If animals are your passion and you’re eager to have your own business, consider starting a pet transport business. This type of industry involves transporting pets to and from a place, per the owner’s request. This service is often used when a person is moving from one house to another and needs help in transporting their pet. You may be asked to drive a few cats across the state to a different house, or you could be put in charge of getting a poodle on a plane to fly across the ocean. Some pet transport companies move to show pets back and forth between their homes and a show.

If you’re thinking about starting your own pet transport business, there are some essential items you will need to get started. Read on to learn what they are.


The AWA, or Animal Welfare Act, states that anyone who transports certain types of animals must be licensed with the USDA, or United States Department of Agriculture. If you wish to start a pet transport business, you can request a licensing packet from the regional office of the Animal Care program offered by the USDA. You must meet all minimum standards concerning human-animal care and treatment according to the USDA during transport.

When you want to start your own pet transport business, you’ll also need to choose a legal entity. If you plan to work locally and on a smaller scale, then a general partnership can be your ideal entity. If you plan to transport pets all over the United States and to other countries, you’ll need to register as a Limited Liability Company. A lawyer can give you advice on which one to choose if you are unsure.


A reliable vehicle is a must when you are planning to transport pets to and from their homes. It’s better to own a van or SUV that is big enough to transport larger animals safely and comfortably. The USDA requires all pet transport companies to provide adequate protection against extreme temperatures and weather during transport, so always keep the temperature of the vehicle at a comfortable level when animals are with you. Make sure that you are fully licensed and registered to drive the vehicle, and keep your insurance up-to-date at all times. Have your vehicle regularly checked over and keep up with state inspections. A reliable vehicle equals a reliable business.


The USDA states that all pet carriers must provide the following: protection from the weather, an appropriate diet, clean transportation, and the appropriate carriers. Having quality accessories will show customers that you care about the safety of their pets, and it will keep their pets happy and healthy as you transport them. You’ll need the following items for a pet transport business:

Dog ramp – A dog ramp can help a dog get in and out of a high vehicle. If you are transporting a fido that is elderly or has joint issues, a dog ramp will also give them an easy way to get in and out without having to be lifted.

Pet carriers – Having different sizes of pet carriers is important as you may be taking care of animals of all sizes. Make sure they are new, comfortable, and can lock from the outside.

Dog cages – You may need a large dog cage if you are transporting a larger dog, such as a Great Dane or Mastiff. Having a couple of sizes at your disposal is a good idea.

Seat belt harness – You’ll need durable seat belt harnesses to ensure your pet carriers and cages stay in place.

Food and water – You’ll need to have food and clean water on you at all times. While most pet owners will send food along with their pets, especially if they are on a special diet, it won’t hurt for you to have extra on hand.

Dishes – Portable food and water dishes are a must no matter how far you are traveling.

Leash – You’ll need a leash to take a dog out for a walk during a long ride. Keep an extra leash in your vehicle in case the owner doesn’t provide one.

Cleaning Supplies

Animals can get sick from a car ride, and they often get dirty getting in and out of the vehicle. Keep cleaning supplies with you at all times, including towels. It won’t hurt to keep a few packages of pet wet wipes on hand as well. Your vehicle should always look and smell as clean as possible, so be prepared to vacuum and clean often between jobs.

Vet Papers

When you transport an animal, especially on a plane, you’ll need the appropriate veterinarian papers from the owner. The pet must be in an approved carrier in order to fly on an airplane. The USDA requires that all pets be eight weeks of age and older, as well as fully weaned before they can travel. You must also have an up-to-date rabies immunization to cross state borders. Within 30 days of the date of travel, a licensed vet must issue a valid health certificate for the pet. As a pet transport specialist, you must make sure you have all of these papers in order before the pet can get on a plane.

Marketing Campaign

Once you have everything you need to be purchased and ready, you’re ready to begin advertising your services. A business website is a good place to start. You’ll need to come up with a business name for your pet transport company. When you find one you like, register and trademark it right away. You may wish to design your own website, or you can hire a company to design one for you.

Use the many social media platforms of today to advertise your services. From Facebook to Instagram to TikTok, you’ll reach an amazing number of people simply by posting your information on these apps. Aside from a website, set up dedicated business pages on all forms of social media. If you aren’t sure how to do it or simply don’t want to worry about it, you can hire social media marketers who will manage your social media marketing needs.

Of course, there are other ways to advertise your new business. Word-of-mouth is a great way to draw in customers, so don’t be afraid to tell everyone you know about your new business. Consider e-mail and direct mail marketing. Have flyers printed up describing your services, and ask if you can put them up in local pet stores, animal shelters, restaurants, and grocery stores.

A pet transport company is an amazing way to make a living while performing a job you love. With the above tips, you can easily get your business up and running in no time at all.