The complete guide to pet ownership

Everything you didn’t but wanted to know about living with a pet in Dubai

Are you considering living and bringing your pet to Dubai or wanting to adopt a four-legged friend here? Wondering about the intricacies of pet ownership in this cosmopolitan city?

Experts from Colife Dubai, an UAE-based rental and property management international proptech company, have gathered everything you need to know about living in Dubai with pets and shared their personal experiences.

How to bring a pet into Dubai

Transporting your pet into Dubai requires compliance with regulations established by the UAE government. The Emirates strive to maintain elevated standards in healthcare and animal welfare. Owners must adhere to certain requirements.

Here is a list of what is mandatory to do for bringing your pet into the UAE:

  1. Import permit

First of all, you need to secure an import permit from the UAE’s Ministry of Climate Change and Environment (MOCCAE) before bringing your pet into the country. The permit application typically requires providing documentation such as your pet’s health records and proof of microchipping.

  • Pet passport and microchipping

For traveling to Dubai, your pet must have an international veterinary passport containing details of their microchip implantation. Microchipping is mandatory for all pets entering the UAE and serves as a form of animal’s identification.

  • Vaccinations

Ensure your pet is current on essential vaccinations, including rabies. Obtain a valid vaccination certificate from your veterinarian, detailing the date and type of vaccinations administered.

  • Health certificate

Obtain a health certificate issued by an accredited veterinarian within ten days of your pet’s travel date. This certificate confirms that your pet is in good health and free from contagious diseases.

  • Species-specific regulations

Different species of animals may have additional requirements or restrictions. Certain exotic pets may be prohibited, while others may require special permits or documentation. For example, the following dog breeds are prohibited from being imported into the UAE: Doberman Pinscher, Rottweiler, American Pit Bull Terrier, and others.

  • Customs clearance

Upon arrival in Dubai, be prepared to go through customs clearance with your pet. Present all necessary documents, including the pet passport, health certificate, import permit, and any other required paperwork.

By following these rules and guidelines, you can safely bring your pet into Dubai and ensure a smooth transition for both you and your furry companion. Remember to stay informed about any updates or changes to the regulations to avoid any last-minute complications.

Take note

Bringing a pet as a tourist or for permanent residency typically does not significantly affect import requirements. The key is to ensure compliance with all necessary documentation.

How to get a pet in Dubai

There are numerous shops and platforms where you can buy or adopt pets in Dubai.

We got a cat in Dubai just 4 months ago. We bought our Bengal cat, Chester, when he was 3 months old from an official pet shop with a passport and all the documents, and most importantly — vaccinated and healthy. In Dubai, there are many Pets Markets, the main thing is to make sure that the seller has all the necessary licenses and documentation before making a purchase.” — shared her story Chief Business Development Officer of Colife Dubai Nina Novikova.

You can also adopt a four-legged friend from a shelter. You just need to contact an animal rescue organization in Dubai and visit their adoption events or shelters to find your new furry family member. The rescuers prioritize finding suitable homes for the animals and will help you choose a dog that fits your lifestyle based on size, exercise needs, and health. Animals from licensed shelters will be microchipped, sterilized, vaccinated, and dewormed before being sent to their new homes.


Not all residential complexes in Dubai allow living with four-legged friends. However, there are many pet-friendly buildings. This information is usually specified in apartment rental and sale listings upfront.

“If you want to rent an apartment with a pet, you should find a pet-friendly building and discuss all conditions with the owner. Sometimes, this affects the size of the deposit. To move in with a pet at Colife Dubai, it is enough to inform your manager about it. Our team will find all available accommodation options for you. The fee for living with the animal is 1,500 AED once,” noted Nina Novikova.

Cost of pet care in Dubai

Dubai has numerous pet stores offering a wide range of food, toys, and medications, as well as veterinary clinics providing a broad spectrum of services: from vaccinations to dental care.

“We haven’t been to the vet yet, but already know that appointments are expensive. For example, a vaccination costs around 500 AED. To reduce expenses on vet visits, you can get medical insurance for your pet. In case of an emergency, the insurance company covers the expenses for the animal’s health. The cost of pet medical insurance in Dubai typically ranges from 500 to 2000 AED per year,” shared the owner of Chester the cat.

Overall, the cost of pet care in Dubai varies significantly depending on the breed, size of the animal, its needs, and the owner’s budget. On average, monthly expenses for food can range from 200 to 500 AED, while toys and entertainment may cost an additional 50-200 AED. The price of grooming services can range from 100 to 500 AED.

“We have a very healthy, clean, and low-shedding Bengal cat, so we hardly spend anything on his upkeep. The main expense is food, about 500 AED. Treats and toys are additional expenses that are difficult to calculate and predict. It all depends on your desire to spoil the animal and its needs. Our Chester, for example, doesn’t touch store-bought toys at all; he’s much more interested in playing with socks,” said Nina Novikova.

The main advice for all cat owners is to buy a scratching post; then you won’t have to spend money on repairing or buying new furniture. For cats, scratching and the desire to climb high are typical behaviors. If you create conditions for pets where they can safely sharpen their claws and jump on surfaces, they will follow the rules of your home because their basic needs will be met.

The same applies to other pets — study their needs and provide your beloved pets with the necessary conditions. For example, ensure that your dog always has slow chewing treats and hard-to-chew toys; or buy special minerals for parrots to sharpen their beaks, and so on.

Special conditions for keeping animals in Dubai

The climate in Dubai is extremely hot, which can pose certain challenges for caring for pets, especially dogs. During the summer months, temperatures can exceed +50°C, making outdoor walks dangerous for animals. To keep your pets safe, walk with them early in the morning and late in the evening when the temperature is lower.

“My cat lives in an air-conditioned apartment, so he is comfortable in any weather. In Dubai, air conditioning is a must in all buildings, so you will be able to create a comfortable temperature for your pet in your home,” emphasized Chief Business Development Officer of Colife Dubai Nina Novikova.

Here are a few more tips to help your four-legged family member comfortably cope with the heat in Dubai:

  • place wet towels in the room or use air humidifiers to maintain the humidity level at an optimal level;
  • make sure your pet always has access to clean and cool water;
  • never leave your pet in a closed car in hot weather, even for a short time;
  • provide your pet with cool bedding or mats for sleeping so they can cool down during rest.

Living with a pet in Dubai presents both opportunities and challenges. From navigating the intricacies of bringing your furry friend into the country to finding suitable accommodation and managing the costs of pet care, there’s a lot to consider.