You just happened to get off the call with that real estate agent. It’s a-go time and the countdown now officially begins. Sure, you got your work cutout for you because moving to a new place can be quite irksome, to say the least. But if you got a four-legged fur ball or a feathery family member, you might find yourself pulling your hair a little more than you’d like.

Understandably, moving with pets comes with an additional dose of stress and anxiety. Even more so when you add an extremely long distance move to the picture, to the point that your only option is having your pet shipped by professionals. You not only need someone who will move them across, but they need to be well equipped to look after your pet’s well-being too.

Fortunately for you, we’ve compiled a list of the best pet shipping companies who are more than capable of winging you with your pursuit of moving your pets safely.

Top 6 Trusted Pet Transportation Companies in the U.S.

Pet Shipping CompanyAir Animal Pet MoversHappy Tails TravelAirPets AmericaAnimals AwayPetRelocationPet Express
LogoAir Animal Pet Movers logoHappy Tails Travel logoAirPets America logoAnimals Away logoPetRelocation logoPet Express logo
Veterinary ServicesYesYesYesNoNoYes
Door-to-door DeliveryYesYesYesYesYesYes
International Pet TransportYesYesYesYesYesYes

6 Top-Rated Pet Shipping Companies

  1. Air Animal Pet Movers
  2. Happy Tails Travel
  3. AirPets America
  4. Animals Away
  5. PetRelocation
  6. Pet Express

1. Air Animal Pet Movers

Air Animal Pet Movers logo

Judging by the name, there should be no reason for you to have any doubts about what it is they do. Air Animal Pet Movers’ origins story goes all the way back to 1977, when a renowned vet by the name of Dr. Walter Woolf, started a pet-relocation service in Tampa, Florida, with the help of his family. Fast forward to 2024, Air Animal Pet Movers is not only affiliated with over 225 airlines, they are also an IATA endorsed air cargo company.

Doesn’t matter whether you’re looking to ship your pet within the US or outside the country’s borders, Air Animal Pet Movers have got you covered. Moreover, these guys are pretty inclusive with their service, which means that your finned, feathered and furry family members will all be taken care of. Best part is that Air Animal Pet Movers is a full-service pet transportation company and has 43 years of experience to show for it.

Reasons To Choose Air Animal Pet Movers:

  • For starters, they’re accredited by the Better Business Bureau with an A+ rating.
  • Add to it the fact that of their many associations, their veterinary alliance includes the prestigious American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA). Quite remarkable, isn’t it?
  • Then beyond shipping your beloved pet, Air Animal Pet Movers also take it upon themselves to handle the import permits, health certificates and the kind of vaccinations your pets would require.
  • Lastly, they also cater to over 40 countries and have taken care of more than 100,000 pet moves across the globe. So clearly, these guys really are the real deal.

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2. Happy Tails Travel

Happy Tails Travel logo

The year is 1995. In her ninth year as a registered nurse, a certain Bridget Monrad decides to turn her irrevocable love for animals into a harbinger of comfort, convenience and joy to those who move with pets. That’s how Happy Tails Travel came into existence! As pet parents themselves, Happy Tails Travel knows just what it takes to safely move your pets from one place to another, with about 25 years of experience to back their expertise.

What’s reassuring is that Happy Tails Travel also happens to be certified as a USDA Intermediate Handler. We know what you’re thinking and the answer is yes! They do handle pet shipping on a local, cross country and international level too. If that wasn’t enough, Happy Tails Travel handles your pet’s relocation through Air Travel and Ground Travel alike.

Oh, and you can be at ease there, soldier, as your furry comrade will also be taken care of.

Reasons To Choose Happy Tails Travel:

  • Be it airport to airport shipping or having your pet relocated from door to door, Happy Trails Travel leave no stone unturned.
  • Sweating over the complicated documentation and permit process? Happy Tails Travel have got your back here as well.
  • What sets these guys apart is the fact that they also carry out pet rescue and adoptions. Their compassion and care towards animals and pet owners in general shows just how committed Happy Tails Travel are as an organization.
  • Most importantly, they not only are a business accredited by BBB with an A+ rating, they also have a 4.9/5 rating to show for as Customer Reviews.

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3. AirPets America

AirPets America logo

Somewhere in the city of Hurst in Texas lies one of the best pet shipping companies in the US, who have about 40 years of experience to boast about. With so many genuine pet lovers coming together towards one cause, AirPets America was bound to be a reliable choice when it comes to dealing with the hassle of moving pets. Even more so considering how AirPets America have more than 39 years of experience in the field of animal care.

You must be wondering, “experience is all well and good, but how legit is their business?”. Well, the fact that they are accredited by USDA should be reassuring to you. We’ll do you one better and share that they are also associated with International Boarding & Pet Services Association (IBPSA). Be it across oceans or in domestic waters, AirPets America does it all. They have both ground and air moves, and they cater to service animals too.

Reasons To Choose Air Pets America:

  • Transparent Pricing: This is probably one of their most convenient facets. You can not only get a tentative fee amount, but you can also share some details and get an estimate.
  • Air Pets America also has shipping crates suited for each breed, size and personality of dogs or even cats. Each of these crates are custom made keeping the well-being of your furry friend in mind.
  • Military, Corporate and Retirement pet relocation are all provided by Air Pets America.

