. Its pet protection plans provide additional security to your pet’s transportation and include options such as up to $2,500 in veterinary expenses, up to $4,000 in emergency representations, and up to $1,500 for trip interruption expenses.

Starwood Animal Transport Services

Below are Starwood Animal Transports Services’ options:

  • Hub to hub transport
  • Hub to door transport
  • Door to hub transport
  • Door to door transport
  • Pet protection plans
  • Flight nanny services
  • Vet services
  • GPS tracking


We obtained two quotes from Starwood Animal Transport Services to move a German shepherd (roughly 70 pounds) from Atlanta to Los Angeles. Using its hub-to-hub service would cost $1,800. You would need to take your German shepherd to Jacksonville, Florida, and pick it up in Los Angeles on your own. The company’s all-inclusive door-to-door service would cost $3,055.

State Availability

Starwood Animal Transport Services can help move your animals in all 50 states. To get the cheapest rates, you can choose to transport between the 12 hubs below:

  • Baltimore
  • Boston
  • Charlotte, North Carolina
  • Dallas
  • Houston
  • Jacksonville, Florida
  • Los Angeles
  • New York City
  • Phoenix
  • San Francisco
  • St. Louis
  • West Palm Beach, Florida

Why We Chose Starwood Animal Transport

Starwood Animal Transport offers competitive rates if you are willing and able to travel to one of its travel hubs. Its pet protection plans offer additional peace of mind when it comes to any roadblocks your move might run into.

Airpets International

Airpets International has been shipping pets for more than 30 years. The company is backed by the USDA, and it ensures that your pets will be on a pet-friendly flight with temperature control. Airpets International also provides various additional services, such as grooming, exercise, and custom crating and kennels.

Pros and Cons

Airpets International’s on-staff veterinarians add peace of mind, but you may have to travel to pick up your pet at its assigned location. 

✔ Uses IATA-approved sky kennels
✔ Features on-staff veterinarians
✔ Offers discounts on military moves
✘ Prices may run higher than competitors
✘ Customer reviews mention long hold times on the phone
✘ Provides limited pickup areas


Airpets International offers a variety of pet shipping services to provide as much comfort for your furry friend as possible. One notable service is the company’s pet lodging services that include spacious, temperature-controlled overnight accommodations. This allows you to have control over when your pet reaches your new home while they remain comfortable.

Airpets International Services

Read over Airpets International’s services here:

  • Pet ground transportation
  • Pet air transportation
  • First-class air transportation
  • Pet lodging
  • Pet transit permits, custom clearance, and quarantine arrangements
  • Cat and dog grooming
  • Veterinary services
  • Crate preparation and training
  • Pet exercise


In order to receive accurate pricing, Airpets International holds a consultation with you and your pet to figure out what services are required for relocation. The company does state that moving a small animal in any of the 48 continental states starts at $900. International moves with small animals start at $2,000.

State Availability

Airpets International is available in every state, as well as internationally.

Why We Chose Airpets International

Airpets International provides plenty of service options to match your animal’s specific needs. The company’s consultation process helps you understand what services your pet may need. Airpets International makes the legal and customs paperwork simple, too, with its backing by the USDA accredited International Boarding & Pet Services Association.

Blue Collar Pet Transport

Blue Collar Pet Transport (BCPT) is another USDA-backed pet shipper. The company provides GPS tracking and assistance with bonds and insurance coverage, as well as assistance with USDA registration. Blue Collar Pet Transport primarily deals with long-distance pet shipping, but it does offer local pet moves in central Florida.

Pros and Cons

Blue Collar’s optional private jet shipping adds extra peace of mind if you can afford it, but the company is already one of the more costly service providers.

✔ Offers private jet pet shipping services
✔ Maintains a regularly updated pet shipping blog
✔ Provides pet purchase fraud protection for customers buying from breeders
✘ Local pet moving limited to Florida
✘ May include long wait times even when shipping one state away due to the way BCPT creates routes
✘ Is one of the more expensive options on our list


BCPT offers a wide selection of pet shipping services for long-distance and international pet moves. Some standout services include its luxury private jet pet shipping service and its user-friendly mobile app.

Blue Collar Pet Transport Services

Here are Blue Collar Pet Transport’s services:

  • Shared ground transportation
  • Private ground transportation
  • Shared air transportation
  • Private air transportation
  • Private jet pet shipping
  • GPS tracking
  • Central Florida pet transport


BCPT creates customized pet shipping packages through a thorough consultation process. Because of this, it does not offer much pricing information online. It does share that its in-cabin air transport runs between $1,600–$2,500 in the 48 contiguous states.

