How to Ship Animals to Another State

3 years ago in Packing Tips
Jeremy Baker
Moving Specialist

Long distance moves create certain challenges that do not exist when making a local move. Not only do you need to make arrangements for your furnishings, household items, and car you also have to take into consideration any pets you have. Animals cannot ride in the back of a moving van, making it your job to figure out another method of introducing them to their new home.

Meeting State Regulations

The transportation of live animals across state lines is monitored, and you may be asked to show certain documentation depending on which states you are entering. When planning your move, call your new state’s state veterinarian and ask about their specific regulations. If your animal is traveling by ground transportation you will also need to consider the regulations for any other state they may be driving through.

You will need to bring your pet for a visit to their veterinarian no more than 10 days before shipping to another state. An interstate health certificate is needed for entry into all states with a dog or horse, and almost half of the states require the same for cats, birds and other pets. A rabies tag is also required in almost every state. At the visit, your veterinarian should be able to provide you with all of the necessary documentation as well as provide a thorough physical exam of your pet.

What Types of Pets Do You Have?

How you ship your animals to another state will depend heavily on the type of animals you have. For example, UPS does provide animal shipping but on a very limited basis. Fish and certain reptiles are accepted, as are some insects but keep in that the service must be for next day delivery. This means that it must be arranged to where you are going to be in your new home the next day to accept the delivery. Domesticated animals such as dogs and cats are not allowed to be shipped in this way, nor birds. For these pets or any of the others on the prohibited list you will need to make alternate arrangements.

Pet Transportation Services

You will find that there are companies that will ship your pet for you, usually in a van. Make sure when searching for one of these providers that they have been licensed by the USDA for the shipment of live animals. There are regulations that must be met, such as your animal must have sufficient room to sit up and turn around. You don’t want your pet to be uncomfortable for the voyage to your new home.

Flying With Your Pet

If you are flying to your new home you can also make a reservation for your dog. You will need to provide a suitable kennel that meets the standards of the airline and the USDA, as well as dishes for food and water. Just as with ground transporting of a pet, you are going to need a health certificate from your veterinarian dated not more than 10 days before your travel date. While the airline may not require this, it may be asked for when claiming your animal at your destination airport.

There is a lot to think about and do to prepare your animals for a move to another state. As you are making the necessary plans, don’t forget about their needs once you all reach the new home. Animals don’t always adapt well to sudden change, so make it as comfortable as possible for them so that they can easily adjust.


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