We have a seven week old litter of pit bull puppies that is ready for new homes. As I was placing classified advertisements in various locations across the Internet, I received an email inquiry from someone who lived in Florida (we are in Tennessee) asking if I would be willing to ship the puppy to her if she paid all of the fees associated with shipping the animal. I had never considered that shipping a pet was something that was commonplace. However after receiving her inquiry I began to do a bit of research and discovered that shipping pets is quite popular. If you find yourself with the need to ship a pet, you have a couple of options. You can hire the task out to a company dedicated to the safe transit of pets, or you can do the work yourself. Keep in mind, even if you hire the shipping job out to a company that offers pet shipping services, you will still have plenty of work to do in preparation.
Below I will discuss both alternatives so that you may choose the method that will work best for your individual needs. In searching for information on shipping animals I discovered that there are a multitude of companies available to arrange the transit of your pet from one location to another. After briefly checking out each of these companies on line, I decided that when shipping a pet through a dedicated pet shipping service, the process is much the same, regardless of the company you choose. Some companies offer more options for the pick up and delivery of your pet than others. Some companies charge outrageous prices for services other companies offer for free. Using a pet shipping service is by far less work than arranging the shipment yourself. The most important factor in choosing a pet shipping company is to choose a company with a flawless reputation and sufficient experience in shipping pets. Check with each company for individual policies regarding the documentation that is required to ship a pet and the supplies you will need to ship your pet safely.
If you are like me and are interested in saving a few dollars and choose the hands-on method, you will find that shipping your pet is not as difficult as you might think. You must first decide whether you will be shipping your pet by ground or by air. Every single person or organization that I contacted regarding pet shipping advised me that air is the way to go. Shipping a pet by ground transportation can result in many unfavorable results. The stress caused to the animal when shipped by ground can affect the animals health. Ground transport takes considerably longer than transport by air. You must consider the amount of time your animal will be inside a shipping crate, with limited room and a short supply of food and water. Air transport is much faster and is generally considered the safest way to ship your pet.
There are a few unwaivering rules when it comes to shipping pets. These rules are implemented by the airlines and organizations dedicated to prevent animal harm. The first rule of shipping an animal is the animal age. To qualify to be shipped an animal must be at least 8 weeks of age. This is to ensure that the animal has had sufficient time to be weaned from his or her mother and is emotionally ready for a new home. Each animal shipped must have its own shipping kennel or cage. To determine what is required for your animal contact the airline directly and ask about their regulations regarding shipping kennels.
Each airline may have a different standard for the size and type of kennel used to ship your pet. The kennel or cage must be well ventilated to ensure that your pet receives sufficient fresh air. The kennel or cage must have a food and water dish. If your kennel or cage is not equipped with these items, visit your local pet store to purchase attachable water and food dishes. Be sure to label the outside of the kennel with the words “LIVE ANIMAL”. This will ensure that airplane personnel will give your pet special handling. It is also a good idea to label the outside and inside of the kennel or cage with the new owners name and phone number, as well as your contact information. The inside of the cage or kennel should be well lined with old newspapers to help absorb any accidents your pet may have during transit. Before an animal can be shipped via air transport, a licensed veterinarian must examine the animal and fill out a health form attesting to the health of the animal. This form can be filled out no more than ten days before the shipping date. Airlines will require a copy of this form before allowing your pet to board.
Animals that are under three months old must be provided sufficient food and water every twelve hours. If at all possible book your pet a non-stop flight. This will cause the least amount of stress on your animal. Another key point to remember is that any animal that is over four months must show proof of rabies vaccination before an airline will allow it to board. Many experts advise to feed your pet soft foods for at least six hours before it is scheduled to be shipped. This cuts down on the amount of airsickness inside the shipping kennel or crate.
Equipped with the information above, you must contact the airline of your choice to request rates for shipping animals. The rates will vary with each airline, you may opt to contact several companies to do a bit of comparison shopping. Pet shipping, when done yourself, can be relatively inexpensive. If you are selling the pet to another party, oftentimes that party is responsible for all shipping and handling fees. The airline you choose will provide you with company specific instructions regarding the shipping of your pet. The representative you speak with will likely provide you with flight numbers and departure times so that you may schedule the departure and arrival at a time that will be convenient to you and the receiving party. Be sure to communicate with your pet’s new owner! They should make plans to be at the airport to receive the pet as soon as the plane lands.
While shipping a pet may seem a bit overwhelming, it is actually a very simple process. The occurrence of problems is very low whether you choose to ship yourself or use a pet shipping company. Which ever method that you decide is right for you, chances are you will stress much more than your pet over the whole ordeal!
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