Moving is complicated enough without taking into account the logistics of long distance pet transport. The following article is designed to help you consider everything you need to know about pet transportation by air and by ground, and arm you with the knowledge to make an informed decision about what is best for you and your pet’s situation.
Safety and Comfort:
Like most things in life, safety comes first. Your long distance pet transport situation is no exception.
Take into consideration the age and health of your pet when deciding between air or ground transportation. It is not advisable to put an elderly or stress-prone pet into an airplane, as this method of transportation gives the owner the least amount of control over the process. While air travel is safe, it involves more strangers, locations, and movement that can trigger the stress of an elderly or stress-prone pet. Definitely make sure to consult with your veterinarian prior to taking your pet on either ground or air transport method in order to ensure you are giving them proper care.
Comfort is variable and highly dependent on your individual pet. Some cats and dogs are at ease in a crate and will easily adapt to any new environment. If you have any doubts about your pet’s tolerance for multiple hours in a crate, we recommend putting them in a crate and driving around for a few hours to test their tolerance. If your pet is fine after two hours in a crate, in a moving vehicle, then your pet is likely fine to either fly or drive.
A final consideration which touches both safety and comfort, is what season you and your pet would be moving. Most airlines prohibit the transportation of your pet in the cargo hold above or below certain temperatures. Make sure to research the regulations of the airlines you’re considering, and compare with the temperatures for the season you will be moving in.
Location, Distance, and Timing:
Where you are moving to, how far your new destination is from your current home, and how long it takes to get to your new destination – both by air or ground – are key factors in your decision.
If you are moving to a familiar location with predictable weather and conditions then this will eliminate many of your concerns. When you start to consider moving cross state, or cross country, you will want to think about your pet’s needs more thoroughly. For example, if you are moving to a city without access to direct flights, we always recommend pet ground transportation cross country. It is not advisable to deal with the logistics of a connecting flight for your pet, both for you and the animal.
Flights that exceed 4 or 5 hours are not advisable for pets, especially those that are smaller or need more frequent bathroom breaks. Consider the age, bathroom habits, and stress tolerance of your pet when deciding if it would be easier to fly with your pet as opposed to driving or sending them by motor vehicle with a pet transportation service.
Similarly to the safety and comfort considerations, location, distance, and timing can be affected by the season and the weather of your destination. Make sure to carefully consider when and where you will be departing and arriving when making a decision about air long distance pet transport or pet ground transportation cross country.
Price should be the last, but not least, of your considerations. Price is important but not at the expense of your pet’s safety and well-being.
In most instances, flying with your pet or sending them in the cargo hold of a direct flight, will cost less than contracting with a pet transportation service, but it comes at a risk. Transporting your pet by ground allows more flexibility for bathroom, food and water, and exercise breaks. The previously outlined considerations should heavily influence how you compare the value of each type of transportation.
Consider searching pet transportation services prior to your move so that you can assess their packages and pricing. Compare this with the cost and effort of personally transporting your pet when weighing your options and choosing what is best for you and your pet.