Advertiser Disclosure

The Best Pet Transport Services of 2023

Curious cat is looking at what's inside the cardboard box
101cats / Getty

Many times, when making a long-distance move, it simply isn’t practical for your pet to travel with you. A pet transport service may be the solution. As the name implies, pet transport companies take charge of moving your pet from point A to point B. They will handle all the transport details and paperwork of pet shipping while you take care of your move, reuniting with your pet at your new home.

Of course, not all animal transport services are the same. Some offer only cat and dog transport services, while others handle more exotic pets. Concierge services and door-to-door pet delivery services may or may not be available. In addition, a pet transport service may be a member of the International Pet and Animal Transportation Association (IPATA). While this membership is not essential, it can give you some peace of mind that the pet delivery service follows best practices in caring for your pet’s wellbeing.

We’ve chosen our favorite IPATA-member pet shipping companies based on a combination of cost, customer reviews, safety records, and availability of international pet transport options.

Top four best pet transport services in 2023

Happy Tails Travel: Best for military families


  • Accepts giant and “aggressive” dog breeds
  • Military and veteran discounts
  • Multiple pet discount


  • Only transports dogs and cats
  • No boarding services
  • No grooming services

Happy Tails Travel has an outstanding safety record since its founding in 1995, and has an average Google review score of 4.6 out of 5 stars. Focusing on dogs and cats, including giant and “aggressive” breeds, the company offers both ground and air transport domestically, as well as international pet transport service by air. The company specializes in military relocations, taking care of all your pet’s needs during Permanent Change of Station (PCS) moves. 

Military discounts are extended to both active-duty military members and veterans, regardless of the type of move. There are also discounts for multiple pets transported in the same move.


Happy Tails Travel pricing falls into two categories: standard pricing and military pricing. How much you’ll pay is mainly determined by how you choose to transport your pet – air or ground travel. To get the most accurate pet transport estimate, we recommend filling out their pet travel form. However, there are certain price ranges that most of their fees and charges fall into.

Note: International transport for Happy Tails Travel is currently suspended. 

Domestic air travel (for one pet)

Standard pricingMilitary pricing
Air travel consultation fee$425 – $800$375 – $450
Airfare (based on weight)$350 – $1,900+$350 – $1,900+
Ticket purchase fee$40 – $90$40 – $90
Mailed VIP pet packet$50+$50+

Ground travel (for one pet)

Standard pricingMilitary pricing
Ground travel consultation fee$250 – $500$250
Ground transport (under 500 miles)Get an estimate Get an estimate
Ground transport (over 500 miles)$950 – $6,400$950 – $6,400

Air Animal: Best customer service


  • Accepts a variety of small pets
  • Lots of information
  • Tracking app


  • No discounts
  • No boarding services
  • No grooming services

If you’re using a pet transport service for the first time, you likely have numerous questions. Founded in 1977 by a veterinarian who still serves as managing director, Air Animal has an average Google review score of 4.6 out of 5 stars and is committed to safely moving your pet and keeping you informed every step of the way. With the Air Animal App, all of the details, including flight tracking, are right in the palm of your hand. Air Animal transports a variety of small pets in addition to cats and dogs as well.


Air Animal’s pricing is mainly determined by:

  • Your destination
  • The weight of your pet and kennel/crate
  • Your timeframe
  • Any extra services you require

You can a quick pricing estimate for your pet move by using their pet move pricing tool. They have one for domestic transport and international transport. But to get the most accurate estimate for your pet, you should fill out their online request form to be connected with a pet move manager, who will review your pet’s information and create a personalized proposal based on your pet’s needs and requirements.

Animals Away: Best for international transport


  • Transports all types of animals
  • Handles all international pet paperwork
  • Complete door-to-door service in some areas


  • No discounts
  • No boarding services
  • No grooming services

Though they primarily transport dogs, cats, and small household pets, Animals Away states that they can move any type of pet, anywhere in the world. The company was founded in 1995 with a mission to revolutionize the pet shipping industry. They have an average Google review score of 4.2 out of 5 stars and continue to refine their offerings to provide the best possible experience.


The best way to get a price estimate with Animals Away is to fill out their quick online form for a free quote.

Airpets International: Best add-on services


  • Transports all types of animals
  • Extensive add-on services
  • Variety of discounts
  • Offers pet lodging


  • Complex quote system sometimes leads to confusion
  • No tracking app

If you want to give your pet a deluxe experience, it would be hard to beat Airpets International. With more than 39 years in animal care and over 20 years in the pet transport business, Airpets America is dedicated to providing top-notch service to pets and their owners. The company has an average Google review score of 4.8 out of 5 stars and offers domestic and international pet transport for animals of all types, including performance, zoo animals, and livestock. Also, they offer a full line of add-on services such as boarding, grooming, crate training, and quarantining.


The best way to get a price estimate with Airpets International is to request a price estimate through their inquiry form.

The bottom line

Whether you are moving with your pet across the country or around the world, pet transport services can be extremely useful during long-distance moves. Different services have different things to offer, from military discounts to the ability to ship even large exotic animals to international destinations. To choose the right pet transport service for you and your pet, consider customer reviews along with pricing and available services.

Frequently asked questions

Is animal transport safe?

In general, animal transport is extremely safe. Many pet transport companies have impeccable safety records across thousands of transported pets. Of course, it’s important to do your due diligence. Carefully research the safety record and customer reviews for any company you are considering.

Which airline is best to transport pets?

Most major commercial airlines do a good job of safely transporting pets. Your pet transport company will determine which airline and specific flights are best for the type of pet you have and its destination.

Will my fish survive on an airplane?

It is possible to ship fish safely by air, as aquaculture specialists do regularly. However, it is not simple or easy, and doing it yourself is not recommended. Many pet transport specialists do not handle fish because of the specialized expertise required. However, you may have luck with either Animals Away or Airpets America, who advertise that they can transport all types of animals. 

At a minimum, they can likely steer you in the direction of someone who can help. Another possibility is to call a local aquaculturist or fish enthusiast for advice or move your fish on your own. Fish are among the most difficult animals to transport, but with expertise and a bit of luck, your fish can arrive safely.

Related Articles

How I Found my Ideal First Apartment

Moving into your first apartment is an exciting life milestone, but I think most people can agree that the process of finding your first apartment is a headache-inducing experience. Rentals can get pretty expensive, especially in major cities, so putting your hard-earned money toward an apartment you’ll be happy with should be a top priority. […]

Read More
Is It Cheaper to Move During Winter?

When thinking about the best time of year to move, winter probably doesn’t come to mind. It’s cold, the roads are icy, and it’s the middle of the school year. While winter may not be the most pleasant season to move, it’s definitely the cheapest. Here are a few ways you can save money with […]

Read More
The Best International Moving Companies

Moving down the street is complicated enough — it becomes a whole different monster when you’re moving to another country. Fortunately, the right international moving company can take some of the headaches out of the process. Whether you’re just moving across the border to Mexico or around the globe to Japan, we researched the top […]

Read More