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There have been a lot of changes in the world since COVID-19 appeared. Every day we have to figure new ways to do lots of things differently to protect ourselves and our families.

We have always had to think about how to protect ourselves from the bad guys.  We know the bad guys are always looking for ways to take advantage of a situation and how to steal your money or stuff and that includes your dogs or puppies.

Your puppy buyers did their homework and found you – a reputable breeder who has the best interest of their parent dogs and puppy’s health, well-being, socialization, and enrichment in mind. You are willing to stand behind their new furry friend. You did everything right.

Now, how do you help them get their new best friend home? Not ever puppy buyer will be able to travel during the pandemic.

It is important to find a trustworthy and reliable pet transporter. You need to know your options and check them out before your puppies leave. Those options include:

  1. Buyer Transportation – Buyer picks up the pet. This is the best solution if possible, and this way you have the most control of the situation.
  2. Flight Nanny – A USDA registered transporter/handler will pick up the puppy and deliver it to buyer at an airport near them. This method is likely to be more expensive because puppy owner must buy a round-trip ticket for the transporter and a one-way ticket for puppy.  Only small dogs or puppies not more than 20 to 25 pounds are eligible for this method.
  3. Commercial Air Transportation – Breeder normally makes the flight arrangements and puts the pup into the care of a commercial air carrier, which will transport the pet by air cargo to an airport within several hours of the buyer.
  4. Specialty or Individual Ground Transportation – Your pet is the only pet on board during ground transportation (unless an exception is made). This service may have only one driver on board. Make sure the puppy or dog is secured in a carrier.
  5. Basic Ground Transportation – Your puppy is likely to be on board with multiple other animals and may take longer to arrive than a specialty transport. This service may have only one driver. Make sure the puppy or dog is secured in a carrier.
  6. High Volume Ground Transportation – Your pet is likely to be on board with a large number of other animals, which will significantly increase the exposure risk to your dogs.
  7. Random Traveler, Friend, or Unknown Driver – There are online shipping companies that let unknown and unregistered people bid on the transportation of your pet. You might get someone who doesn’t know anything about dogs. It is likely you are paying for their gas money for a family vacation or other road trip. Use this type of transport with great caution.


Do Your Homework

There are many unregistered and unregulated transportation companies. The federal definition of a transporter is a person with a commercial business that moves animals from one location to another. They must be considered a transporter under the Animal Welfare Act and be registered with USDA. But because a business is registered with an oversight company does not mean they do everything correctly. It should mean that they know the rules, follow the rules and do everything they can to care for and protect your pets during transportation.

If you feel uncomfortable or are unable to verify the transportation company or the specific person transporting your pet, do not put your pet into their care. There are good companies that make poor hiring decisions, so be sure to check the criminal history, driving record, vehicle insurance, bonding, and USDA registration on the driver who will be transporting your pet. You should also request the make, model, color, and tag number of the vehicle your pet will be traveling in.

A good transporter will always have a safety plan in place for your pet. If your buyer is making the arrangements for the transportation, protect yourself and your puppies and ask them for the transporter’s information.

There are many questions that you should ask when using a third party to transport your dogs and puppies. Safe pet transport questions.

Stacy Mason is a Senior Breeder Relations Field Representative for the American Kennel Club.