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Can Your Dog Poop & Pee in an Airport?

Traveling with pets is hard enough without trying to find a place for your dog to poop at the airport. Even the best-trained animals find it hard to go on command when stressed.

When your only option is to bring your companion cross-country, you need to know the truth. What’s the solution to this sticky situation?

Today, we’re answering all your questions so you don’t end up in the doghouse.

Let’s dig in! 

Can you dog poop or pee at an airport?

About Flying with Your Dog or Cat

Flying with your cat or dog can be a complicated matter. Most airlines allow them to join you in the cabin if they meet specific criteria. To avoid the cargo hold, they must fit in a crate about the size of a carry-on. According to, you’ve got to register ahead too.

Of course, you can’t have your pet free-roaming on the aircraft. Take some time beforehand to get them used to the carrier. That way, they’re comfortable and content when they’re on board. If you’re concerned, your vet can prescribe a sedative, and natural remedies are available, too.

Flights usually only permit a certain number of animals per plane, excluding service animals. Generally, this is no more than four at a time. And if your furry friend and carrier weigh over twenty pounds, you’ll have to buy a ticket for them.

Either way, you’ll pay around $100 per pet to take them into the skies. 

Depending on where you book your ticket, you may face breed restrictions. They may seem discriminatory, but it’s for the safety and comfort of everyone on the flight.

Some airlines allow larger animals in crates as cargo. If this is your plan, pay attention. Not everyone can bring their furry friends this way. For instance, American Airlines only accepts checked pets from active-duty Military or Foreign Service personnel. 

Service animals are a common sight. Whether for medical or emotional support, they’re welcome on board. Make sure you’ve got your paperwork in order ahead of time. You’ll need documents from your provider to prove their status. These animals aren’t restricted by weight or type. 

Whatever your situation, communication is critical. Purchase the tickets required, pay the fees, and be prepared. Your pet needs you to have your ducks in a row when traveling.

Be sure you have a carrier that’s within the size limitations like this Expandable Carrier.

Where Can Your Dog Poop in the Airport?

Finding a place for your dog to poop in an airport is easier than you might think. Because so many people travel with support animals, officials established laws to protect them.

Since 2016, airfields with 10,000 passengers passing through have met a critical threshold. At this level of traffic, they must provide facilities for service animals and pets. All major departure points and most regional hubs meet the benchmark and must have a pet relief area by law.

Most airports have pet relief areas for your dog or cat to poop or pee in. is a site dedicated to finding pre- and post-security potty spots for your companions. Depending on where you are, these areas differ widely. Some are just a piece of fake grass and a fire hydrant tucked in the corner of a terminal. 

Others go all out with natural grass and sprinkler systems to wash away any deposits. 

If you’ve ever brought a high-energy animal through security, you know they’ve got to run it off. Some pet relief zones include play areas with agility equipment, water fountains, and more. Just make sure to follow any posted rules and be a good steward. 

Can Your Cat Poop in the Airport Pet Relief Area?

Much of our discussion so far focuses on where dogs can poop in airports. But cat lovers know that traveling with a feline is more challenging than it first appears. Getting Fluffy into a carrier to go to the vet is hard enough. Boarding a flight is another issue entirely. 

While most relief areas are open to all animals, dogs are often the priority. Consider bringing a portable litter box for your kitty’s comfort. 

Cat Explorer has some tips to keep in mind. They start by asking whether you really need to fly at all. Only partly tongue in cheek, the reality is that Sheba might not handle it well. 

Some airlines and countries don’t allow felines in the cabin and require them to fly in the cargo hold. If you can’t imagine putting your pet through that, make a road trip out of it.

Train your animal to feel comfortable in their airline-approved carrier well ahead of your journey. They’ll at least be cozier in a familiar crate when on board.

You can also make a portable litter box by cutting an old shoe box to two inches high. This might be the best place for your cat to poop in an airport. Carry litter in a Ziploc bag, and don’t bring more than you need. Otherwise, you may exceed weight limits on your kitty/carrier combo. 

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What are the Most Pet-Friendly Airports?

You can’t always choose your route when flying with your pet. After poking around the Internet, we’re bringing you some of the best airports for your dog to poop in.

The number one spot is JFK in New York City. With over 4,000 square feet of open space, it’s one of the largest relief areas in the country. It’s perfect for people too, with table and chair seating for 50. And that’s just at one terminal. You’ll find two other sites in the facility as well.

“Kennedy (JFK) International Airport, New York, New York”

They also provide veterinary attention for traveling pets at their dedicated animal care center, the ARK. You’ll sleep easier knowing your four-legged friend had the best treatment before boarding the flight for your journey.

For airfields with lots of gates, Hartsfield-Jackson in Atlanta is tough to beat. Each terminal has access to its own relief area. Beyond that, there’s a 1,000-square-foot, pre-security dog park available. It’s got everything you need, including biodegradable waste bags. 

Sky Harbor International Airport in Phoenix provides nine places for animals to stretch out. Designers decorated these pre- and post-security zones with beautiful native plants.

LAX has the most stations in the United States, making it one of the top pet-friendly locations. Overall, their eight indoor and three outdoor spots offer plenty of space for celebrity sightings. 

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Dogs and Cats Have More Places to Poop If You Avoid the Airport

Those of us who steer clear of airports still need places for a dog to poop. RVers and road-trippers alike use gorgeous relief areas at rest stops around the country. While many folks feel comfortable leaving Fido at home on long journeys, some animals love an adventure. For those who do, we have some great tips for taking your pet on a road trip. 

Before you depart, ensure you have all your paperwork in order. Bring along updated vet records and pictures. Include food and medications on your packing list, too. 

Technology makes tracking your pet easier if they wander off. Consider a GPS collar, just in case. At the very least, keep your microchip information current. 

Canine companions usually love riding in the car, but some get carsick easily. If Bowser drools more than usual, it could indicate stomach distress. Talk with your care provider to see if an anti-nausea pill could help.

Many animals enjoy being with their people on the road, but keeping them safe is essential. Crate or restrain them while driving to protect everyone. And in the same vein, don’t let them approach wildlife or eat unfamiliar plants. Otherwise, you could end up making an unscheduled vet visit. 

Is Flying with Your Pet Worth It?

Family vacations are best when they include everyone. Four-legged companions love exploring the world with you. But flying isn’t a fun prospect, depending on their size and species. Even with many spots for dogs to poop in airports, it’s not all fire hydrants and astroturf. 

Some pets are either too large to travel in the cabin or have too much anxiety to handle the ride. If going in cargo is your only option, it may be best to leave your furry friend in the care of another person. That said, if they can ride with you, it’s a great way to see the world!

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