Responsible Fur-Parenting

This section provides an overview of some of the key elements of good fur-parenting and considerations before adopting. This is not an exhaustive list so please do your own additional research, and let me know if I should include some key information not yet provided here using the contact us page.

Your obligations and commitments

A pet is a long-term commitment (i.e. for the life of the pet) and some can live up to 14 years (or longer). If you cannot commit to the care, love and welfare of a furbaby of any kind for the duration of its life then do not adopt. There are many other ways you can interact with animals without taking on this huge responsibility – such as fostering or volunteering your time at shelters.  Checkout our Fur-Time page for our volunteering suggestions.


Before taking on this responsibility, also look at the potential costs associated with the life-long care of a pet as caring for a pet can be expensive, from day to day expenses to any future unexpected medical issues that may arise.  Food and shelter is only one part of responsible pet care. Pets will need to be neutered (spayed) as well as immunized on a regular basis to protect them from disease. Caring for an animal in hotter countries also requires consideration of a range of additional aspects.


Pet insurance also does not exist in all countries (such as the UAE) so you need to ensure you are saving sufficient funds for future medical and other expenses along the way.


Other costs and considerations will include initial set up costs (including toys, beds, leads, collars, bowls etc) as well as ongoing grooming and maintenance, training (particularly if your pet has behavioural issues) and of course making the time for regular exercise and play time.


The Resources page has some useful checklists to help you prepare for adopting a new pet (actual cost will depend on many factors, such as the age and health of the pet; access to vets etc).


If you planning on renting your home then you need to research villas and apartments that allow pets, as many don’t.  If your prospective landlord is happy for you to have pets in the new home then make sure you get it written into the contract.

General fur-care, health and well-being

Following is a summary of the key elements required to care for your furbaby.  Some species and breeds may require additional or different care so careful research should be undertaken before adopting.

  • Feeding – all pets require daily feeding and the type and amount of food will depend on the species, breed, age, size and health of your pet. There is a lot of research online about the best types of food for your type of pet.  If you are unsure, first ask the animal organisation you have adopted your pet from, it may be best to keep them on what they have been eating for a while and then transition them to any new food routine.  Your vet may also be a good source of information on what to feed them, particularly if your pet has any particular health concerns.
  • Water – all pets require access to clean drinking water 24/7. Check the water bowl every day (particularly if you are going to work or other activities away from your house).  Also check if the tap water in your area is drinkable (i.e. if you aren’t willing to drink it, are you really willing to give it to your pet?).
  • Exercise – all dogs love their daily walks. Walk time allows them to get some exercise, sniff the posts (aka read their own newspapers to get intel on their neighbours), go to the toilet and get fresh air.  This can also be beneficial to you and your own health!  See the Exercise in the UAE page for more information.
  • Micro-chips and registration – all animals must be microchipped and registered with the municipality.
  • Veterinarian – register your pet/s with your selected vet (consider how far you are willing to drive in an emergency too). Before deciding on your vet, ask about their experience with your type of breed, their opening hours, emergency services and costs.  Refer to the Fur-Directory page in the Resource Centre for a Vet Directory.
  • Health care – pet health care can be expensive and it is difficult to know what costs you may be up for in the long term as this will depend on the health of your pet, any accidents and other incidents.

  • Some of the initial/upfront costs will include:

– Spaying/neutering of your pups (around the 6-month point). This is an important procedure that can benefit your pet, your home life and your community. See the next section for more details about this.

  • Some of the recurring costs will include:

– Worming treatments

– Flea and tick treatments

– Annual vaccinations

  • Pet insurance – this type of insurance does not exist in the UAE but some vets may offer membership arrangements so you can access discounted services.

