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1. I know you relocate dogs and cats, but what about birds • rabbits • ferrets • guinea pigs • lizards • snake • cheetahs • penguins • monkies • fish...
You bet! Just about any animal at all.
As with our boarding and daycare services, we relocate all types of animal, all over the world, into and out of the UAE, including domestic pets of any kind and exotics, large and small.
Definitely yes! For sure! You bet!
Well... maybe. Read on.
There are two parts to any relocations process: 1) the export; 2) the import; and they need to be seen as distinct processes because, in fact, they are (although both sides coordinate with each other). We can definitely assist you with the import side if you're coming into the UAE, and we can definitely assist you with the export side if you're leaving the UAE. And that's because we, obviously, are in the UAE.
Right, now that's clear.
However, there always needs to be someone (you, a friend or another relocations agent) handling things on the "other" side of a relocation, which means that if you're importing into the UAE, someone will have to handle things in your country of origin. If you're exporting from the UAE, someone in your country of destination will have to handle things upon the arrival of your pet. There must always be a physical presence on both sides for the handing of it all.
And so, you can of course engage us to handle the UAE-based stuff (please do!), but in the other country, you will have to have yourself, a friend or another agent handle that side of things. If you're going to use another agent, that's when we can step in to help with both sides of the shipment - although the other agent will be doing the physical work required at the other end, you may wish to deal with only one company for the management and payment of the whole process. In which case, we can manage that for you. There will of course be an additional management fee, but you might be happier having to deal with only one company, including all payments.
And by the way, if you do want to find another agent on your own, in your non-UAE location, check out IPATA.org, where you'll be able to search for pet/animal shippers all over the world.
Tough one! Wish we could give you a straight answer. In fact, though, depending on which country you're travelling to, there will be different requirements and so different things you'll need to do on this end before you leave. The best place to start is to contact us ~ sooner rather than later just to be safe ~ but if you're set on doing things yourself, look around this website and search on the internet for the specifics.
To give you some idea of the timelines involved, for a destination such as Canada, for example, it can take less than a week to prepare everything (although that is a bit rushed and we would normally look at a couple of weeks). Conversely, for a destination like Australia or New Zealand it take as long as 6-7 months. Ouch!
Easy! You contact us! Or... you do it yourself. Either way, you can start by heading over to our Pet Imports page and reading our very long, very comprehensive document, "Relocating Pets into the UAE".
That page in our website and that document (and other documents you'll find there too) will answer most, if not all, your questions about the requirements for import, Ministry charges and DKC's fees. Once you've read through it, these FAQs should fill in some of the gaps, if any. And of course, you're always welcome to just contact us.
Good question. Read our document Pet Flight Options. If you have more questions after that, just get in touch.
Definitely not. Sorry.
In fact, it is very important that you trust this information and do not doubt it as a result of hearing otherwise from some other source. All knowledgeable pet relocators will tell you the same, correct, thing: Animals of all kinds must arrive in the UAE by cargo only.
First of all, to be clear, and VERY importantly, there must always be water available before, during and after the journey. This said, don't overly concern yourself if your pet is not drinking huge amounts before you take him/her to the airport just because you've given it to him/her. Let your pet behave normally, drink as he or she wants, and relax. They key here is that water must always be available (which is why all travel boxes have a water bowl in it).
As to food, however, it's actually best that most animals (including dogs and cats) travel on an empty (or close to empty) stomach. We understand that you worry your pet will be hungry, especially if it's a long-haul journey, but we ask that you trust this bit of very important advice:
- Do not feed your pet for at the very least 4 hours before you drop him or her off at the airport for departure, and preferably longer. At DKC, we generally aim for about 8-10 hours.
