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What To Do With Your Dog During A Layover


by Lanie Edmonson



Traveling can be an exciting adventure, but it often involves navigating through the complexities of layovers and connecting flights. For pet owners, particularly those with canine companions, layovers can present unique challenges. However, with careful planning and knowledge of dog-friendly airport amenities, layovers can be an opportunity for both you and your furry friend to stretch your legs and relax before the next leg of your journey.


During a layover, you have the chance to ensure that your dog remains comfortable, relaxed, and entertained. This can make the overall travel experience more enjoyable for both you and your pet. In this guide, we'll explore the various considerations and options available to make the most of your layover time with your dog. From dog-friendly airports and pet relief areas to pet-friendly amenities and essential tips for traveling with your dog, we'll cover everything you need to know to ensure a smooth and enjoyable layover experience for both you and your canine companion.


Whether you're a seasoned traveler or embarking on your first journey with your dog, this guide will provide valuable insights and practical tips to help you navigate layovers with ease and confidence. So, let's embark on this journey together and discover how to make the most of your layover time with your beloved four-legged friend.


Considerations Before Traveling

Before embarking on a journey with your dog that involves layovers, it’s essential to consider several factors to ensure a smooth and stress-free travel experience for both you and your furry companion.


Health and Comfort: It’s crucial to prioritize your dog’s health and comfort when planning a trip with layovers. Ensure that your dog is in good health and up to date on vaccinations before traveling. Additionally, consider your dog’s temperament and how they typically respond to new environments and experiences.


Travel Regulations: Familiarize yourself with the specific travel regulations and requirements for dogs at airports and during flights. Different airlines and airports may have varying policies regarding pet travel, so it’s important to research and understand these regulations well in advance.


Documentation: Make sure you have all the necessary documentation for your dog, including health certificates, vaccination records, and any required permits for the destinations you’ll be traveling to. Keep these documents easily accessible during your journey.


Comfort Items: Pack familiar comfort items for your dog, such as their favorite blanket, toys, and bedding, to help them feel at ease during the journey. Familiar scents and items can provide a sense of security for your dog in unfamiliar environments.


Travel Crate or Carrier: If your dog will be traveling in a crate or carrier, ensure that it meets the airline’s requirements and provides a comfortable and secure space for your dog. Familiarize your dog with the crate or carrier before the trip to reduce anxiety during travel.


Exercise and Rest: Before heading to the airport, engage your dog in physical exercise to help them expend energy and feel more relaxed during the journey. Additionally, provide opportunities for your dog to relieve themselves before entering the airport.


Paying attention to these considerations before traveling can set the stage for a positive and stress-free experience for both you and your dog as you navigate through layovers and connecting flights.


Dog-Friendly Airports

When planning a trip with your dog and anticipating layovers, it’s beneficial to identify and choose dog-friendly airports whenever possible. Dog-friendly airports are equipped with amenities and facilities designed to cater to the needs of traveling pets and their owners.


Designated Pet Relief Areas: Dog-friendly airports often feature designated pet relief areas where dogs can take bathroom breaks and stretch their legs in a safe and controlled environment. These areas are essential during layovers, allowing dogs to relieve themselves and engage in physical activity before continuing their journey.


Outdoor Spaces and Exercise Areas: Some dog-friendly airports offer outdoor spaces and designated exercise areas specifically designed for pets. These areas provide opportunities for dogs to engage in physical activity and enjoy some fresh air, helping them stay active and reduce stress during layovers.


Pet-Friendly Amenities: Certain airports go the extra mile to provide pet-friendly amenities, such as water stations, pet relief stations equipped with waste disposal supplies, and even pet-friendly seating areas where travelers with dogs can relax comfortably.


Clear Signage and Information: Dog-friendly airports often have clear signage and information regarding pet-friendly facilities and amenities, making it easier for travelers with dogs to navigate the airport and locate the necessary resources for their pets.


Supportive Staff: Airports that prioritize pet-friendly initiatives often have staff members who are knowledgeable and supportive when it comes to assisting travelers with dogs. From providing guidance to offering pet-related resources, supportive airport staff can make the layover experience more manageable for pet owners.


By choosing dog-friendly airports for your layovers, you can ensure that your dog has access to the necessary facilities and amenities to remain comfortable, relaxed, and well-cared for during the travel process.


Exercise and Bathroom Breaks

During layovers, providing your dog with opportunities for exercise and bathroom breaks is essential for their well-being and comfort. Incorporating regular exercise and bathroom breaks into your layover routine can help alleviate stress and ensure that your dog remains content and relaxed throughout the travel experience.


Physical Activity: Take advantage of your layover time to engage your dog in physical activity. Many airports feature designated pet relief areas where dogs can move around and stretch their legs. Consider taking a leisurely walk with your dog in these areas to help them expend energy and stay active.


