If you’re anything like me you can’t be parted from your pet for more than a few days maximum…therefore if you’re planning a relocation abroad, the planning of pet removal will be right up there along with getting somewhere to live, oh and finding a job possibly!  If you’re moving to Dubai, the good news is that you can take most types of domestic pet with you, and it is quite an easy process.

The bad news is that it gets very hot in Dubai – in case you hadn’t noticed!  And this can mean that pets moving from a colder climate like the one we have in the UK for example, can find it relatively tough going, at least initially.

In this article we’ll look at the practicalities involved in taking your pets to Dubai as well as what you and they will have to expect from the transition to a new country, climate and culture.

The very first thing you need to know is that there are people and organisations based in Dubai who are very, very experienced in the relocation of pets to and from Dubai.  If it were me, I’d use their services, because for a relatively small fee they will save you hours of worry, days of queuing for probably the wrong piece of paperwork and overall, they’ll save you a great deal of stress.  We cannot vouch for the following companies and organisations, however here are the details of a handful of people who can assist you when it comes to importing your pet into Dubai or getting it back home again: –

Dubai Kennels and Cattery
PO Box 10532
Street 34
Umm Ramool (near Rashidiya and Festival City)
Tel:  +971-4-285-1646
Fax:  +971-4-285-7167
Email:  info@dkc.ae
Website: http://www.dkc.ae

British Veterinary Centre
Abu Dhabi
United Arab Emirates
Tel : +971 (2) 665-0085
Fax: +971 (2) 665-0014
email: info@britvet.ae
The Doghouse FZE
P.O. Box: 54020
Tel: +971 50 4578874
Email: info@dubaidoghouse.com

If you want to go it alone or you want to know the intricacies of the process anyway, here goes: –

Your pet will not be able to fly with you, it will have to be sent as cargo, and it will have to be older than 120 days.  To import your pet into Dubai you must first obtain an import permit.  To get an import permit you need a document from your current vet which is signed and stamped and which shows that the animal has been vaccinated against rabies between one year and 30 days ago, you also need a certificate of good health from the government of the country where the animal is coming from, and your dog or cat has to be microchipped.  Your rabies vaccination may relate to the microchip number depending on which country you’re coming from, so get your animal microchipped before it has the rabies vaccination just in case.

Bear in mind that one day you may want to return with your animal to your original country of origin, the good news is that the UAE is included in the PETS scheme.  So, if you log on to DEFRA’s website and check out all the requirements for PETS and abide by them and continue to abide by them when you’re abroad, you should face no major hurdles when you want to bring the animal back.  By the way, all good vets in the UK know everything there is to know about PETS, so if you can’t make head nor tail of the DEFRA site, just speak to your vet.

Once you have all your paperwork in place and your animal has been vaccinated against everything it should have been injected against, you can import your animal to Dubai.  However, you or someone you know needs to be in Dubai ahead of the animal coming in.  This is because you have to go to the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries to process your paperwork and get your import certificate.  Take with you your passport and a copy of it, Dh200, your residence permit or letter of employment as well as copies and any other supporting paperwork.  The import certificate you’re issued with is valid for a month and once you have it you can book your animal’s flight.  When the pet is due to arrive, go with the import certificate to Dubai Cargo Village, take your original vaccination document, proof the animal has been microchipped and the official certificate of good health (these may be being sent with the animal).  Please note there is a Dh90 customs charge.

That’s all the hard work out of the way!  However, we forgot to mention one important thing…that is, if you’re renting a property in Dubai you need to find out what your landlord’s policy is on pet ownership…many other nationalities are not as keen on animals as we are in the UK for example.  In fact, when you live in Dubai you may be shocked at the way some people treat animals.  So, make sure you’re allowed to have pets before you sign any paperwork taking on a property.

Going back to the fact that some people in Dubai and the UAE as a whole treat animals very differently to the way we do, it is just a matter of our cultures being fundamentally different on certain levels.  There are quite a few strays in the UAE, these are slowly being ‘dealt with’ by the municipality or the animal charities in the region.  There are also a few pet shops in Dubai, and for the feint hearted, avoid the smaller ones because they will depress you!

Okay, leaving the depressing stories behind, here’s what you need to know about what it’s like living in Dubai with your pets.  It may take a while for your animals to get used to the weather, if at all possible avoid moving your pets to Dubai in the middle of the summer as the shock can be too much for some animals.  Most dogs and cats get used to the weather, you may find they sleep during the day and come alive at night.  You cannot exercise dogs on the beach or in public parks and what’s more, local people in the UAE are often afraid of dogs, so keep them on a short leash at all times when you are out and about and don’t be surprised if you get dirty looks from people!  You just have to get used to it.

If you want to let your dog off the lead to run around, some people take a drive out into the desert and then let them off, the only other alternative is allowing them free rein in your own garden of course.  So, as shown, taking your pets to Dubai is easy…however, giving them the exercise they need (if they are of the canine variety) is not so easy.  Our advice would be, if you’re serious about living in the emirate for a long period of time, take your pets with you – but if you’re only going on a short contract, think about any other alternatives that you may have such as re-homing them temporarily with a family member or friend.