Happy Tails Alerts

New LIVE Chat!

We are excited to launch our new live chat feature on our website! Have questions about our services? Wondering what the best method of transport is for your pet? Simply click the tab on the bottom right-hand side of our webpage to message us!

Responses will be received as quickly as possible during business hours (7 am - 4 pm MST Mon - Fri). After hours, the chat feature will leave us a message and we will respond the next working day.

Featured Testimonial

"I am writing to express my sincere gratitude and appreciation for the outstanding services provided by Happy Tails Travel during the transportation of our beloved Sparky to his new home.

From our initial contact with Happy Tails Travel, Lizzie, our Pet Travel Specialist, demonstrated unparalleled professionalism and dedication. Lizzie's expertise and commitment were evident throughout the entire process, providing us with the confidence that Sparky was in the best possible hands. Her attention to detail, clear communication, and genuine care for animals made the entire experience seamless and stress-free."

Make sure to read the rest of Sparky's testimonial and our others here!

Frequently Asked Questions about Pet Ground Travel

How safe is ground travel for pets?

Ground travel is very safe for pets if your pet is healthy. We are very selective when choosing drivers who work for us and have set policies in place which our drives must follow to ensure your pets’ safety and comfort. Ground transportation allows the flexibility of your pets being able to have breaks outside of their crate while traveling, as well as having the comforts of food and water along the way.

What are Pet Ride Sharing Options?

As pet travel by ground is becoming more popular due to increased airline regulations, more clients are deciding to use ground transportation. As we have pets relocating all over the country, at times we may have another client whose pets will be traveling along a similar route at the same time as your desired travel. Like carpooling, if you are open to your pet(s) riding with pet(s) from another family, the ride share option may be available to you to help reduce the overall costs as we can carry multiple pets in one trip.

A ride share discount is offered based on the length of the ride that is shared and can only be determined after a signed contract is received by both families and agree to the ride share.  The discount is applied to the second half payment once determined and agreed. Ride share discounts range between $200 - $1,250 off your quoted price, subject to how much of the ride is shared.

Each transport is limited to no more than two (2) pet families. If you are interested in saving money by utilizing a ride share option, it is important that your travel dates remain flexible. This is needed because when you inquire about ground transport we may not yet have someone else whose pets need to go in the same direction. Also, we need to make sure there is time to coordinate with our driver and arrange the pick-up from multiple parties. If you choose to participate in the ride share option, your pets’ travel may take a little longer than usual as additional stops will be made along the way.

Why can Ground Travel be more Expensive than Air Travel?

Pricing for ground travel is based on mileage and/or timing.  On the other hand, airfare is primarily based on your pet's weight in his/her crate along with the destination.  Our By Ground Safe and Sound program is competitively priced and allows our team of Logistics Coordinator and professional drivers to provide you & your pet(s) with VIP treatment. This includes a fully customized trip from door – to – door, overnight stays in pet friendly hotels so that your pet is never left unattended, and much more.

What can I send with my Pet during their Ground Transport?

The only items permitted to be transported with pet(s) on a Ground Transport are those items directly associated with the pet(s) traveling.  This includes items such as crates, bowls, food, bedding, toys, etc. Our drivers do not haul any additional cargo while transporting your pet(s).

How does ground relocation work for my pet?

We work with you in creating a customized travel plan for your pet(s). This starts with us receiving your signed contract. As soon as we receive your signed contract, we will begin planning your pets’ relocation. This includes us scheduling your pets’ relocation with one of our trusted drivers. If you are interested in the pet ride share option, we will reach out to other clients along a similar route. We also provide detailed travel crate information including size and type of crate if required for your pet(s) travel.

Due to the nature of ground transportation, your flexibility with your dog or cats’ travel date is essential. While we can have a target date, you must keep in mind that drivers can be delayed by traffic and weather conditions. If you are looking to bring the costs down by using a ride share option, then your date must be more flexible to allow us time to find someone along a similar route who is also open to the idea of ride sharing.

Once we have scheduled our driver to transport your pets, we will be in touch with you and the driver as to the expected pick-up and delivery dates. You will also be kept up-to-date while your pets are in route with pictures and phone calls. Our job is not complete until each and every pet family member is safe and happy at your final destination point!

What types of Vehicles are used? Can you drive my Personal Vehicle?

Ground Transportation is provided in heated/air-conditioned Sedans, SUVs, Mini Vans or Cargo vans, based on the pets traveling.  While in transport your dogs can either ride in a crate, or ride with a leash and harness.  Cats must stay in their crate at all times (except for during overnight stops).  The vehicles used are our driver's personal vehicles which are maintained regularly for your pet(s) safety and comfort.  Please note if you have multiple pets traveling, your transport may require more than one vehicle in which case additional charges will incur.

Due to liability, we are unable to drive your personal vehicle.  It does not matter whether or not you have insurance which will cover the driver.

What services do you provide for my pet?

