Tip of the Week: 10 Best Safety Practices for Animal Transport

You may have read last week’s blog about shelter populations increasing and numbers of animals transported out decreasing. If you are planning to start or resume a transport program, here are some practices to ensure the animals’ safety and comfort.   

Vax Up

Animals at the source shelter should be vaccinated prior to or upon intake. Dogs and cats 12+ weeks old must receive their rabies vaccinations before transport.

No Fleas, Please

Ensure that all animals have received preventative flea and tick treatment.

Parasites Outta Sight

Animals should be treated for any diagnosed internal and external parasites.

Not One, But Two

Animals should receive a physical examination within 24 hours of transport and upon arrival at the destination shelter.

The Big Screen

Prior to transport, animals should be screened for signs of infectious disease, including vomiting, diarrhea, hair loss, skin lesions, and respiratory complications.

Deal Breaker

Animals with contagious or communicable diseases must be deemed ineligible for transport.

Minimum Age Requirements

Puppies and kittens should be 8+ weeks old at time of transport, unless they are being transported with their mother.

Special Situation: Heartworm

In heartworm epidemic areas, be sure to screen dogs 6+ months of age and follow state regulations regarding the import of heartworm-positive dogs.

Behavior Concerns

Select behaviorally appropriate animals for transport. Source agencies should share historical behavior information recorded at the time of relinquishment.


All transported animals must be spayed or neutered prior to adoption either by the source or the destination agency.

More Tips & Info

Tip of the Week: Right on the Button
Tip of the Week: At Your Service
Tip of the Week: To the Moon & Back
Industry Update: Recommendations for Animal Transport
Download the .pdf: Companion Animal Transport Best Practices

The Association is the only international society of leaders actively leading and managing community animal shelters/animal control agencies.

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