It also shares that flights involving Hawaii, Alaska, Puerto Rico, and other international flights tend to cost between $2,500–$7,500. Your final price is also subject to additional fees based on the airline you use.

State Availability

Blue Collar Pet Transport operates in every state and internationally.

Why We Chose Blue Collar Pet Transport

Blue Collar Pet Transport provides custom pet shipping packages with reputable services. The company provides documentation on all of its experienced handlers, so you can ensure your animal is in good hands. BCPT’s private jet pet service is ideal if you want your pet to be relocated in luxury.

Royal Paws

Royal Paws focuses on private, ground transportation for cats and dogs across the United States. All shipments are door-to-door and feature climate control. Each transport is run by a two-person team, which allows your pet to be walked every four hours. Though the company is accustomed to cats and dogs, it has also transported various other pets such as ducks, birds, mini cows, and turtles.

Pros and Cons

We like that you can get real-time updates with Royal Paws. However, the company is not for those wanting international pet transportation.

✔ Uses climate-controlled, spacious vans
✔ Provides fresh litter boxes for each cat family
✔ Provides real-time updates via Facebook when requested
✘ Only provides U.S. private, single-family pet moves
✘ Does not help arrange the purchase or adoption of any animals
✘ May have issues with communication and providing accurate information, according to some customer reviews


Royal Paws only provides private ground transportation for single-family pets. This means your pet or pets will not share a space with other animals. These moves are conducted with its regularly cleaned, climate-controlled, roomy SUVs or minivans.

Royal Paws Services

Below are Royal Paws’ service options:

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


Royal Paws custom-tailors its services according to a consultation it holds with pet owners and their pets. As such, it does not feature any online pricing information.

State Availability

Royal Paws offers its services in every state except for Hawaii.

Why We Chose Royal Paws

Royal Paws offers excellent private ground transportation pet shipping services. If you are not looking to conduct an adoption, purchase, or bulk shipment then Royal Paws provides high-quality, two-teamed SUVs and minivans for your pet. The company is also backed by the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service and USDA.

Happy Tails Travel, Inc.

Happy Tails Travel offers domestic ground transportation services for cats and dogs, with discounts available for shipping multiple pets. It also acts as a global logistics network that ships to most countries around the world, helping to streamline the customs clearance process.

Pros and Cons

Happy Tails has many positive customer reviews online and provides discounts to help you save, but it only ships cats and dogs and doesn’t offer lodging.

✔ Offers discounts for shipping multiple pets
✔ Helps with pet adoptions
✔ Member of the International Pet and Animal Transport Association
✘ Does not offer lodging options
✘ Only works with cats and dogs
✘ Doesn’t have as user-friendly of a website as competitors


Happy Tails Travel provides a wide variety of services for cats and dogs for both domestic and international moves. The company also works with shelters and veterinarians to provide adoption services including providing kennels, pre-flight conditioning, and other air and ground transportation needs.

Happy Tail Travel, Inc. Services

Here are Happy Tail Travel’s services:

  • Shared ground transportation
  • Private ground transportation
  • Shared air transportation
  • International pet shipping services
  • Military moves
  • GPS tracking
  • Adoption services


Happy Tails Travel provides pricing information on its website including what factors influence your overall cost. The company states that standard ground transportation for one pet costs about $300. It also states that its private ground transportation service for one pet for a move exceeding 500 miles costs between $950–$4,500.

State Availability

Happy Tails Travel provides its services in all 50 states and across the globe.

Why We Chose Happy Tails Travel

Happy Tails Travel is a great option if you are looking to ship multiple pets or looking to adopt an animal. The company provides a variety of discounts for shipping multiple pets, working with rescue shelters, and military families. Happy Tails Travels also provides plenty of information through its website’s resources and GPS tracking.


uShip is an online platform that connects you with available shippers that fit a job’s criteria. Carriers post bids on your job, and you pick the one that best suits your needs. Each posting acts as a binding estimate for your job, so you pay the price you accept. Think of uShip as eBay meets Uber for safe and reliable pet shipping companies.

uShip makes a great addition to any move for specific items or tasks that other moving companies might not handle, such as pet relocation. It offers a user-friendly mobile app through which you accept bids, create schedules, and track your pet’s location via GPS. 

When you post a request to have your pet transported, you should provide its breed, age, and any special needs it may have.

Pros and Cons

We like that uShip offers price control, but its bidding process may confuse some customers.

