What You Need to Know for Expat Pets in UAE

He cozily slept on my baby's lounge chair when we weren't looking. :)

One of the biggest decisions we ever had to make was for our 12 year-old tabby cat, Tiptoe. His left eye is now blind due to old age. Should he come with us or not?

He was only three years old when we adopted him. My husband and I were newly married and I was looking for a cat to take care of.  A friend's friend left Dubai leaving Tiptoe an orphaned cat who was used to living in a luxurious villa. To his surprise, he was then moved and confined to a small apartment on the 6th floor of a building. He no longer had gardens to explore, but he adjusted fairly well. Throughout the years, he became a part of our family and he loved us like we were his parents.

Happily curled up like a ball for a long nap
When we moved to a small ground floor villa, he was ecstatic because he can once again exhibit his adventurous streak. The community gardens are safe to roam so he can come in and out.  He knows his curfew and he comes home at night before bedtime to sleep and enjoys leisurely naps like this one during the day.

In Dubai, each pet is micro-chipped, where the owners' names and contact details are registered. This would ensure that they're accounted for in case he gets lost and to avoid being randomly picked up by the municipality and treated like a stray when he's out and about. If your pet disappears, it would be wise to contact the Municipality immediately at 04-289 1114.

Each pet has a 'passport' where all of his vaccinations are updated and marked annually. This is pre-requisite to his yearly Dubai Municipality Tag registration.  They are given a uniquely engraved plastic tag containing his identification and information. Printed on it is the current year. The color of this plastic tag changes yearly.  

It is mandatory that they have this tag. Unfortunately, his tag is here at home since Tiptoe continues to lose his tag and collar every time.  

What should I do if I bring my pet to Dubai?

If you're bringing in pets to Dubai, ensure that they are registered. Take your pets to the Veterinary Section of Public Health Department of Dubai Municipality.  It's located near Musrif Park at Airport Road.  Make sure you have your pet with you along with his/her vaccination record and your contact information. 

Registration can also be done by selected veterinary clinics throughout Dubai.  Ours is usually done thru Desert Veterinary Clinic in Al Quoz where he goes through his annual check up and vaccinations and they process his Municipality Tag.

Where does Tiptoe stay when we go for vacation?

Since we're leaving soon, I'd like to share with you our cattery of choice where Tiptoe stays whenever we leave for vacation. 

(I didn't want to share this information before because most catteries are fully booked before summer. Their place has been Tiptoe's second home whenever we're out of the country.)

  • Contact:  Dr. Azziz Benbakir (D.V.M. Vet Surgeon)
  • Clinic:  Deira Veterinary Clinic, Al Qusais
  • Website: http://www.dr-azziz.com/contac.html
  • Telephone number: 04-2581881 / Mobile Number:  050-6516440
  • Timings:  9AM -5PM (Fridays half-day /Closed on Saturdays)

They offer reasonable prices per day. Contact them directly for prices once you know the dates of travel and they may give better rates depending on the duration of your pet's stay. I usually book months in advance and pay AED 500 for a security deposit that will be returned once I collect Tiptoe from vacation. Each pet is given individual spaces where they're cared for and fed daily.  

Other pet owners may prefer more luxurious accommodation, more like Cat/Dog Hotels with five star treatment for their pets, there are many places but may be very pricey. 

For us, Deira Veterinary Clinic is a perfect fit and choice for many years.

Regarding Tiptoe's fate, we considered taking him with us. However the prices we have received from numerous Animal Transport Companies for his door-to door travel to Manila, Philippines is averaging at AED 8,000 (USD $ 2,180). This includes his kennel, vaccinations and all paperwork required. However, this doesn't include the transport to Coron and any taxes at customs if any.

For now, we have found adoptive parents, one of our dearest friends who will stay in Dubai for a much longer time, who knows Tiptoe for years too. We will have a trial parenting for a month while we're away, before they make the permanent commitment.  Otherwise, if it doesn't work, we will have him with us. 

I feel really sad leaving him and I think he can sense it too.  He has been extremely affectionate lately.

There you have it, the basics for expat pets in Dubai.
Love & light,

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  1. What a tough decision! I didn't realize moving a cat out of the country was so expensive.


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