How to Ship Animals Across Country: A Comprehensive Guide

Moving across the country can be a daunting task, especially when you have pets or animals that need to come along for the ride. Whether it’s a beloved family pet, a prized show animal, or an entire farm’s worth of livestock, there are many factors to consider and steps to follow when it comes time to transport your furry (or scaly) friends from one location to another. In this article, we’ll provide an in-depth look at how to ship animals across country and ensure their safety and comfort during the journey.

Before You Begin: Research and Preparation

Before diving into the logistics of shipping your animals cross-country, you’ll want to do plenty of research and preparation.

  1. Understand regulations: Familiarize yourself with state-specific laws regarding transportation of animals. Some states require permits or health certificates for certain species entering their borders. Interstate travel may also necessitate additional documentation – this is especially true if you’re transporting livestock.
  2. Choose between professional services or DIY: Decide whether you’d prefer hiring a professional animal transportation service or handling the move on your own.
  3. Know your animal: Consider any specific needs your particular type of animal might have during transit (e.g., temperature requirements, dietary restrictions).

With these preliminary steps taken care of, let’s dive into more detailed guidance for both professional and DIY options.

Option 1: Hiring Professional Animal Transportation Services

A professional animal shipping company can save you time and stress by taking care of all aspects related to moving your pets or livestock across country lines.


  • Specialized equipment designed for safe transportation
  • Experienced handlers familiar with various types/species
  • Accessible support & updates during transport process


  • Can be expensive depending on distance/type of service required
  • Limited availability/capacity may mean scheduling difficulties

Finding Reputable Animal Transport Services

There are many companies that offer animal transportation services, but it’s important to choose one with a solid reputation and experience handling the specific type of animal you need to move.

Here are some tips for finding the right service provider:

  1. Ask for referrals: Reach out to friends, family members, or even your veterinarian for recommendations.
  2. Check online reviews: Do a quick search on Google or social media platforms to see what previous clients have said about their experiences with different companies.
  3. Verify credentials: Make sure any company you’re considering is fully licensed and insured, and that its staff members have undergone proper training in handling animals during transport.

Preparing Your Animal for Professional Shipping

Once you’ve settled on a reputable shipping company, they’ll guide you through any necessary preparation steps based on your particular situation. Some general tips include:

  1. Get necessary documentation: Obtain health certificates, permits, or other required paperwork from your vet well in advance of the move.
  2. Ensure proper ID tags/collars: Clearly label all crates/carriers with your contact information as well as any special care instructions.
  3. Discuss specific needs with shipper: Communicate any special dietary requirements or medications your pet may require during transit.

Option 2: DIY Animal Shipping – What You Need to Know

If you decide to take matters into your own hands when it comes to shipping your animals cross-country, there are several key points to be aware of before hitting the road.


  • Cost savings compared to professional services
  • Greater control over conditions during transit
  • Flexibility in scheduling & routing


  • Time-consuming process requiring careful planning
  • Responsibility falls solely on owner for ensuring safe travel conditions
  • Potential stress/difficulty managing multiple pets/livestock at once

Choosing the Right Vehicle & Equipment

First things first, you’ll need a suitable vehicle and equipment to transport your animal(s) safely. Here are some considerations:

  1. Size matters: Make sure the vehicle you select is large enough to accommodate your animal’s crate or carrier, while still allowing for proper ventilation and temperature control.
  2. Secure travel containers: Invest in sturdy crates or carriers designed specifically for transporting animals – these should be well-ventilated, escape-proof, and large enough for the animal to comfortably stand up, turn around, and lie down.
  3. In-transit comfort: Consider purchasing accessories like non-spill water dishes or crate pads/matting to help keep your pet comfortable during the journey.

Preparing Your Animal for DIY Shipping

With your transportation setup in place, it’s time to focus on preparing your pet or livestock for the move.

  1. Gradual acclimation: Help alleviate anxiety by getting pets used to their travel crates well in advance of moving day – leave them out with the door open so they can explore at their leisure.
  2. Stick to routines: Keep feeding schedules consistent leading up to departure; avoid changing food types or feeding times that might cause digestive upset.
  3. Vet checkup: Schedule a pre-travel vet appointment to ensure your pet is healthy and fit for travel; obtain any required health certificates at this time.

Tips for a Smooth Journey

Once you hit the road with your beloved animals in tow, follow these best practices:

  1. Plan regular breaks: Stop every few hours so both you and your pets can stretch their legs; use these breaks as an opportunity to offer water & feed if necessary.
  2. Monitor temperature & conditions closely: Keep an eye on interior temperatures of vehicle/crate – excessive heat/cold can pose serious risks.
  3. Avoid leaving pets unattended in vehicles: Whenever possible, have someone stay with them during rest stops or quick breaks.


Shipping animals across the country can be a complex process, but with careful planning and attention to detail, you can ensure their safe arrival in their new home. Whether you opt for professional transportation services or decide to tackle the move yourself, being well-informed and prepared is key. With this comprehensive guide in hand, you’re now equipped to make the best decision for your unique situation and give your pets the care they deserve during this big transition.