Interactive Play: Bring along your dog’s favorite toys or engage in interactive play sessions during the layover. Playing with your dog can provide mental stimulation and create a positive bonding experience, helping to alleviate any travel-related anxiety they may be experiencing.


Bathroom Breaks: Plan regular bathroom breaks for your dog during layovers. Whether it’s using a designated pet relief area or finding a secluded outdoor space, allowing your dog to relieve themselves is crucial for their physical comfort and overall well-being.


Hydration: Ensure that your dog has access to fresh water during the layover. Staying hydrated is important, especially if your dog has been active or if the layover duration is lengthy. Portable water bowls or pet-friendly water stations at the airport can facilitate this essential need.


Observing Behavior: Pay attention to your dog’s behavior and cues during the layover. Look for signs of restlessness, discomfort, or the need to relieve themselves, and be proactive in addressing their needs promptly.


By prioritizing exercise and bathroom breaks for your dog during layovers, you can contribute to their overall well-being and comfort, making the travel experience more enjoyable for both you and your canine companion.


Pet Relief Areas

One of the most valuable amenities for travelers with dogs during layovers is the presence of pet relief areas within airports. These designated areas offer a safe and convenient space for dogs to take bathroom breaks and engage in physical activity, contributing to their comfort and well-being during the travel process.


Importance of Pet Relief Areas: Pet relief areas play a crucial role in accommodating the needs of traveling dogs. They provide a designated space for dogs to relieve themselves, eliminating the stress and discomfort that can arise from prolonged periods without access to outdoor facilities.


Location and Accessibility: Dog-friendly airports strategically position pet relief areas in accessible locations throughout the terminals. This accessibility allows pet owners to easily locate and access these facilities, even during time-sensitive layovers.


Size and Design: Pet relief areas are typically designed to accommodate dogs of various sizes and breeds. They often feature secure fencing, waste disposal stations, and ample space for dogs to move around comfortably. The thoughtful design of these areas ensures that dogs can relax and relieve themselves in a controlled environment.


Cleanliness and Maintenance: Airports prioritize the cleanliness and maintenance of pet relief areas to uphold hygiene standards and provide a pleasant experience for travelers and their dogs. Regular cleaning and waste disposal protocols help ensure that these areas remain sanitary and inviting for dogs and their owners.


Stress Reduction: Access to pet relief areas can significantly reduce the stress and anxiety experienced by dogs during layovers. The opportunity to stretch their legs, relieve themselves, and breathe in fresh air can contribute to a sense of calm and relaxation for dogs amidst the hustle and bustle of the airport environment.


Whether your layover is brief or extended, making use of pet relief areas can contribute to a positive and comfortable experience for your dog, allowing them to fulfill their natural needs and maintain a sense of well-being throughout the travel journey.


Pet-Friendly Amenities

Traveling with your dog can be a rewarding experience, especially when you have access to pet-friendly amenities that cater to the needs of your furry companion. Dog-friendly airports often offer a range of amenities designed to enhance the comfort and well-being of pets and their owners during layovers and travel.


Water Stations: Many dog-friendly airports provide designated water stations for pets, ensuring that dogs have access to fresh water to stay hydrated during layovers. These stations are conveniently located and equipped with bowls or dispensers for easy access.


Pet Relief Stations: In addition to designated pet relief areas, some airports offer pet relief stations equipped with waste disposal supplies, such as waste bags and receptacles. These stations facilitate responsible pet care and help maintain cleanliness within the airport environment.


Pet-Friendly Seating Areas: Certain airports feature pet-friendly seating areas where travelers with dogs can relax comfortably while waiting for their connecting flights. These areas are designed to accommodate pets and their owners, creating a welcoming and inclusive environment.


Pet Stores and Services: Some airports have pet stores or service providers on-site, offering essential pet supplies, grooming services, and even pet-friendly accommodations for extended layovers. These amenities can be invaluable for addressing any immediate needs or concerns related to your dog’s well-being.


Information and Assistance: Airports with pet-friendly initiatives often provide information and assistance specific to traveling with pets. From guidance on navigating the airport with a dog to addressing pet-related inquiries, knowledgeable staff members can offer valuable support to pet owners.


By taking advantage of these pet-friendly amenities, you can ensure that your dog remains comfortable, cared for, and content during layovers and throughout the travel journey. These thoughtful provisions contribute to a positive and inclusive travel experience for both you and your canine companion.


Pet Policies and Regulations

Understanding the pet policies and regulations of airlines and airports is essential for pet owners embarking on journeys with their dogs, particularly during layovers and connecting flights. Each airline and airport may have specific guidelines and requirements governing pet travel, and being well-informed about these policies can help ensure a smooth and compliant travel experience for you and your canine companion.


Airline Policies: Prior to booking your flight, familiarize yourself with the pet policies of the airline you will be traveling with. This includes understanding the requirements for pet carriers, documentation, fees, and any restrictions related to the size and breed of dogs allowed in the cabin or cargo hold.