Unlike human beings who need (or feel they need) to eat regularly, many types of animal, including dogs and cats and others (though there are exceptions to this), are very capable of and even comfortable with going without food for a good 24 hours. Of course we agree that this is not what you want to do every day but in an air-travel situation, we promise you that all your pets and animals will be just fine. In fact, they will be better than if you do feed them because of the:
- Dramatically reduced risk of toileting (urine and faeces) in their travel box, which means they stay cleaner and more comfortable overall.
- Reduced likelihood of nausea/vomiting in case they have any kind of reaction to the movement of their crate or as a result of anxiety (though it should be said that vomiting under any circumstances is quite rare).
Sound scary? Try not to worry too much. This approach really does work very well indeed.
We very strongly recommend against tranquilizing or sedating animals for flight, as does just about every professional shipper worldwide ~ in fact, many airlines will not even accept an animal if it has been so treated.
The main problem is that tranquilizers and sedatives affect the respiratory and circulatory systems by slowing them down quite a bit. While this is almost never a problem in normal circumstances, at altitude and in aircraft air-pressure, it can lead to physiological distress.
We are not saying that it is never done, and of course we are not saying it always leads to problems, but because there is a widely recognised increase in health risk, even if minimal, the usual approach is to avoid it unless absolutely necessary.
When is it absolutely necessary? Well, basically you need to ask: Is the stress my pet will feel be so extremely serious that he/she will probably experience health problems while in transit, such that the risk of medication is actually less than the risk of anxiety?
Some people are so worried about their pets and other animals that this question becomes difficult for them to answer, but our experience is that in 99.9% of the cases, it is the human being who is suffering the most anxiety, albeit from understandable worry. You'd be amazed to see just how casual so many travelling animals are once they've arrived at the other end of the journey.
Give it all some thought, speak to your vet, and please be cautious.
Well, that depends on whether you handle this yourself or through an agent, of course. If you do it yourself, you'll need to cover basic charges such as the cost of the import permit, Ministry Vet charges and Customs fees. If you get an agent involved to handle all the work for you, well... you get the idea.
See our Pet Imports page for full details, including a document there called Relocating Pets into the UAE which provides all government charges and DKC's service charges.
You can get this permit yourself or through an agent like us; in either case, import permits are sourced from the UAE Ministry of Environment & Water (MOEW).
For more detail on all this, see our Pet Imports page.
The best place to get this information is on our Pet Imports page and in our document Relocating Pets into the UAE.
Research and reading is so much, don't you agree?
Once the flight lands, all animals (and your pet, of course) are the first to be off-loaded from the aircraft and are taken to the dedicated animal-holding area in the cargo terminal at the airport (Dubai Cargo Village). Then the paper shuffling and related work begins, which means that at this stage your pet is not ready to be taken home. The Ministry Vet now needs to check your pet and all the relevant documentation (vaccination records, import permit, health certificate, etc.), and the clearance process has to be completed.
Although the amount of time to get all this done does vary from shipment to shipment and day to day, depending on a number of factors influencing airport activities, we tell our customers that the entire clearance process takes anywhere between 2 and 5 hours from the time the flight lands to finally having your pet at home. And this is true whether you are doing the clearance yourself or having us handle it for you.
How do we say this nicely?
No, sorry. When you give us responsibility to clear your pet through Customs upon arrival in the UAE, we ask that you do not meet us at the airport for the clearance process. The clearance process is time-consuming and at times tedious, so we know from experience that having eager and sometimes anxious customers with us can actually make the process more stressful for everyone involved, including us, you and airport staff. We know this is not exactly the response you're looking for but we ask that you trust us to get through the whole process as quickly as possible and we do promise to get your pet to you without delay. There is also the matter of our access rights to secure areas of the airport, which you would not have.
There are also customers who ask us to handle their pet's clearance but to then hand over their pet to them while still at the airport, just outside Dubai Cargo Village. This too we avoid because, again, it places unnecessary stress on the clearance process and those involved to know that you all are eagerly awaiting that hand-over. In the end, the clearance process always takes between 2 and 5 hours, and the best way to get through that time is to just relax, let us do our work for you, and wait for us to contact you when we're done.
