Shipping a Puppy Cost – Everything You Need to Know

Shipping A Puppy Cost

Congratulations on adding a furry bundle of joy to your life! But before you can snuggle up with your new best friend, you must ship them to your doorstep. Shipping a puppy isn’t as daunting as it’s often portrayed. You can safely ship your pup from any state or even another country. But you must do your homework well, which also involves calculating the total shipping cost. 

Shipping a puppy usually costs $250-$300 for small breeds and $500-$1000 for large breeds. These cost estimates are for domestic airlines. If transporting internationally, the above costs may get 2x or 3x more expensive. 

Read on as I present the various factors that influence the cost of shipping a puppy, its breakdown, and some ways to reduce it. So, let’s start. 

Factors That Influence the Cost of Shipping a Puppy 

From your puppy’s size & weight to the distance of shipment, from the chosen mode of transport to the type of carrier, here are the main factors that influence the shipping cost. 

Distance of the Shipment 

The first factor that influences the shipping cost of a puppy is the distance of the shipment. Remember that the shorter the shipment distance, the lower the shipping cost, and vice-versa. For estimates, below is a breakdown of shipping costs based on the distance. 

  • Short distance (up to 100 miles): $75-$200
  • Medium distance (100-500 miles): $200-$500
  • Long distance (500-1000 miles): $500-$1000

If the shipping distance is too long, say, over 1000 miles, an amount like $1000-$2000 or more should be on the cards. Nevertheless, the actual cost will vary with the pet shipper you choose. Ideally, choose only members of the International Pet and Animal Transportation Association (IPATA).


Tip: Use this official IPATA pet shipper finder tool. 

Method of Transportation 

Next comes the method of transportation. Ideally, your puppy can be shipped via ground or air. Talking about the former, you can either use your car or contact a reputable ground shipping company. If your puppy is too small, air travel is highly recommended. 

Between these two, ground shipping is less expensive. But more distance might make it costly! 

Size & Weight of the Puppy 

Size & Weight Of The Puppy

If your puppy belongs to a small breed (say, Chihuahua & Pomeranian) and weighs 2 to 5 pounds, the shipping cost will typically be lower. Conversely, for large bloodlines, such as German Shepherd & Boxer, the shipping cost remains high due to their heavy weight (5-10 pounds).

Time of the Year 

The time of the year also has a great say on your puppy’s shipping costs. Extreme hot or cold, peak travel season and holidays cost the most to ship your puppy. This is because of the more demand and less availability of shipping services. On average, the prices may rise by 2x to 3x during these times. 

Related: How Much Does It Cost to Chip a Dog?

Cost Breakdown of Shipping a Puppy 

Below is an approximate cost breakdown of shipping a puppy:

Shipping Fees 

Shipping Fees
American Airlines

Different airlines have different shipping fees for pups. For example, American Airlines charges $125 per kennel for carry-on pets. If we talk about cargo pets, their cost will be confirmed when booking. Note that the shipping fee may vary at the company’s discretion. 

Airline Regulations

Different airlines have different regulations and policies for shipping pets. Hence, it’s important to do your homework and research the airline’s requirements before booking a flight for your pet. For example, research the temperature restrictions, travel restrictions, crate requirements, etc. 

For the exact costs, it’s recommended to check with the target airline.

Health Certificate & Vaccination Fees 

Health Certificate & Vaccination Fees
Pet Health Certificate 

Airlines also require certain health certificates, blood test reports, and vaccination status reports before shipping your puppy. Generally, $120-$175 is the usual price range for the health certificate endorsed by USDA.

Tip: Read this article to find the best veterinarian for your pup. 

The cost of vaccinating also varies from $110-$230, depending on the veterinarian, location, breed’s size & weight, etc. 

Travel Insurance Fees 

What if something happens to your puppy during shipping that asks for immediate veterinary care? In these situations, your dog’s travel insurance can come in handy. 

Your puppy’s travel insurance fees can start from $4-$10 per day, but this number can fluctuate, depending on where you live, coverage type, length of the trip, and age & breed of the dog. 

Related: How Much Does It Cost to Get a Dog Neutered?

Average Cost of Shipping a Puppy 

The following tables comprise the average costs of shipping a puppy, depending on the distances, methods of transportation, and size & weight of your pup.