✔ Provides a useful mobile app for bids, schedules, and GPS tracking
✔ Offers flat-rate pricing through accepted bids
✔ Allows you to control the price and services included

✘ Options may be limited based on your location
✘ Includes an additional fee for its services
✘ Not a dedicated pet shipping company


uShip’s pet shipping services depend on your location and the available shippers that fulfill your pet’s needs. Each pet shipper on uShip is vetted by the company’s ​​Trust & Safety team, so they meet all the guidelines and licenses required.

uShip also offers all-risk, full-value cargo insurance. This means you can be compensated for any losses or damage that may occur during transit. The company’s cargo insurance is backed by Lloyd’s, a global insurance specialist.

uShip Services

Here are the services you can receive through uShip:

  • Ground transportation pet shipping
  • Cargo insurance
  • Moving tips and blog
  • GPS tracking


Though the price is dependent on the bids you receive, uShip states on its website that its average cost is $350–$600 for long-distance moves and $100–$300 for shorter distances. You’re able to see the cost of previous pet shipping jobs on uShip’s cost to ship index. To get started on posting your pet shipping job on uShip, complete this online survey.

State Availability

uShip connects you with pet shippers in all 50 states.

Why We Chose uShip

uShip provides a simple, user-friendly experience for pet shipping with its mobile app. The mobile app allows you to access the online platform at any time to check on bids, accept bids, create or change schedules, and track your pet. uShip also provides you control by allowing you to pick and choose from binding-estimate bids

Learn more: uShip Review

How To Pick a Pet Shipping Company

Pet shipping is a unique experience. Each pet shipping company brings something different to your move and your pets. It is important to take the time to make sure your beloved animal is in good hands. We have listed some of the most important factors to consider when picking a pet shipping company below.

1. Consider Your Pet’s Needs

Your top concerts should be your pet’s safety and well-being. Answering these questions will help you narrow down which pet shippers function well with your pet’s needs.

  • Can your pet travel in a shared space with other animals or does it require private transportation?
  • Does your pet need updated health certificates?
  • How many breaks might it need?
  • Is it better suited for ground transportation or air transportation?

2. Check for USDA Approval

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) is the licensing authority for pet shipping companies. Most companies should mention their approval and backing from the USDA somewhere on their website. If not, this might be a red flag for the company.

3. Speak to a Representative

A good way to get a feel for a pet shipping company is to directly talk to them. Think about how long it might take them to get to you and if their demeanor seems professional or not. During the quote process, take note of whether or not the company is getting an accurate idea of how it should handle your pet. If a company does not seem to care about getting correct details from you, this is a red flag.

4. Read Customer Reviews

Another effective way to get a realistic glimpse into what it is like to use a specific pet shipper is to read customer testimonials about the company through popular reviews sites like the BBB and Yelp. Take note of how previous customers talk about the company’s customer service line and if the company lives up to promises made during the quote and consultation process.

Our Conclusion

All companies on our list have something to offer, but we most recommend Air Animal Pet Movers and Airpets International. Both provide vet services, protection plans, concierge services, and tracking. 

We suggest getting an itemized quote from at least three pet transportation providers before making your decision. We also recommend carefully reading the fine print and ensuring your chosen company is USDA-approved.

FAQ About Pet Shipping

What is the cheapest way to transport a pet?

The cheapest way to transport a pet is with you in your own vehicle. However, if this is not an option, using a pet shipper’s ground transportation services tends to be cheaper than its air transportation options.

Does UPS or FedEx transport pets?

No. UPS and FedEx does not transport pets. You must either use your own vehicle or a properly licensed pet shipping company to transport your pet.

What documents are needed for pets to travel?

According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, you should supply a travel ID tag, medical records, a certificate of veterinary inspection, and an acclimation certificate for air travel (if using an airline).

How do you spot a pet scammer?

Credible pet shipping companies don’t sell pets, and if one reaches out to you saying you only need to pay for shipping, it’s a scam. Social media posts promoting this practice are also a scam. Check that the company name, website, and contact information match the company you want to engage with. Lastly, check for the company’s USDA approval.

Our Rating Methodology

The This Old House Reviews Team backs up our moving company ratings and recommendations with a detailed rating methodology to objectively score each company. We conduct research by reading through the company websites, analyzing customer reviews, conducting consumer surveys, requesting quotes, and speaking with customer representatives. We then score each moving company against our review standards for services, contents coverage, scheduling options, additional benefits and custom service options, and reputation among customers to arrive at a final score on a 5-point rating scale.

To share feedback or ask a question about this article, send a note to our Reviews Team at reviews@thisoldhousereviews.com.