How Much Does Pet Shipping Cost? Example Estimates

Pet shipping costs can range from several hundred dollars to multiple thousands depending on many factors, including departure and destination location, government regulations, and custom crate requirements. For this reason, it’s impossible to provide a narrow cost estimate that applies across the board.

There are many variables that can affect a pet shipping cost estimate, including where you’re coming from, how you travel, and even the size of your pet. The best way to get an accurate idea of those costs is to reach out to a professional pet relocation service for an individualized quote.

Let’s take a look at the major cost factors to consider and how to determine the best way to ship your pet.

What Influences Pet Shipping Costs?

We’re not able to give you a quote until we look at our travel plans in detail, but we can break down a few things to consider as you start planning.

Airline and Destination

The destination and available airline carriers serving that location have a significant effect on costs. International destinations typically incur higher fees due to the need for customs clearance and compliance with health regulations, in addition to the higher cost of international airfare. 

Some countries have additional layers of complexity for pet owners to navigate. Australia, for example, requires an import permit, rabies titer blood test, mandatory quarantines, and additional treatments and vaccines for arriving pets. Pets arriving in New Zealand require an import permit and a specific list of additional requirements for quarantine. 

Destination requirements for these treatments, vaccines and blood tests directly affects the travel costs.

Planning an international flight for your pet? We can help. 

Type of Transportation

Depending on where you’re going and how you’re getting there, you may be able to choose between air or ground transportation. Costs vary for each, and depending on the distance, you may not save much on air vs. ground transport. In some cases, you may need to combine both flights and ground transportation for your pet.

Pet transport companies can help you decide on the best option for your travel itinerary or relocation. If your pet isn’t able to fly to their new home, we can help you arrange ground transportation services as an alternative to pet travel within the United States.

Need support shipping your pet within the U.S.? We can help. 

Seasonal Variations and Limitations

Traveling during peak holiday seasons will result in higher prices for both you and your pet. Prices will go up the closer you get to your travel date. There are also certain times of year when you won’t be able to travel with your pet due to extreme weather conditions. 

It’s important to book well ahead of your planned travel so you’re able to ensure your pet has a spot on your desired flight and potentially reduce overall costs.

Special Needs and Accommodations

Pets with special needs will incur additional costs. This includes pets who require medication or frequent breaks or layovers as part of their itinerary. 

If you’re traveling through Los Angeles, we can add a relaxing rest stop at our first-class boarding facility, Kennel Club LAX. This can be a good option for anxious pets who need a wellness check from one of our USDA-accredited vets along the way. 

Vet-Related Costs

All pets must travel with a valid health certificate, microchip, and up-to-date rabies vaccinations, but additional requirements vary from there depending on your origin point and destination. The paperwork becomes more cumbersome and costly with international pet transport, especially if you’re arriving from a high-risk rabies country. 

Depending on your pet’s health, your vet costs can go up as you prepare your pet for travel and address any lingering concerns.

If you’re worried about how your pet would handle air transport or need a wellness check before travel, our on-staff veterinarians can help, even if you’re traveling with anxious pets.


Airlines typically charge based on a pet’s weight and crate dimensions. Naturally, larger and heavier pets like Great Danes require larger crates, which can increase your travel fees. Custom crates are even more expensive. Depending on your crate needs, additional costs can range from a few hundred to several thousand dollars.

If you’re traveling with a small dog, you may pay less to fly them in-cabin with you instead of the cargo hold, but this may not be the best option for your pet and their stress levels.

A professional pet mover can help you plan the shortest, safest route to your destination, whether you’re traveling with a large dog, a smaller pet, or even a snub-nosed dog.

Considerations for CDC Rabies Guidelines

The CDC’s new rabies-related requirements for travel into the U.S. could mean additional costs for some pet owners, particularly those traveling from high-risk rabies countries.

If you’re traveling from a country identified as high risk for rabies, you’ll be limited to arrivals at only 6 approved airports around the U.S. You’ll also need to work with one of 7 CDC-approved animal care facilities (ACFs) at those airports upon arrival. 

If your pet is subject to a 30-day quarantine upon entry to the US, costs can easily start above $2,000. If your pet is eligible for revaccination and release, you should plan for costs over $1,000.

We have a detailed guide to the new rules, and as one of those 7 ACFs, we can also help you plan your pet’s trip from booking to post-arrival release. 

The Tailwind Global Pet Process

We can’t tell you exactly what your pet transport costs will be without knowing important details about your pet and plans, but we can give you a rundown of our personalized process:

  1. Requesting a Quote: Each quote is detailed and individualized based on your travel plans and pet details.
  2. Initial Consultation: We plan a Zoom or phone meeting to get more details about the status and documentation you already have, your pet’s temperament, and any special accommodations.
  3. Customizing Your Service Package: Our detail-oriented approach will include reviewing everything and adjusting your quote to best fit you and your pet’s needs.


The average cost to ship a dog can vary considerably based on a number of different factors. Origin and destination, size, weight, and breed of dog, and health-related costs all matter. Relocation costs can range from $500 to thousands of dollars. A pet shipper can help you budget for dog transport costs based on your needs and ideal travel itinerary.

Yes! This is the preferred method for pet travel. Doing so may mean fewer connections and a more efficient and less stressful trip for your pet. A pet transport service can help you get your pet to your destination country in the safest, most efficient way.

International pet shipping costs vary widely and depend on departure and arrival location, pet size and breed, health certificates and health checks, your travel crate, and more. Pets traveling from countries at high risk for rabies will incur additional costs due to CDC requirements.

You do not need to hire pet shipping services in all cases. If you’re traveling from a high-risk rabies country, you will need to work with a CDC-approved ACF at your port of entry.

Working with an experienced pet shipper like Tailwind Global Pet to navigate any pet move can give you peace of mind you wouldn’t get organizing travel on your own. We recommend it across the board, whether you’re seeking domestic flights between California and Florida, more complicated long-distance travel, or shipping a number of pets.

The cost of flying with a pet domestically depends on your travel plans, airline requirements, pet size and breed, crates, and any recommended vet visits. Generally, domestic, cross-country travel is less expensive than international travel. Most importantly, you will need a health certificate from an accredited vet that is endorsed by the USDA. Costs for domestic health certificates can range from $200-$600.

We’re Here For You

While you may think a DIY approach is the best way to save money on pet relocation, working with a pet shipper is the only way to guarantee that you navigate the process correctly. At Tailwind Global Pet, your pet’s well-being and travel needs are our top priority. Ensuring a stress-free, efficient experience for pet owners is a close second.

We have over 40 years of experience managing every detail of pet travel with extra care so you can focus on your journey. 

Ready to get started? Each pet relocation situation is different. To get an idea of the costs involved, fill out a free quote request