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Seattle Airport’s indoor pet relief area

Remember that reader Julia reported that the original airside pet relief area at SEA had closed, and there was a new one in the C gates area? Today’s update is brought to you by reader Ashlee, who just visited the new location and told me that “the dog relief area is directly across from gate C2. This is right at the beginning of the C gates (not far from the Life is Good store) so it’s still in (or very close to) the center terminal. The same patch of green turf is there, complete with red fire hydrant. The room is smaller though.” [7/14 Please note that SEA’s indoor pet relief area has moved back to its original location — here’s a post about its current whereabouts and appearance.]

I’ll leave the italicized paragraph and accompanying photo you’ll see below, since it talks about the Astroturf strip Ashlee mentions, and since Ashlee wasn’t able to take a picture during her visit, but I’m going to delete the bulk of the original post, since it’s no longer relevant.

For those of you new to SEA and its pet relief areas, here’s where this all started, back in June 2009: “We returned to the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SEA) late last night and on our way to baggage claim I noticed a sign for a pet relief area inside the terminal. Not too long ago, I completely panned SEA’s outdoor pet relief area, and now I have to change my tune. SEA has had the brilliant idea of setting aside a room in the terminal for pets to relieve themselves on wee-wee pads, and it’s beyond security, so you don’t have to exit the secured area and then reenter with your relieved dog.” I was thrilled at the time, but now that I’ve experienced the excellence of Dulles’ air-side pet relief area, this pet relief area seems pretty lame.

I’m updating this post (first published on 6/8/09), following a couple of recent visits. A June 2011 update, at the bottom of the post below, mentioned litter boxes and open doors. I made a note to tell you about a visit in July 2012 (litter boxes gone, but now no pee pads or poop bags). It’s just as well that I failed to follow up, because yesterday we stopped in and the whole thing has changed. Now there’s a long strip of Astroturf on the ground (with a toy fire hydrant in the middle, to encourage the males), and a poop bag dispenser on the wall. The doors are still propped open, which I still find less than ideal, and there is still a whiffiness to the place that you’ll notice. However, it’s still on the air side of security, and the airport does seem to be trying to make the room work for travelers. Here’s a current picture:

My head is obscuring the poop bag dispenser. Chloe was a bit reluctant to walk on this particular Astroturf, but she eventually stepped on and attended to business.

This post is part of an ongoing series of reviews of airport pet relief areas we’ve visited. To see others, visit Dog Jaunt’s handy guide to airport pet relief areas.

18 comments

  • Kim

    We fly from Anchorage to Phoenix and layover in Seattle. Is the indoor relief area on the same level as concourse C and D? Or do you have to go to another level? We usually fly from C or D gates and have never seen the sign. It would really help since we take our little dog in the cabin every time. Thanks for any info you could give me.

  • Hi, Kim! The air-side pet relief area at SEA is just to the side of the restaurant and shop area in the Central Terminal. It’s directly across from the Borders bookstore. However, given what it offers (a patch of concrete, a pile of pee pads and a trash can), you might do just as well to bring a couple of pee pads with you and take your pup into a family stall in a Concourse C or D restroom, and save yourself the tram trip in to the central terminal.

  • Jill

    I travel with a medium size SAR dog regularly and find this pet relief area totally disgusting. A well trained dog would never be willing to pee inside and when I saw the room there weren’t even any pads – not that a dog not trained for those things would know to use them. There was no chance my dog would be able to relieve himself in this revolting place so we were forced out of the security zone to walk several hundred yards to find a realistic place for my dog to go. The outside pet area was filled with feces and cigarette butts. I went up the stairs to the media area to find a vegetated spot for my dog.

    It wouldn’t be so hard for airports to put decent pet areas inside the security terminals. They’re not even trying to make this feasible for pet owners.

  • Jill, thanks so much for your comment — it reminded me to update this post, and you’ll see that I’ve lost the love for this pet relief area over the last few months. It still gets points for being air-side, but not many.

