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Golden retriever in a travel crate

The essentials

  • If you can drive, it’s a cheaper option — Flying with your pet is sure to be more expensive than a road trip with your furry friend.
  • Make sure your pet has its papers — Especially if traveling internationally, pets often need a health certification in addition to their vaccination records.
  • Watch out for scam companies — Ensure your pet transportation company is recognized by the United States Department of Agriculture. This is a sign the company is reputable.

When pet parents are planning on a big move or trip, we want to make sure our furry friends are as safe and comfortable as possible. Sometimes because of our pet’s size or other circumstances, they aren’t able to be at our side for the journey. In those situations, we want to make sure there’s a pet transportation service people can trust.

Unfortunately, many unscrupulous pet transportation companies don’t have your or your pet’s best interests at heart. We here at betterpet take your best buddy’s safety and comfort very seriously. We’ve researched the very best pet transportation services to help make your and your pet’s move safe and low stress.

Best overall: Airpets International

Airpets International logo

Why we chose Airpets International

Airpets International offers both domestic and international travel options to customers. They’re a top pet shipping company and have excellent customer reviews.

Key specs for Airpets International

Here are the things to know when considering Airpets International:

  • Cost: $1000 – $2000. Domestic costs will be closer to $1000 while international costs are closer to $2000
  • Service area: National and international
  • Transport type: Air or ground
  • Additional services: Veterinary services, at-home pickup, pet boarding and exercise, grooming

Pros and cons of Airpets International

Pros Cons
✓ Ground or air transport ✕ More expensive than some other options
✓ Domestic or international transport
✓ 24/7 nanny services
✓ Lodging available for pets

Best for multiple pets: Happy Tails Travel, Inc.

Happy Tails Travel Inc. logo

Why we chose Happy Tails Travel, Inc.

In addition to being one of the more reasonably priced pet shipping companies, Happy Tails is also a great option for multiple pets, as the company offers discounts when shipping multiple pets. They also work with pet parents to find the best travel routes to save the customer money.

Key specs for Happy Tails Travel, Inc.

Here are the things to know when considering Happy Tails Travel, Inc.:

  • Cost: Prices start at $775 and go up to $1900. The price is charged per pet, and ground transportation is cheaper than air transport.
  • Service area: National and international
  • Transport type: Air or ground
  • Additional services: tracking, luxury care, medications

Pros and cons of Happy Tails Travel, Inc.

Pros Cons
✓ Consults on all travel documentation needed for pets ✕ No onboard staff watching pets during flight
✓ Most reasonably priced

Best ground transportation: Royal Paws

Royal Paws logo

Why we chose Royal Paws

Royal Paws is one of the most personable services for pet transportation. They pick up your pet at your door and take them to their destination. Your pet is always with a vetted attendant and never alone during their travels.

Key specs for Royal Paws

Here are the things to know when considering Royal Paws:

  • Cost: Customers must get a direct quote for services, so cost varies
  • Service area: National
  • Transport type: Ground
  • Additional services: Also handles transportation for livestock or exotic pets

Pros and cons of Royal Paws

Pros Cons
✓ 24/7 pet nanny services from pickup to drop off at destination ✕ No international services
✓ Licensed by United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) ✕ Customers need to be wary of scam businesses posing as Royal Paws
✓ Climate controlled vehicles ✕ Cost information not available on website

Best international: Air Animal

Air Animal Pet Movers logo

Why we chose Air Animal

Air Animal has fantastic customer service. Founded by a veterinarian, Air Animal has been in business for over 40 years. They also provide lots of tracking information and updates on your pet, so you can rest assured your furry friend is safe during travel.

Key specs for Air Animal

Here are the things to know when considering Air Animal:

  • Cost: Air Animal has a tiered packaging system per pet. Prices start at $1750 for a basic option but can go all the way up to $8,895
  • Service area: National and international
  • Transport type: Air
  • Additional services: VIP luxury care, customs, and pet health certificate services

Pros and cons of Air Animal

Pros Cons
✓ Tiered packages to fit your budget ✕ On the pricier side
✓ Pet nanny services available ✕ Only the more expensive packages include pets traveling with a pet nanny
✓ Consultations for international travel and pet documents needed

Best luxury full-service care: Animals Away

Animals Away logo

Why we chose Animals Away

In business for almost 20 years, Animals Away is a full-service pet transportation business. They will book flights, arrange all pet documents, and take care of all logistics for the customer. Their ground transportation is limited to the United States northeast, but air travel services are available worldwide.

