The K9s of Sea-Tac International Airport showed off their security skills Thursday morning as the airport prepares for huge crowds over the next several weeks.
An average of 63,000 passengers per day are expected over the next five weeks, which is about 2,000 more than previous weeks of the summer. The K9s will have to screen about two million passengers during the time period.
Including outbound, inbound and connecting passengers, that number is expected to reach 160,000 during busy August days, airport spokesman Brian DeRoy said.
"These dogs work to play," TSA spokeswoman Lorie Dankers said. "All they want to do is earn their toy – and the way they earn their toy is by working, making sure the airport is safe and secure."
Airport officials hosted the event to highlight the efforts of working K9s in security operations. All dogs are explosive-trained and work exclusively with handlers. They help expedite TSA lines.
"These dogs have been through at least 12 weeks of training," Dankers said. "They are trained to detect literally dozens upon dozens of different types of explosive and explosive components."
Dogs serve as an extra layer of security and ensure that any explosive residues are detected on passengers while traveling. They're working dogs, so the airport asks you not to pet them.
TSA dogs have worked at the airport since October of 2014 and the airport has increased the number of dogs since then. The Port of Seattle has had K9 patrols since 1975 at the airport.
Thursday, Friday, Sunday and Monday are expected to be the busiest travel days. Mornings until noon are the busiest, with a big rush in the late afternoon.
Airport officials are advising travelers to plan ahead and follow the recommended two hours before flight time arrival at the airport.