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4 Tips For Your Pets Traveling Together

Published on: August 29, 2016  |  Author: Starwood Animal Transport

How to safely transport your pets together

Pets are important members of the family, and the whole world knows it. So there is nothing unusual about pets traveling internationally with their people. Even when families have multiple pets. However, organizing pet travel for more than one animal can be exponentially more complicated than simply multiplying by two. Or three. 

1. Where can they fly?

Ideally you will want all your pets to travel together on the same flight(s), but don’t make any assumptions about that. International pet travel rules vary by airline, route and destination country. Each airline that accepts pets decides:

  • Whether small dogs and cats are allowed to ride with you in the cabin, or all pets must travel as checked baggage or cargo.
  • How many pets are allowed in the cabin, and in which seating section(s). No airline allows you to carry more than one pet on board with you, so if you have multiple small pets, each will need their own human (adult) travel companion, or they will have to travel as cargo.
  • How many pets are allowed to travel as cargo. The airline may have an overall limit, but also limit the number of pets per family. If you have three, this could be a problem.

2. Size and breed restrictions

Another potential complication is pet size. If you want the animals to travel together, their options will be limited by the largest animal. This is because airlines use smaller planes to serve non-hub destinations, and smaller planes often cannot accommodate very large dog kennels. Likewise, if any of your dogs or cats are snub-nosed breeds, they may face additional restrictions about where and when they can fly.

These issues can create interesting (read “frustrating”) issues with your pet travel itinerary.

3. Can pets travel in the same kennel?

We hear this question often from parents of multiple dogs and/or cats. Their pets are used to hanging out and even sleeping together, so why not en route? Surely they would be more relaxed if they could all be together.

Technically, International Air Transport Association regulations allow “two adult animals of comparable size up to 14kg (30 lbs.) each” and used to co-habitation, to ride in the same carrier. For example, American Airlines allows two pets per carrier and Delta allows two up to 20 pounds (9 kg) each. However that doesn’t your two pets will meet other in-cabin restrictions.

Most airlines do not allow it except for puppies and kittens. The issue is safety. Air travel kennels are designed and sized for protection as well as comfort. Pets must be able to move around without being too “loose” within the container. And they need good ventilation. It’s hard to make this work with more than one animal, especially if they are different sizes. And too much togetherness under high-stress conditions could cause even best-friend pets to act out in ways you’d never see at home.

So unless your pets are very young, each one will need his or her own travel kennel that meets IATA specs. Regardless how each of your pets feels about confined space, all dogs and cats are more comfortable in surroundings that feel familiar to them. Acquiring the carriers early gives them time to gain that familiarity by playing, eating or sleeping in the carrier. For travel, line the bottom of each pet’s carrier with something soft and absorbent that reminds them of you – a towel or T-shirt or small blanket.

If your pets are traveling as cargo, rest assured the airline will place their kennels next to one another. They will be able to smell and see their compadres, but they will each have their own personal space. 

4. Get professional help

There’s no reason to tear your fur out over all this, or to come completely unraveled yourself as you attempt to unravel the intricacies of multiple pets traveling together. There’s one sure way to get it all straight and get some peace of mind for yourself at the same time – use a professional international pet transport company. Our Starwood teams in the US and the UK are seasoned experts. We stand ready to help. And we know our stuff. We deal with multiple pet travel plans every day, all year round.

We know the rules are mind-boggling, but we take it in stride because we’re used to it. And since we’re experienced working with airlines all around the world, we know which ones are best for your pets, given your destination and the size of your four-legged family.

If you leave the arrangements to us, your pets will arrive wagging and purring. You may be purring yourself, what with all that stress you managed to avoid. Who says multiple pet travel is difficult?!

Flying with your pet