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How to Choose a Pet Transporter

Like any other professional shipping service, pet transportation services are bound by strict federal, state, and local regulations. Because pet transportation services are responsible for shipping live animals, the requirements for licensing and certification can be very stringent. Before trusting someone to transport pets for you, make sure they have the correct authority, experience, and knowledge to safely transport your pet.

What authority and licenses are required for a transporting pets?

Professional pet movers must be licensed by the USDA as a dealer, carrier, or intermediate handler if they are transporting “regulated” animals. If an animal is unregulated, such as a bird, fish, or reptile, an animal transporter does not need to be licensed by the USDA.  Regulations vary animal-to-animal, so make sure you hire a transporter with the proper authority to ship your pet.

In addition to being licensed, your pet carrier should provide a minimum amount of insurance. Usually this is one to five hundred dollars per pet. Pet transportation insurance should cover loss, injury, or death of your pet during the trip. Usually, insurance will not cover illness or natural death during transportation.

Pet transportation service experience

In addition to being properly licensed and insured, your carrier should have experience with your type of animal. A pet shipper used to handling horses may not be able to ship your snake properly. Make sure to choose a transporter that specializes in your animal, so you know they have the proper knowledge and experience.

Questions to ask pet transportation services:

  • How long have you been transporting pets?
  • What are your policies and procedures?
  • Are you licensed and insured?
  • How often do you stay in contact with me during the trip?
  • What are your fees?
  • How often do you let out the animals?
  • What do you do with animals that stay with you overnight?
  • What supplies should I pack with my pet?
  • Will you be able to follow the special instructions I provide you with for my specific pets?