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JFK Airport Now Has A Special Pet Toilet; Tips to Ensure A Safe Flight For Your Pets

Apr 27, 2016 04:07 PM EDT

Like their humans, pets need to do their business, too.

The JFK International Airport in New York, the busiest airport in the United States, is making a lot of passengers happy with a newly built special toilet designed for pets.

The Pet Relief Area was opened last week in Terminal 4, complete with a suitable ambiance for your furry companions -- a specially designed toilet, with fake grass and a red fire hydrant to make everything extra cozy and familiar.

The floor is waterproof and its walls are decorated with cute paw prints. The single-stall restroom can be hosed down and owners are also provided with bags that can be used for cleaning up after their pets' business.

It might seem a bit ridiculous, but this special pet toilet lessens the worries of jet-setter owners. According to the New York Post, prior to the creation of the relief area, owners would either have to clean up their pets' mess on the terminal floor or step outside to let the animals relieve themselves and then go through the hassles of security again.

This relief area provides a solution to that problem.

NYPost also reported that the special bathroom project was done with the help of a Manhattan nonprofit group that trains guide dogs for blind people and other persons with disabilities who usually have or require animal companions.

If traveling for humans can be quite stressful, imagine how it is for our pets who will be restricted from relieving themselves for a few hours.

In fact, air travel with pets is already a challenge. The US Department of Transportation has reported that over two million pets and live animals are transported via air every year.

However, air travel conditions are not always friendly: in the cargo hold, there is always a risk for stress and even death. Smithsonian reported that in 2011, 35 pets died during -- or shortly before or after -- air travel on commercial flights, while 9 animals were injured and 2 were lost and never found.

Now that many people go on vacations and want to take their entire family with them, pets included, it is important for pet owners to do their homework and be knowledgeable on how to keep their pets safe when going on flights.

Here are some flying tips from the US transportation department and Smithsonian:

  • Consult your veterinarian to know when it is safe for your pet to fly.
  • Before your travel, make sure that your pet is accustomed to its kennel where it will be shipped.
  • Do not give your pet solid food in six hours before the flight.
  • A moderate amount of water and a walk before and after the flight are advised.
  • Reserve a space for your pet in advance and as much as possible, schedule a non-stop flight.
  • When boarding, try to inform a pilot and a flight attendant that there is a pet in the cargo hold, just to remind them (the airlines usually have a system to inform them). 
  • Or if possible, purchase a space for your animal companion in the passenger cabin.

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