  • Grooming and maintenance – all pets will need to be groomed on a regular basis.- Generally, dogs and cats can be washed about every 6 weeks (don’t wash too regularly as this will remove the natural oils that help protect an animal’s coat). The type of grooming will depend on the breed of the animal, the type of coat and the region you live in.
  • – Brushing your pet’s teeth – I had to slowly get my dogs used to this. Start by letting them taste a bit of the toothpaste from your finger first, then slowly use the toothbrush. It took some time but they eventually got used to it. They don’t love it but they do tolerate it for a little while. A bit of brushing will save many dirhams down the line. If you need to have your dog’s teeth professionally cleaned it will usually mean going under a general anaesthetic at your vet.
  • Leads, bowls, toys etc – each dog will require a good sturdy collar and lead.
  • Sleeping arrangements – you will need to decide where your furbaby will be sleeping during the day and during the night and what they will be sleeping in and/or on.- You may need 1 or more beds, depending on the size of your house and if you want to create a dedicated space for them to use in various parts of your home (i.e. on their bed instead of on the lounge).- You may decide to crate train your dogs and so will need to buy a crate and learn how to crate train.
  • Training – dogs thrive when they have love, attention, a good routine and training.  You may just want to teach your dog to walk nicely on a leash and the basic commands (sit, stay etc).  Or you may need to correct some bad habits (such as jumping up on people or begging from the table).  Many of these can be taught at home by yourself provided you are patient and consistent.  In some cases (or when you need to ensure obedience such as with larger dogs) you may want to engage the services of an experienced dog trainer.  See the Fur Directory page for a list of trainers in the UAE.

Here are a few tips picked up along the way:

– Make sure your dog is getting plenty of exercise each day.  If you don’t have the time to take them out every day then consider putting them in doggy day care a few days a week.

– Provide lots of chew toys that are accessible all day (rotate them to give variety).

– Provide chew bones from time to time.

– If they are chewing your furniture and belongings, try rubbing a menthol (like Vicks VapoRub) or a few drops of tabasco on the item your pup is chewing, this should put them off doing it again future. Other suggestions include spraying a mix of vinegar (20%) and water (80%) onto the area.

  • For the chewing dog in the family:

– If they are an older dog it could be separation anxiety so, in addition to the above, do a bit of research on this and also consider crate training.

  • For the dogs that like to pee anywhere they want:

– If you are in an apartment, you could look at putting astro turf on your balcony to encourage the dogs to pee and poop in the right place. It can be hosed down and your balcony should have a drain so the water won’t sit there.

  • Pets and children – adopting a new pet can be a very exciting time for everyone in the family, and in particular for the kids. However, if you do have children you will need to allow more time and pay more attention when settling your new pet into the family home. 

Ahmed Sultan Taha is 14 years old and runs Paws and Claws Animal Rescue UAE. Ahmed loves animals and knows a lot about caring for them, he provides the following advice and suggestions to parents who are considering getting a new pet for their family.

  • It is important for kids to understand the pet they are getting, before the pet arrives. Including their needs, their types of behaviours etc.
  • Some parents get a pet for their kids and say it is their responsibility, which isn’t right. The whole family has to care for the pet they are adopting.
  • The parents need to help children to learn how to care for pets, including what they need to do for them and what they can’t do with them.
  • All parents should also educate their children about strays as many kids hurt them, throw stones at them and kick them.
  • Teach kids to feed the cats and dogs, teach them about the importance of Trap-Neuter-Release (TNR) programs.
  • Get kids involved in adoption days and other animal welfare activities.
  • This all helps the kids to grow up understanding more about animal care and being more compassionate and caring towards animals.
  • If they can get involved in some of the above activities BEFORE adopting a pet, then they will be better prepared and informed.

If you would like more tips from Ahmed, please send us a message on our ‘Contact Us Page’.

The importance of de-sexing your pet

Neutering is the surgical removal of the reproductive organs of males and spaying is the surgical removal of the reproductive organs of females. There are important reasons to ensure your pet is de-sexed at the right time (usually around the 6-month mark), including that your pet is likely to live longer, stop spraying or marking its territory, and it can reduce or eliminate cancer risk.

About the procedure:


This is a very common procedure, it usually requires minimal hospitalisation and can be undertaken by your local veterinarian. In my experience, I’ve been able to drop my pet off in the morning and collect them in the afternoon.  Contact your vet for full details and costing of this procedure.

  • For the females, spaying consists of removing the ovaries and uterus.
  • For the males, neutering consists of removing the testicles.