Key specs for Animals Away

Here are the things to know when considering Animals Away:

  • Cost: Must contact company directly for a price quote
  • Service area: Regional ground transportation, national and international air transportation
  • Transport type: Air or ground
  • Additional services: Tracking, luxury care, medications

Pros and cons of Animals Away

Pros Cons
✓ USDA and International Pet and Animal Transportation Association (IPATA) licensed ✕ Pricing information not available on their website
✓ Takes care of all booking and document gathering for pet parents ✕ No pet nanny services

Best tracking information: Blue Collar Pet Transport

Blue Collar Pet Transport logo

Why we chose Blue Collar Pet Transport

Blue Collar Pet Transport is licensed by the USDA. They offer either ground or air transportation and serve the United States or Canada. One of the coolest features Blue Collar offers is a proactive tracking system for your pet. You can keep track of your pet throughout their journey and even get photos of your pet if you opt for a private jet package. All pet handlers are also thoroughly trained and undergo extensive background checks, so customers know their pet is safe and secure.

Key specs for Blue Collar Pet Transport

Here are the things to know when considering Blue Collar Pet Transport:

  • Cost: Prices must be checked by customer directly
  • Service area: United States and Canada
  • Transport type: Air and ground
  • Additional services: Tracking, private jet accommodations

Pros and cons of Blue Collar Pet Transport

Pros Cons
✓ Last-minute scheduling (with an added fee) ✕ Pricing information is not clear on website
✓ Background checks for all employees
✓ Thorough pet tracking during travel

Side-by-side comparison of best pet transportation services

There’s a lot of information to sift through between different pet shipping companies. We at betterpet have made it easier by providing a side-by-side comparison chart to help pet owners make an informed decision and experience peace of mind.

Company Transportation Type Domestic or International Additional Services Minimum Cost
Airpets International Ground or air Both Veterinarian services, custom crates, grooming and exercise $1000
Happy Tails Travel, Inc. Private ground or air Both Internal purchase of carriers, personal pickup and delivery, and private arrangement of boarding or grooming $775
Royal Paws Private ground Domestic Transportation offered for alternative animals like livestock or exotic pets Varies
Air Animal Shared ground or air Both Lots of tracking updates, home pickup and drop-off, health reviews $1750
Animals Away Regional ground or air Both Pet travel consulting, customs clearance Must contact company for pricing
Blue Collar Pet Transport Private or shared ground or air, or private jet North America Luxury care and private jet, consistent pet tracking Varies

How to choose the best pet transportation service

Many pet transport companies have similar services and costs. It can be tricky to figure out which is the best business for you and your pets. We’ve highlighted some strategies to help pin down the best service to choose.

Evaluate customer reviews

A customer’s experience with a business service can tell pet owners a lot about the business. A large number of positive reviews gives potential customers a solid overview of what they can expect from the service. Likewise, a large number of negative reviews may be a sign to stay from the company. When it comes to our pets, they deserve only the best. Look for companies that have a lot of positive and recent reviews.

Mode of transportation

Depending on where you’re going will largely factor into how your pet’s going to travel. An overseas or trans-continental move will more likely require air transportation. Traveling across the United States, you may opt for a ground transportation service. Pet owners can also choose services that will ship their dog or cat privately, while other businesses ship several pets at once.

Your pet’s needs

Different pets have different needs, whether it’s for medical reasons, your pet’s personality, or their stage of life. Puppies will require constant, round the clock attention and care. Older pets that require medication may need consistent access to veterinary treatment. If your pet is prone to anxiety, they also will have special needs specific to them to help prevent stress. Some businesses have 24/7 pet nannies who stay with your pet, and others don’t require crating to allow pets to get more exercise.


To ensure your dog or cat is getting the absolute best care possible, look for companies certified by APHIS (Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service). Pet transportation services with licenses from APHIS go through a thorough screening process. In order to be licensed, they must prove to have highly skilled handlers and comply with a high standard of safety protocols. A reputable company should also be certified by the United States Department of Agriculture. The USDA also has high standards for the proper care of animals.

Being separated from our pets during a big move can be very stressful for us and our furry friends. We want to make sure they get the best care and attention possible and know they’re in trusted hands. With a little research, pet owners can find the right pet transportation service for them.

Frequently asked questions

Why is pet relocation so expensive?

The cost of pet relocation usually is so high because of the airfare costs. There are liabilities with airlines carrying live animals. Also, the 24/7 care and attention pets receive from transport services adds to the high cost.

Is uShip safe for pets?

While uShip does offer pet transportation services, we don’t recommend them. The business is operated via independent carriers who aren’t vetted for their abilities to care for your furry family members.

What should I consider when choosing the best pet transportation service?

There are lots of things to consider when choosing a transportation service. Health and safety measures, the company’s reviews and reputation, cost of services, and the level of services provided to keep your pet comfy.

How do pet transportation services ensure the safety and well-being of my pet during transit?

A trusted and reputable service will ensure the safety of your pet through multiple measures, even when transporting them long distances. Both dog carriers and cat carriers should be secure, comfortable, and well-ventilated, and employees of the service trained and able to provide care to the animals at all times. Your pet should always be monitored and have access to clean water and food.

What are the procedures if my pet needs medical attention during transportation?

It depends on the transport company, so it’s best to look into each transportation service before booking. Some businesses have on-call veterinarians, while others have drivers plan veterinarians stops along their travel routes.