how to find a dog out of state
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How to Buy a Dog in Another State – Searching for a Pup


9  Min Read – Today, we look at how to buy a dog in another state – the search for your new pup!

Like many of our readers, dogs have been an important part of our family for as long as I can remember. If you’re a dog person, you’re aware of the joy dog’s provide. That unwavering pledge of love and loyalty… that renews every time you walk into your house!

When Frazier, our beloved golden, passed away, it took us a few years to get our heads around a new pup. But, the extra downtime from COVID finally inspired us to launch a search. Without any travel plans on the near horizon, it seemed like a good time to train and care for a new pup.

Adoption Boom

It turned out that we weren’t alone. Since the beginning of the pandemic, there’s been a steady rise in pet adoption. With more people spending time at home & looking for rewarding outlets, introducing a pet into the family has become a healthy & positive trend. This has been especially beneficial for Shelters, nonprofit rescues & private breeders. Tens of thousands of deserving pups have made their way out of shelters & into permanent homes.


First things First – What kind of dog?

Golden Retrievers have always been our dog of choice.  These amiable, goofy, companions  have been a part of our family for 26 of the last 35 years.

While our love of Goldens hasn’t changed…we have. Caring for Frazier in his last months was difficult. Weighing in at 95 pounds made it difficult to help Frazier, when he became less ambulatory. Picking him up was easier when I was younger. We’d also moved to a smaller home which wasn’t ideal for a large dog. We needed to adapt to our current  lifestyle.

how to find a dog out of state


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We Agreed on new Puppy Parameters:

  • Under 40 pounds when full grown
  • Smart, easily trainable breeds move to the top of the list
  • A breed with a similar friendly, loving disposition as a golden retriever
  • A dog with a moderate level of exercise requirements
  • Hypo-allergenic dogs, with hair rather than fur – no shedding would be nice


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First Stop – Local shelters & Rescues

We started by reaching out to local shelters and rescue operations in our area. I would encourage anyone looking for a new dog to try this option first. There’s good news for dog-kind during covid: The shelters in our area we’re very low on dogs. What was available unfortunately didn’t meet our criteria.


Next stop – Local Breeders

Using our puppy selection guideline, we decided that something in the “Doodle” breed would make the most sense. Doodle dogs are a cross between poodles and another breed. There are several to choose from. Martha Stewart has written a nice overview of the various Doodle breeds, if you’re interested.

While there are several Doodle Breeders in our area, the waitlist for a new pup was running 18-24 months. This was a little longer than we were willing to wait. Much like the dog shelters, popular dog breeds are also in high demand!

Widening the search – How to Buy a Dog in Another State

Not willing to wait the 18-24 months with our local breeders, we started to scour the internet for out of state breeders.

Unlike using a local breeder, this was going to require a few extra steps. The ability to visit the breeder & personally size them up was now off the table.


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Steps to decide on the Best out of State Breeders

  • Read reviews of breeders online. Most breeds have web sites that rate breeders. The sites often include reviews of new owner experiences
  • Since you may not be able to go in person, request videos and pictures from the breeder of the puppies you’re interested in.  Also, pictures of the environment the pups are raised and cared for is helpful.
  • Request pictures & video of your potential pups mother & father. Getting a better sense of Mom & Dad’s demeanor will reveal a lot about your potential pup’s future personality.
  • Pre-Socializing the Pups – Play time and socializing with humans is an important part of your future pups formative weeks. Our breeder, Cuddly Companion Doodles sent us videos of the breeder and their kids holding & playing with the puppies. Pre-socializing raises a puppy’s comfort level around humans & other dogs. Make sure your future pup receives ample human interaction and play, early and often.
  • We also chose Cuddly Companions because they are a family run business with only two sets of dog parents. Far from a puppy mill, they take care of one litter at a time and are very hands on.
  • Certifications & Web reviews – Some breeds have organizations that register & certify their breeders. It’s very helpful when trying to quickly access and identify multiple breeders.
  • Length of time as a breeder. How long has the breeder been at it?
  • 1st hand Breeder recommendations from friends & current owners of the dog you’re interested in is extremely helpful. Our new pup’s half brother lives a mile away. Fortunately, we were able to sit down and discuss their experience with the breeder & meet their pup.


Health Guarantees & Vet exams

Reputable breeders will be happy to show proof of general health screenings as well as more breed specific  OFA & CERF certifications.

Your new pup must be able to have proof of a veterinary exam and a clean bill of health before they can travel. In our case we needed a small animal certificate of veterinary inspection from the Ohio dept of Agriculture, signed by the Vet who did the exam, verifying that the dog does not show any signs of infections, disease or communicable disease. Your breeder should handle all of these exams & certs.


