Dubai – The smallest of details matter for a pet owner, especially when they are moving to a new country. Whether you want to bring your pet in with you when you move to the UAE or want to welcome a furry family member into your new home, this is all you need to know about the country’s laws and culture.
I am moving to the UAE and want to bring my pet with me
If you want to bring your cat or dog into the UAE, you will need an import permit from the Ministry of Climate Change and Environment (MOCCAE).
Individuals can apply for the permit online here.
Charges: Dh500 for request a permit to import (horses-cats-dogs) per head.
You will need the following documents:
• A copy of animal's poassport of animal and immunizations certificate
For Permission to Release:
• Original book of vaccinations
• Original import permit or Re-Entry card for pets
• Original authenticated health certificate from an official, approved body
• Customs declaration or bill of lading
• Original report for blood test for Rabies (from requested countries according to governing decision).
The import permit is valid for 30 days.
Some pets may also need rabies test certificates. While there is no quarantine in the UAE, there are some breed of dogs that are banned in the UAE. These include:
• Presa canario
All queries related to pet imports need to be raised with the Ministry of Climate Change and Environment at 800 3050.
I am looking for a pet in the UAE
Adopt! Ask any animal welfare worker in the UAE what a family or individual should do when they are looking to get a pet, and they will recommend adoption over buying. There are hundreds of loving animals in need of a caring home and by adopting you would have a positive influence on the pet ownership market, stopping any financially lucrative activities that violate animal rights (like puppy farms).
Regular adoption days are organised by animal welfare groups across the UAE, so a visit to one of the events could be a good experience for the family and could lead to a successful adoption. You can find the latest events organised by rescue organisations in the UAE on Gulf News here.
If adopting appears to be a big commitment, many welfare organisations also encourage families to foster an animal temporarily. This allows the family to familiarise themselves with the animal as well as understand the responsibility of being a parent to a furry family member.
Animal Welfare Al Ain, a UAE-based organisation, like many other welfare organisations in the UAE conducts a family interview before the adoption form is signed.
Stacey Patton, a volunteer with the organisation, told Gulf News that the organisation does home checks and phone interviews before the adoption papers are signed. She said: "We want to make sure that it is a lifetime commitment, for the life of the animal, and some people are not able or willing to do that. On occasion, people have contacted us and wanted us to take the animal back because they were leaving or wanted to know what they can do since they were leaving the country and did not want to take the animal back. So, our number one concern is the animal and occasionally that might hurt people as we do not approve the adoption if the family does not seem to be ready for it. For example, if you are going to adopt the pet but leave him or her alone for 11 hours a day, with no caretaker, or if you have young children and are simply looking for a toy for them, this is not okay.”
Here is a list of some animal rescue centres, shelters, clinics and take-in organisations in the UAE:
Animal Welfare Al Ain (AWA)
This organisation operates under the licence of Emirates Animal Welfare Society. People can get in touch with the organisation on their Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/animalwelfarealain/, which is regularly monitored and message them with queries on adopting cats and dogs.
The organisation does have an adoption fee, which depends on the amount of money that has been spent by the organisation on the medical and general care of the animal. At the time of payment, vet bills and receipts of other expenses will be provided to the adopting family. The organisation also welcomes volunteers to join them with any skill sets they think might help the organisation.
Tel: +971 4 887 8739
Animal Action UAE
Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/AnimalActionUAE/
This is a rescue group, which relies on a network of foster families and boarding kennels to help abandoned animals. You can contact the group if you would like to foster or adopt an dog or cat. Their adoption fees are Dh750 for cats and Dh1,600 for dogs. Interested families can email the group or contact them through their Facebook page.
Protection of Animal Rights Association (PARA) UAE
Red Paw Foundation
Strays Needing Interim or Furever Friends (SNIFF)
A rescue group operating in Dubai since 2013, it largely focuses on mix breed dogs and cats. The group is registered under the Emirates Animal Welfare Society. Adoption fees for cats is Dh1,000 and for dogs is Dh2,000 (apart from neutering and spaying charges).
Kittysnip is a registered non-profit animal welfare group that arranges adoption of abandoned and neglected cats.
It is a member Emirates Animal Welfare Society (EAWS).
For cat lovers in Dubai who cannot guarantee providing a long-term home for the cats, there are various other ways that they can help out – either by fostering cats until a permanent home is found or by helping the organisation during their adoption days.
If you want to foster a cat or kitten, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
To adopt a cat or kitten, email email@example.com
Adoption charges vary based on the breed of the cat.
Abu Dhabi Animal Shelter
Tel: +971 2 575 5155
Stray Dogs Centre UAQ
Sharjah Cat and Dog Shelter
Location: On E88, after Sharjah International Airport
RAK Animal Welfare Shelter
Location: Al Jazira area, along landfill road.
