Where Do Dogs Pee on an Airplane?

Pets can use a scented pee pad on an airplane, or some Airline flight crew can give permission to use the airplane bathroom for more privacy and space. Here’s how to handle your Pet’s need to Pee and use the bathroom on an airplane flight and in airports.

If stressed, your Dog or Cat may not pee at all. But, when it happens, make sure you have lined your Pet carrier with pee pads & have extras for layovers, taxis and hotels.

Scented Poo bags neutralize any smell for Dogs on Airplanes to Pee. Some airlines allow lavatory use for a quieter space.  If they don’t go, it’s okay, many Pets will hold their pee when flying.

For Cats to Pee on an Airplane or onboard a Plane, I carry a baggie of their kitty litter and either take them into the lavatory (check with the flight attendant first), lay a pee pad and pour some kitty litter.

Your Dog or Cat should be trained to accept using a pee pad before the flight by laying one inside their kitty litter box or near it at least 2 weeks before travel.

The best things you can do for your Dogs need to Pee on the plane are:

  1. Prepare carrier with quality pee pads.
  2. Keep Extra Pee Pads in Your Carry-On
  3. Add room for a few odor-resistant poo bags for containing soiled pads.
  4. Modify your Dog’s feeding and drinking schedule to align with their flight time.
  5. Know where the Pet Relief Areas are in the Airport
  6. Exercise your Dog as much as possible before and at the airport.
  7. Train them to be content and calm in their carrier.

Related: Layovers with Pets at the Airport

Many Dogs will not pee at all during their flight.  Dogs rarely are content to pee where they lay or sleep—who is?

However, nervous energy and a new environment often results in your Dog peeing spontaneously.

However, nervous energy and a new environment often results in your Dog peeing spontaneously.

The liner should have more than 1 layer.  This helps to pull or drain urine to the lower layer and away from your Dog.  It may be a few minutes before you notice they have peed in their carrier on the plane, and I don’t want to add to any anxiety by my Pets having to sit in a wet spot. 

The pee pad should be strong enough to hold the urine in when you remove it from your carrier and get it into an odor-resistant bag.

You can dispose of it in the airplane lavatory without any notice later on by other passengers using the same bathroom. I line my carriers with DryFur Pet Carrier Insert Pads Size Petite. They are 13.5in x 8.5in a fit really well in both carriers I am using now.

Pee Pads on Plane Lavatory
Pee Pads on Plane Lavatory

I keep at least 3 extras in a carry-on for layovers, flight delays, the taxi and at the hotel. Scented or odor-resistant poo bags help neutralize the smell.

Most airline policy discourage allowing your Dog to use the airplane lavatory still, the cabin crew has discretion here.  We are always kind to the flight attendants, and they may let you take your Dog in their carrier to the bathroom for a quieter, larger space.

If you can use the airplane bathroom, lay out an extra pee pad and give a moment or two to sniff around and see if they feel safe enough. 

Familiarizing your Dog with the scent of the Pee Pad at home by keeping them near where they usually pee increases the chances they will use it in an unfamiliar place.

If your Dogs does not go, it’s okay, many Dogs will hold their pee when flying. Just make sure you have given them every opportunity before the flight.

Your Dog does not want to sit in a wet spot, and we all know that we and no one around us wants to smell Dog pee for the duration of the flight.

This means that you need to know what to do before the flight to limit our Dog’s being uncomfortable.

See Also, Pets In Airports

How to Prepare Your Dog for Arrival at the Airport?

When Should I Feed My Dog for a Flight?

Airlines recommend that you do not feed your Dog for 4 hours before the flight to help them avoid a bowel movement at the airport or on the plane.

Nervous energy is normal and to be expected.  Nervous energy or anxiety stimulates their need to pee and poo. Airlines recommend Dogs be fed 4 hours before but not within 3 hours of their flight. 

Depending on how far you travel to the airport, you may be feeding your Dog right before your leave for the airport.

Motion sickness is also common for anyone flying—especially for Dogs who may not have prior flying experience. Having a tummy full of their food or treats can exacerbate motion sickness and they may throw-up or have an uncontrollable bowel movement.

When Should I Give My Dog Water for a Flight?

You should always offer water at any time you feel they need it—especially, if they are panting more than usual.

Make sure water is readily available before you leave for the airport, when you visit the Pet Relief area before and after TSA Security.

Your Dog may not take it and that is okay. Stress caused by the new environment and all the new smells may prevent them from wanting to drink but, few Dogs will deny themselves water when they need it.

This is why I still offer water I the airport and on the plane. I give my Cats water right up until we board our flight.

