Your pets are best friends. They go everywhere together: they shop at the pet store, huddle together when at the vet's office and they even sometimes share a bed! Many pet owners love seeing their pets bond together 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 for comfort and safety? This question comes to us from our Facebook page (have you "Liked" us on Facebook? No? Why not? It's fun!). 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, most 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's (Live Animal Regulations). The LAR's set the global standard for conditions for animals of all species, ages and sizes to travel by air. Airlines must follow LAR's requirements for dogs and cats, which state that, "A maximum of two adult animals of comparable size up to 14 kg. (30 lbs.) each, that are used to cohabitation, may be shipped in the same container. Animals over that weight must travel individually."
The LAR's go on to say that, "Animals up to six months old from the same litter, up to a maximum quantity of three, may be shipped in the same container/compartment."
Simple, right? Right? Well, not so fast...
Pet air travel always has a lot of 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 (like 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. 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 his crate ahead of time and you'll have two smiling faces in two roomy crates when you pick them up at the airport!