Dubai: It's a Dog's Life!
Guess what? Dubai is a much better place to keep a dog as a pet these days!
Thinking of getting a dog in Dubai?
Trying to persuade a nervous European or Aussie breeder to export a puppy to the Emirates?
Already got a dog and wondering where you are actually allowed to walk it?
In the 4 years that elapsed between my husband reluctantly sending his unruly desert dogs to live on a date palm farm and our acquiring a much more urban-friendly Lowchen puppy, Dubai suddenly became a much better place to keep a pet dog. Even in an apartment.
So I thought I'd share my own early findings on:
Dog Friendly Bars & Cafes
Doggy Beaches - Dubai
Other Places to walk your dog off-leash
Dog Walk Meet-ups
Where to dump the poop you scoop!
Dog Sitting & Dog Walking
Doggy Day Care
Further afield - Abu Dhabi, Sharjah, Ajman, Oman, Qatar
Dubai: increasingly dog friendly, believe it or not!
Practical info on places to go and things to do with your beloved pooch
DOG FRIENDLY BARS & CAFES (yes, really!)
If your dog is well behaved and on-leash, you can take it to a handful of places in Dubai (obviously sitting outdoors).
Baker + Spice in Dubai Marina - our local, on the Marina Promenade, next to Costa, directly opposite the Yacht Club. Holds a Farmer's Market on Saturday mornings, except in the summer when it's too hot.
Baker & Spice, Souk al Bahar, Downtown Dubai - the Farmer's Market is held here on Fridays. I haven't worked out how to get there without actually going through the Souk, from which dogs are banned. Any ideas?
Lime Tree Cafe, Jumeirah 1 - the original Jumeirah branch (arguably the best) famously welcomes dogs. Close your eyes to block out the car park and you could almost be in Venice Beach.
Aviation Club, Garhoud - you can take your dog to the Irish Village pub and (possibly) the adjacent Century Village. If there's a show on the times are restricted, so do call ahead to check.
DOG FRIENDLY PARKS
It's just awful that my list of dog friendly parks is infinitely shorter than my list of dog friendly cafes!
Current favourite - currently not "policed" but this is only a matter of time - is the long, wide strip of grass on the way into Zero Gravity, at DIMC. This is waterside, and faces the fabulous Infinity Tower by Cayan. The dogs (mainly small breeds or puppies) scamper around off the leash, chasing balls and one another, while their humans mostly huddle behind a hoarding with drinks and bags of crisps, pretending not to be there. It's kind of like a puppy crack den, but great fun.
Burj Park - this little island park in the heart of Downtown is - for the time being, at any rate - the only dog friendly park in Dubai. Official. There are 2 access bridges; one near the Burj Khalifa and another near the Palace Hotel. If there are concerts taking place (eg du world music festival) it's safe to assume that you can't take your dog. This is the site for the new Dubai Opera District so enjoy it while you can.
The residents at The Greens created a small, fenced-off dog park, however a friend of mine took her elderly long-haired dachsund who was immediately attached by 2 large dogs running around off-leash.
Al Mamzar Beach Park, Deira - billed by Time Out Dubai in Feb 2012 as being dog-friendly but actually this was incorrect... shame!
Back in 2012, we heard a rumour that dogs were welcome at the Al Jazira Hotel beach club and bungalows in Ghantoot, with visiting expats charged an entry fee for a day pass. We drove up there and discovered that this was no longer the case. Security wouldn't let us through.
We did find a fabulous sand and rock pool walk alongside the new marina at Ghantoot. Last time I took the dog there I slipped and shattered my wrist, so I haven't been back. But I did hear that the authorities have closed the gap in the fence to deter dog-walkers. This is as yet unconfirmed!
It's illegal to walk your dog on any public beach in the UAE. Sad, but true. Early morning and late at night, you can sometimes get away with it. Here are a few places that my friends and neighbours take their dogs.
Fisherman's Beach Jumeirah - near the Dog Walk pet spa is a strip of non-touristy beach where local residents walk their dogs both on and off leash, usually with impunity.
