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Adopting and owning pets in Dubai: How to create a pet paradise for your cat or dog

Whether you have a pet that moved with you to the UAE, have since fostered one or are thinking of adopting a dog or cat, here’s the advice and inspiration you need to create the purr-fect pet paradise for your four (or three!) legged friend

puppy chewing on a teddy bear
Adopting a puppy in the UAE? Here’s what you need to know to set up a happy home for the latest addition to the family

If you don’t happen to live in a spacious villa, high-rise living needn’t get in the way of owning a pet in Dubai – be it a fluffy kitten in need of some love or an abandoned dog desperate for a second chance – to your family.

British Veterinary Hospital founder and director of veterinary services, Sara Elliott, advises: “As well as taking size into consideration when living with pets in an apartment, consider an animal’s energy level, noisiness and even friendliness,”

“Large dogs with mellow personalities may do better living in an apartment compared to small, high-energy dogs, such as toy poodles and terriers that bark a lot. Just ensure lively breeds, such as Labradors and Alsatians get plenty of daily exercise, including outside playtime, and hire a professional dog walker if you don’t have time to exercise your pet every day.”

tabby kittens playing with toy mouse on bed with floral bedsheets
Keep indoor kittens busy with plenty of toys

Cats, on the other hand, are curious by nature and love to explore. They enjoy climbing high and looking down on their surroundings, “One tried and tested tactic is to ensure cats have access to multi-level cat towers and kitty condos with scratching posts,” Dr Sara recommends. 

Keep cats and dogs entertained by day

When owning a pet in the UAE, it’s useful to remember that cats and dogs can get depressed and lonely if they don’t get enough playtime and exercise. If your pets seem restless or bored, it may mean they need more entertainment or one-on-one time with you.

“Give pets plenty of fun, interactive toys to play with, especially if you are out all day,” says Sara. “Place toys in different rooms and locations throughout the apartment. This gives pets a good reason to explore and exercise as they search for their favourite toys in another room. Switch their toys every few months so pets don’t get bored playing with the same toys.”

man wearing glasses drinking coffee with cat on lap on sofa
With the right set up, adding a cat into your home can bring joy to you both

Ensure your pets are official, from vaccines to microchips

According to Dubai Municipality, every pet in Dubai must be vaccinated and micro-chipped before registering with the municipality and getting their unique identification. Whether you’re adopting a dog or fostering an indoor cat, it still needs a form of identification. Should your pet become lost and taken to a shelter or veterinarian, routine scanning will reveal the microchip and a phone call to the microchip company will reveal the information in the database for that chip, to help locate its rightful owners. 

Design pet-friendly home interiors

When it comes to home interiors, creating a harmonious living space for you and your pet, choose durable materials that will withstand the test of claws. Beware of exposed wood on your furniture, which could become your puppy’s favourite teething toy, while wicker, rattan and sisal could also become your cat’s new scratching post. Choose metal and chrome for good pet-resistant materials. 

people having a picnic with a dog in a park
Take your pet on animal-friendly days out and let them explore the outdoors for longer

When it comes to fabrics for reupholstering, avoid those that are a magnet for fur, including velvet, mohair or chenille and highly- textured walls that will attract pet fur. Steer clear of delicate materials, such as silk, too to avoid damage by your boisterous friend. Instead, opt for smooth tapestries, leather and synthetic fibres for upholstery and satin or semi-gloss paint for walls. 

Floor finishes within the UAE are ceramic or marble at the time of construction, and for good reason. Durable and low maintenance, these finishes have the additional benefit of keeping your pets cooler when the A/C is switched off. 

Pets love to peer out of the window to watch the world go by and see when their owners are coming home so it’s also worth carefully substituting heavy curtains with lightweight, sheers to allow them to enjoy their view.

With a little consideration for incidents that can happen around bushy tails and clumsy claws, you can avoid mishaps and enjoy a happy, harmonious home.

Puppy french bulldog snuggled under grey blanket
Smaller dogs might be better adjusted in high rise Dubai apartments without access to a garden

Find local places to let dogs run free

Dr Sara’s has a whole list of pet-friendly communities in Dubai: “Burj Park, located next to the Burj Khalifa, is dog-friendly and open 24/7. Near Zero Gravity, in Dubai Marina, there is a substantial strip of grass where dogs are allowed to run around off their leashes, and you’ll find a lot of them running amok there in the evenings,” she recommends.

The Greens has walkways, paths and lakes around which you can walk your pet, along with a dog park for residents, where you can let your dog run around off its lead and make some new furry friends.

“Green Community is perfect for dog owners who want to spoil their best friends with all the open space.”

young black and white border collie running on the beach chasing a ball
There are dog-friendly spaces to let your pup run free in Dubai

B Living’s top pet picks

*Prices of the products are as per February 2019

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