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How Do Dogs Go To The Bathroom On A Plane? (explained)


How Do Dogs Go To The Bathroom On A Plane

Traveling with your four-legged friend for the first time? Although you are all set, one question must surely be nagging you- How do dogs go to the bathroom on a plane?

There’s nothing much to worry about for those flying only for an hour or less. But for long-haul flights, you’ll need to prepare for the inevitable bathroom needs of your dog.

So, how do dogs pee or poop on a plane? They are usually carried in a crate during flights, so they relieve themselves on a towel or puppy pad. 

Most airlines prohibit dogs from getting out of their carrier, roaming about in the cabin, or coming out of their crate. Therefore, the short answer is puppy pads.

Table of contents

Where do dogs pee/poop on a plane?

Many dog owners flying with their pets find it challenging to find a spot for their dogs to do their business on the plane. 

Small dogs are usually allowed inside the cabin, where they remain inside their carrier. So, to speak plainly, bathroom accidents are relatively more manageable for smaller dogs.

Some planes let dogs use the lavatory. If you’re lucky enough to board such a plane, ensure to carry a puppy pad and place it by your feet. An aisle seat is more convenient as you can quickly go to and fro the bathroom when your dog needs to use it.

Many people prefer putting their furry friends in the cabin, however, this is not always possible. Since most airlines have restrictions regarding pets, dogs are usually flown in the cargo part of the plane. Airplanes do not allow dogs to roam freely in the cargo. So for such instances, the carrier is the only place your dog can relieve himself.

Where do dogs pee/poop on a plane?

Can dogs hold their pee or poop for long enough?

Having bathroom accidents on the plane is uncomfortable for the dog and its owner. 

You should determine how long your pooch can hold its pee, so you know when to expect the next one. It will also prepare you when you are on the plane with your dog.

Generally, an adult dog can hold its pee for six to eight hours. So, you’ll likely have no problem if you’re taking a short flight. However, for flights that are longer than eight hours, it’s best not to let your innocent friend accompany you. 

If the flight for your dog cannot be avoided, you can start prepping him and train him to pee or poop on pads

Can dogs hold their pee or poop for long enough?

The case is quite different for puppies. If your puppy is one month old, you can expect him to hold his bladder for one hour only. If he is two months old, he can hold it for two hours, and so on. 

Senior dogs, i.e., dogs over seven years old, can hold their pee for four to six hours.

If your dog is mature (more than 12 years), it might be able to hold its pee for a maximum of four hours.

That said, other aspects also affect a dog’s bladder-controlling capacity. Health issues like anxiety during traveling can make your dog pee more than usual. Dogs with urinary incontinence will also be harder to manage during a flight.

What should you do if your dog poops?

If your dog flies in via cargo, there’s not much you can do if it has an accident. Your dog will most likely have to deal with it throughout the flight.

Pooping is different from peeing as it’s not easy to control. If you’re flying with your pet in the cabin, carrying a small poop bag will be helpful. You can use the bag to pick up your dog’s poop and then throw it away in the lavatory.

Not cleaning up your dog’s poo right away might lead to unpleasant smells in the cabin. It can also cause other passengers to feel disgusted, so it’s best to be considerate.

What should you do if your dog poops?

Can you prevent your dog from relieving itself in the cabin?

We know it sounds unpleasant! Let’s say you and your pooch have boarded the plane. You’re finally settling down in your seat, and the plane is preparing for takeoff.  

Seeing your dog sniffing around and looking for a spot to conduct its business wouldn’t be a pleasant sight. 

Unfortunately, they are known for causing bathroom accidents when scared, nervous, or even overly joyful. But you wouldn’t want that happening when you’re thousands of feet up in the air sitting next to hundreds of strangers.

So, what can you do to avoid it?

Reduce Their Food Intake

The first thing you can start doing before getting aboard your flight with your dog is feeding him less than usual. 

For instance, if the flight is in the morning and only a few hours long, it won’t hurt to feed him a smaller quantity than usual.

Ensure to reward him with a hearty meal after you land.

Exercise before flying

If you’re too busy to take your dog for a walk before the flight, ask someone to do it. Exercising helps the dog relax and prevents him from getting anxious and restless when they are put in the crate.

Exercise will promote sleep, too, which is the best way to let time pass quickly and prevent peeing and pooping during flight.

Use The Airport Toilet

Again, it isn’t easy to find a restroom for dogs anywhere when you travel. It is especially difficult if you’re traveling by plane. 

So, let your dog use the restroom before boarding, just like you would.

Can you prevent your dog from relieving itself in the cabin?


Traveling with your dog should be a wonderful experience for both of you. It’s heartbreaking when you have to leave them at home and go away for a while.

The only issue with taking dogs on a flight is their bladder and bowel movements. We can never predict when and where they want to go. However, keeping in mind the few tips mentioned above can help you have a more effortless experience.

Now that you know how dogs do their bathroom business on a plane, your next trip will hopefully be more comfortable. Just remember to check your airline’s pet requirements and instructions on handling them, and you and your pooch are good to go!

Written by

Tim Smith
With years of experience writing about dogs, this author is a go-to source for insights on the furry friends. A lover of all animals, this writer's work has been published in many respected publications.
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