JBR Beach, Marina - at the southern end, near the Doubletree, where the Marina rejoins the sea, is the scrag end of Jumeirah Beach that is being tied up in readiness for the Bluewaters Island. Still surrounded by rocks and construction fencing this is a popular spot, if less than glamorous, spot for for dog walkers. Useless at weekends when there are too many sunbathers and cars, in the week it's pretty quiet and rarely patrolled. Unfortunately it's also where people who can't be bothered picking up after their dogs take them for walks. So be careful what your pooch sniffs.
We sometimes walk our dog next to the little bike and kart track near the beach in Jebel Ali. The beach is usually full of people camping at weekends, including many locals. So it's best to keep your dog away from there.
Al Sufouh: opposite Dubai College on Al Safouh Road (between Madinat and the Palm) is the Palace beach, where many expats take dogs. A girlfriend says she used to take her dachsund swimming there and was never ticked off by the police who were on patrol. Proceed with caution!
OTHER PLACES TO WALK YOUR DOG OFF LEASH
Again, not stricly legal as they are technically "public places" but....
Al Qudra. From Dubai, drive up Umm Suqeim Street through the Ranches and up the the Al Qudra road as if you were going to Bab al Shams. Pass the fabulous bike track on your left. At the roundabout with the horses, instead of taking a right to Bab al Shams continue straight and basically drive into the desert. A new conservation area is under development here, with hundreds of little trees and some artificial lakes. This has become a popular place to run around with your dog.
Meadows: dog walks off-leash take place at the back of Meadows 9 Sunday 7am and 745am and Weds at 530pm, organised by a local resident.
Al Warqa (never been myself). Head straight on at Mirdif traffic lights (from Nad Al Hammar towards Khawaneej) and take a right at the next roundabout (Warqa II). Stay straight then take a left turn on the second roundabout. To your right will be a large, desert-like area. This place is good for long walks and is a 7 minute drive from Mirdif.
Dubai Dog meet ups allegedly happen in Barsha 1 (behind Mall of the Emirates) but when I emailed Dxbdogfruends@gmail.com I got no response. Contacts are Shaheazad Vallarelli 0501130053 or Mostafa Al Ansari 0506933324 apparently.
WHERE DOES THE POOP GO??
Around the paved area in the Marina (Promenade, Walk etc) where we live, you'll see green bins marked Dog Waste Only. I use bins outside Baker & Spice and Dorra Bay near the Sheraton - but there must be others!
DOG SITTING & DOG WALKING
We haven't needed to use professional services so far but HomelyPetz.com offers dog sitting and dog walking. It's great if your dog can stay in his usual environment when you are away.
Woof Pet Services! - http://woofdubai.ae/ - is probably the most popular doggy daycare, boarding and grooming centre in Dubai. Superbly located on 8th Street in Al Quoz (between Al Serkal Avenue and MoE) it offers professional grooming in a friendly, clinical environment, with industrial hair dryers and serious grooming tables. Teeth cleaning is offered - unbelievably, our vet only does it under sedation! Dogs emerge wearing a cute little print bandana, as at Shampooch (above). See also Doggy Daycare section.
Pampered Pets - www.pamperedpets.ae is a cute, chi-chi pet store in Dubai Marina (behind the big Almaya) has a grooming area with 2 tables and a huge egg-shaped bath that's impossible for dogs to to climb out of. We take our dog Freeway there for wash & blow dry, eye & ear cleaning, nail clipping, fringe trims (no teeth cleaning). All the groomers are good but Ruman's his favourite
Dog Walk - www.dogwalkonline.com - a Beverley Hills style dog spa in Jumeirah, opposite Town Centre Mall - see Doggy Day Care section.
Shampooch - www.shampooch.ae - originally a mobile-only service (have you seen the pink vans with the Scooby Doo graphics?) Shampooch now has a funky permanent base that you can visit near the Green Community.
Snoopy Pets - www.snoopypets.com - behind Mall of the Emirates; also offers pet relocation services (for which I also recommend Alison at Dog House).
DOGGY DAY CARE & BOARDING (boarding is usually about AED 100/night)
Woof! - see above re grooming. As well as a lovely doggy garden with a little swimming pool, Tania at Woof offers a fabulous indoor creche in a large warehouse space for smaller dogs/puppies - great news in summer. Call ahead to book. Woof also offers boarding, which gets very booked up during school holidays. Dogs are constantly monitored and get to see everyone coming and going. Terrific little shop out the front. Noisy - but fun!
