Own a pet in the UAE? Mandatory rules to know

There are mandatory rules in the UAE that every pet owner should be aware of


James Jose

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Published: Tue 12 Dec 2023, 8:03 PM

Last updated: Tue 12 Dec 2023, 8:04 PM

For many, pets are companions, even lifelines, when living alone or away from home in the UAE. For those who love animals, the two-legged or four-legged creatures are more than just pets — they are extended family members.

But there are mandatory rules in the UAE that every pet owner should be aware of.

Here, we give you a lowdown on the rules that govern owning pets in the country.

  • To own a pet in the UAE, it is mandatory to get a licence
  • Dogs and cats should be microchipped and be up to date with their annual vaccinations
  • All dogs and cats must be registered with the municipality’s veterinary services
  • The proof of municipality registration is a small plastic disc with a number and must be worn on the collar of the animal at all times. A new municipality tag is issued after the pet is vaccinated that year
  • The tag and the microchip are vital as they help identify pets in case they are lost or stolen
  • The process of vaccination and microchipping as well as registration can be done at any veterinary clinic or the municipality veterinary services
  • If you are importing a pet to the UAE, it must be microchipped according to ISO standards and the pet owner should have a certificate of the required vaccinations prior to arriving in the country

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Pet care

  • The pets should be kept clean at all times
  • It is mandatory to ensure that dogs are kept on a leash at all times when going outside for a walk. Some breeds are restricted to wearing a muzzle when out in public
  • It is important to remember that dogs are not allowed in public parks or on public transportation (except for service animals)
  • Keeping pets in independent homes is advised. There are restrictions to having pets in residential buildings, and you will need to take permission from the property owner if you intend to live with a pet
  • Due to the weather conditions in the UAE, it is important that pets have access to fresh water and adequate shade at all times
  • It is advised during summer months to walk dogs in the early morning and evening hours


Dogs and puppies must be vaccinated against the following:

  • Distemper: A highly contagious viral and often fatal disease that affects the respiratory, gastrointestinal, and central nervous systems
  • Hepatitis: An acute contagious disease that targets the liver, lungs, kidneys, spleen, lining of blood vessels and other organs
  • Leptospirosis: A bacterial disease that affects the liver or kidneys
  • Parainfluenza: A highly contagious respiratory virus, also known as canine cough
  • Parvovirus: A highly contagious disease where the virus attacks white blood cells and the gastrointestinal tract. In puppies, it also can damage the heart muscle
  • Rabies: An incurable virus that attacks the brain and spinal cord

Cats and kittens must be vaccinated against the following:

  • Calicivirus: A highly contagious virus that causes a mild to severe respiratory infection and oral disease
  • Panleukopenia (also known as feline distemper): A life-threatening infectious disease that mostly affects kittens where the virus infects and kills the rapidly growing and dividing cells in the body
  • Rabies: A virus that affects the central nervous system and usually transmitted when an infected animal bites another animal or human
  • Rhinotracheitis: A highly contagious infectious disease and a major cause of upper respiratory infections

Note: Guinea pigs, hamsters, ferrets, bearded dragons, iguanas, parrots, and tortoises don’t require vaccination but should have an import permit to arrive in the country and must have their original health certificates


  • Owning a dog without a licence: Fine of Dh10,000 to Dh200,000
  • Walking dogs without a leash in public: Fine of Dh5,000
  • Taking any kind of exotic animal out in public: Fine of Dh10,000 to Dh500,000 and jail term of up to six months
  • Possession of dangerous animals for trading: Fine ranging between Dh50,000 and Dh500,000 and/or jail term or both
  • Using an animal to attack a person resulting in their death: Life imprisonment
  • Using an animal to attack a person and causing physical disability: Jail term of 3-7 years
  • Using an animal to attack a person and causing minor injuries: Jail term of up to a year and a fine of Dh400,000
  • Using animals to terrorise people: Jail term and/or a fine ranging from Dh100,000 to Dh700,000
  • Abandoning pets: Fine of up to Dh10,000
  • Selling pets to persons under the age of 18: Fine of Dh3,000
  • Advertising illegal sale of dangerous pets and exotic animals: Jail sentence and a fine of no less than Dh50,000 and up to Dh500,000
  • Feeding birds such as crows and pigeons and stray dogs and cats: Fine of Dh500


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