Dogs have always been my passion, I spent my whole child-hood learning about different dog breeds and walking the neighbours dogs. When I was 16 I got my first puppy, and while it was one of the best decisions I have ever made, I do believe that he restricted me in a lot of life decision.
Getting a dog in the United Arab Emirates is a little different to having a dog in most other countries. In Germany dogs are allowed everywhere, they can come to restaurants, malls, parks and use public transportation. In U.A.E. dogs are banned almost everywhere and have to be on leash at all times. In Dubai there is a private dog park called Barkpark, and there are also different dog boarding facilities that offer daycare. In Abu Dhabi there are certain areas where dogs off leash are still tolerated. However this may be changing in the near future.
Many buildings have a no-pet policy, and it seems that more buildings are becoming less pet friendly. Before getting a dog it is important to check the rental agreement and also talk to the landlord. If there is nothing mentioned on the contract it is most likely possibly to keep a dog, however if the dog barks or neighbours complain this policy might get changed. Many people are not used to dogs and may just complain at the sight of a dog. This is why some of the animal organisations require a written confirmation by the landlord in order to confirm that pets are allowed. I am willing to move houses for my animals at any time, however this is connected with a lot of expenses that not everyone is able to afford.
While it is very important that the landlord agrees with getting a pet, every single family member should also be onboard. A dog is a big responsibility and at the beginning the dog may have accidents inside the house or destroy furniture. There is always the possibility of fostering a dog before adopting to make sure that everyone in the family is ready.
Owning a dog is very expensive, the first expenses include the adoption fee (which usually includes vaccinations, microchip & spaying/neutering), bed, collar, leash, toys, food and bowels. Continuous costs include food, grooming, deworming and frontline-treatment. Dogs should get yearly check ups with vaccinations. There might also be unforeseen vet costs due to allergies, injuries or other issues. These additional vet costs quickly add up to thousands of dirhams. Boarding is an additional cost, since most of the U.A.E. expats travel for several weeks a year and the majority of boarding places are fully booked in summers and around Christmas time. With fees starting from 100 dirhams a day, keeping a dog in boarding for a month can quickly get expensive. Relocation costs can be anywhere from 3-15k depending on the country of destination. While most of Europe and America is fairly inexpensive, England, New Zealand, South Africa and Australia are more costly.
Dogs need a lot of attention, it is suggested not to leave dogs alone for more than 6 hour a day. For people working for more than 6 hours it is possible to get a daily dog walker, which means an additional expensive. Dogs also need 1-2 hours of exercise every day depending on breed, age and size. If dogs start to get bored they will most likely start destructive behaviours or develop other issues, so it is important to keep them busy and happy. When the temperatures rising in summer it makes dog walking a little more difficult, meaning that they need to go before sunrise and after sun down in order not to burn their paws or get a heat stroke.
Although there are so many things to consider before getting a dog, they are an absolute pleasure to have around. My dogs keep me active every day, put a smile on my face when I come home to their waggy tails.