Before boarding the flight, quickly go to the toilet again: This is easily possible for people at airports around the world. Not for four-legged friends. Finland's largest airport, Helsinki-Vantaa Airport, is now remedying this. "We have heard the wishes of those who travel with pets or assistance dogs," said the airport on its website. Now there are two "Pet Relief Areas" – literally "pet relief zones" or simply "pet toilets", which should make traveling more comfortable for the four-legged friends.
One of the two animal toilets is located outside the terminal on the way to the entrance, so that this place is "more easily accessible for shy dogs". Pictures show an artificial grass mat surrounded by a wooden fence. There is an artificial wooden stump on the mat for lifting legs.
Helsinki Airport attaches great importance to hygiene
Another "Pet Relief Area" is located within the airport in the non-Schengen part of the terminal in a separate area. The toilets – which are open around the clock – and the ways to get there are signposted. Here, too, there is a green mat made of artificial turf and an artificial white tree stump in a corner of the toilet room.
According to Finnish airport operator Finavia, more than 10,000 dogs travel through Helsinki Airport, according to Finnish public broadcaster yle. "Pet toilets are becoming more and more common worldwide. We wanted to play a pioneering role in this area," said Hanna Hämäläinen, Head of Travel Services at Finavia, the broadcaster.
According to Hämäläinen, it is very important that the facilities for pets are hygienic at all times. The toilet is equipped with a water hose so that pet owners can wash away urine. Separate containers are provided for the disposal of faeces. If the animals could do their business, their masters or mistresses would also be more relaxed, continues Hämäläinen.
Many airlines allow pets or assistance dogs in the aircraft cabin if a seat has been purchased for them. The rules can differ from airline to airline.
Swell: Finavia, yle