Our services are Air and Ground Travel Consultation. For pet travel by ground transportation we arrange domestic pet travel and relocation services. We help with all the arrangements of your pet’s VIP relocation from start to finish. This includes the following:

  • Door-to-door transportation
  • Working with our trusted drivers to arrange for your pets’ safe and comfortable ground transportation
  • Transportation in heated/air-conditioned Sedans, SUVs, Mini Vans or Cargo vans, based on the pets traveling
  • Communication with you throughout the trip; including at least 2-3 pictures of your pets per travel day, and regular updates between the driver and the pet owner(s) directly
  • Comfort stops, walks, and potty breaks along the way (every 2 – 4 hours, unless more frequently requested)
  • Your pets will be fed, given water and are able to bring their favorite toys, blanket, & treats along for the ride!
How long does the travel take?

Your pets’ ground transport will depend on the distance driven. Most transports are completed between 2 – 5 days of your pets being picked up. The estimated travel time is based on the driver traveling between 8 – 12 hours each day, excluding time for stops. Besides distance, the length of travel depends on the road and traffic conditions, and if your pets are participating in a ride share option where additional stops will be made along the way.

While all of our professional drivers are required to provide pets with comfort stops every 2-4 hours, the time can be customized to your request, or what the dog seems to need. Please note that can also affect that total travel time.

Why does my pet require ground transportation?

All airlines have policies in place regarding pet relocation. These policies include factors such as: if they accept live animals at all, which breeds they accept, how many pets can go on any one flight, and the temperature for which certain breeds can fly. We are familiar with the policies of all major airlines. Due to increased airline restrictions many breeds can no longer fly, and domestically, no pets can travel if the temperatures are above 80 degrees.

With our experience, we can find the best transportation option for your pet, even during the hottest summer months or the coldest winter months. We are very selective in which drivers we work with and only work with those which ensure your pet is safe and comfortable.

What are your fees and the cost? Do you have a payment plan?

We have a fee for our services, which is the Ground Travel Consultation, that allows us to plan your pets’ relocation from start to finish by: providing you with all the customized information you need, scheduling the ground transport, determining the best route, and any other services you require. The Ground Travel Consultation fee is $300 for civilians and $250 for military members. Then there is the price for the transport, which is based on how far your pets need to travel. Lastly, there are fees for any additional services you may require such as purchasing a travel crate or boarding.

For long distance ground transport, we collect payment in two halves. The first payment is our Ground Travel Consultation fee, which is the fee for our services that allows us to begin planning your pets’ relocation and making the necessary arrangements, as well as half of the price of the transport. The first payment is collected upon receipt of a signed contract so that we can reserve your desired travel date, and begin planning your pets' transport. The second payment is for remaining half of the transport, which is collected the day your pets are picked up.

We do not offer payment plans. You are welcome to make smaller, more frequent payments, between the first half deposit and the final payment, as long as the balance is paid in full by the day your pets are picked up.

What type of crate does my pet need?

Subject to your and the driver’s preference, dogs have the option of riding in their crate or with a seatbelt and harness/loose. Cats must be sent with a soft carrier or reasonably sized hard travel crate for their journey.

In their crates, pets must be able to stand, turn around, and lie down without restriction. There is a measuring chart that we can use to help determine pet size; it is better to be a little too big than a little too small! We provide a customized shopping list for each pet. It is important to have the right one, prepared properly, for your pet’s comfort during travel.

We do not rent crates because it is best that each pet has their own personal crate, so they can become accustomed to it and have their own "safe" place. The crate is yours to keep once you buy it online or at a pet store. As part of our service, we are happy to order a crate for you, which can be delivered to you if we have enough time and if your pet is already crate trained. We suggest maximum time for a pet to become familiar with the crate so that they are more comfortable with their surroundings during their drive.

Can you Pick-Up and Deliver my Pets on Specific Dates?

Happy Tails Travel, Inc. offers ground transport 365 days a year. Before returning a completed contract, your assigned Pet Travel Specialist will let you know if your desired travel date is available. Generally, we require at least 10 business days between when a signed contract is received and when a pet can be picked up (more notice is required during peak season). If your contract is returned within 48 hours of being sent, it is likely that your desired travel date will still be available.

Once your signed contract is received, your Pet Travel Specialist will lock in your pets’ travel date, by adding it to our schedule.

Drivers are typically assigned about two weeks before a travel date. The driver will coordinate with you directly to schedule the specific pick-up time on your travel date.  You are welcome to request pick-up by a certain time, and your Pet Travel Specialist will make note of that when scheduling a driver for your pets’ transport.

The delivery date is based on the trip length. Your Pet Travel Specialist will let you know how many days and nights your pets’ trip is expected to take. Travel time is based on the driver traveling between 8 – 12 hours each day, excluding time for stops. Trip length is subject to change based on weather, road, and traffic conditions.  If transport is requested to take longer than the estimated time, additional fees may apply.

Who are your Drivers?

We have a team of about 20 independent contractor drivers, with a wide variety of backgrounds. They are all animal lovers and very experienced in what they do. In order to work for us, each driver must undergo a series of interviews, pass a background check, have a clean driving record and continue to submit proof of valid insurance and regular vehicle maintenance.  Before doing any jobs for us, they have to sign and agree to our Driver Handbook which outlines our company policies for ground transports, and do a ride along with a more senior driver to see firsthand what transports with Happy Tails Travel entail. Most drivers have been with us for at least two years, and on average, do three transports per month.

You can get to know some of our drivers here. Drivers are usually assigned about 2 weeks before a pick-up date, and as soon as a driver is assigned, we will let you know who they are and provide their contact information.