  • I use the Supet Dog Water Bottle 2 in 1 Water Dispenser & Drinking/Food Bowl. It’s small, holds both water and food and has a fold out feeder.
  • All of these preparations are helped by training your Dog for their flight well before their travel date.
  • I have found modifying their Feeding Schedule before the flight to align closer with the flight time to help immensely!
  • I note the time and length of the flight and feed my Pets their biggest or favorite meal 4 hours before that time
  • Doing this about 2 weeks before the flight helps them adjust to eating no more than 4 hours before the flight. 
  • Your Dog or Cat does not know what they are flying on the big day. We do—they don’t. 
  • If the flight leaves at noon and they are used to eating at noon, your Dog or Cat will expect that meal at noon on the travel day and be denied. 
  • Then they will be confused and a disruption in their feeding schedule adds to their anxiety. 

Find the Right Pet Travel Carrier with my guide How To Choose the Best Pet Carrier Size for Flying IN Cabin

Modify Your Pet’s Feeding Schedule Before the Flight

Modifying their feeding schedule weeks before the flight allows them to get used to a new schedule at home where they are comfortable.

This way, your Pet will readily eat at the right time giving them time to eat, digest and evacuate before you fly.

The same goes for treats.  Aligning giving treats in their airline Pet Carrier weeks before the flight gives them a much better chance of finding comfort in their carrier and treats even in the unfamiliar place of the plane.

Train your Dog or Cat to Love, Sleep or at least find comfort in their Carrier. Aligning their treats schedule now to match when they will be in the carrier on the flight.

If your Pets do not have a schedule, consider giving them their favorite about the same time as the flight in the days leading up. 

Dogs and Cats may not have the same sense of time as we do but, they do understand their routine. 

They know when they expect you to leave or come home from work, when they go for walks and when they are fed and receive their treats.

Make sure your Pet is very comfortable in their carrier.  It must be one they see as a safe place to rest and observe.

My two Cats, Sophie and Chihiro, are comfortable in their Sherpa Original Deluxe. This is my go-to bag. It isn’t fancy. It’s more like the Honda Accord of Pet Carriers–reliable, well-made and lasts a long time.

How Do Cats Use the Bathroom on a Plane?

Cats do not like to pee or poo where they sleep–who does? You have 2 methods: 1. Ask the flight attendant if you can use the plane’s lavatory. If yes, go when there is less demand (not shortly before landing!).

Carry a baggie of cat litter and lay a pee pad on the floor to encourage your Cat to go. 2. Carry a small, shallow, plastic container filled with kitty litter and place it inside the pet carrier after take off.

As always, use pee pads before the flight so, your Cat is used to the smell and associates it with a safe place to pee.

The Flight Attendant may allow you to take your Pet to the bathroom if your Pet will fuss when you have to use the lavatory without taking them with you.

Know Where to Find Airport Pet Relief Areas

The best equipped and largest Pet Relief areas are almost always located before you go through TSA Security.

Arrive early.  Most airlines expect you to arrive 3 hours before your flight.  This works to your advantage. The best exercise areas are usually outside the airport. 

Some airports have no relief areas until after you go through security. Once you go through airport security, you will find the Pet Relief areas.  Some are small, too far away, smelly or crowded.     

You should give your Pet plenty of time exercise, pee and poo, spending that nervous energy as much as possible outside the airport before security. 

What is the Standard Size for Airline Pet Carriers In-Cabin?

The Standard Size for Pet Carriers is 22”Lx14”Wx 9” and for Pets In-Cabin the average weight for your Pet is 8kg or 17lbs. Soft-Sided Carriers are best for Airlines. The top compresses 1 or 2 inches, giving you more options than a Hard-Sided carrier. The carrier must be stowed under the seat at least for take-off and landing.

How to Get Through TSA Security Check Point with Your Pet

Your pet must go through TSA Security. Some airports allow a private screening in a separate room so you can remove and replace your pet in a secure room.

You can either have your pet on a leash and walk them into the screener or carry your pet through.

Place your Bags, shoes first. Separate your pet food items and electronics in another bin.

Keep your lease/harness on the outside of the carrier. When you put your bags on the conveyor belt, you don’t want to scramble to get your leash.

TSA may ask you to remove their collar. Collars with metal such as clasps or Rabies Tags will be detected, and you may be subject to additional pat-down or inspection.
A Velcro-type harness works well instead of a collar with metal.

Put the carrier on the x-ray conveyor belt first so, it is ready when you get through security, and you don’t have to wait to put your pet back in its carrier.

Even for Cats that you intend to carry through, have a harness/leash on them. If you are picked for screening, often TSA Agents may not easily let you place your pet back in the carrier before your pat-down.

Working Canines are regularly at Security Check Points. Keep a leash handy even if you intend to carry your pet through an x-ray. Often, the presence of a working dog can scare or spook your pet.

Flying with Dogs takes a lot of preparation. Here’s what may help you along:

Should I Book my Pet’s Travel with the Airline or Booking Site?

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Your Dog’s carrier lined with quality pee pads, keeping extras in a carry-on for layovers, taxis and hotels, asking the flight attendants if you can use the airplane lavatory and odor-control poo bags help make peeing on a plane tolerable for your Dog, you and other passengers. 

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