And remember, most arrivals are in the middle of the night, so wouldn't you rather be at home, relaxing or sleeping, until we're done?
We have a number of options you can choose from regarding how and when you will be reunited with your pet once we've finished clearing him or her for you, including:
- Meeting us at our facility after the clearance. In this case, we SMS or call you when we are finished and we meet you at our facility which is just 10 minutes away from the airport, even in the middle of the night.
- Delivering your pet to your home immediately after clearance. When we're about to leave the airport, we'll call you to let you know we're on our way to you.
- Collecting your pet yourself from our facility the next morning, once we've opened to our customers for the usual workday. Take a look at our Two-Legged Timings.
The weather in the UAE is beautiful for much of the year, but yes, for about 6 months of the year it is indeed hot or extremely hot (and often very humid). The airlines and airport handling crew know this and procedures are in-place to ensure that all animals are safe from that heat.
This means that upon arrival they are always off-loaded from the aircraft first and quickly taken to the dedicated animal-holding area of the airport in Dubai Cargo Village, which is fully air-conditioned. It also means that the vehicles used for transporting animals from the aircraft to the animal area are also air-conditioned.
And for exports, the same is true, just in reverse.
In other words, we promise you, there is nothing to worry about.
Transit Care is the care provided to your pet or other animals when "in transit" from one location to another. In most cases, this means a transit stop. For example, if you're pet is travelling between Montreal and Dubai, a common route would include two flights - one from Dubai to Amsterdam, then another from Amsterdam to Montreal (or vice versa, of course), with a rest period in between those two flights. While in Amsterdam, your pet is given care, walked, fed, watered, checked for well-being, etc.
As you probably know, the UAE, and in particular Dubai, is growing in importance as a global cargo, animal and passenger transit hub, with a resulting increase in the number of animals each year which find themselves stopping over in Dubai for several hours or longer as they await their onward flights to their final destination. And with the growing prominence of Emirates and the development of Dubai International Airport, this trend is very likely to continue in the future.
In short, "transit care" is the care your pet and other animals get by specialist handlers while in transit.
Glad you asked!
Dubai Kennels & Cattery (DKC) is the official and exclusive Animal Handler for Emirates Airline and dnata (and all airlines served by dnata) at Dubai International Airport (DXB). This means that we provide all care to all animals (pets, exotics, large and small mammals, fish, reptiles, birds, etc... but not horses at this time) which pass through DXB at any time of day or night, every day of the year.
Now, not all animals or types of animal always require "care" per se, but as and when needed, it is we who provide it. This will include the basics, such as water and food, but also inspection of travel crates and their repair or replacement as required; medical attention if needed; procurement and processing of special transit documents, etc. More than this, we are responsible for the general and overall monitoring and assessment of these animals, making decisions on a case-by-case basis as to their needs and providing those needs.
In other words, the whole shebang.
First of all, we do not mean that we are in some way in charge of the airport! Goodness! No, that's not at all what we mean. Sounds great, but no.
This is what we mean: In addition to providing "Transit Care" for animals in transit through Dubai International Airport (DXB), we are also responsible for the overall well-being and safety of any animal (except horses!) at DXB, even if those animals are not transiting but instead are importing or exporting. In other words, although we have our own import and export shipments of animals, there are obviously many other imports and exports of animals into/out of DXB which are not DKC shipments ~ instead they are shipments being handled by pet owners themselves, other shipping agents, etc. Once these animals come into the airport, either after arrival or while awaiting departure, most of them are cleared or depart without requiring any care or attention of any kind because everything is in order with them and no special circumstances arise. However, when there is a need for any additional attention, we are the ones who handle all that. Furthermore, and in this spirit, we are responsible for general "oversight", in the sense that whether or not we are called in by Emirates or dnata to provide additional necessary attention, we will simply keep an eye on all animals in the AVI (i.e. animal) areas of the airport to ensure things are alright; if any action is required, we take it.
