Pets are more than just cuddly companions. Research continues to show they bring real health benefits to their owners. For example, having a dog can lead to lower levels of stress for both adults and kids, and they’ve also been found to decrease the risk of asthma in children. They have also been linked to lower blood pressure.
Researchers have also shown that dog owners are more active, packing in more steps per day on their walks or during regular playtime. In the UAE, there has been some frustration in the past over a lack of pet-friendly outdoor zones, however this situation is improving each year.
Here’s where to go…
Burj Park, Dubai
Why: Located in Downtown Dubai it is one of the few parks where dogs are allowed, or at least there is nothing officially preventing you. Located near Burj Khalifa, with spectacular views of the Dubai Fountains, this park is a great place for you and your dog to bond while taking in some of the iconic sights of the emirate.
Green Community, DIP
Why: This gated community is situated just off Shaikh Zayed Road, leading to Abu Dhabi and Al Ain. If you’re lucky to know anyone who lives here, there is ample space to walk your dog among its hills and lakes. Plus, there are a lot of other facilities such as pet care centres like Paws Pet Planet and Urban Tails, as well as day-care centres.
Arabian Ranches, Mirdif, and Barsha 1, Dubai
Why: If you really want space to play with your pooch, take a drive slightly out of town to some serene desert space. There are several fantastic places where your pooch can roam free, notably behind the Arabian Ranches community, Mirdif, and Barsha 1.
My Second Home, Dubai Investment Park
Why: If you don’t mind paying, there’s a wonderful dog park, day care and resort in Dubai called My Second Home (Mysecondhomedubai.com). This funky pet resort encourages dogs to socialise and interact and lets the owners have a conversation with fellow animal lovers. The biggest facility of its kind in the Middle East, the place also provides boarding accommodation for cats.
Bark Park, Al Awir, Dubai
Why: A municipality-certified location where you can let pups roam free, Bark Park is a fully enclosed, private desert area for dogs to exercise and socialise off lead. It has some fun obstacles for your pets and is well lit at night too.
Kite Beach, off Shaikh Khalifa Highway, Abu Dhabi
Why: Located next to Yas Island residential, Kite Beach is perfect to exercise your dog as they can run freely and swim in the sea. The area is quiet early morning and great for a run with your pet.
Al Reef, Abu Dhabi
Why: A pretty, gated community, Al Reef is a residential complex to the north of Abu Dhabi International Airport on the outskirts of the city. It is great for taking a leisurely stroll with your furry pal and has plenty of dog waste bins located along its pathways – so make sure to clean up after your pooch.
Pawsome park, RAKAWC, Ras Al Khaimah
Why: Coming this February is the first outdoor dog park in the UAE — in Ras Al Khaimah. Built by the government, the The Pawsome Park at the RAK Animal Welfare Centre (RAKAWC), in Al Jazeera Al Hamra, invites all UAE dog lovers to enjoy its facilities. The 7,000-square-metre area, gives ample opportunity for dogs to socialise and enjoy the outdoors. The park offers off-leash areas, a walking path, a fully equipped agility park, and a swimming pool.