Shipping Pets

  • The United States Postal System (USPS) and most major US mail services have specific requirements in place for shipping pets.

Overview of the USPS Guidelines:

  • Mammals, reptiles, poisonous insects, poisonous spiders, and most birds are not considered ‘mailable’. Mailing dangerous or diseased animals puts employees and the public at risk, and is therefore not permitted.
  • Animals that may cause damage to the shipping container or are packed using a refrigerant will not be shipped.
  • Animals cannot be transported with food or water because loose food and moisture can damage the shipping container, postal equipment, and other mail.
  • Live animals must be shipped in containers that will prevent escape, provide adequate ventilation and resist crushing. Containers must be properly addressed with a description of the contents made clear.
  • Postal Service personnel have the authority to refuse packages containing animals if the animals are improperly packaged, if transit time is deemed unsafe, or in the event of harmful weather conditions.
  • There are several other options for shipping pets more safely outside of the regular mail system. These services focus solely on the safe and legal transportation of pets and can be found on the IPATA website:


Sources: CBS News; United States Postal Service,


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