Looking for a new puppy or kitten? Are you someone who "must" have a new purebred or hybrid "baby"? Does the reputable, responsible breeder you have your heart set on live all the way across the country? If so, it's possible to get your puppy or kitten from that breeder – but there are a few ground rules to follow first.
Rule number one: Make sure you visit in person
Unless you know this breeder personally and have previously worked with this individual, make sure you visit in person at least once and preferably twice. The first time should be to check out the location, the health of the animals in question, to choose your puppy or kitten from those available, and to meet the animals’ parents in person, if at all possible.
When you visit in person, you'll see things that no video or Skype session could ever show you. Reputable breeders will have no problem inviting you to visit their premises, sometimes even unannounced.
If you can't visit in person, make sure the breeder you choose has been fully investigated, evaluated and approved by reliable sources. Ideally, you should try to meet in person at least once, but when that's not possible, do your research thoroughly and make sure that this professional has excellent references from satisfied customers.
Rule number two: Make sure you take possession of your puppy or kitten in person, too
Understand this: If you're spending hundreds, or perhaps even thousands, of dollars on a purebred or hybrid puppy or kitten, you can spend a few hundred more to go pick up your special pet in person. If you're flying, many airlines will allow you to have a small animal on board as long as that animal is contained in a carrier and can fit comfortably under your seat. Check out various airline policies before you choose your ticket, and choose one that will let you take your puppy or kitten on the plane with you.
What happens to your puppy or kitten if it is simply "shipped" to you via commercial airliner? Unfortunately, it's usually put in the cargo area of the airplane with luggage. Not only is this a rough ride for your poor puppy or kitten, who is already undoubtedly scared because it has left home and family behind, but it's dangerous, too. The luggage compartments of most airplanes are NOT pressurized or temperature-controlled (although a few are). That means that at the airplane's normal altitude, your poor puppy or kitten is freezing and having to experience a complete lack of pressurization, too. It's not worth the trauma and suffering it will experience, or risk of injury and even death.
Rule number three: If you can't pick up your pet yourself, inquire whether the breeder will personally deliver your pet to you
If a breeder has taken care of your puppy or kitten from birth, the person has understandably grown fond of the animal and wants nothing less than finding it the very best home. This kind of committed breeder often will offer to personally travel cross-country with your new pet, stowing it in a comfortable carrier under his seat on the plane, where it can attend to the animal’s physical and emotional needs every step of the way. While this service may add to your expense, there may be no substitute for the peace of mind you experience, knowing your new baby is in the care of the familiar, compassionate breeder it has known from birth. Part of this delivery may also include offering your pet’s breeder hospitality upon arrival before resuming travel back home. Purchasing a pet who will be a part of your daily life for the next 10-20 years usually begins with a positive relationship with the animal’s breeder, a bond which often continues for many years to come.
Rule number four: If you can't pick up your pet yourself or have the breeder personally deliver it to you, at least hire a specialized pet shipping service
If you absolutely cannot pick up your pet in person and either drive it back with you or fly by airplane as described above, at the very least, hire a specialized pet shipping service. These services specialize in moving pets across country. Reputable services provide excellent care to pets during transport, including comfortable cages or kennels, companionship, food, water, and potty needs, so that the travel is as easy on your pet as possible. Research companies or ask your breeder to recommend one for you.
Rule number five: DON'T try to "economize" on your pet's travel needs
Just as you have decided to go to a reputable breeder to get that exquisite puppy or kitten of your choice – one that will have had excellent care and nutrition, is healthy, and has been socialized and raised in a loving environment – so, too, must you be willing to spend a little money to make sure your pet gets to you safely if you can't pick it up on your own.
Rule number six: Ask your vet if tranquilizers may be advised
It all depends on the kitten or puppy, but some pets just don't travel well even under the best of circumstances. If the kitten or puppy you've chosen seems to be the sensitive type, providing a mild sedative (carefully calibrated to the age, genetic profile, and weight of the young animal) may help your pet get through the travel process with as little physical and emotional trauma as possible.
Again, even if your pet is sedated, you should not skimp on travel needs that will keep it healthy and safe during the process. Choose a reputable pet shipper if you can't pick up your pet yourself, and then consider sedation simply to make sure your pet goes through as little trauma from the experience as possible.
In short, it's never advised to have your pet "shipped" to you as a first choice. Providing ground shipment without your accompaniment should only be done by a reputable pet moving service if it is necessary at all.
Flight Safety: A New Pet Priority.
Retrieved November 16, 2014.
Pets dying on flights: Airlines offer only partial picture of animal safety.
Retrieved November 16, 2014.
Travel Safely with Your Pet by Car, Airplane, Ship, or Train.
Retrieved November 16, 2014.