Where do dogs go to the bathroom on planes?
It might depend on distance and airline, but the most common practice I am aware of is the dog has to be in a suitable and approved kennel.
The owner puts the dog into the kennel, and the dog in the kennel gets transported onto the plane like BUT NOT AS luggage!
The kennel gets on the plane in a special compartment with heating and light. It is attended by in-flight staff to look after the animals, dogs, parrots, cats, whatever with water, food, whatever . . . ;)
On the short 1 to 3 hour flights any of my dogs held on, but on a long distance flight the dog would not leave the kennel so it has to do it's business in it.
Long distance flights usually have stopovers which can be long enough to let the animal out. Flight plan / timing is paramount to airlines - no exceptions for animals or people ;) Bear that in mind.
There are services that will take care of everything, rent out kennel, pick the animal up from wherever, pick it up at airport, deliver it to any address, - again, like a parcel or luggage but with one big difference: THE ANIMAL IS LOOKED AFTER ALL THE TIME, only left alone for reasonably short periods and in it's kennel.
Those services are naturally well informed, - so ring and ask. They are costly, doing everything yourself can drop cost to under a third, especially if you are on the plane.
Training, getting the animal used to the kennel months ahead pays off. Every bit of training pays off!
On that a little story:
Please meet Murray:
They shouldn't have too if you do your due diligence.
Consider your dogs elimination schedule when you book the flight.
The hour your dog normally gets let out to eliminate, the time they eat, etc. When you're putting your trip together, think about the time of flight and the distance and how you will hydrate, feed and let them eliminate beforehand.
Also if your dog has any special needs, ie; they get motion sick, medications, etc. If you know there might be an issue, plan for their comfort as much as possible.
Consider the age of the dog along with the distance of the flight.
If you are flying with a crated pet that is used to sleeping in a crate at home, the amount of time they are in their crate when you are out; will be close to the same.
Very young and older dogs have less control of their bodily functions and the circumstances surrounding them with airline noise, crowds and people will undoubtedly add new stresses affecting the need to urinate or defacate.
Check ahead with the airline and ask any questions you might have as to your dogs comfort and the airline procedure during flight. Each airline is different, so ask questions and don't take what you've read or someone else's experience as the way it will be. Airline policy varies with carrier.
Find out what to expect when you arrive at your destination. Specifically where will you retrieve your dog. When you land, go get your dog and find the closest place on grass, a tree etc. They will need to relieve themselves before you get your luggage!
ADA SERVICE DOGS VS. DOT/HUD Emotional Support Service dogs:
A dog that is a service dog under the ADA, will be trained and accustomed to people, crowds, and unusual and unexpected conditions. Typically they are trained to go on green, meaning they won't go on cement or a fire hydrant, and will not go within the airports designated pet relief areas . This is another misunderstanding of authentic service dog standards that the airlines and Dept. of Transportation, are not considering in the space they are creating within airports for pet relief. There is no specific consideration in design for the task trained service dog or their handler with a disability.
Service dogs are trained to go on command, and so it's contradictory to ask them to go on fake grass or a fire hydrant within foul smelling walls of a relief area, designed for pet relief. A service dog is not a pet and are working 24/7.
I recommend training your dog to go on pee pads as some service dogs are for situations just like this, and in the event of a very long flight. This can be a life saving stress eliminator for both you and your dog.
If you are disabled and have a long duration flight with your dog, (and your dog is not trained to pee pads) it will be necessary for you to arrive earlier than required, check in and strategically time how quickly you can get your dog out and back through TSA as close to departure as possible.
All travelers with uncrated dogs will need a plan and to consider the flight distance and the time your dog will have to wait to relieve themselves regardless if you're dog is with you as a service dog 24/7, or just for this flight!
Since ADA service dogs don't deal with travel stress that people with pets may, we do have the stress of untrained dogs in public and the issue of emotional support dogs the airlines recognize as service dogs. These dogs are only service dogs for the flight or in their prospective housing, and are not trained or held to the standards of the task trained service dog for mental and physical disabilities.
I've tried to simplify this as much as possible given the current landscape and social issues around service dogs in public, especially those flying. Please be mindful that we can't know what someones life experience has been or what they've been through. I have lived 10 years with an ADA service dog and we've traveled extensively. I've watched the increase in dogs traveling and understood where the problems were before they were headlines. Please appreciate the working dog, don't distract them, whistle, call or let your children pet them.
In this way we can all have a stress free happy flight.
A healthy dog will not eliminate where he sleeps.
Our fellow had to fly from Doha, Qatar to Amsterdam and on to Montreal.
We went on ahead and he stayed with friends, who had to deliver him to the airport at around 5PM for a flight leaving at 1AM! (This we had not expected, but it was a Saturday and the fellow from the airline insisted on it. To make matters worse, it was over 100F! But, he did have water in the crate.) Then he had about a five hour flight to Amsterdam and then he had to be taken off the plane there. So, he would have been in his crate for well over 12 hours!
We put a special absorbent pad on the bottom of his crate, just in case, but we could see that it had never been used when we picked him up.
Fortunately, there was a "doggie hotel" in Amsterdam for him. I can't remember how long he stayed there.
Then, he had, I think a 7 hour flight to Montreal, with close to an hour's time on the ground at each end.
When he arrived , his kennel was clean and dry. We got him out of the crate and took him outside as quickly as possible, and, once on the grass, he peed and peed and peed and peed!