Transporting a Pet’s Remains
To support and announce systems that will facilitate interstate and international transport of a pet’s remains for an earth burial back home.
If you ever travel with your pet, or if you and your pet temporarily move away from home and your pet dies, how will you transport your pet’s body if you want a burial back home? In the U.S., Homeland Security only allows air transport of a pet’s body if arranged by a licensed shipper. Yet where can one find such a service?
Many people who write to us seeking support often are able to arrange, with considerable effort, an airline or other means of transportation. As people share their successes with us, we will list possibilities here.
Interstate Transportation: We seek to identify and encourage one entity (e.g., pet cemetery, pet transporter, veterinary practice, crematory, or mortuary) in every state to be licensed as a shipper in order to legally ship the body of a pet’s remains by air transport, whenever the need arises.
May 22, 2012 – Los Angeles’ Pets To Vets pet transporter (formerly Pet Taxi LA) provides this service. We are looking for other shippers in other cities.
November 21, 2015 – Animal Transporters
the company was sold in 2014; the new owner will not provide this service.
January 8, 2016 – Miami’s Pet Heaven Memorial Park stopped providing this service when United Airlines added new restrictions.
International Transportation: We seek to identify and encourage one entity (e.g., pet cemetery, pet transporter, veterinary practice, crematory, or mortuary) in every nation to be licensed as a shipper that can legally ship the body of a pet’s remains by air transport, whenever the need arises.
July 20, 2015 – We are now exploring transportation options – by plane, ship or train – between nations. Due to international laws, this will be a much more daunting task. We welcome your stories, help and leads, and will post information and updates as we learn anything new.
Within the U.S.
- Jet-A-Pet International – Contact them directly to learn if you can arrange to ship your pet’s remains. Prices may range from $650 – $950 (within the US, airport to airport).
- Pets to Vets – For delivery of deceased pets, originating in LA and Orange counties, CA. They have an arrangement with United Airlines. (formerly Pet Taxi LA).
- International Pet and Animal Transportation Association (IPATA) – on IPATA’s website, search for a local shipper who may be able to help you: http://www.ipata.org/for-pet-owners/find-a-pet-shipper/
- Animal Transporters had been sold in 2014; the new owner will no longer provide this service.
- Delta Airlines will not provide this service.
- Pet Heaven Memorial Park in Miami, FL. They had an arrangement with United Airlines, but service stopped in 2013.
- Jet-A-Pet International – Contact them directly to learn if you can arrange to ship your pet’s remains.
- International Pet and Animal Transportation Association (IPATA) – on IPATA’s website, you may search for a local shipper who may be able to help you: http://www.ipata.org/for-pet-owners/find-a-pet-shipper/
Note: Due to the risk of loss or damage, we do not recommend this option.
- FedEx – Prohibited or Restricted Articles 4:Prohibited Items – G:Animal Carcasses
- UPS – List of Prohibited Articles, Perishable Goods – they would be accommodating if you are willing to risk having the remains get lost. Ask your local provider for their specifications and procedures.
- USPS – 601 Mailability – Hazardous, Restricted, and Perishable Mail – 8.4 Perishable Matter – it’s possible they will be accommodating – if you are willing to take the risk. Call your local USPS office for specifications.
- DHL Express – we spoke with a representative on 2/19/16, and were told that they will not transport pet remains (which, interestingly, they consider similarly to human remains, which they do not transport).
In the News
11/20/15 – Dead dog flown 6,000 miles to Flintshire for lavish funeral, by David Powell. Daily Post. (also – here and here)
the Environmental Impact of Transportation
This objective seems to contradict the goals of green burial – to be environmentally sound, we would all be buried near where we die in order to minimize the environmental impact of fuel and packing materials used in shipping a body. Some might argue that the money used for transportation could be spent in ways that would protect environments.
In fact, a relatively few will seek transportation services; if they are fortunate, they are likely to access flights already scheduled. Therefore, the main environmental problem regards packing materials, and we encourage the reuse of packing materials, including the marine cooler, whenever possible.
Yet there is something else to consider: a family’s bereavement. The primary reasons why we bury our loved ones’ remains are to honor their memory and gently return their bodies to the earth, while caring for ourselves during an intense period of grief. A true earth burial facilitates healing, therefore we must never sacrifice our compassion, empathy or humanity for the bereaved for an environmentalism that turns into emotionally-sterile advocacy.
Many families now travel with small animals whom they may carry onto a plane. Unless there is an accident, sudden illness, or a prolonged residency, most can arrange for their pet to die at or near home. Although it is a relatively rare occurrence for a family seeks to ship their pet’s body from one state, or one nation, to another, when that need arises, but the family is unable to bring their loved one home, the compounded grief can be overwhelming.
This objective seeks to provide bereaved families with a transportation system that may ease their pain at such difficult times.
updated December 29, 2021