  • Kristen

    They now have a stretch of fake grass with a mini fire hydrant available. Very cute. All airports should have a space like this available. The room smells of pee very strongly but this was a lifesaver for my dog.

  • Ashlee

    I was there in December and January and my dog, Billy refused to walk on the turf. I could barely get him in the door! He relieved himself in the hallway (I cleaned up, don’t worry!) though. Also, the fire hydrant was broken and basically crumbled apart so they must have either fixed or replaced it.

    I was very grateful for the relief area inside security even if my dog wasn’t thrilled. He pooped in the Tucson airport the moment we landed so he certainly had to go!

  • Well, I’ll tell you, Ashlee — Chloe was deeply reluctant to walk on that turf too. She did eventually, but you can see in the pic how I was encouraging her. It’s far, far from ideal — I do wish they’d take a page from the Dulles airport playbook!

  • Gery O.

    Bummer that the kitty litter boxes are gone, but the new setup is certainly nice.

    Now what Alfie and I do is simply close the door when we visit. I suspect the open door is to make it easier to find the room AND to cut down on the stench in there.

  • I’m sure you’re right, Gery — and when my husband is with me, I close the door. I recall once testing the door latch and being pretty sure I’d be locked in if I closed the door, so now I never do when I’m traveling alone. It seems unlikely that I would be locked in there, but can you imagine the vexation?!

  • Carly

    Hello! Thanks for the post, I’m about to travel from SEA to JFK this Thursday and it’s great to hear about the available potty spots at the airport. I have another odd question I was hoping you could help me with: does SeaTac strictly enforce keeping your pet in its carrier? I was hoping to walk my dog around with me until we begin boarding, especially since it’s a long 5+hour flight. Any insight you have is greatly appreciated!

    Thanks,
    Carly

  • Hey there, Carly — Dogs are indeed not allowed out of their carrier once you walk in the front doors of SEA. When we make that flight (indeed, when we make any flight), we give Chloe a really long walk before we leave the house, and then let her out one last time in the air-side pet relief area. We find that that works fine — she’s tired enough that she just sacks out in her carrier while waiting for departure.

  • Ariel

    I utilized this area a few times during an 8 hour lay-over for my cat. She is leash trained and we brought our own small litter pan and some cat litter. We still had an accident in the carrier after encountering some turbulence and had to smell like urine for the rest of our trip, bit even just having a place to stretch her legs without leaving the terminal was excellent. I did take her outside and walk her around the smoking area but it was filthy and the air brakes from the constant shuttles coming and going kept surprising her. Plus it took like 30 minutes to get back through security. Also, I was happy to see that when dogs came by while my cat was using the potty area they behaved swimmingly. I just asked the owners to wait a moment will I crated my cat and relinquished the space to them with no hassle from either of our pets. I’m used to being yelled at by dog owners even when I walk my cat in my own yard because they can’t control their dog and apparently feel my well behaved cat on a leash does not have the same walking rights even off the public walk area?!. Anyway like I said, all the dog owners I encountered were very considerate of my cat.

  • Ariel

    BTW I took pictures of my cat using the room if you want them for this page shoot me an e-mail.

  • Thank you for the comments, Ariel! I took a picture or two myself, a few weeks ago, and just haven’t posted them yet — but if yours include your cat I’d love to post them. I wish our cats were leash-trained, and admire any who are!

  • You are quite right, Michael, and I’ve written a post about the current location — I need to add a note to this one, redirecting folks, and I’ll do that right now. Thank you!!

  • K free

    August 2014: SEA airport pet relief area WITHIN the terminal is now across from the B gates. There us a pet relief sign and same green astroturf and little red fire-hydrant. They provide papertowels, bags, and a sink for clean up. It is a BLESSING this is provided by SEA airport, so please keep it clean so they don’t remove it. (I was told by airport staff it has been moved several times because people weren’t cleaning up after their pets, which made it smell bad a lot of the time.)

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