How Much Do Pet Transport Services Cost?

jack russell terrier inside a travel carrier box for animals

Are you planning a major vacation or relocation across the country or abroad? If you have pets, you’ll likely have concerns about their comfort, permit requirements, and other factors involved in their travel. One of the most significant deciding factors in choosing a pet transport company is the cost and whether this service will fit your budget.

When choosing a pet transportation company, there are many factors to consider, including private or shared travel, veterinarian care, grooming, exercise, customs clearance, and other expenses that contribute to pet transport costs.

If you decide not to hire a professional pet shipping service, such as Air Animal, Airpets International, or Happy Tails Travel, you’ll find the expense of traveling with your dog will add up unexpectedly and may present challenges during your trip, including inadequate temperature control in cargo if you travel by air, frequent stops to accommodate your pet on the road, as well as food, water, and in some cases, emergency vet visits if your dog or puppy becomes ill.

Budgeting for your pet’s travel is essential in finding exemplary service, which can help absorb the ongoing costs of driving or flying with your pet so that you can put your mind at ease while your furry friend travels in comfort. 

Factors that Impact Pet Transport Costs

cages with puppies in the trunk of a car

Many factors impact the final price tag when you review various pet transportation services for your furry companion. Whether you choose a basic pet transport service in a pet carrier or add extra services such as dog grooming, special vet care, or GPS tracking, you can expect the overall cost to vary based on the company and the services they provide.

Customs Clearance and Import Permit Requirements

If you’re traveling abroad, reviewing the country’s requirements for allowing pets to enter is crucial. In most cases, pets require an import permit, which requires getting formal approval from the government for entry.

Some pet travel services support pet owners in getting the documents, permits, and information required for their dogs, cats, or other animals, which makes this process easier. As with any service, the application cost for a permit may be costly, whether you complete the process yourself or with the assistance of a pet transport company.

Ground Transportation and Air Travel

The type of travel, distance, and accommodations required all impact the cost of traveling with your pet. Ground transport can range between $500 for short distances and $6,000 or more for long, cross-country trips. If you travel by airline, the destination, accommodations available, and travel crate will impact the cost of shipping your pet.

Large dog breeds require more space, and you may encounter some airlines that won’t accept them or charge more for checked baggage. While many countries have lifted COVID restrictions, it’s best to inquire about quarantine requirements, as some regions may have limitations.

Airline Cost and Fees

If your pet relocation is by air, you’ll find most of the expenses you’ll cover are related to air travel. You can expect to pay different rates based on the airline you choose, the breed and size of your dog, and the type of ticket you purchase. While air transportation can be expensive, most airlines often base ticket pricing on the volume, size, and weight of the travel crate and pet.

International travel with your dog may not be an option with some airlines or destinations they service, which means you’ll have to go directly through a pet shipping company that includes an airline account. If you’re considering a discount airline or flight, you may have to consider layovers, stops, and possible delays, which may not be as pet-friendly or comfortable for your furry friend.

Traveling with a pet-friendly airline or pet travel service can range from $250 for a small dog or puppy to over $1,000 for a domestic flight. If you travel overseas, you can expect a much higher cost, including permits and documentation requirements.

Travel Crate and Pet Carrier Options

When you arrange for your pet to travel in the cargo hold, in-cabin, or by ground transport, you’ll need to invest in a kennel or crate that meets the airline’s requirements. If you hire a pet transportation company, they will often include a crate service or pet carrier, which is also factored into the price, so you can rest assured that your pet’s size and comfort are accommodated.

The price tag for a kennel or carrier for your dog can vary between $50 to $400, based on your pet’s size. If you require a custom crate or special services, you may need to pay $1,000 or more.


International pet travel or domestic ground transport are common ways to provide shipping for your pet when you’re planning on relocation or an extended vacation. While some pet owners choose to accommodate their pets through regular airlines or by purchasing a crate for their road trip, there are many great options through pet travel service companies.

You’ll find that most pet shipping costs are based on the type of company, whether it’s a small operation, family-owned, or an international company, and the range of services they provide. Before you decide whether to make arrangements on your own or hire a pet transport firm, it’s best to evaluate all your options compared to your budget to find the best solution.

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