Newer on the scene is My Second Home - http://mysecondhomedubai.com/ - a huge and fabulous facility in the wilds of DIP not far from the Expo2020 site. This offers the most luxurious boarding but also has a very useful indoor Dog Park where owners take their pets to play. There's a swimming pool, agility course and free wi fi if you just want to do your emails while your dog larks about. The second warehouse, divided into tranches according to dog size, is all about doggy daycare. An outdoor play area is currently under construction with (get this) an outdoor pool that owners and their dogs can play in together.
Dog Walk - dogwalkonline.com. A chi-chi but petite Jumeirah joint in a location remeniscent of Beverley Hills, Dog Walk bills itself as Dubai's first Dog Spa & Retreat. If your pet needs physio or rehabilitation from an injury there's massage, acupuncture, treadmills - even a swimming pool out back where the dogs wear mini life jackets. Occasional events include a Hallowee'n tea party with prizes for best doggy costume... if you like that sort of thing!
Dubai Dog Academy - no website. An unsual set-up with highly personalised service, this is Johanna's private villa in Barsha 2. With 3 dogs of her own, Johanna opens up her home for dog training (courses include Puppy Fun and Basic Manners) and offers a staffed weekday creche service. She'll also take dogs for boarding. At any time, there'll be at least 6 dogs romping around the villa, gardens and occasionally swimming pool, so it's great fun. Dogs are cajoled into a 2 hour nap (to a Mozart soundtrack!) in the afternoon; even so, our little Freeway can't move for at least 24 hours after spending the day at DDA.
Paws Pet Planet - www.pawspetplanet.com. In the desert at DIP (Dubai Investment Park) Phase 2. Doggy daycare on Saturday & Sunday only and must be supervised by the owner. Not visited yet, will update this when I have.
Urban Tails - www.urbantailsdubai.com. Super plush, luxurious kennels with swimming pool and TVs in the doggy suites (top end prices). Our neighbour Charlotte'sPekinese, Yogi, loves it.
These days there are loads of pet stores in Dubai, including 3 that I know of in JLT alone. They all sell much the same stuff.
Dubaipetstore.com. operated by Amanda Anderson, is an online store that will deliver pretty much anything you need within 1 to 2 days.
I like Pampered Pets in Dubai Marina (see Grooming, above) because it's my local posh pet store and the team are so friendly. All of the vets, groomers and day care places have twigged that most dog owners in Dubai love to shop. So you can pick up beds, food, treats, leashes, toys and grooming gear from the likes of Woof or Dog Walk (see above). Best of all they sell Lily's Kitchen gourmet food which contains no soy, corn, gluten or nasty additives. Expensive but worth it.
Supermarkets like Carrefour and Almaya sell uninspiring basics. Amazon.com is great for pet supplies.
We usually use Al Barsha Vet Clinic (tel: 04 340 8601), opposite the Centro hotel and recommended by our importer as being the best. Freeway loves his vet whose name is Mehdi. They have a bit of a bromance going on.
We had his name tag engraved at Al Safa Vets, which is handy if you live there and supposedly brilliant but a bit more expensive.
We (and our dog) love Portuguese vet Raimundo Tamagnini at Energetic Panacea, who used to be at ABVC.
In Abu Dhabi, dogs are prohibited on public beaches but allowed on'open water' beaches, away from the public and stores. Why can't Dubai have the same rule? I guess because Abu Dhabi has a lot more undeveloped coastline. Exploit the empty bits of Saadiyat Island while you can.
The Shahama Harbour is a place to walk your pet in Abu Dhabi. Take the Bahia exit and head to the Harbour at Shahama, which is opposite the Yas Island development. The area is relatively quiet with just local fishermen around in the mornings and virtually no one during the day.
OTHER EMIRATES - Simon Cahill welcomes dogs on his guided hikes eg in Dibba and Hatta - firstname.lastname@example.org. I read that people walk their dogs in Ajman - the beach near Archirodon and Sharjah - Al Khan Canal Beach - never been though!
GCC OTHER - according to the internet these hotels are dog friendly. But it's probably best to call ahead to check! The Grand Hyatt, Muscat; Millennium Hotel. Abu Dhabi; Four Seasons, Doha; W, Doha