Pet shipping - What Is Important?

Pet shipping - What Is Important?

Author WDF Staff


There are many people against shipping pets across the world; sometimes, it is the only way to relocate an animal. Besides, today's conditions have significantly improved, and as the connectivity of different parts of the world increases (especially via social media), pet shipping is more widespread and well-received.

Contrary to popular belief, pets aren’t crammed with luggage in a deep dark hole in the bottom of the plane. They are actually loaded into a temperature and pressurized compartment separate from luggage. They are also the last to be loaded onto the plane and the first to come off.

If an animal is adequately prepared for the trip, there is no need to be against pet shipping. Before transporting an animal, research available options carefully. Usually, animals are shipped by car/van or by air, in a plane. If you are thinking about getting a dog from a different part of the world, make sure it is the right breed for you.

Shipping options

When it comes to shipping dogs, there are many options available, and sometimes, it can be pretty hard to know where to look. Breeders, especially new ones, come across this problem when they sell their first dog. When it’s time to ship the dog, they might not be too sure of the best and safest way.

Dog owners are also pretty concerned about shipping their new family members. Nobody likes to imagine a small puppy being crammed in some uncomfortable space where their health and wellbeing will come into question. Luckily, dog shipping has improved, and here are two of the best and safest ways to ship an animal.

dog in a boat

Auto shipping

This is a very popular shipping method, and sometimes, it is more affordable than air transport for dogs. Some professionals are dedicated to shipping dogs across the continent, and they often have several crates tightly packed in their shipping van. This method might not sound too appealing, but it is relatively safe.

Some breeders or owners decide to travel in their car. If you are not already a dog owner, you will see there is no way you would leave your dog behind, so there are some things you should know about safely traveling with a dog. The most important thing to do is to make sure your dog is safe in the car. The best way to do that is to transport them in a crate.

Air shipping

Shipping by air is becoming one of the most popular options. There are plenty of reasons a dog might have to take a plane ride, and it might be because you are sending the dog to your family, you are taking a vacation, and the dog is coming with you, or you just bought a dog from a breeder across the country or world.

Different airlines have different rules, but more and more pets are shipped by air for the past few years. Dogs will be placed in a secure compartment separate from the luggage, where they will be secured. It is up to you to get a safe crate that will keep the airline workers, as well as your dog, safe.

When getting a crate for your dog to be shipped in, here are some of the things you should look for.

dogs in basket


One of the most common concerns about pet travel comes with transporting a pet via cargo. The important thing is introducing an animal to the cargo and making an animal comfortable inside the crate.

Make sure your crate is large enough that the dog can sit, stand, lie down, and turn around comfortably. Also, check the laws before shipping them, especially the laws of your animal's destination. Some countries strictly regulate the importation of dogs. If you send your dog by air, label their shipping crate with the words “LIVE ANIMAL.”

Also, write the dog’s name, along with the contact name, address, and telephone number of its destination on the crate, and indicate whether or not you are accompanying the animal on the flight.

If the dog is on any medication, include that information when labeling the crate. You can put all this information on a collar, too. Make sure the dog has plenty of water in its crate. Food is not recommended because a full stomach is more likely to experience motion sickness, so be sure the dog eats well before the flight.

You can check the best dog crates in this article - 5 Best Dog Crates reviewed by 500 Dog Breeders.

Veterinarian checkup

Consult with your veterinarian before putting your dog on a plane. Consider their age, health, and temperament. It is not recommended to transport old dogs and those under ten weeks of age.

If you think your pet will be overly nervous while being transported, consider giving it a sedative (but never a tranquilizer). Make sure that the dog is well hydrated before you load and transport them. Plan the trip in the fall or the spring because traveling in the heat of the summer and the cold of the winter is riskier.

dog travels in car

If an animal is traveling to another country, make sure it meets its necessary health requirements. There might be additional paperwork needed, so ask around before loading the dog. Many providers will require a health certification to verify that your pet is current on its shots and cleared for travel.

Additional tips

TIP: Because a familiar scent comforts a dog, consider putting an article of used clothing (such as an old t-shirt) inside the crate to help curb anxiety and stress.

TIP: It is not recommended to give the dog any food during the flight. That might prevent motion sickness, but you may attach a portion of their food outside the crate so that airline personnel can give the animal a little snack in case of delays or other emergencies.

TIP: Replace any plastic fasteners with metal crate hardware. Although the plastic is sufficient, metal hardware will keep the crate locked and tight together. Some airlines even require metal hardware.

GOOD TO KNOW: Certain breeds of dogs are at exceptionally high risk for breathing incidents during transportation. Take special care when transporting these breeds of dogs: Pugs, Boston Terriers, Boxers, Pekingese, Lhasa Apsos, Shih Tzu, Bulldogs, and some Mastiff-type dogs.

World Dog Finder team

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