Health Guarantees

Your breeder should also guarantee the health of the dog for a specified length of time.

If your dog is a classic purebred, the breeder should have AKC registration papers for your Pup.  Hybrid Dogs, like Bernedoodles, are not part of  the AKC registry.


Transportation Expertise

Finally, Choose a breeder that has lots of experience in delivering puppies out of state. Most breeder sites should highlight their ability to safely deliver pups across the country. It’s important to ask the potential breeder how they handle transportation  and who they work with.


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Transporting Your Pup

A good breeder also handles transportation options directly or works closely with a dog transportation company. Animal transportation companies specialize in & can safely arrange for self pick up, ground or flight transportation for your future pet.

As our new pup was traveling from Ohio to Los Angeles, she was flown out on American Airlines. The experience with Cuddly Companions & their transport company was great. Khaleesi arrived tired, but happy and healthy.

Yes, we went with a Game of Thrones reference for our new pup name…


How Cuddly Companions handled Khaleesi’s move

Before Traveling

Cuddly Companions mailed us an arrival pack for Khaleesi, in advance of the flight which included:

  • A weeks worth of the food Khaleesi was accustomed to eating
  • Brand new versions of Khaleesi’s favorite toys
  • A comfort blanket with her puppy brother’s & sister’s scent on it
  • Guide books for taking care of your new puppy
  • A travel friendly water dish to take to the airport. That way,  Khaleesi could have a drink of fresh water, upon arrival; which she thoroughly enjoyed!


Regarding the Flight

This was the part that concerned us most.  So, I’ll go into some detail here. Transporting Khaleesi via air was the hand wringing part of the process. We’d never flown our dogs before, for fear of potential mishaps. Thankfully, this process went safely and smoothly. Our experience leads us to believe the airlines have a good system in place.


Flight Cancellations, Alternate Airports

1st –  Khaleesi’s flight was rescheduled, twice. While we were excited for her arrival, we learned this was a good thing. At the time, the temps in Ohio were frigid. The dog transport service & American Airlines don’t want to have animals on the ground if its’ really hot or cold out. Should a flight be delayed, the animal could be exposed to harsh weather, before the flight, at a transfer point or if the aircraft is stuck on the tarmac. If there are any stops along the route, the temperature at each stop must be confirmed to be pet safe, before travel.

2nd – Although Los Angeles Intl airport is closest to us, Khaleesi was flown into Burbank airport… a little further away. Why? It’s the shortest, direct flight.

3rd – If there needs to be a connecting stop on the flight, the airline arranges for a “comfort stop” at the connecting airport, between flights.


The Right Carrier Cage

4th – Khaleesi was flown in an appropriate size, rigid, well ventilated kennel cage, which is supplied by Cuddly companions & the pet transport company. The cage has nothing but pee pads in it, just in case. Also, toys or blankets could pose a choking hazard, so they are discouraged. The cabin pets are transported in is, of course, pressurized & climate controlled. The cage is yours to keep. We still use it for crate training & temporary housing, when we run to the store.


Paperwork in Order

5th – All of Khaleesi’s Vet certification paperwork, as well as our contact info is attached to the cage. The breeder also includes a “secret code” in the paperwork that we have also been given. It’s necessary to verify the code with the American Airlines baggage office in order to take the dog. Pets’ cannot fly without a health verification from a licensed Vet.

Cyber Pup Protection

6th –  Khaleesi has an inserted tracking chip. Should she get lost, any vet or shelter can scan the chip, to help find her parents. The chip lasts a lifetime.

Finally – Khaleesi arrived on time, the baggage service desk made a big fuss over her & pointed us to the “pet relief area” which she gladly used.


Here’s American Airlines link to pet travel, if you need more info.


The Cost’s  & Deposits

Flying Khaleesi out to Burbank cost $300 for the flight & transport management

Because the trend to add a furry companion to families is up… so is the cost!  Expect to pay more over the next several months.

Whether you’re waiting on the birth of a litter or the pups to be old enough for adoption. You’ll need to put a deposit down. For our Bernedoodle, we sent a $300 deposit to secure our spot. Only offer a deposit after you’ve done your due diligence on the breeder you’d like to work with.

While it required a few extra steps, to find Khaleesi it was worth the effort. We are all adapting to one another nicely! Having the spark of a new pup in the house, although tiring, gives us a sense of satisfaction. The emotional lift of caring for your new “friend for life” has brought a lot of joy into the toughest year of our lives.  There are several reputable breeders to choose from once you’ve determined what kind of dog inspires you and will fit into your lifestyle. No time like the present to buy a dog in another state! Start the search today…



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