Best Practices for Pet Relief Areas

Making it easy for pet parents to find a comfortable place for dogs to relieve themselves helps avoid accidents and pet waste in unexpected places at your business. Here’s how to set up a successful pet relief area.

Basic Amenities and Resources

Be sure your relief area includes:

  • Pet-friendly turf, grass or another surface that’s gentle on paws in all types of weather.
  • Adequate separation from vehicular traffic areas, at minimum allowing a few feet between the relief area and a parking lot or street.
  • Effective drainage and a spray or sprinkler system that ensures the pet relief area is properly cleaned and helps to minimizes odors.
  • Adequate lighting for safe use by people and pets.
  • Easy access to the relief area and its amenities, including for pet parents using assistive devices such as wheelchairs, walkers or canes.
  • A waste bag dispenser with a trash receptacle attached or nearby.
  • Friendly signage that encourages responsible practices like keeping dogs on leash and cleaning up after them.
  • Clear rules that remind pet owners of their responsibilities.
  • Sanitizing or hand-washing options for pet parent hygiene.

In addition:

  • Make sure any plants in the area are pet-safe or non-poisonous plants.
  • For indoor relief areas, ensure adequate ventilation to maximize air flow and minimize odors.

Next-Level Offerings

If you have the space and budget, these features will make your relief area even more welcoming:

  • A pet-friendly water fountain with a refillable water bottle option for humans and a ground-based pet water fountain supports healthy hydration for all.
  • A pheromone-based prop, such as a scented doggy fire hydrant, can encourage dogs to complete their business in the area.
  • An awning or shade that protects users from heat and inclement weather makes it an even better experience.
  • Consider additional signage that can be seen from a distance to make your relief area easy to find – for example a sign mounted high enough to be seen from down the street.
  • If you have a larger space, include a play area as well, for example with agility equipment and a bench for waiting pet parents.
  • If your relief area is off-leash, make sure it is fully fenced in and includes double-containment gates so pet parents can enter safely before removing their dog’s leash.

Procedures and Training

To keep your relief area in welcoming condition for pets and pet parents:

  • Ensure standard operating procedures and a regular schedule for area maintenance, such as spraying down the surface, removing trash and refilling waste bags.
  • Display a resource number or QR code for questions or issues.

Don’t Go It Alone!

If your business is in an area with several other pet-friendly businesses, talk about working together to create a larger, shared pet relief space. You can share expenses for setup, maintenance and signage, making it more cost-effective for everyone.

Many neighborhoods and retail districts have a vested interest in making pets welcome. See how you can partner to make sure it’s a positive experience for pets, pet parents and non-pet owners alike.

Want more tips? Check out the Pets Welcome Toolkit for info about how to launch a pet-friendly business initiative that can benefit businesses, pet parents and pets.

Share This:

Related Posts