It’s almost never a good idea to allow dogs to share one kennel, whether it’s a crate at the owner’s home or the professional dog kennels in a veterinary office or animal boarding facility. Some animal experts offer conflicting opinions, however, with some saying that there should only be one dog in a kennel, with no exceptions, and others saying that limited exceptions may apply in certain circumstances.
Dogs are sociable creatures and often enjoy playing and snuggling with each other. This is particularly true if they live in the same household and/or were littermates. Because dogs by and large enjoy the company of their furry friends, people sometimes wonder if two dogs can share the same kennel or crate.
Should dogs share one kennel?
As a general rule of thumb, it’s advisable to play it safe and only place one dog in each kennel. The reason for this is that even dogs with a mellow personality can suddenly show signs of aggression toward another dog sharing its kennel.
Why dogs need their own safe spaces
Dogs evolved from wolves, and wolves prefer to have some sort of den to retreat to, particularly when they are raising their young. Dogs retain the instinct to seek shelter when they need downtime. Their crates give them a sense of safety and provide sanctuary from the sensory stimulations of the rest of the world. A dog views its crate or kennel as its own personal den, and so it may not take kindly to another dog intruding into its space. This is particularly true if a dog feels trapped and not able to easily escape the crate. This causes panic, and panic can lead to aggression.
The exception to the rule
In limited circumstances, it may be possible for an owner or animal facility manager to place more than one dog in one kennel. This is sometimes acceptable if the dogs are littermates, particularly if they are still young and if they are small breeds. Young puppies who are littermates are accustomed to being close with each other, and they may accept a shared kennel arrangement. However, this exception won’t always hold true, as all dogs have their own individual personalities.
Owners who are considering crating two littermates together should carefully monitor their behavior for an extended period of time before considering whether to leave them double-crated without supervision. If any signs of discomfort, tension, or aggression are observed, one of the puppies should be removed from the crate right away.
Animal facilities staff should generally avoid placing two dogs in the same kennel, even if they are puppies and littermates, unless the owner specifically requests it. The owner should be able to reassure the staff that the puppies are regularly crated together and get along well. Again, the dogs should be carefully monitored for signs of aggression. If the staff has any doubts about the situation, it’s best to err on the side of caution and keep the dogs in separate kennels, even if the owner prefers a shared kennel arrangement.
At no time should more than two dogs share a kennel, either at a crate at home or in a kennel at an animal facility.
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