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All about moving to Dubai with a dog or cat

Все о переезде в Дубай с собакой или кошкой

In Islam, dogs are considered an unclean animal, so in Muslim countries it is not customary to keep them in homes. However, so many foreigners who have arrived from different countries of the world live and work in the principality, as well as tourists who do not want to part with their pets even for a few weeks, that the secular authorities had to consider the possibility of importing, accommodating and creating conditions for comfortable living of people and dogs. The attitude towards cats and other small animals is more tolerant. How to organize a move to Dubai with a dog, what documents will be needed and, most importantly, how to ensure a comfortable life for a four-legged person. About this in our article.

What you need to import an animal to the UAE

It is much more troublesome to prepare a pet for moving to the Emirates than to issue your own documents, since you will have to comply with a huge list of conditions and collect a lot of papers. According to the rules of the receiving party, the imported cat or dog must:

  1. Be older than 4 months. This condition is associated with the need for rabies vaccination (Rabies). Such a vaccination can be given to babies at least three months old, and then it is still required to wait 30 days for the production of antibodies.
  2. Have a chip. Usually, chipping is resorted to in order to facilitate the search in case of loss of a four-legged friend. But in the case of relocation, the chip acts as an electronic passport registered in the international registry, with full information about the animal’s health, vaccinations, as well as information about the owner.
  3. Have a standard set of veterinary documents: a passport with vaccination marks, a veterinary certificate of the established form. It should be clear from the passport that the cat or dog has been vaccinated against rabies, common viral diseases, and treated for internal and external parasites. Based on this information, the state veterinary clinic issues a conclusion on the full compliance of the health of a four–legged vet with the norms – veterinary certificate No. 1, which is issued no later than 5 days before departure.
  4. Analysis for the presence of rabies antibodies in the blood. It is given up a month after vaccination, when the antibodies have already been developed. The fulfillment of this point is the most difficult for Russians, since such an analysis can only be done in three laboratories in Russia:
    • Federal Center for Animal Health in Vladimir;
    • Moscow Center for Molecular Diagnostics of FGBI “VGNKI”;
    • Moscow Research Institute for the Diagnosis and Prevention of Human and Animal Diseases.

The cost of the analysis performed within 3 days will be 10,500 rubles, within 2 weeks – 5,000 rubles.

  1. Import Permit for Pets (IPP) — Cats / Dogs) from the UAE Ministry of Natural Resources.
Dog at the airport

Procedure for obtaining Import Permit for Pets

  1. Go to the official MOEW website, follow the links “Our services”, then – “Catalog of services”, “Permits”, “Pet import permits”.
  2. Fill out the application form.
  3. Get permission. Registration will take 3-5 days. The validity period of the permit is 30 days.

In accordance with the legislation, representatives of fauna are imported as declared cargo.

Documents for obtaining IPP

  1. A copy of the owner’s passport.
  2. A resident visa or a photocopy of the UAE identity card.
  3. Photocopies of the animal’s passport, a veterinary passport with vaccinations, as well as a blood test for antibodies.

What does the concept of “animal healthy” mean according to the laws of the UAE

Dog with staff

Only an animal that fully meets the local requirements for its state of health, as well as if all documents are available, will be allowed to cross the border:

  1. Chipping is carried out before a series of vaccinations. Only the ISO microchip is valid (AVID is not suitable).
  2. The passport of the animal indicates the date of birth and the number of the microchip, in the vaccination passport – all vaccinations, their schemes, names of vaccines, their manufacturers, dates of administration. In addition, tags from all the drugs that were vaccinated are pasted into it.
  3. All the information contained in the passports is confirmed by a separate Certificate No. 1, which is issued by an accredited veterinary clinic.
  4. The animal must have a certificate stating that during the previous two days it was examined by a veterinarian who did not reveal signs of illness and who has the right to issue such conclusions.
  5. A certificate that a four-legged traveler was treated for fleas, ticks, helminths no later than 10 days before departure. The indication of the names of drugs and doses is mandatory.

What diseases are required to vaccinate animals in the UAE

Rabies vaccination Rules

Timely vaccination is the only reliable way to protect your pet and your family from a deadly disease. The kitten or puppy receives the first vaccination at the age of three months. After 28 days, it is considered fully protected: during this time, the maximum level of antibodies is produced in the body. However, this vaccination is not for life: it must be repeated every year at the same time. If the interval between vaccinations is more than a year, then first you need to pass an analysis confirming the absence of the virus in the body.

According to the rules, 2 weeks before vaccination, the pet needs to be treated against fleas and helminths: the latter weaken the immune system and at the same time strengthen the reaction to the drug. Vaccination should be carried out only in a state clinic, since only its conclusion is valid when international documents are issued.

