Advice for pet-owners

A few considerations before embarking on pet parenthood …

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To buy or not to buy?
Though the vast majority of pet shops in Dubai have a business licence, there are no official regulations in place to prohibit the purchase and reselling of animals that have been bred at unregulated puppy farms and catteries. Jackie Ratcliffe of local animal charity K9 Friends points out that many of the animals reared in such environments go through a great deal of trauma in their early life and arrive at the pet shops ill and undernourished. What’s more, there are hundreds of abandoned animals in Dubai’s animal shelters – from guinea pigs to cats to dogs to ponies and even sloths – in desperate need of a loving home. ‘At the end of the day, pet shops are really only concerned with making a profit, rather than the best interests of the animals,’ explains Jackie. She also warns that breeders who advertise in the classified sections of magazines or websites should be avoided.
To adopt a pet, contact K9 Friends (050 274 1949), Feline Friends (050 451 0058), or Friends of Animals Dubai (info@friendsofanimalsdxb.com; no number).

Costs
It’s not cheap keeping a pet. Other than obvious outgoings, such as food, veterinary bills can rack up: expect to pay Dhs200-plus for an initial check-up and subsequent vaccinations (a legal requirement), de-worming (Dhs20 per tablet), and spading or neutering (recommended by most vets), which costs Dhs750 for animals under 10kg and Dhs900 for animals between 10kg and 20kg.
For further details, contact Al Barsha Veterinary Clinic (04 340 8601).

The heat
The sweltering heat of Dubai means dog owners should be prepared to get up at the crack of dawn (5am in some cases) to walk their pooch before it gets too hot. There’s also the likelihood of increased Dewa bills, because you’ll need to leave your air-conditioning on throughout the day to keep your pet cool. What’s more, the heat exacerbates the breathing difficulties of snub-nosed species (bulldogs, boxers, pugs etc), which are also subject to strict airline regulations if and when you decide to relocate (Emirates, for example, refuses to transport snub-nosed animals because it cannot guarantee their wellbeing at high altitude).

Relocation
Pet relocation can be long, laborious and costly, but it is something that must be considered by anyone serious about looking after a pet. There are a number of Dubai-based relocation agents that will help you, with prices starting around the Dhs8,000 mark – not cheap, but a worthwhile expenditure.

In brief, all cats and dogs leaving the UAE must be micro-chipped and fully vaccinated (the vaccination must be at least 30 days old, but less than one year at the time of travel). Generally, island nations (Australia, New Zealand and UK) have stricter quarantine regulations, though British citizens will be pleased to hear that their country relaxed its rules for 2012. Relocating to Europe or the US proves far easier.
For details, contact Dubai Kennels and Cattery, www.dkc.ae (04 285 1646), or Snoopy Pets (04 420 5348).

Which pet is best for you?

Discover which animal would make your ideal companion, according to the level of care you can commit to.

1 Can only just feed yourself
The tortoise: Just place a bowl of tomato, cucumber and cauliflower on the ground in your garden every day.

2 Capable, but short on living space
The goldfish: Requires a pinch of food twice daily and water changing once a week. You’ll only need to stock up on supplies once a month (or less).

3 Perfectly capable, but not much time
The cat: These intelligent creatures like to be left to their own devices, as long as there’s a decent scratching post and a bowl of food in the vicinity.

4 Active and always looking for an excuse to go out
The daschund:
Sure, you’ll get your walk, but with a pooch that manages to be unusual and cute at the same time, you won’t get very far.

5 Too much time on your hands
The spaniel:
When this dog doesn’t need walking, it needs it’s hair cutting, or feeding, or playtime...

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