Though public beaches and parks are off-limits to pets (particularly dogs), Dubai Marina is a good spot for dog-walking down by the water and there’s even a special dustbin (only one, mind) in which to empty your pooper scooper. For those wanting to step out for lunch with their pooches in tow, The Irish Village (04 282 4750) welcomes dogs, providing they’re kept on a leash and don’t go after the ducks in the nearby pond. The same applies at The Lime Tree Café (04 349 8498) in Jumeirah.
For organised doggie fun, DogWalk (04 344 6945, www.dogwalkonline.com) organises afternoon teas, hydrotherapy sessions (yes, really) and Christmas parties. It’s free to join, though all dogs must be fully vaccinated (including against kennel cough).
Anyone looking to take a weekend break sans Fido can enlist the services of Homely Petz (050 871 7072, www.homelypetz.com), which provides qualified pet sitters and dog walkers – a consultation costs from Dhs100 and rates are determined on a case-by-case basis. Urban Tails (04 884 8847, www.urbantailsdubai.com) goes one better by providing board and lodgings (there are four suites available – the Royal Suite offers butler service, plasma TV and webcam), a pet gym with treadmills and a doggie bootcamp and a pool, plus grooming and relocation services.
As we’ve already established, public parks and beaches, as well as popular thoroughfares such as The Walk at JBR, are off limits for pets (though it’s not uncommon to see people out walking their husky/pet monkey/snake on a Friday night). Some private residential buildings also prohibit residents from keeping pets. According to Kosta Giannopoulos, head of Better Homes Property Management, most landlords will not accept pets; even if a landlord did allow a tenant to have a pet, their decision would still be subject to Dubai Municipality rules and regulations. However, in practice such dialogue rarely takes place because there’s no official system for ‘pet permission’ in residential buildings, and keeping a pet is largely down to the discretion of an individual landlord and resident.
Dog owners should be mindful of the cultural sensitivities that come with keeping a canine. While the Qur’an encourages kindness to all animals, dogs are considered by many conservative Muslims as unclean and are traditionally only kept for guarding property or hunting. It’s therefore advisable for owners to always keep their dogs on a leash in public places and only allow them near passers-by by mutual consent. If you’re walking a dog where someone is praying, do not under any circumstances let the dog stray over the prayer mat. Moaz Khan of Eton Institute (www.eton.ac) adds that when inviting a Muslim into your home, it’s a good idea to keep dogs in a separate room (or at the very least on a leash).
To get good advice for pet-owners, click here.
For our Dubai Pet show preview, click here.