Local classification of countries by Rabies disease risk indicator

Dog at the vet

According to the decision No. 348 2008 of the Ministry of Natural Resources of the UAE, all states of the world are divided into two categories of danger. The first group includes States with a low level of danger. It includes most of the countries of Europe, Australia, the island states of Oceania, the USA, Japan, Saudi Arabia. Russia, like other CIS countries, is not on this list. The second group includes States with an increased level of danger.

For four-legged travelers arriving from the localities of the first list, a certificate of a negative reaction to rabies is not needed, but for those whose homeland is included in the second list, it is mandatory. The test should be done no later than 3 months before departure to the Emirates in an accredited laboratory. The antibody level should be above 0.5 IU/ml.

If you are going to enter through the capital’s airport, then the original certificate will be taken away from you at the border, so order two originals from the veterinarian at once.

Other requirements for dog owners

In addition to Rabies vaccinations, dogs should have others, from:

  • distemper virus;
  • parvovirus;
  • infectious hepatitis;
  • leptospirosis.

Also, 30 days before entering the principality, the pet must be checked for absence:

  • leishmaniasis;
  • ehrlichiosis.

If a passenger with a pet arrives from a country where there is no leishmaniasis (i.e. no precedent has been registered), then the test can not be passed. But you need a certificate that there is no such disease in the country of departure.

Vaccination is recognized only if it is carried out with certified and approved by local authorities drugs in compliance with the scheme of the procedure.

Testing for ehrlichiosis is carried out by indirect reaction of fluorescent antibodies. A negative result should be manifested by forty-fold dilution of the solution. After the test, treatment from external parasites is carried out.

Checking for leishmaniasis is carried out by one of three methods:

  • indirect reaction of fluorescent antibodies;
  • enzyme immunoassay;
  • direct agglutinative test.

Only a negative result is acceptable.

Other requirements for cat owners

Cat at the vet

Fluffy pets are vaccinated from:

  • rabies;
  • viral panleukopenia;
  • rnotracheitis;
  • calicivirus.

Measures to combat helminths and external parasites

Both cats and dogs must be treated for helminths, fleas, ticks no later than 10 days before departure. Only certified drugs are recognized. Fipronil or Permethrin (Frontline) should be used against helminths, and deworming should be carried out using Praziquantel.

What are the restrictions on the import and transportation of animals

Breed restrictions

It is forbidden to import into the Principality:

  • pit bulls;
  • fighting breeds (Argentine, Brazilian, Japanese mastiffs);
  • argentine great danes;
  • american staffordshire terriers;
  • breeds bred by crossing with a wolf.

Air carrier restrictions

Each airline has its own rules related to the transportation of fauna representatives. Most of them do not allow large animals into salons. You can take cats weighing up to 8 kg, rabbits, falcons and anyone whose cages or carriers fit under the seat. However, in some companies, any birds and quadrupeds are prohibited from being placed in the cabin, with the exception of guide dogs. On their flights, cages with animals are transported in a special cargo compartment, where favorable climatic conditions are created.

For example, one of the most popular carriers in the UAE, Emirates Airlines, allows only guide dogs accompanying blind passengers into the cabin. For the rest of the four-legged passengers, it offers comfortable accommodation conditions, as well as the care of special staff. This makes the flight of cats and dogs pleasant, safe and reduces stress levels.

Etihad Airways has allowed passengers to carry small animals in the cabin over the age of 16 weeks and weighing no more than 8 kg.

Arrival in the UAE with a pet

Dog on test

At the airport, you must present a copy of the import permit from MOEW, as well as the originals:

  • vaccination passport;
  • health report;
  • negative rabies test (for states from the second list).

The import of quadrupeds provides for the payment of fees for:

  • border crossing permit – 500 AED;
  • inspection of one cat – 500 AED;
  • inspection of one dog – 1000 AED.

Payment is made with Visa, MasterCard cards, as well as through the E-Dirham payment system.

Strict sanctions are provided for violation of import regulations, from a fine of 500 AED to confiscation of the animal. Instead of confiscating the pet, you can send it home, but at the expense of the owner.

What else should I pay attention to?

  1. Vaccinations should not be overdue.
  2. Babies under the age of 4 months are not allowed in the country. The date of birth must be registered in the passport.
  3. A vet passport with all vaccinations and a certified signature of a doctor on the “Clinical trials” page is not enough. It must be accompanied by a Health Certificate printed on A4 sheet.
  4. All documentation must be in the original.
  5. Each person has the right to import no more than two individuals on a general basis. In some cases, when the MOEW profile service is engaged in transportation,  up to 5 individuals can be imported.
  6. Documents are accepted only in English.

