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Pet relief area at Chicago’s Midway International Airport (MDW)

Chicago’s Midway airport is so much more pleasant than O’Hare, and here’s one reason: There is a pet relief area, and you can easily find it. The airport’s web site is fairly useless (“The Animal Relief Area is curbside, on the lower level.”), but the airport itself was well-signed. Incredibly well-signed, in fact — some airports will grudgingly give you a sign or two in the baggage claim area, but Midway’s signs started on the arrivals concourse. Outstanding! I brought traffic to a halt while I took a picture:

You’re left to your own devices at some crucial points in the terminal, but once you reach the baggage claim area, the signs return in force. While you can exit any of the baggage claim area doors and find signage pointing you in the correct direction, the most efficient thing to do is locate Door 4 (near Baggage Carousel 8), exit the terminal, and turn right. Walk just past the bus stop, then turn right along the side of the building.

This is a dark picture, but it gives you an idea of where to look for the pet relief area.

What you’ll find, alas, is not that impressive. Midway’s official pet relief area is a small, fenced area. On the bright side, it has a bench, but the ground cover is large rocks and a really large concrete pad. What were they thinking? I know the answer — they were thinking “easy to clean,” but neither surface is particularly inviting to dogs.

Concrete? Really? There was one forlorn patch of pee on it, but a lot of dogs really dislike concrete.

Poop bags are provided, so if your dog prefers grass, grab a bag and take her to the grass patch beyond the pet relief area.

The official pet relief area is in the foreground of this picture. There's a useful bit of lawn across the roadway, next to the parking garage.

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.


  • Amanda F.

    Are dogs allowed at Midway if you are not traveling? If you are picking someone up can you bring them in (not past secruity)?


  • Hi, Amanda! Service dogs are allowed, of course, but pet dogs have to be in a carrier or a crate once they come inside. That’s true for most airports, though sometimes, rarely, you come across one that allows leashed pet dogs inside.

  • Sadly, Tiffany, there isn’t — the only US airports I know of with air-side pet relief areas are Seattle, San Diego, and Washington Dulles. If your layover is long — say an hour and fifteen minutes or more — you can dash outside and then back in through security. Otherwise, bring pee pads and lay a bunch of them down in a non-busy bathroom stall. Safe travels!

  • Chelsea

    I had my dog with me during my lay over and they actually have security that monitor the grass area and yell at you if you bring the dog across to the grass area (I got yelled at twice). Needless to say, I couldn’t get me pooch to poop because he wasn’t a fan of the rocks or concrete.

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