In truth, the vast majority of shipments require no additional attention by us because these animals are being properly handled by the shippers, pet owners and airlines. For what it's worth, nevertheless, we are around anyway.
4. Does this mean that DKC is actually doing the shipment of my pet, even if I am doing everything myself? And what about shipments by other animal shippers?
Definitely not. No, DKC is only responsible for the care and oversight of animals once/while they are under the purview of the airport.
This means that the owner of a pet or other animal, or any other shipper/forwarding agent for any animal shipment is entirely responsible for the relocation of that animal with regard to the preparation work that goes into shipping animals, either on the import or export side of things, until those animals are handed over to the airline at DXB. We do not interfere with any of that and we certainly would not try to take credit for anyone else's good work.
Our role is only with respect to the care and management of these animals while at the airport, after hand-over from the owner/shipper to airport officials, in the secure areas of the airport - and that's all.
Unless, of course, the shipment also happens to be one of our own many shipments we do each year.
Additionally, because of the complexity of this subject, please do contact us for a conversation. There's more to this subject than you might think, and the decision you make will affect whether or not an airline will accept your pet for shipments and, yes, whether or not your pet stays safe. And yes, it will also affect the cost of the relocation.
Yes it is safe. In fact, thousands of pets are imported into the UAE each year; the vast majority do perfectly well here, regardless of the breed.
What about those which don't do well? Fundamentally, when things go wrong (such as dehydration and/or heat stroke), it is about how these pets are managed rather than their innate inability to cope with the heat or the fact of the heat being prohibitive. Yes, the UAE is VERY hot for at least 4 or 5 months of the year, and yes you must be careful about this during these times, but isn't it extremely cold in January in Canada? Or hot in Texas in July? Aren't there any number of locations around the world with extreme temperatures at certain times of the year? And aren't there pets in these places too? Of course there are.
You should be aware of the dangers of the heat here, but if you're thoughtful about this, you should not be worried or overly concerned. Do some research on the internet and talk to your UAE-based vet for guidance about things to watch out for, and at the most basic level be aware of such things as not leaving your dog or cat outside during the hottest times of the year for too long, and always make sure there is plenty of water readily available, even if you're going for a walk.
There is more to learn about this and plenty of information available from any number of sources. But yes, it is safe to bring your pet.
The UAE has everything here you could wish for by way of quality pet care services. As with any industry, not every one of them is the best, but if you look around and look into it all, we know you'll find what you need.
3. Can I take my dog to public places? Are there dog parks? What about beaches? What about pet-friendly places to live?
The UAE is not yet the perfect place on Earth in this way. But don't be put off!
Here's the bad news:
- There are no public dog parks.
- Dogs are not allowed in the public parks that do exist (and there are not too many of these anyway).
- Dogs are not allowed on the beaches.
- Dogs must be on a lead and under control when on streets with you (but this probably goes without saying).
- Certain breeds are required by the local municipalities to be muzzled.
- There are pet-friendly residences (apartments and villas) but they are not always easy to find.
- You can certainly walk your dog just about anywhere if on a lead and under control (but clean up after yourself!).
- Outside city centres, there are plenty of open desert spaces for your dog to run around in.
- Once you've been here for a time, you'll get to know from the existing dog-owning community more about where and how you can take your dog out for the pleasure of the outdoors and exercise.
- There are a large number of kennels operators which is one way for you to socialise your dog.
- There are dog training groups by many dog trainers in the country.
- You can find pet-friendly places to live and once there, things are pretty comfortable. Especially if you happen to live in a villa with some land around it.
Yes and no.
It is actually a legal requirement that all dogs and cats are registered. However, this is not really enforced in any meaningful way. So ultimately it is up to you.
This said, we strongly recommend it. It is not expensive and we know of many cases of lost pets being found because of it.