Life with four-legged friends in the Emirates

The local religion does not welcome the maintenance of dogs, therefore, in most residential complexes, accommodation with them is prohibited, there are also strict restrictions on appearing with them in public locations. For those who cannot live without their shaggy friends, special recreation areas have been created where animals can freely frolic with their own kind, and their owners can make acquaintances with other “dog lovers”. The most tolerant area of Dubai for four-legged pets is Jumeirah. There are many veterinary clinics, pet stores, walking areas, and most restaurants have outdoor terraces where you can relax with your pet.

How to rent a house with a pet

Dog in apartment

Everything is simple here: in some residential complexes, rent is possible, in others it is not. This point should be clarified in advance. If you decide to rent a villa with a separate yard, then the presence of a beast will not be a problem.

Additional requirements for the maintenance of four-legged pets in Dubai

Registration at the Veterinary Services Department of Dubai Municipality

All representatives of the fauna are subject to registration in the City Department of Veterinary Services. This is the requirement of the emirate authorities. To do this, a four-legged pet must be delivered to the Municipality’s Clinic, where a veterinarian will examine it, register it and issue a tag with information that needs to be attached to the collar. This information should be updated every year after the next vaccination.

Unlike many other rules, decrees and laws, this requirement is almost not controlled by the authorities, so most owners of furry pets do not comply with it.

Dog breeds with some restrictions

For a number of breeds in Dubai, there are restrictions on keeping in residential premises, as well as appearing in public locations. Such dogs can live only in country houses or on farms, and in public places appear exclusively in muzzled baskets. These include:

  • American Pit Bull Terrier, terrier, Staffordshire Terrier;
  • Mastiff Argentine, Neapolitan, Major;
  • Husky;
  • Rottweiler;
  • Sharpey;
  • Doberman;
  • Bull Terrier;
  • Tosa.

Is it possible to appear with a dog in public places


When appearing in a crowded place, the dog must always be on a leash, and the above breeds are also muzzled. It is forbidden to go to any beach with it, as the signs warn, as well as to cafes, restaurants, hotels, shops, parks. At the same time, special walking and entertainment locations are organized for four-legged pets, where they can enjoy freedom and communication with each other.

Park areas for dogs

Even small dogs should be able to run freely in nature without collars, muzzles and constant tugging of the owner. This is especially important for those who live in apartments, since physical activity is one of the fundamental factors of maintaining health. Special zones for free walking of dogs are organized in all emirates. The requirement is the same – the owners undertake the cleaning of feces using special biodegradable bags that are sold at the entrance.

Abu Dhabi has the most such zones, some of them are located on the mainland, but most of them are on islands.

Mushrif Park is a spacious fenced area near the palace of the same name. Inside the perimeter, dogs can run and frolic without leashes. There is another playground behind the fence – a flat green lawn, where people often come to barbecue with pets, who can also run without leashes, but on condition that they obey the owners well, and the latter carefully observe the hygienic rules of walking. If a dog shows aggression towards another, especially a person, he should not be let off the leash. According to local laws, the owner pays for everything that happens due to the dog’s fault.

In the early morning hours there is practically no one here, and lovers of silence and nature can enjoy a free walk, a game, just a beautiful morning with their pet. Most of the people in the park gather after 17 o’clock in the afternoon.

The bridge to “Al-Batin”, which the locals call “The Road to nowhere”. It connects the land and the sandy island. Cars used to drive on it, but now the bridge has been blocked and it, along with the island, has turned into a walking area where people and their pets enjoy walking.

For barbos who like to splash in the sea water, there are also specially designated locations. These are the beaches of Meena, opposite Adnec and on Al Reem. The places are quite deserted, far from the city, where there are no restrictions for walking, swimming entertainment.

Mushrif Park

There are also several special beaches off the island for people and their pets to relax. These are beaches:

  • Yas Kite – almost deserted on weekdays, but filled with hundreds of “dog walkers” with their pets on weekends;
  • Al Wathba – the coast with sand dunes, where people come for a few days for a “wild” holiday and set up campsites;
  • Al Reef Villas is a wonderful deserted place favored by dog owners, where they gather every day.

Other locations for dogs to communicate

  1. “Cloud 9 Pet Hotel” is a hotel with all amenities for four–legged guests and their owners. There is a veterinary clinic and a pet store on the territory, there are two indoor and one outdoor park for walking with a total area of 6,000 square feet. Here dogs can run and frolic without restrictions. At the same time, the areas are divided by partitions to separate large and small individuals for safe walking. A separate playroom is organized for cats. The list of hotel services includes a dog trainer, groomer and chauffeur.
  2. Falcon Hospital in Abu Dhabi works with falcons, but also offers other services, for example, agility courses for pets, where they will learn agility in a playful way, become more agile, get to know their fellow tribesmen. The courses are conducted on Saturdays by a professional trainer.
  3. “Baja Sanctuary” is a farm where 70 cats, several dogs, ponies, horses and three porcupines live permanently. From time to time, the farm organizes an open day, you can only get to such an event by appointment. On this day, both people and their furry pets will be able to run around in nature, participate in training events. Trainers will give advice on the upbringing, training, and maintenance of animals.
  4. PPoch is a real dog school, where they are trained in groups and individually, walk, teach owners proper handling and care. There is a club at the school, and he has a Facebook page where you can find out about all services and events.