I had Manfred and Ruby de-sexed at the age of 6 months (they are sibling twins).  I expected to collect two sleeping furbags who would be needing to take it very slowly for a few days.  Instead I was surprised when I arrived to collect 2 pups bounding down the corridor of the vet to greet me.  I did of course need to keep their Elizabethan collars on for about 10 days and watch that they didn’t overdo it with play and activity.  They had a follow up appointment with their vet at the 10-day mark and were all fine to carry on as usual.

Health benefits for your pet:

  • Spaying female pets:

– helps prevent uterine infections and breast cancer.


– your pet won’t go into heat and advertise for mates by crying and urinating.


– You won’t return home one day to find you are expecting a litter of puppies or kittens. There are already so many unwanted pets in the UAE!

  • Neutering male pets:

– helps prevent testicular cancer.


– it is less likely that he will try to escape to go roaming to find a mate.

Benefits for your family:

  • neutered dogs are generally better behaved and friendlier.
  • there will be less fights and accidents in the home.
  • pets won’t mark their territory by spraying strong smelling urine all over your house.
  • the cost is much less than having to pay for additional food and vet bills for a litter of pups or kittens!

Health benefits for your community:

A huge benefit for the UAE community is that it helps to manage the overpopulation problem here.  There are many thousands of stray cats and dogs on our streets and simply not enough homes for them so neutering your furbaby can prevent the death of unwanted babies.  Trap-Neuter-Release (TNR) programs are also absolutely essential for reducing the number of strays being born to the cruel & harsh streets of the UAE (see Pet Abandonment and Community Action page).

Fur-care over the UAE summer

The summer in Dubai can be very hot, dry and humid.  Expect temperatures to reach 45°C (113°F) consistently for many days. Even the sea temperature reaches 37 °C (99 °F), with humidity averaging over 90%.  So, as you can imagine, this type of weather is not good for certain breeds so this must be another consideration if adopting animals in the UAE (see Becoming a Fur-Parent and Fur-Adoption in the UAE section for more).  Review the weather trends to better understand what to expect before travelling here with your furbaby.


For about 3 months the weather in the UAE is consistently hot and you must take precautions with your pets throughout this period.  Heat stroke is a serious condition for animals and unfortunately, I have first-hand experience of this with my little Ruby.  We popped out to do the grocery shopping one Saturday afternoon (temperature around 37 °C (99 °F)) and didn’t realise she was still outside.  Thankfully we were only gone for about 1.5 hours but that was still long enough for her to start suffering so we had to rush her to the vet for care.  Please note that every dog will react to heat differently.


Pets should be left inside in the air-conditioning.  They do not sweat to cool down like humans do so the extreme heat can become quite dangerous for pets if extra care is not taken.  Flat-faced, or brachycephalic, dogs are at greater risk of heat stroke, so extra care must be taken for dogs such as English and French bulldogs, pugs and Boston terriers.

  • Exercise – do not walk your pet in the summer day heat! It is best to get up early and walk them before the sun is blazing down on the ground, and then to walk them in the evening after sun down (beware – the ground may still be hot).  A good test is for you to walk barefoot on the ground first, if it is too hot for you then it is too hot for your furbag!
  • Water – it is critical for pets to have access to cool drinking water 24/7. Consider putting a bowl of water both inside and outside just to be sure.
  • Head count check – if you are going out for the day (or even an hour!), do a head count check to ensure your furbabies are all inside and accounted for. This quick check may save many tears and Dirham down the line!
  • Cooling pads – if your pet has warmed up a bit too much then you can use a cooling pad to help cool them down a bit. Do not just do this if you suspect heat stroke (see next comment).
  • Heat stroke – if you have left your pet outside and are concerned then either take them straight to the vet or contact your vet for advice immediately. Signs of heat stroke include rapid panting, a bright red tongue, red or pale gums, and thick, sticky saliva. The dog may show depression, weakness and dizziness, vomiting – sometimes with blood, diarrhoea, shock, and coma.