The shelter only takes in dogs and cats. You will need to pay an adoption fee of Dh735 for a cat and Dh1,050 for a dog, which covers the welfare costs of the animal along with supporting the shelter’s operations.
Your new furry friend will be completely vaccinated, and come with a passport, microchip and a doctor’s check up.
However, if your heart is set on buying a specific animal or breed, you can approach any of the licensed pet shops in the UAE.
Should you own a pet?
Before you decide on which pet you would like to get for your family, here is a handy checklist to follow to ensure you are ready to be parents to a new pet.
1. Can you keep your pet at home?
This might seem like an odd question to ask but not every residential community or building allows pets. You need to check your tenancy contract to find out if it is clearly stated. Also, consider the size of your pet/pets and the size of your accommodation to ensure they are not living in cramped surroundings and have enough space to play around.
2. Is your family ready?
It is important to train not just the children but also the adults in the family and educate them about dealing with the animal, its needs and preferences. It is also important to check for any allergies you or your family might have to any particular breed.
3. Is the community pet-friendly?
This is the natural next step to check if the animal has a friendly environment. Several communities in the UAE now allow owners to walk their dogs and there are many restaurants as well that welcome dogs. However, it is important to remember that according to UAE law dogs should always be on a leash.
4. Which is the nearest veterinary and kennel or cattery?
There are several veterinary clinics and hospitals in the UAE but it is extremely important to remember that while there might be a few businesses that offer cheaper rates, it is crucial to contact a reputed and reliable veterinary specialist. Speak to your friends for recommendations and before you take your pet to the clinic, look up online reviews as well. Here are a few kennels and catteries in the UAE that you can contact in case you are planning a trip outside the UAE or will be unable to care for your pet temporarily:
Posh paws pet nursery and trading
A kennel and cattery, that charges for your pet’s stay with different rates based on whether the animal is small, medium or large.
Dubai Investment Park 1, Street 37, Warehouse 2 and 3.
Contact: # 050-273-0973
Dubai Kennel and Cattery
They do not take in animals. However, they do provide you extensive
information about taking your pet with you as you relocate.
Location: Street 34
Umm Ramool (near Rashidiya and Dubai Festival City)
Contact: Tel: 04-285-1646
Animal Care Centre
Boarding Kennel and cattery
7. Work out the expenses
Whether you adopt an animal or buy one, you will need to pay. There are also costs of food, grooming and litter packs that can add up, apart from the doctor’s visits and mandatory yearly vaccinations.
Once you have welcomed the new family member, it is important to take them for regular vet visits and have their vaccinations updated.
Federal Law No. 22 of 2016 states: ‘Dog owners must obtain a licence and vaccinations for their pets from local authorities… and keep them on a leash at all times when in public. Those who fail to do so will face a fine of at least Dh10,000, but not more than Dh100,000.’
Chapter 5 (Federal Law No.22)
Possession of Dogs
Article 12 - Licensing and Obligations for the Possession of Dogs
No one may possess a dog without having obtained a licence from the competent authority. The implementing regulation shall specify the relevant conditions and requirements.
Article 13- A Register for the Dogs
A register for the dogs whose possession is licensed shall be created at the competent authority. Said register shall contain all the data related to each dog and its possessor, including:
1- The name, ID number, address, age, nationality, and place of residence of the dog’s possessor.
2- The dog’s origin, type, colour, and distinctive marks, if any, as well as the number of the electronic chip and the vaccination record.
Article 14 - Dealing with Dangerous Dogs
Without prejudice to Article (4) of the present Law, every natural or legal person shall be prohibited from possessing, or trading or breeding any of the dogs classified as dangerous and specified in Annex (2) of the present Law.
Article 15- Leashing the Dogs
Dogs must be leashed during hiking or when taken outside the boundaries of their shelters with appropriate collars in a manner to control them; otherwise, they shall be detained and disposed of as prescribed in the implementing regulation of the present Law.
Article 16 – Moving around with Dangerous Animals
Without prejudice to the provisions of Article 15 of the present Law, no one may move around with a dangerous animal outside the licensed Facility.
What medical care will my pet need?
It is important to visit a reliable and reputed veterinary clinic to ensure your pet has receive his or her yearly vaccination.
Each animal should be vaccinated yearly against rabies, distemper, tartar, leptospirosis and infectious hepatitis.
It is also important to ensure they are microchipped and neutered.
Microchips are crucial in lost animal cases. When found, the first thing the municipality will do is check for a microchip and run it against their database to find out details of the pet and the pet owner.
Apart from these expected costs, it is also important to budget for any emergency expenses that you might need to undergo, especially if your pet has any medical conditions.
If you are already in the UAE and are planning to relocate, we have a detailed article on how you can travel out of the country with your pet here.