Note: As discussed above, every cost presented below in the tables is a rough estimate and may vary depending on various factors

Cost Range for Different Shipping Distances

Shipping Distance (Miles)Approximate Cost Range
Less than 100$250 – $350
100 – 250$350 – $500
250 – 500$500 – $750
500 – 1000$750 – $1,000
1000 or more$1,000 – $1,500

Cost Range for Different Methods of Transportation 

Method Of TransportationApproximate Cost Range
Ground$250 – $450
Air Cargo$500 – $1,000
Personal Delivery$1,000 – $2,000
Pet Transport Services$1,500 – $3,000
Charter Flight$5,000 – $10,000

Cost Range for Different Sizes & Weights of Puppies 

Size & Weight of PuppyApproximate Cost Range
Small (Up To 10 lbs.)$250 – $400
Medium (10-25 lbs.)$400 – $700
Large (25-50 lbs.)$700 – $1,000
Extra Large (50+ lbs.)$1,000 – $1,500

Ways to Reduce the Cost of Shipping a Puppy 

It must be clear by now that shipping a puppy isn’t a cheap affair. But you can make it one! Just follow these strategies:

Look for Low-Cost or Free Shipping Programs 

It goes without saying but look for low-cost pet shipping services and modes. Ideally, ground transport, by any means, is always cheaper than air transport for shorter distances. For further cost reductions, research free shipping programs, if any. 

Research Airlines That Offer Discounts or Promotions for Pet Travel 

You can also check out airlines that offer handsome pet shipping discounts or pet travel promotions. These airlines include American Airlines, Southwest Airlines, JetBlue, Allegiant Air, etc.

Ship in Off-Peak Seasons 

As aforementioned, shipping your puppy in the peak time of the year will likely attract inflated costs. To avoid this, it’s highly recommended to ship in off-peak seasons. In addition, book your service in advance at a lower price to avoid last-minute fluctuations.

Pack the Crate Yourself 

Dog Soft Crate
Dog Soft Crate

If possible, pack the crate yourself to avoid the high handling charges. The only thing to ensure is that the crate must meet airline or pet transport company requirements besides being designed for safe pet transportation.  

Avoid Multiple Visits to the Vet 

Before your puppy is ready for shipping, you will need certain health documents and certificates from your vet. Thus, be mindful of what you need and collect it in a single visit, if possible. Making multiple visits to the vet for document collection will add to your overall shipping cost. 

Related: How Much Does Dog Daycare Cost? An Extensive Guide

Shipping a Puppy Cost: FAQs 

Q: How Much to Ship a Dog By a Plane? 

A: Shipping a dog by plane may cost $500-$1000 by a domestic flight. 

Q: What Is the Cheapest Way to Ship a Puppy?

A: Ground transportation, such as a reputed pet transport service or a personal delivery by the breeder is the cheapest way to ship a puppy. 

Q: How Much Does It Cost to Ship a Puppy From a Breeder?

A: On average, shipping a puppy from a breeder may cost anything from $200-$500 or even more. The exact cost will primarily depend on the distance between the breeder and your residence, the size & weight of your puppy, and the method of transportation, among others. 

Q: How Do I Ship My Puppy to Another State?

A: There are various shipping modes for your puppy from one state to another—for example, airline shipping, ground shipping, personal delivery, etc. 

Q: Can You Ship a Puppy Alone?

A: Yes, you can ship a puppy alone. Irrespective of your transportation mode, you can rest assured that your puppy is being transported with care. 

Final Thoughts

Here you go. That’s everything you should know about the cost of shipping a puppy. As discussed, ground and air travel are your puppy’s two most common transportation modes. While both means have pros and cons, if we talk from the cost point of view, ground travel leads the way. However, it’s suitable for only short distances. 

If your puppy is to be shipped from a far-off distance, even another state or country, air travel should be your choice. Regarding the cost, the above breakdown will help you understand the various fees that make up the total amount. However, don’t worry about high costs as you can undertake some measures to limit your spending.


Johann Chapuis

Johann Chapuis has assembled a fantastic team of licensed veterinarians, animal behaviorists, dog trainers, groomers, and walkers to write every article and offer the most accurate content on Being a pet lover and owner himself, Johann is sharing his experiences and his financial aptitude cultivated during his MBA with a specialization in finance and the numerous years he spent working as a business manager and entrepreneur.

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