Are you hoping to buy a dog? That’s great news, but if you’re planning to bring your pup to the Middle East, you might want to read our tips on what to consider when buying a dog in Abu Dhabi.
Important Import Regulations
Abu Dhabi is the capital of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), and one the largest, most populated cities in the region. The rules on importing animals are very strict in the UAE, so if you plan to bring a dog or puppy into the country, be sure to check the local regulations with your embassy and the local government. If you familiarise yourself with the rules you can avoid problems later.
There is a lot of bureaucracy and red tape to deal with. Fortunately, you can seek help from various companies that can assist you in importing your pet to Abu Dhabi. These companies understand the rules, regulations and procedures involves in importing animals.
In the United Arab Emirates (UAE) all domestic dogs (including service dogs and emotional support animals) must be micro-chipped. The microchip should be an ISO 11784 pet microchip, 15 digit and non-encrypted. If your dog has a microchip that is not ISO 11784 compliant, then you can bring your own microchip scanner.
You will also need to get an import permit. You can get an Import Paper from the Ministry of Climate Change and the Environment. You can apply for this Import Paper either in person or online. You’ll need to get the Paper in advance of your dog’s arrival. The permit is valid for 30 days from the date of issue, and is applicable for two pets (if you have more than two pets then you will need multiple permits). If you are just returning to the UAE with your dog, then you will just need a Re-Entry card.
Your dog will also need up to date vaccines and a vaccine card or certificate. The card or certificate should show clear information about the vaccines, such as the manufacturer, batch number, and date of expiration. A rabies vaccine is absolutely essential. Your dog will need to be vaccinated again rabies at least 21 days and not more than 12 months before arrival.
If your puppy is travelling from a rabies-controlled country, they must be at least 15 weeks old to enter the UAE. If your puppy comes from a high-rabies country, then they will not be allowed to enter until they are 27 weeks old.
Other essential vaccines are distemper, canine hepatitis, leptospirosis, and parvovirus.
If your dog is not from a country that the UAE considers rabies free or rabies controlled, then you’ll also need a rabies titre test. The test should be performed more than 21 days after your dog’s rabies vaccination if your dog has never been vaccinated against the disease, or if the vaccine has expired. The test will need to be performed between 12 and 21 weeks from the time your pet enters the UAE.
Your dog will also need a Health Certificate issued by the exporting country. If you are not travelling from the USA, then your dog will also need to be examined 24 hours before export, and declared clinically healthy with no external parasites. You should ensure that your dog is parasites free (both internal and external) within 14 days of transport.
Arriving by Air
Your dog will need to travel by air to the UAE, ideally by the most direct route possible. If there are layovers, you will need to provide a form to show that your dog was not exposed to other animals during this time. Your dog will also need a transit permit to travel by land once it arrives. There is an inspection process that can take several hours, but you can facilitate the process by hiring a transport agent in the UAE.
Certain dog breeds, such as the Dogo Argentino and the Pitbull Terrier (to name a few) are banned in the UAE (including certain crossbred dogs). Other breeds, such as the Husky, are allowed providing that you have a permit and register the dog. Be aware that you will have to keep such a dog muzzled and leashed in public, and you may not be allowed to keep the dog in an apartment.
You should definitely familiarise yourself with any local regulations concerns dogs and dog keeping. The local laws are quite strict, and failure to comply can lead to harsh fines or even jail time. Be aware that as of July 2017 all dog owners must have a license for their dogs: you can apply for one by taking all of your dog’s paperwork (such as vaccination records) to your vet clinic in Abu Dhabi.
You will not be allowed to take your dog to public parks and beaches, and you’ll need to keep your dog on a leash in other public areas. Fortunately, there are designated areas where you are allowed to walk your dog. Just make sure that you are respectful of your surroundings and the people around you.
Housing can trick because many rental properties do not allow pets. Be sure to consult with the landlord or property manager before you commit to renting a property. Apartments and houses in Dubai might be smaller than what your dog is used to, and the scorching summer heat means your dog will have to spend a lot of time inside. Unless you find ways to entertain your dog, he or she will probably get bored and frustrated, though long walks in the early morning and evening will help divert your dog’s energy.
Once your dog has arrived in Abu Dhabi and you have all settled in to your new home, you will want to find various doggy services: everything from trainers and groomers to vets and dog-sitters. You can ask other expats for their opinions and experiences, but we will mention a few of the most popular services in Abu Dhabi.
If you are looking for a dog trainer, many veterinary clinics (like Abu Dhabi Falcon Hospital and the British Veterinary Centre) either provide training services or can recommend a trainer.
A popular dog grooming service is Pooch Parlour in Khalifa City A. The service is UK certified and cage-free, and offers a wide range of services: everything from brushing to bathing. Be sure to turn up or, if you cannot, cancel, as no-shows are banned! The Pet Parlor and Miss Meow Mobile Grooming are other popular groomers, and also offer a mobile grooming service.
There are many veterinary clinics in Abu Dhabi, including the American Veterinary Clinic, the National Veterinary Clinic, and the British Veterinary Centre. These are just the tip of the iceberg, and you will probably be able to find a clinic close to your home. The American Veterinary Clinic also offers grooming services and has a boarding kennel; they may also be able to help you with pet relocation and dog training. Most clinics are also available for emergencies and provide an emergency phone number on their websites.