Your pets are best friends. They go everywhere together: they shop at the pet store, comfort each other at the vet's office, and more often than not they even share a bed.
Many pet owners love seeing their pets share this bond, and when it comes time to travel, take comfort in knowing that their pets will be making the big trip together.
But how close is too close when it comes to comfort and safety? This question comes to us from our Facebook page (have you liked us on Facebook? Take a look if you like pet travel updates and cute pet pictures!).
Jen H. writes "Is it possible if my two dogs are more comfortable together in one large crate to fly them in one together that is larger, so they keep each other company?" Great question, Jen. The answer is, as most things go with pet air travel, "It depends."
For the most part, dogs will not be able to travel in the same crate together, even if the crate is larger than necessary. The reasons for this have to do with rules known as IATA LAR (Live Animal Regulations). LAR set the global standard for conditions for animals of all species, ages and sizes to travel by air.
Essentially, airlines must follow official requirements for dogs and cats as cited by IATA:
The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Animal Welfare Act (AWA) states that "no
more than two live puppies or kittens, 8 weeks to 6 months of age, that are of comparable size and weighing 20 lb. (9 kg) or less each, may be transported in the same primary enclosure via air carrier." This is a good practice to follow for all animal shipments, no matter what country they are traveling in.
Remember, animals may become stressed and aggressive when traveling by air and should not be placed in the same container unless they are young puppies or kittens. Animals which share the same household may become stressed and aggressive towards each other when traveling by air.
Simple, right? Well, not so fast...
Pet air travel always has quite a few exceptions. Even if you have two small dogs you'd like to ship in the same carrier, the airline could reject the pets if they feel there is not sufficient ventilation or not enough room to move around within the crate. Another issue can be your own pet's safety. Sometimes even pets who are best friends can, when put in close quarters in stressful situations, turn on each other. We do not allow any of our clients' pets to travel in the same container unless they are small enough to be separated by a partition (for example: mice).
The Bottom Line
Unless your dogs or cats are very small, they will not be able to travel in the same crate together. And even if your pets meet the weight requirements to travel in the same crate together, it can still be risky to put them in the same container. As a safe alternative, we recommend crate training well in advance of the flight to get your pets used to being in the same area but in different crates. For the most part, airlines keep pets together throughout transport anyway, so your pets will never be far from each other -- they'll just have their own comfortable space.
Ultimately, think about it from your perspective. You may love your husband, wife or best friend, but would you want to sit in their lap all the way to Germany or Hong Kong? Space can be good for pets, just like it's good for humans. Help your pet get used to their crate ahead of time and you'll have two smiling faces in two roomy crates when you pick them up at the airport.
Ready to plan your pets' move? Contact us to discuss your options.
Editor's Note: This post was originally published in September 2010 and has been updated with new information.