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Buying a Puppy from Out of State? What You Should Know

Finding a reputable breeder who has the right puppy match for your family can often be a challenge in and of itself. Finding one within driving distance may be next to impossible depending on where you live. Thankfully, there are many options for buying a puppy even if your breeder is out of state or just too far.

Ground transportation for buying puppies out of state

Depending on where you live, ground transportation is often the simplest way to get your puppy home. It may seem intimidating to drive a long way with a brand new pup in tow, but we find our pups generally do quite well in the car! What can you expect if you have a long drive ahead with an 8 week old puppy?

First, your pup may whine if he/she is overwhelmed by the new experience of the car. Most of the time the whining subsides within an hour and your pup will likely fall asleep. Secondly, you can expect frequent potty breaks. Your pup may need to potty every 1-4 hours.

We strongly caution new owners to avoid using the pet relief areas at rest stops or anywhere else that other dogs typically frequent. Young pups are not yet fully vaccinated so are susceptible to parvovirus and various other diseases that can easily be picked up from areas where other dogs have gone potty.

We recommend traveling with puppy pads and letting your pup out of his travel crate to use the puppy pads in order to keep him safe on the drive home! Finally, don’t worry if your pup gets carsick. This is very normal for young pups. Most grow out of it as they get older. But your puppy may vomit during his car trip and/or not have much of an appetite for food or water for a while.

If you are unable to drive to get your pup yourself, many breeders are willing to help with car delivery whether offering to hand deliver the puppy themselves or recommending a reputable ground transportation service.

Picking up your puppy via air

It may sound daunting to fly with a young puppy, but it is a common practice, and we have seen many of our puppy parents do it with relative ease. Most pups leave their breeders at 8-10 weeks of age and at this age, even larger breeder dogs typically fit well in a standard size travel carrier that is able to fit under the seat in front of you (the requirement of most airlines).

Check with your individual airline for specific requirements, but typically we find a small pup is quite easy to fly with. Most airlines charge a small pet fee, but owners are able to pick up their pup from the breeder and fly home with your pup at your feet.

The same expectations or concerns with ground transportation also apply to air travel when it comes to giving your pup breaks (pre-flight or during layovers) and expecting some whining or restlessness particularly during take-off.

Shipping a puppy via air when buying from out of state

You will find some breeders who are willing to ship their puppies in the cargo hold. This is often a cost-effective option for getting the pup to your closest airport, however, it is often a stressful start for a young pup.

The transition from being with their mother and littermates to a new home is often startling enough for an 8-week-old doodle but being shipped across the country can be downright traumatic.

There are several reasons that we avoid air shipping at JLDD. The temperature and air pressure is not well-regulated in the cargo hold making the conditions potentially unsafe for a young puppy. Furthermore, have you ever lost luggage after a plane trip or know someone who has? This is a very common occurrence with airline travel. Losing a suitcase is one thing, but we have known of this happening to puppies! They can end up stuck at the wrong airport or otherwise unaccounted for.

Depending on the length of layovers, delays, etc. the whole traveling process can be many hours during which time your puppy is confined to a crate—likely having had some potty accidents and/or having spilled their water or otherwise hungry/thirsty! During the pre-boarding process, your pup will be crated and handled as a piece of luggage by airline workers who may or may not have any previous experience with dogs.

They are placed in the cargo hold and forced to deal with the loud noises and strange sensations of a flight on his own.

So, while it is possible that your puppy could have a seamless two hour flight and end up in your arms happy and healthy as can be, there is a risk that things could go wrong. We strongly prefer to steer away from it to minimize the potential risk and stress on our pups.

Fortunately, there are other options for getting a puppy across the country that are safer and calmer for your pup!

At JLDD, we offer our own shipping service. One of our puppy raisers or trainers will hand deliver your pup to you. Similarly, many breeders will offer their own service or work closely with a reputable flight nanny. The experience of flying in the cabin is typically much easier on the pup than flying in the cargo hold.

First, the pup gets more frequent breaks. Before the flight takes off or during layovers, the pup is able to take a break from his crate and drink water, use the restroom, etc. — we can fit a lot of puppy pads in our carry-on bags! Secondly, the pup is in a temperature and pressure-regulated area during the actual flight.

He has someone there to reassure him and watch out for him during the flight. He is always with arms reach or even on someone’s lap during the flight. We find our pups typically do amazing and sleep through much of our air travel—often just a reassuring voice is enough to calm them if they get anxious or restless.

In particular, our personal flight nannies are people who know and interact with our pups regularly so they know each pup’s personality and how to care well for him/her. Similarly, the pup is with a familiar face which aids in his ability to relax in the strange environment.

As an aside, we have mentioned ground transportation services and flight nannies. Overall, we feel these services are typically good options when it comes to buying a puppy from another state.

However, just as we caution our puppy parents to research any breeder thoroughly, it is important to do your due diligence and find a reputable flight nanny (or driver) by reading reviews, asking questions, etc.. There are of course horror stories of these transporters not caring for their puppies well. Often a reputable breeder will have a recommendation of someone they have worked with previously.

In conclusion, buying a puppy from another state can present an obstacle. But it is a common practice and there are typically various pick up or delivery options to aid in getting your pup home. Ultimately, finding the right breeder should trump location as working through the inconvenience of traveling with or having a pup delivered is worth it to have the perfect companion for your family for the next 12-15+ years!

Jenna and the JLDD Team

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