A guide to in-terminal airport pet relief stations

11/08/2016 12:39 pm ET

Airports have gone to the dogs (and, in some places, cats). Jet-set pets looking for pre-flight places to do their business have an increasing number of options at airports across North America.

Once relegated to the outskirts of the airport or before security checkpoints, pet relief stations are popping up post-security thanks to a federal regulation that requires airports that serve more than 10,000 passengers a year to have pet relief areas in each terminal for service animals that accompany passengers. Most airports have extended the use of pet relief stations to law enforcement dogs, emotional support animals, airport therapy dogs and other four-legged passengers.

While many pet relief areas are merely small patches of fake grass in hidden corners of terminals, others are pet parks with real grass, faux fire hydrants and space to run and play. Cheapflights.com checked in at top airports across North America to get the scoop on post-security pet relief stations so you can find the best rest stops for your furry friends.

Logan International Airport, Boston, Massachusetts

Image: Frank Hebbert, petport via Flickr CC BY 2.0

Boston’s Logan International Airport offers four-legged travelers four Petports – small, no-frills grassy relief areas – in Terminal A, Terminal B, Terminal C and Terminal E. Their location within the terminals means two-legged travelers don’t have to leave the terminal and go through security a second time.

Chicago O’Hare International Airport, Chicago, Illinois

One of the more deluxe options for pets, Chicago O’Hare International Airport’s Pet Relief Room has a duo of two-foot by four-foot pet relief areas, complete with artificial grass covering, miniature fire hydrants and pop-up sprinkler systems to wash away liquid waste into a drain. For extra cleanliness, there is a mounted hose as well as plastic bags for waste clean up. There are two sinks for passenger use too. The pet relief room is located past security checkpoints in the Rotunda area of Terminal 3. Additional options include three outdoor service animal/pet relief areas with real grass, gravel or wood chips located near the lower level curb front of Terminal 1, Terminal 2 and Terminal 5.

Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport, Dallas, Texas

There are pet relief areas in each of Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport’s five terminals. Three pet relief areas are inside security at Gate B28 in Terminal B, D18 in Terminal D and E31 in Terminal E. Outdoor areas post security are on the lower level at entry doors near Gate A8 in Terminal A, near Gate C2 and C39 in Terminal C, near Gate D15 and D29 in Terminal D and near Gate E2 and E38 in Terminal E. There is also a 24-hour Paradise 4 Paws resort that offers grooming, pet massage therapy, play time, cuddling sessions and treats like frozen peanut butter Kong toys.

John F. Kennedy International Airport, New York, New York

There are several purr-fect places for pets to relax and relieve themselves at New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport. JetBlue’s rooftop lounge adjacent to Terminal 5 offers respite for both humans and pets. The 4,046-square-foot rooftop includes landscaped green spaces, seating for 50 people, a children’s play area, food kiosks and a dog walk area. The space is open to all airline passengers and pets. In Terminal 4, there is a 70-square-foot pet relief room that includes artificial green grass, a fire hydrant, a hose for cleaning and plastic doggie bags. The airport is also set to open ARK — a $32 million facility equipped with a veterinary hospital and 24-hour Paradise 4 Paws resort that offers a bone-shaped dog pool, pet suites with flat screen TVs and pet massage therapy among other services — that is scheduled to open later this year.

Los Angeles International Airport, Los Angeles, California

Los Angeles International Airport leads all U.S. airports with the most pet relief areas of any U.S. airport. The airport boasts three mini Pet Parks and seven pet relief stations. The Pet Parks are located on the Lower/Arrivals Level of the Central Terminal (between Terminal 1 and Terminal 2), on the southeast end of the Central Terminal Area (near Terminal 7 and Terminal 8) and beyond security at the Tom Bradley International Terminal. Each park has a small doghouse, trash can and plastic bags for waste. Note: pets cannot be unleashed at the Terminal 7-8 location.

Miami International Airport, Miami, Florida

Miami International Airport recently opened an indoor, post-security pet restroom called SARA (Service Animal Relief Area) in Concourse D near Gate 34 and has three more scheduled to open later this month in Concourse F, Concourse G and Concourse J. SARA includes a patch of Astroturf, two sprinkler heads to clear waste and cleaning supplies for pet owners. The airport also has three outdoor pet relief areas. Miami is the first international airport in South Florida to add indoor pet relief areas (Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport plans to add indoor pet relief areas in Concourse A and Concourse B in Terminal 1 in June 2017, as well as one in Concourse D in Terminal 2 and one in Concourse G in Terminal 4 in 2018, according to the “Sun-Sentinel”).

Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport, Minneapolis, Minnesota

Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport offers three pet relief areas. In Terminal 1-Lindbergh, there’s a relief spot before security outside Door 1 on the Baggage Claim level as well as a post-security option near the entrance to Concourse E in the Airport Mall. In Terminal 2-Humphrey, there is a grassy area pre-security just outside and to the right of Door 8 on Level 1, near Baggage Claim. The airport also has on-site pet boarding facilities through Now Boarding, which includes overnight boarding, doggie day care, dog training and spa treatments like grooming, massage and a pet therapy pool.

San Diego International Airport, San Diego, California

Not only does San Diego International Airport offer the Ready, Pet, Go. program, a travel ambassador program with 13 dogs, including a Shih Tzu and Goldendoodle, that provide pet therapy to passengers, the airport also opened the nation’s first dog bathroom back in 2013. Located between Gate 46 and Gate 47 in Terminal 2 West, the 75-square-foot pet relief area includes faux grass, a hydrant, two deodorizers, free waste bags and a hand-washing sink.

Vancouver International Airport, Vancouver, BC, Canada

Vancouver International Airport’s Pet Relief Area near Gate 76 in the United States Departures area offers pooches a place to go potty on artificial grass in a large enclosed area. This is the only Canadian airport that offers an in-terminal pet relief area that doesn’t require re-entry through airport security.

For more information on traveling with your furry friend, check out our tips for flying with pets. And to learn about other U.S. airports with pet relief stations past security, go here.

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