It looks like you will be moving to Dubai. That’s a big change, whether you’re moving from the US or most any other country. But there is a growing population of expats in the United Arab Emirates – Dubai and Abu Dhabi, especially – so your relocation isn’t that unusual. If your family includes dogs and/or cats, however, their part of your move will be anything but “business as usual.”
You wouldn’t dream of going without your furry companions. They are an integral part of your family, and you can’t imagine life without them. Nonetheless there are some things to consider about moving a pet to the United Arab Emirates:
- It can get extremely hot during certain times of the year. If your dog has a heavy coat, he may not do well. If you have a dog or cat with a snub nose, will the heat put undue strain on their ability to breathe comfortably? Talk to your vet about this.
- Dogs are not as welcome in public as they are in most western countries, because they are considered unclean, although with more foreigners arriving with their pets, that is changing to some degree. Dog parks are few, and dogs aren’t allowed in parks or on beaches. That means exercising Fido the Wonder Dog will take greater creativity.
- Housing that accepts pets is limited, and accommodations can be smaller than what you’re used to. How big is your dog?
- Pit bulls, American Staffordshire Terriers and other similar breeds or crosses are not allowed.
All is not doom and gloom, though. Many expats have moved to Dubai with their pets and the whole family has adapted just fine. The key is to know what you’re dealing with so your pets can travel safely and thrive once they arrive.
The UAE has strict pet import regulations.
You may import two pets per person, and they must be shipped as cargo, regardless of size. Each animal will need a travel kennel that meets IATA specifications for configuration and your pet’s size so they can comfortably stand, sit, turn around or lie down. And as with any international move, there is a lot of paperwork you must assemble, some of which has associated fees. Your pooches and felines will need:
- UAE import permit.
- International health certificate, endorsed by the USDA.
- A microchip that meets international standards.
- A blood test is required
- Cats must be vaccinated against rabies, feline pan leukopenia (FPV), feline rhinotracheitis (FHV-1) and feline calicivirus.
- Dogs must be vaccinated against rabies, canine distemper virus (CDV), canine parvovirus, infectious canine hepatitis and leptospirosis.
- Vaccinations must be a minimum of 21 days old but less than 1 year old at the time of applying for the UAE import permit.
- There is no quarantine, as long as you meet all your documentation is in order.
Don’t try to do all this yourself.
Trying to organize all the details of your pet’s move to Dubai can be a world-class juggling act. The rules can change at any time, and you may not be aware. One expat reported the import fee changed while his dog was en route. For your own sanity – and to save countless hours of phone calls and running around – it makes far more sense to hire experts who move pets for a living.
Having a professional handle the arrangements and oversee your pet’s travel ensures you won’t be tripped-up by mistakes. Whether it’s dealing with bureaucracy or knowing which airline(s) will take the best care of your pets, you can rely on an experienced international animal shipper that is familiar with moving pets to Dubai to get everything right. Choose a firm that is accredited by the International Pet and Animal Transportation Association.
Yes, it will cost more. But you can’t put a price on your pet’s comfort and safety, or your own peace of mind. And if you’re relocating for your job, moving expenses are generally tax-deductible, including your pet moving expenses. Talk to your tax advisor.
Pet relocation professionals can take on every detail, with door-to-door service, or if you’re comfortable acquiring your own IATA-approved kennel for each pet and getting your four-legged gang to and from the airport, you can do those things and let the experts handle the trickiest parts – flight arrangements and documentation.
When you plan ahead to cover all the bases, moving your pets to Dubai will go smoothly. Then, like one happy family who moved from Houston to Dubai, you’ll be able to say, “The trio arrived safe and sound this morning around 2am, and they were absolutely fine. They seem to have settled well into their new home as if nothing ever happened.”