Bringing your puppy home safely

You connected with the right breeder. You found the dog of your dreams. Now, all you have to do is get your puppy home safe and sound so you can begin your lives together.

Getting your new dog home safely is your first big job as a dog parent. And because you want to make sure your pup is as comfortable as possible during their journey, you might feel a little bit nervous. Luckily, breeders do this all the time, and we’re dedicated to making sure the process is as smooth as possible.

We’re also here to help if any hiccups arise, and you can always contact us at help@gooddog.com or give us a call at 1-855-446-6336.

Of course, not all trips are the same. If you pick up your pup in person, all it costs you is a tank of gas and a little bit of time. If you’re having a dog transported from far away, it can get a bit pricier, including the cost of airfare and sometimes a flight nanny who takes care of your pup during the journey.

The big goal here is ensuring your puppy has an easy transition to its new home. Breeders usually don’t make much money on the process; they’re just invested in making sure your new dog gets to you safely, ready to join your family. Let's go over the options...

Pick up

Finding a local breeder makes the pickup process easy and allows you to meet and share the special occasion. More often, you’ll likely wind up working with a breeder that’s more than a quick drive away. That’s totally fine — breeders are plenty experienced making sure dogs get to their new homes, transporting them all across the country.

If driving isn’t doable, but you still want to collect your pup in person and meet the breeder, flying in yourself is another great option. Just remember, though, your dog has to be small enough to fit in a carry-on that can slide under the seat in front of you.

Before you buy those potentially pricey round trip tickets with the on-board pet surcharge (generally $100-150), definitely check in with your breeder to make sure your pup is still tiny enough to qualify as the most adorable carry-on ever.

You should also talk with your breeder about where you’ll meet once you get into town. Some breeders are happy to meet you at the airport, while others prefer you to come by their homes. Your decision will also help determine how much the trip costs you; in some cases, you may need to get a hotel room, which costs a bit extra but will make for a fun first night with your puppy.

Delivery

Flying out to pick up your puppy isn’t always feasible for everyone. The good news is that you’re not alone, and most of our breeders offer options to help bring your puppy to you safely and comfortably.

Flight nanny

A flight nanny steps in to fly with your puppy if you can’t do it yourself. The flight nanny takes care of the pup during the flight, to ensure the dog’s comfort and safety. Sometimes breeders themselves serve as the flight nanny, while other breeders send along a friend or family member to play doggy chaperone.

As you’d expect, this service comes with an extra price tag. Along with the cost of roundtrip airfare and the on-board pet fee, a flight nanny will likely want to be compensated for their time, especially on longer trips.

Pet air cargo

If a flight nanny isn’t in the cards, there are still other airplane options. Several major domestic airlines, such as United and American Airlines, will fly your puppy in a pet safe air cargo area. Thanks to decades of experience, these airlines are experts at keeping your pups comfortable and secure. There is a special area at the bottom of the plane for animals that is both pressurized and temperature-controlled, making it perfectly safe for flying.

In fact, your puppy will have some room to roam in a large hard crate that has extra food and water, which is more than we can say for most human plane passengers. Work with your breeder to make sure you follow the airline’s kennel requirements, so that your puppy doesn’t get turned away from traveling.

It’s important to note that some breeds are not allowed to fly in pet air cargo, out of an abundance of caution. These breeds are generally the brachycephalic (or short, snub-nosed) dogs like French Bulldogs and strong-jawed dog breeds like Chow Chows or Mastiffs.

Your puppy’s flight will have tracking information so you can watch their progress as they fly through the sky and make sure you time your arrival just right. Generally speaking, when you get to the airport, you’ll head on over the baggage claim, where you’ll find a cargo pickup desk. Remember to bring a valid ID that matches paperwork provided by the breeder so there are no delays in your meeting your new best friend.

Some breeders are careful to only book direct flights for their puppies, because hey, not even dogs like layovers. But depending on where you live and where the puppy is coming from, a connecting flight might be necessary. That shouldn’t pose a problem, as these airlines have systems in place to help your puppy move from one plane to another, with a much-deserved break in a temperature-controlled room, so they’re never sitting in a plane or exposed to the elements. Some airlines will only do one connection, though, a limitation that’s in the pup’s best interest.

All told, this service can run between $200-500, but the professional care and peace of mind is worth every penny.

Delivery by car

Meeting your pup via ground transportation is less common than other methods, given the fact that breeders are often all over the country and long drives are not easy on young dogs. Usually, the faster you can get your puppy home the better. But if a breeder is nearby, they may opt to deliver your puppy themselves.

Sometimes breeders ask to be compensated for the trip, but a safe and comfortable ride with an expert is well worth it. Having your puppy delivered to your home will feel like a dream come true.

What to bring when you pick your puppy up

Here are five things you might want to have handy when you pick up your puppy and travel home.

  1. Soft carrier: A small, soft carrier is necessary when flying home with your puppy in the cabin or if you want to keep them secure while you’re busy.
  2. Collar and leash: If you’re not holding your puppy, make sure they are always on leash so they don’t dash off. Nylon collars are recommended as they are softer on your puppy’s neck.
  3. Food and treats: Bring doggy snacks since your puppy will likely be hungry after travel. Breeders will often provide a small baggy for you.
  4. Paper towels: Puppies are messy so you might want to have some paper towels on hand in case of any accidents.
  5. An extra pair of hands: There’s a lot going on when you pick up your puppy so you might find it helpful to bring along a family member or friend to take pics, hold your carrier or drive the car while you hug your new pup.