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Also See: Moving with Cats

4. Animals Away

Animals Away logo

As nervous relocation can be for pet parents, it can be even more so for pets themselves. Fortunately for you, Animals Away have a knack of keeping stress for both you and your pets on a leash. Formed in 1995, the 25 years of experience Animals Away has bears testimony to how well they customize the move for each pet, keeping their individual needs in mind, while giving utmost importance to the safety and comfort of your beloved pets.

Moving out of the country for a new adventure and want your pet to accompany you? No problem, Animals Away to the rescue. You could just as well reach out to them if you’re relocating within the US boundaries. When it comes to their legitimacy, they have a USDA handlers license to proudly flaunt. That’s not all though, as Animals Away are also a part of IPATA as a pet relocation company that covers both air and ground transportation.

Reasons To Choose Animals Away:

  • A massive feather was added to their caps when Alyssa Prior and Susan Denicker from Animals Away were featured in National Geographic Wild. Goes to show just how renowned they are.
  • Looking for a custom crate that your kitty or pooch will comfortably fit into during transit? You can certainly get one from Animals Away, regardless of how tiny or huge your four-legged friend is.
  • They not only handle all the documentation and customs clearance for you but also take care of your pet for an elongated period should there be a need for it.

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5. PetRelocation

PetRelocation logo

PetRelocation is definitely the youngest company on our list, but that in no way belittles how renowned a pet shipping company they are in the US. Based out of Austin in Texas, PetRelocation has been ensuring the happy reunions of pets with their families since 2004. If you ever happen to visit their office, you will notice that their love for animals is quite evident by the amount of pets strolling about in there.

Like every other pet moving company in our list, PetRelocation also handles both domestic and international moves. As a matter of fact, they have their presence in over 150 countries across the globe. To add to that, they not only handle all the paperwork for you, but PetRelocation is also a part of the International Pet and Animal Transportation Association (IPATA). Interestingly, they take it upon themselves to thoroughly train all their partners too.

Reasons To Choose PetRelocation:

  • During transit, you want to ensure your pet is looked after. And PetRelocation does that in an exemplary manner by taking care of all the veterinary requirements.
  • Moreover, they have been rated A+ by the Better Business Bureau.
  • If you’re an HR professional looking for a corporate pet move, PetRelocation can save you the trouble in that regard too.

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6. Pet Express

Pet Express logo

California sure is a gift that keeps on giving, and Pet Express just happens to be one of them. Having been around since 1978, Pet Express sure has stood the test of time. The fact that they’re a family owned and operated company, who are pet lovers themselves is a cherry on top of the cake. What’s amazing is that they’re not just associated with IPATA, they have also partnered with Humane Society International – a global organization focusing on protecting animals.

The way that Pet Express works makes it very simple for pet owners to reach out to them. Before all the flight bookings, their experienced veterinarians do a thorough check of your pets and make sure they’re completely fit to fly. With over 40 years of experience to show for, Pet Express have affiliations with numerous pet friendly airlines. That puts them in good stead to successfully carry out both domestic and international transportation for your pets.

Reasons To Choose Pet Express:

  • First thing’s first, a 4.8/5 rating on Google is a pretty remarkable sign of reliability.
  • If that wasn’t enough, their reliability is further backed by Better Business Bureau by rating them A+ as an accredited business.
  • Quality Animal Clinic, a renowned vet in Los Angeles also happens to be Pet Express’ partner. So you can rest easy knowing that your pet’s medical formalities are handled by experts.

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Things To Keep In Mind When Considering Pet Transportation

  • A crucial part of Pet Transportation is domestic health certificates. So it’s important you visit your vet or check with your pet shipping company if they handle that for you.
  • Don’t compromise on the quality of the crate for your pet. It should not only be sturdy, but the crate should also be big enough for your pet to stand and sit comfortably, while having enough ventilation.
  • Certain cities/states/countries tend to have strict laws which don’t permit entry to a particular breed or category of pets. So be sure to do your research on the place you’re planning to move to along with your pet.
  • On some occasions, airlines may refuse pet transportation altogether if the weather during departure or arrival doesn’t seem favorable.

How Much Does A Pet Transport Cost?

The overall cost of transporting a pet has numerous elements involved. It could include the airfare, vet visits, door to door transportation fee, customs clearance and consultation fee from the pet shipping company, among a few other things. Then of course, you also have to take into consideration whether it’s domestic or international transportation you’re going for. Although approximately, a pet transport cost can be anywhere from $700 to $1250 for the most commonly availed services.

Is Pet Shipping Safe?

The short answer would be YES! But it would depend on the airlines, the carrier or the pet shipping company that’s handling the move. In general, there are numerous airlines who have a reputation for being “pet friendly”. With such airlines, both the pressure and temperatures are controlled appropriately in the cargo area for the well-being of the pet. Just so you know, you won’t have to worry about your pet cargo being treated like just another baggage. In fact, an interesting report by the Department of Transportation from back in 2014 highlighted that there were only 43 negative incidents involving pet shipping, out of the 2 million animals that had been transported by flight.

The Bottom Line

It’s not impossible to have a purr-fect shipping experience for your furry or feathery family member as long as you reach out to these guys. Just make sure you do your own research about the rules and regulations of the place you’re planning to relocate to with your pet. It will do you a world of good in terms of avoiding unforeseen challenges that might come about. Just make sure you do a proper health checkup and have all the original documents in place for your pet. Then once you choose the pet shipping company best suited to your needs, the rest should be easy peasy!

See also: Moving with Pets – A Detailed Guide