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Seven Emirates make up the United Arab Emirates. It’s a land rich in history and tradition, as well as sun and sand.

Are the United Arab Emirates Pet-Friendly?

Although the UAE don’t prohibit travel with your pets, they wouldn’t be considered particularly pet-friendly places.

Dubai for example does have some fairly strict pet ownership laws. However, this shouldn’t put you off, as current pet owners in Dubai are now describing a gradual change in attitudes towards dog ownership.

Dog Walking in the UAE

Still, it’s not legal to walk your dog off the lead in many places across the UAE, meaning it may hinder your dog’s natural exercise routine and could be problematic if you have a particularly active breed.

Large dogs also have to be muzzled at all times, which your dog may not take kindly to if they are a well behaved pooch who is used to freedom.

If you’re caught trying to break the rules, then you could face a fine.

Pet-friendly Apartments in the UAE

Dogs and cats can only be kept in homes where the landowner approves pet ownership. There are plenty of apartments where pet ownership is approved, so it’s not impossible to find a place, but it’s necessary to double check before you travel.

Again, if your pet is caught in an apartment unlawfully, you may face a fine.

Things to Check Before Moving Your Pet to the UAE

Rabies Vaccinations

You must have your pet vaccinated against rabies before you travel. The Rabies Certificate will need to be signed off by a vet and provided as part of your travel documents. The vaccination should be administered after their microchip has been inserted, as the rabies batch number and expiry date can be attached to the chip number.

If your pet had a rabies vaccination a while ago, but they should still be immune, you are able to take a titer blood test at the vets. This test can be taken 21 days after the original vaccine, but the results might take up to 6 weeks to be returned, so plan ahead.

Other Vaccinations

Although there are no other legal requirements on vaccinations for pets in the UAE, it’s a good idea to keep on top of their annual vaccinations for their own health.

For dogs

Ensure they have up to date vaccines for Canine Distemper, Hepatitis, Leptospirosis, Parainfluenza, Parvovirus and Bordetella.

For cats

You’ll need vaccines for Feline Viral Rhinotracheitis, Calicivirus, and Panleukopenia.


Parasite treatments are also recommended within 14 days of departure. Your vet can provide this treatment at their final appointment before the flight.

Animal Health Certificate

Before you travel, your pet will need to be signed off as being healthy with a vet. This appointment will need to be held no more than 10 days prior to the flight. At this appointment, your pet will get a full health check and you will be provided with a certificate to state that your pet is fit for travel. This Animal Health Certificate (AHC) is a legal requirement for travel. It won’t be issued if you have your appointment more than 10 days before you travel, so make sure you plan well in advance.

Import Permits

The import permit to enter the UAE will include your full vaccine record, the Rabies Certificate and Animal Health Certificate provided by your vet. You may also need to sign a customs clearance form depending on whether you intend to fly with your pet, or if they are entering as cargo on a separate flight.


It’s a requirement for your pet to have a microchip when traveling to any foreign country. This helps people to find your pet’s medical records, which are registered against their microchip number. But it also helps you to find your pet if they get lost as your details are registered with them.

To travel, you will need to make sure that your chip meets the ISO standard 11784 or 11785 Annex A and that your details are up to date on the microchip record.

Prohibited Breeds List

There are some dog breeds which are considered dangerous in the UAE. If you have one of these breeds, unfortunately, your dog will not be allowed to travel with you. The current list of prohibited breeds is:

  • Pit Bulls
  • Japanese Tosas
  • Wolf-dog Hybrids
  • Rottweilers
  • Staffordshire Bull Terriers
  • Mastiffs
  • Doberman Pinschers
  • Chow Chows
  • Boxers
  • Perro de Presa Canario

Pet Relocation Specialist

To avoid any worry about the ins and outs of documentation, and to assist in setting your pet up for a pleasant journey, our pet relocation specialist service will be able to help you pull all of the right information together and ensure your pet arrives in the UAE safe and sound.