How Can I Ship My Dog From State to State?

Air is the safest way to ship your dog.
i airjet image by lukasz gonerski from

When shipping your dog from one state to another, the best way to do it is by air. While it may be a bit stressful for you, the airlines ship pets every day, with very few problems. If you’re traveling, too, your dog can even go on the same flight.

Step 1

Call the airline to make a reservation for your dog well ahead of time, whether he’s traveling with you or alone. Even if he’s small enough to ride in the cabin with you, airlines will only accept a certain number of pets on each flight, so make reservations early to be sure he gets on board. Pay for his travel at the same time, if required, since the airlines will not usually hold the space for your pet until it is paid for. There is usually a charge whether he’s going with you or alone.

Step 2

Verify that the shipping kennel meets airline standards. Typically the kennel must be rigid and not collapsible, it must be leak-proof, and no part of your dog can stick out. Make sure that your dog can sit, stand and lie down comfortably inside the kennel, as well as turn around. Also check to see that it’s held together with nuts and bolts, not clips or clamps, that it has food and water dishes inside for your pet and has labeling specifying that the kennel contains a live animal, as well as providing your contact information.

Step 3

Get a health certificate from your vet no more than 10 days before you’re going to ship your dog. If he’s traveling with you, the airline might not require one, but the destination state might. If you aren’t sure, it’s better to get one. It’s the same thing with shots: Your airline or vet might say your pal doesn’t need certain shots to travel, but he might not be allowed to leave the airport if he doesn’t have the right ones, so check with authorities at the destination airport, just to be sure.

Step 4

Feed and water your dog no more than four hours before you get to the airport. Take him for a walk last thing before you kennel him at check-in, and arrive at the airport at least two hours early. If he’s going with you, check him in at the baggage counter or let the check-in counter person know he’ll be riding in the cabin. If he’s going as cargo, take him to the air freight office, which is normally separate from the terminal. Don’t worry – he’ll be fine.

Always check with your veterinarian before changing your pet’s diet, medication, or physical activity routines. This information is not a substitute for a vet’s opinion.

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