Tips for keeping your pet safe in the summer heat

  1. Pets should be left inside in the air-conditioning.
  2. Don’t rely on a fan – pets do not sweat like us, so fans can have little effect.
  3. Do a head count every time you leave the house to ensure they are all inside, even if is only for a quick trip down the road.
  4. Provide ample shade and water when outside – but please only leave your furbaby outside for short periods of time if you must!
  5. Close door flaps to the garden, which can jam due to the heat and leave your pet trapped outside.
  6. Limit exercise times, preferably to evenings and mornings when the sun is down.
  7. Don’t let your pet walk on any surface you cannot put your own foot on for more than a few seconds. Take your shoes off and feel the ground under your feet, if it’s too hot for you then it is too hot for your furbaby.
  8. Never leave pets in a parked car for any amount of time in the heat, they will suffer from heatstroke and may die.
  9. Prepare for power outages by having a backup house to take your pet to in emergencies.
  10. Consider effective cooling gear, such as cool mats and jackets.

Vet Films Himself In Hot Car To Show What It’s Like For A Dog

This vet sat in a hot car for 30 minutes to show what it’s like for a dog — and discovered it was “unbearable.” (via Dodo Impact)

Posted by The Dodo on Saturday, July 29, 2017

Kennels / Pet hotels

There are a number of kennels in the UAE and you should be able to find one to suit your budget.  Just remember that the summer period is the busiest time of the year for the kennels and you need to book well in advance to ensure your position is secured.  Do research and visit the facility before going ahead with your booking.  There are many social media sites that provide reviews on facilities so check this out as well. Refer to the Fur Directory for a list of kennels and pet hotels you can consider.

Exercise parks and eating out in the UAE

Owners are not permitted to walk their pets off lead out in the public so it is important to have a collar and lead on your pet at all times when leaving the house.  Thankfully there are a number of spaces you can take your dog for exercise and socialising (for the dog and their human).  There are also a few options available if you would like to take your dog off lead in private open spaces.


Whilst Dubai isn’t as dog friendly as many other countries, there are also some cafes and restaurants that do allow you to bring your furry friend along.


Refer to the Fur Directory for a list of options you can consider.

Pet rules and regulations in the UAE

The UAE has many rules and regulations when it comes to pet ownership so you need to familiarise yourself with these before bringing your pet here and throughout your stay, as the rules can change.


According to the UAE MCCE as of June 2017 you are required to obtain a license and vaccinations for your pets and keep them on a leash at all times (and face a fine of up to Dh100,000 if you get caught with a pet off leash!).  If your dog is on the banned list (in Dubai) you are also required to muzzle it as a precautionary measure.

Some other rules and fines include:

  • Residents possessing dangerous animals for trading purposes will face a fine of AED 50,000 to 500,000 along with jail time.
  • People using animals to terrorise others will face a fine of AED 700,000 to AED 1,000,000 and/or jail time.
  • 3 to 7 years jail time to the owner of a dangerous animal that leaves a person permanently disabled.
  • If the attack leads to death, the owner will face life imprisonment.

Refer to our Resource Centre for other sources linked to this topic.

Lost pets and what to do

If you find a lost pet in the UAE, here’s what you can do:

  • Take it to a vet for a microchip scan.
  • If it is microchipped then the owner’s contact details should be on file.
  • Post a photo of the pet with some details on the following Facebook pages:

– Lost and found pets in the UAE

– Dogs in Dubai

– The Bin Kitty Collective

– Dubizzle found pet section

– Other community pages

  • If someone claims to be the owner please always ask for proof of ownership like pictures, vaccination booklet and microchip number because unfortunately not everyone has the right intentions.
  • If no owner is found consider contacting an organization to help with the rehoming. They can make the animal “adoption ready” through vaccination/microchipping/spaying and will do a proper selection procedure to find the right home.

If you lose your own pet in the UAE, here’s what you can do:

  • Contact your local vets to see if someone has taken it there.
  • Post a photo of your pet with some details on the following Facebook pages:

– Lost and found pets in the UAE

– Dubizzle found pet section

– Dogs in Dubai

– The Bin Kitty Collective

– Other community pages

  • Contact the Dubai Municipality and shelters to see if your animal has been taken there.
  • Don’t give up hope! There is a whole community here that will help you find your lost furbaby.