Sometimes, we need to get an animal or a pet from one place to another, and taking them ourselves is simply not an option. Thankfully, there are a number of ways you can ship animals and pets, including planes, trains, and automobiles! Of course, how you go about doing this will be very different depending on the type of animal and their destination.
Ways to Ship Animals and Pets
Here’s a look at various ways to ship animals around the country or the world.
It may surprise you to know that you can ship some animals by mail. Now, no pet owner in their right mind is going to ship their dog or cat through a mail carrier – and they’re not allowed to even if they wanted to. With the exception of FedEx, the shipping of any mammal via mail carrier is prohibited.
- United States Postal Service (USPS)
- Mailable animals include adult birds and day-old “poultry” such as chickens, ducks, and turkeys. Other small, harmless cold-blooded animals such as frogs, lizards, and fish can also be mailed, along with certain insects.
- United Parcel Service (UPS)
- UPS live animal shipping includes small, harmless cold-blooded animals and all fish, along with non-nuisance insects.
- Federal Express (FedEx)
- There is no FedEx pet shipping with the exception of small, harmless cold-blooded animals and fish, along with non-nuisance insects. Horses, livestock, and zoo animals (zoo-to-zoo only) may be allowed if approved and coordinated by the FedEx Animal Desk.
In general, animal shipments must be going from business to business (such as a breeder to a pet store), so even shipping little Billy’s pet frog is prohibited.
Every year, airlines ship animals by air by the thousands. Focusing on pets, most major domestic airlines (American Airlines, United, and Delta, for example) allow most dogs or cats to fly—with the exception of brachycephalic or “snub-nosed” dogs and cats and a few other canine breed restrictions, such as Pit Bulls.
Depending on the airline, animals can be considered a carry-on if they’re under 20-40 pounds, including the weight of their carrier. Otherwise, they will need to be checked and transported with other cargo. Some airlines, such as Southwest, will not fly pets as cargo, so if you have a large breed pet, they will not be able to make the trip with you.
There are other considerations and restrictions based on the airline. For example, American Airlines has the following guidelines that you must adhere to:
- Contact reservations at least 48 hours prior to travel
- Check in at the ticket counter
- Allow extra check-in time (though you can't check pets more than 4 hours before your flight)
- Complete a checklist with an agent
- Provide a health certificate
It’s important to note, again based on the airline, that not all flights allow pets, that checked pets can only travel through regions with moderate temperatures and can only connect through certain cities, and that you must refrain from sedating most pets (this can cause respiratory and cardiovascular problems due to altitude pressures). There are also restrictions and guidelines for kennels to consider.
Dogs and cats up to 20 pounds (including the weight of their carrier) are welcome on Amtrak’s rail if the trip is seven hours or less. A few other things to be aware of if you and your four-legged friend are going to hop on a train:
- Only five pets are allowed per train (not including service animals) so make reservations in advance. Only one pet per customer.
- Pets are welcome in Coach class only.
- Pets must remain in their closed carrier and under the seat.
- Other restrictions apply, so be sure to check your pet’s eligibility on this Pet Release and Indemnification Agreement.
Now this is the high life! Your pet can take the path from New York to Southampton, England, aboard Cunard’s Queen Mary 2, the only ocean liner that allows pets. The ship has 24 kennels from $800 and up, and a full-time Pet Master takes care of feeding, walking, and “housecleaning.” Owners are allowed to visit with their pets frequently during the journey. As with airlines, some dogs are prohibited due to size or breed.
Traveling by automobile is the most natural way to get your pet from point A to point B (what dog doesn’t like a car ride?). Of course, you may not be making the trip yourself if you’re flying cross country or flying in a new pet from overseas. Thankfully, there are a number of ground transportation companies that specialize in reuniting people with their pets. We’d like to tell you about ours!
My Pet Cab is the only pet ground transportation company that requires drivers to be certified in pet handling. As the premier pet ground transportation company, you can be confident that your pet is receiving the highest possible level of service including:
- Two-driver teams (always!): Someone is always attentive to your pet’s needs and will respond to any signs of stress. Sometimes this means getting her out of the crate just to hold her. Other times it’s adjusting the temperature. Rest assured, our two-driver teams will treat your pet like their own.
- 24/7 monitoring: Every RV is monitored every hour of every day with cameras and diagnostics from regional dispatch locations across the country. My Pet Cab is the only pet ground transportation company that offers the assurance of external oversight.
- On-call Veterinarian: Your pet’s overall health, including stress level, is continually monitored during transit. If a driver team has a concern, they contact one of our on-call Veterinarians (24/7). My Pet Cab has relationships with veterinary clinics across the United States and utilizes a tele-health platform when on-site is not possible.
- Comfortable and low-stress environment: Your pet will never be stuck in the back of a trailer surrounded by a lot of other pets in crates. They will be inside a class-A RV where temperature is always carefully regulated and monitored and a member of the driver team is able to attend individually to your pet. Hey—your pet is part of the family! Isn’t that how you would want to take a road trip?