HOW DOES HAULING BUDDIES WORK?
Hauling Buddies is an online marketplace where people can find and communicate with professional animal transporters. Our focus is on finding high-quality transporters who prioritize the safety and care of your animal during transportation. Animal owners can rest assured after seeing the hauler’s verified credentials, and speaking with them to discuss the terms and conditions of the animal’s transport. With so many resources available and the ability for haulers and clients to communicate, it is clear that safe, professional animal transportation is their goal.
Finding the right transportation partner for your pet is an important decision. Maybe you’ve rescued a dog or cat in another state. Perhaps there’s a horse show you want to attend, but you don’t own your own horse trailer. Or, maybe you took a new job all the way across the country and don’t want to subject your pet to a stressful cross-country flight.
No matter your transportation needs, knowing how animal transportation works, and what questions to ask before you hire an animal hauler, will help you make an informed decision, and provide your pet with a stress-free travel experience.
ANIMAL TRANSPORTATION: WHAT TO EXPECT
Before you hire a professional animal hauler to transport your pet, it’s helpful to know a little about how pet transportation works.
Horses, and other large animals, are transported in trailers. Smaller animals, like dogs and cats, on the other hand, should only be transported within a climate-controlled vehicle like a car, SUV, or van.
In addition to being in a secure vehicle while on their journey to their new home, the ASPCA, American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, recommends your pet is transported in a well-ventilated crate or carrier for their own protection. The crate should be large enough for your pet to comfortably sit, stand, lie down, and turn around. Many owners will select a crate that also has room for a water bowl, so their pet has access to clean water.
If you have a large or giant breed dog that is accustomed to traveling in the back of an SUV, as many are, this area of the hauler’s vehicle should be secure and have a soft surface that is covered with a blanket or cushion, to prevent your pet from becoming sore on their journey.
How frequently the hauler stops during the journey will depend on the pet’s age, the animal’s travel experience, and the length of the trip. A good rule of thumb for puppies and senior dogs is a potty break about every two hours. Adult dogs should have a break every three to four hours.
Horses and other large animals will require a rest break every four or so hours, especially if the weather is warm and dehydration is a concern.
HIRING THE RIGHT ANIMAL TRANSPORTER
After you find a few haulers on the Hauling Buddies website, there are a few steps you will want to take to ensure the partner you select is best able to meet your needs.
Check the hauler’s reviews
Many animal transporters are passionate about their jobs. They love helping people and their pets get from Point A to Point B. An experienced hauler will be happy to share their reviews with you.
Look for reviews that include photos, so you can get a sense of the experience your pet will have under the hauler’s care. Do the animals look content and happy? Does the vehicle or trailer look clean?
QUESTIONS TO ASK BEFORE YOU HIRE
Is the hauler a member of IPATA? The IPATA, or International Pet and Animal Transportation Association, is an organization of professional animal transporters. Members of IPATA adhere to the rules and regulations of the Live Animals Regulations of the International Air Transport Association ( IATA). In the U.S., all active IPATA members are registered with the U.S. Department of Agriculture ( USDA) and adhere to the rules and regulations of the USDA's Animal Welfare Act.
Is the transporter’s vehicle or trailer secure and well ventilated?
Good ventilation, particularly in horse trailers, will prevent dust and debris from building up. Even in cold weather situations, it’s important that a few of the trailer’s windows remain open so that the air can circulate.
Proper ventilation - and climate control - is also important to dog breeds that suffer from brachycephalic airway syndrome, like Bulldogs, Pugs, Boston Terriers, and Pekingese. These breeds often have difficulty breathing and cooling themselves in hot weather. If your dog falls into this category, it's crucial that they are transported in vehicles that will remain at a cool, comfortable temperature for the entire journey.
Ask for photos of the car, SUV, van, or trailer the hauler uses
Feel free to ask the hauler for photos of the interior and exterior of the vehicle or trailer your animal will be moved in if they haven’t already provided them. Does it look well maintained and clean? Can the hauler provide photos of the space where your pet’s crate will be while on their journey?
For horses, does the hauler use a slant load trailer or a straight load trailer? Some horses are easier to load in one versus the other. If your horse is a tough loader, the type of trailer the hauler uses may impact your decision.
Is the hauler insured?
We never want to think of anything bad happening to our animals on their journey, but if it does, it’s important to hire a hauler who carries insurance.
Horses, for example, are unpredictable. If you’ve ever tried hauling a horse by yourself, you know that problems can sometimes occur when attempting to load and unload horses - it may even happen on the journey itself.
How often will the hauler stop to provide the animals with a travel break?
How often a hauler stops for breaks is especially important for long haul journeys. For dogs, cats, and other small animals, ask how often the hauler will stop for potty breaks. For horses, ask how often the hauler will stop to provide water, allow them to move around and stretch their legs, or just stop to rest from the haul itself.
Traveling in peak hot or cold weather can be more challenging on both the hauler and the animal. In both climate scenarios, a hauler should stop about every four or five hours. To avoid dehydration during warmer months, you will want a hauler to stop more frequently to provide access to water. In colder months, it’s a good idea to stop and check that the horses’ blankets are still securely fastened.
Ask for references
Once you’ve narrowed your search to a few haulers, and you’re ready to make a decision, ask for references.
Be sure to ask:
- How their pet looked when they arrived at their destination. Were they healthy and in good spirits?
- Would they have done anything differently during their pet’s journey?
- Did the transporter provide photo and text updates throughout?
- Would they use the transporter again?
Once your prospective hauler’s references checkout, you’ll be ready to go!