Health and Vaccination Requirements: Airlines often have specific health and vaccination requirements for pets traveling with their owners. Ensure that your dog meets the necessary health criteria and has the required vaccinations as outlined by the airline’s policies.


Booking and Reservations: Many airlines have limitations on the number of pets allowed on each flight, as well as restrictions on the types of aircraft that can accommodate pets. It’s advisable to make pet reservations and confirm the availability of space for your dog well in advance of your travel date.


Security and Screening Procedures: Familiarize yourself with the security and screening procedures for traveling with a dog. This includes understanding the process for transporting your dog through security checkpoints and any specific requirements for carrying pet-related items on board.


Airport Regulations: In addition to airline policies, be aware of the pet regulations and facilities available at the airports where you’ll have layovers. This includes understanding the location of pet relief areas, pet-friendly amenities, and any specific airport guidelines for traveling with pets.


By adhering to the pet policies and regulations set forth by airlines and airports, you can ensure compliance with the necessary requirements and mitigate potential challenges or disruptions during your journey with your dog. Being well-informed and prepared in advance can contribute to a seamless and stress-free travel experience for both you and your pet.


Tips for Traveling with Your Dog

Traveling with your dog, especially during layovers and connecting flights, requires thoughtful planning and consideration to ensure a comfortable and stress-free experience for your canine companion. Here are valuable tips to help you navigate the journey with your dog and make the most of layover time:

  • Advance Research: Before your trip, research the pet policies of airlines and the pet-friendly amenities available at airports along your travel route. This knowledge will help you prepare effectively and anticipate the facilities and resources available for your dog during layovers.
  • Comfort Items: Pack familiar comfort items for your dog, such as their favorite blanket, toys, and bedding. These items can provide a sense of security and familiarity for your dog in unfamiliar environments, helping to reduce stress and anxiety.
  • Health and Safety: Prioritize your dog’s health and safety by ensuring they are up to date on vaccinations and have the necessary health certificates. Additionally, consider using a secure and well-ventilated travel crate or carrier that meets airline requirements.
  • Identification and Contact Information: Ensure that your dog wears a collar with identification tags containing your contact information. In the event of unexpected separations or incidents, having visible identification can facilitate a swift reunion.
  • Exercise and Bathroom Breaks: During layovers, prioritize opportunities for your dog to exercise and take bathroom breaks. Locate pet relief areas and designated exercise spaces within the airport to provide your dog with essential physical activity and relief.
  • Hydration and Nutrition: Carry an adequate supply of water and your dog’s regular food to maintain their hydration and nutrition during the journey. Familiar food and water can contribute to your dog’s comfort and well-being amidst the travel environment.
  • Positive Reinforcement: Use positive reinforcement and gentle encouragement to reassure your dog during the travel process. Reward calm and relaxed behavior, and offer verbal praise and affection to alleviate any travel-related apprehension.
  • Patience and Flexibility: Be patient and flexible, understanding that travel with a dog may involve unexpected situations or delays. Approach the journey with a calm and adaptable mindset, and be prepared to address your dog’s needs as they arise.
  • Seek Assistance if Needed: If you encounter challenges or require assistance during your journey, don’t hesitate to seek help from airport staff or pet service providers. Clear communication and proactive assistance can help resolve any concerns promptly.

By implementing these tips and strategies, you can navigate layovers and connecting flights with your dog in a manner that prioritizes their well-being and ensures a positive travel experience for both you and your beloved pet.



Traveling with your dog and navigating layovers presents an opportunity to create memorable experiences and ensure the well-being of your canine companion throughout the journey. By considering the needs of your dog and leveraging the pet-friendly amenities available at airports, you can make the most of layover time and contribute to a positive travel experience for both you and your pet.


From identifying dog-friendly airports with designated pet relief areas to prioritizing exercise, bathroom breaks, and access to pet-friendly amenities, thoughtful planning and preparation can significantly enhance the comfort and relaxation of your dog during layovers. Understanding and adhering to pet policies and regulations set forth by airlines and airports is essential for a seamless and compliant travel experience.


By incorporating practical tips for traveling with your dog, such as packing comfort items, prioritizing hydration and nutrition, and providing positive reinforcement, you can create a supportive and reassuring environment for your dog amidst the travel journey. Additionally, maintaining patience, flexibility, and a proactive approach to addressing your dog’s needs can contribute to a smooth and enjoyable travel experience for both you and your furry companion.


Ultimately, navigating layovers with your dog is an opportunity to strengthen the bond between you and your pet while exploring the pet-friendly offerings available within airport environments. By embracing the journey with attentiveness, care, and a spirit of adventure, you can ensure that your dog’s well-being is prioritized and that layovers become part of the overall travel experience, filled with comfort, relaxation, and cherished moments with your beloved four-legged friend.