Vet clinics

There are many of them in every emirate and the quality of service is high everywhere. What should I pay attention to when choosing?

  1. For proximity to home, so that in an emergency you don’t have to spend a lot of time on the road.
  2. For business hours. They are all different, so choose the one in which the working day of the veterinarian coincides with your free time.
  3. For other amenities that can be determined during a personal visit. Go to the clinic, see how convenient the parking is, whether the room is clean, whether the staff is attentive.

How pets survive the heat and how to help them

Towel-covered dog

The Emirates are located in a tropical climate, so daytime temperatures can reach significant levels. For dogs with thick fur and flattened muzzles, this is a problem, because they easily overheat and can get heat stroke. Its symptoms:

  • rapid breathing and palpitation;
  • increased salivation;
  • vomiting;
  • staggering gait;
  • bulging eyes;
  • loss of consciousness (in a critical case).

To prevent overheating, it is recommended to take walks in the morning and evening hours and always have water with you.

If the animal is still overheated, then he should be given immediate help:

  • cover with a towel soaked in cold, and preferably ice water;
  • wipe the places with less thick wool with a wet cloth;
  • put the animal in the bathroom with cool water (but not ice water, so as not to provoke shock.)

Any of these measures will quickly bring the shaggy patient to his senses. But you should not neglect a visit to the veterinarian: only he can determine the degree of overheating and give recommendations.

External parasites and the fight against them

The most common external parasites are fleas and ticks. There is a problem with the latter in the Emirates: there are a lot of them and it is not difficult to pick up an insect in the grass. It is recommended to always have antiparasitic sprays or ointments with you, as well as carefully inspect the wool after walking. All medications can be found at the veterinarian.

Feed for quadrupeds

Premium class feed is sold only in pet stores, veterinary clinics or nurseries. These include the Royal Canin brand. Middle-class food brands “Pettigrew” and “Purina” are sold in supermarkets.

How to get a pet out of the country

Dog in queue

This procedure is also associated with the collection of certificates, certificates, as well as the fulfillment of conditions for the preparation of the animal for transportation.

Final check up and customs clearance

The final check is the weighing of an individual in order to make sure that the house for transportation corresponds to the size of the animal, and the size of the house corresponds to the rules of the carrier. Then the animal will go through customs clearance and it will be loaded into the plane. Customs clearance takes about an hour, but it is better to arrive at the cargo terminal 6 hours before loading.

What documents are needed

  1. The original of the vaccination passport with a full set of vaccinations and information about them. Vaccinations made no later than a month before departure and no earlier than a year before that are considered valid.
  2. A copy of the owner’s passport.
  3. Health certificate from the Ministry of Natural Resources.

How to ensure your pet’s safety and comfort during the flight

  1. Begin to accustom the animal to the house in which it will fly, 3-5 days before the flight. During this time, he will adapt to the new small room and stop perceiving it as someone else’s.
  2. Feed the animal no later than 12 hours before the flight, otherwise it may start vomiting. Animals also suffer from motion sickness, and in the case of traveling by air in a separate compartment from the owner, the malaise can increase with stress. But you can get him drunk 4 hours before the flight, but not later.
  3. Make sure that the pet went to the toilet before the flight. But even in this case, put an absorbent litter on the bottom of the carrier.
  4. Do not put any toys in the cage, including chewable ones.
  5. Do not feed the animal sedatives. During the flight, it may lose coordination and get hurt.
  6. Fasten the leash on the lid. Make sure that it is securely fastened, but does not constrain breathing and does not cause discomfort to the furry passenger.

Both moving to Dubai with a dog and leaving the emirate is a lot of paperwork and stress for the dog (cat and any other representative of the fauna). Therefore, it is worth deciding on transportation only in the most extreme case, when there is simply no other way out.

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Vladimir Sviridov
Vladimir Sviridov
General Manager RLC Consulting
With a Postgraduate Masters in Finance from The, Moscow State University, Russia. Vladimir started his professional career as an auditor of the financial sector of EY. After that, he worked for several years in senior positions in corporate banking. In 2018-2021, he managed the finances of a large agricultural holding, and is currently responsible for strategic planning, corporate partnership and financial management in the role of General Manager of RLC Consulting GROUP in the UAE.

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