Guide dog life

Where Do Guide Dogs Do Their Business 💩 On a Ship?

Can you even take a service dog on a ship…

Patricia Timmermans
2 min readSep 21, 2022


A picture of the waves on the sand
Image credit: the author

Yes, service dogs can accompany their handler on ships.

Booking the trip

I would advise the service rep when booking my voyage, that I’m bringing my guide dog on board. I’d have Cooper’s license, proof that he is a certified guide dog, with me at all times.

I may never be asked to provide proof, but either way, I’m prepared.*

Where do guide dogs do their business on a ship?

Dog relief areas will vary but ships do have designated ‘facilities’ for dogs.

Some have green fake-grass areas complete with fire hydrant, and instructions for disposing of the poop.

Others will provide large trays filled with wood chips / mulch in specific areas. Again, there are instructions and even hand sanitizers.

If I’d tell them Cooper is 90 lbs. they would probably give us the flowerbed-sized model.

Some ships will give the handler access to a separate area, similar to dog relief areas in airports.

How long can your guide dog hold it?

You may be wondering how long a guide dog can hold. I’ll use Cooper again as my example of what we do while traveling.

Staying in a hotel

At hotels, the first thing I track down is the designated dog relief area(s).

In the morning he waits for me to brew a coffee. I’m pretty sure he knows that means more time to sniff around for the perfect spot. Then we’re set to go.

Depending on our schedule, I’ll make a mental note to take him again at supper time at the latest, then once again before bedtime.

Before going into a public building, I’ll give him the opportunity again, so he’ll feel comfortable, sometimes he goes but sometimes not.

He can hold for quite a while but I don’t test his limits.

picture of a red fire hydrant
Image credit: Quinggang Li on Unsplash

Note: *The blind person’s rights act in the provinces of Canada state that certified guide dogs with their handler, have the same access to places as any individual without a guide dog.



Patricia Timmermans

My guide dog and I visit schools to raise awareness for sight loss; the kids’ questions make great stories! Plus, I love books and writing book reviews. 🇨🇦