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What's Good Petiquette in Dubai?

Published on: September 8, 2016  |  Author: Starwood Pet Travel



Many Americans and British subjects are moving to the United Arab Emirates – especially Dubai– for work or the adventure of experiencing a very different culture. Those who are pet owners naturally want to take along their cat or dog when they move. But living in Dubai means you and your pet may have to change your ways.If you are planning a move to Dubai, it is crucial to learn all the rules before you even consider taking your pet. You’ll find restrictions on where you can live as well as restrictions on what kind of dog you can own. The UAE has a lengthy list of dogs not allowed into the country, including: Staffordshire Bull Terrier, American Pit Bull Terrier, American Staffordshire Terrier, American Bully, Brazilian Mastiff (Fila Brasili), Argentinian Mastiff (Dogo Argentino), Tibetan Mastiff, Neapolitan Mastiff, French Mastiff (Dogue de Bordeaux), Boerboel, Bullmastiff, Cane Corso (Italian Mastiff), Bully Kutta (Alangu Mastiff, Indian Mastiff), Perro De Presa Canario (Canary Mastiff), Japaneese Tosa and Presa Canario. All dogs are required to wear a leash and muzzle in public.

Remember that the cultural norms are different in the UAE, particularly when you’re out in public. That includes pets. Dogs are expected to be polite and socially appropriate if they are out with you. And the truth is, dogs are not welcome in many public places. That includes restaurants and malls and, sometimes, private homes. Always ask before visiting with your dog.

You must obtain permission from your property manager in order to have a pet. In some communities, you may need neighbor approval, too. Don’t make any assumptions, but don’t assume the worst. Some people who live in places with strict “no pets allowed” policies report they have been able to circumvent that rule merely by asking permission.

But don’t despair, Dubai does have pet-friendly neighborhoods, complete with excellent veterinary care facilities and pet supply stores. You can also find pet food and supplies at local supermarkets. And there are also a number of doggie day care facilities in Dubai.

It is also important to investigate outdoor options if you have a dog. Larger breeds need strenuous exercise, and amenities you may be used to in the USA – places like dog parks and walking paths – could be hard to find. Dogs are not allowed on the beaches in the UAE. 

Follow the rules

The UAE’s Federal National Council announced a draft legislation that will tighten requirements for pet ownership. Along with existing requirements, this draft legislation includes:

  • Dogs must be licensed. In Dubai, you’ll contact Dubai Municipality.
  • A microchip is also required, but your pet will need that along with other health documentation just to enter the UAE. (That documentation includes an international health certificate, UAE import permit and proof of various vaccinations, tests and treatments.) You will have to present the vaccination records when you apply for your pet’s license.
  • Pets must be leashed at all times while in public. Don’t forget – if you don’t keep your pet under control, you could face fines up to Dh500,000 as well as up to six months in jail.
  • Your dog must be completely under your control at all times. Professional training is recommended if your dog is not already well-trained to obey you and well-socialized to approach other dogs positively.
  • Failure to scoop poop and properly dispose of it will earn you a fine. The government has the right to confiscate dogs of repeat offenders.

And in case you were thinking of owning an exotic pet while in Dubai, forget that. In the past, some wealthy residents have added cheetahs and other large cats, monkeys, etc. to their households. But this legislation cracks down on that. These laws were prompted by concerns for public safety and health, after a number of reports of people keeping illegally obtained dangerous animals in their homes.

Make no mistake, pets are well loved in Dubai

If you arrived in Dubai pet-less but now wish to have a furry companion, talk to your landlord about the possibilities before you do anything else. Then, when you get the thumbs-up, you can check out Nine Lives - Cat Adoption and K9 Friends to adopt just the right pet.

On the other hand, many pet-lovers in the UAE have opted for birds and decorative fish instead of a cat or dog.

There is one more thing you should know about petiquette in Dubai: it is prohibited to feed stray animals. You’ll get a warning the first time, but repeat offenders are in for fines or worse.

Learn more about moving to Dubai, UAE here.

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