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Most expats ask us these
Why are puppies & kittens more expensive in Dubai when compared to Europe, USA or other parts of the world?

This question does not have a simple answer. Primarily, please note, there are very very few ethical and knowledgeable breeders of quality dogs and cats within UAE, particularly fewer to none when it comes to pure breed dogs. There are no UAE registered animal clubs, governing breed standards, breeding programs, ethics and showing of pet dogs and cats as it happens in other countries. This reflects on majority of population not being serious enough about breeding dogs or even cats in UAE. Or it could also be the other way around and lack of dedicated breeders indicates deficiency of canine / feline associations...

Weather conditions and lack of sufficient open pet friendly space are other reasons expats do not wish to get into any thoughtful animal breeding programs. When it comes to the local population, Islam does not promote dogs as companions, only as long as they serve a purpose such as security, police work, etc. Most Emiratis are also financially well-off, so money is not the motivation. Consequently, most companion pets are imported into UAE by either expats or licensed pet stores like ours.

If you have ever brought in a pet into UAE from UK, Europe, Australia, USA or another country, you are probably not the one to ask this question in the first place. However, if you have never imported a pet and would like to get an idea of the process involved in selection, boarding, care, tests, documentation and shipping of our puppies and kittens, I would encourage you to read our Importing & Selling. Why and How page to avoid the repetition. All of these essential factors are associated with ongoing expenses, mostly in Euros, and we are not willing to cut costs on the ethics, health, breed standard or comfort of our animals in order to bring you cheaper puppy or kitten!

We encourage our prospective customers to get a quotation from any source before choosing to buy a pet from us. If anyone feels they can get the pet of our quality, matching our local Health Warranty and health reports with additional luxury of choosing the pet after seeing, feeling and ensuring "the connection", we recommend the customer imports/buys the pet directly without using our services. The price of our pets includes cost of time, effort as well as consulting service we provide in ensuring you get a home-raised pet, suited for your lifestyle, with good health and social behaviour.

Needless to say, Dubai is an expensive place to operate a business in terms of retail rents, high trade license fees and even higher costs involved in hiring and accommodating foreign staff, not to mention all other, hidden from obvious view ongoing expenses. You can also think of it this way: a bottle of still mineral water is available at Carrefour for less than 1 AED. But a restaurant within the same mall sells it at AED 8-12 or even higher. You have a choice of going to the source to buy it from Carrefour or pay premium price at the restaurant. As you can see, the operating costs of a business have to be considered and tolerated if you are to use the service. Same applies to our business. We emphasise quality, not quantity, and only encourage discerning pet enthusiasts to buy from us. We always patiently try to explain our view point and the nitty-gritty of our complicated trade to everyone, and we are proud of the fact that we end up convincing most of those willing to listen and understand.

Why do we sell our pets a bit more expensive than other shops or importers within UAE?

Aside of what has been talked about above, think of "Blood Diamonds" from Sierra Leone as an example. If only everyone in the world would know or care to think about the origin of diamonds from a troubled region! The atrocities the diamond workers go through and the extremism funded by this trade. If everyone with a conscience would stop buying diamonds of such origin and insist on humane source of their jewels, gradually, the trade would diminish. We hope you get our point and analogy.

It's not everyone's fault. People are just not aware or have not done enough research before heading out to a pet store to buy a puppy. We often come across shocked expressions when we quote price of our puppies (or kittens) to expats. A puppy may look cute and cost less in other shops, but surely you do not want to encourage puppies being raised in cages in commercial farms where multiple dogs and cats are kept in appalling conditions. Think about it and go for healthy, home bred puppy/kitten, raised in suburban homes within family environment. A pedigree certificate in no way guarantees your pet to be from a loving human family. Farm raised dogs are often supported by meticulous pedigree papers while a small time suburban breeder might not be able to spend extra money / time to get the pedigree certificates for the litter. Ask us more about this subject and we will be happy to share the inside story.

You will be further surprised to know that many big names of pet stores in Dubai are owned and managed by people who do not own a pet of their own. A bit of digging up will reveal these startling facts you may wish to consider before dealing with just about any pet importer or a store.

WE ARE, PROBABLY, THE ONLY PET STORE TO IMPORT PUPPIES & KITTENS STRICTLY FROM HOME BASED BREEDERS. WE PROVIDE PROOF OF OUR CLAIM. OUR PETS' SOCIAL BEHAVIOR TOWARDS HUMANS IS A CLEAR TESTIMONY OF OUR STATEMENT!

We do not pick up our puppies from puppy mills regardless of the original country of our pups. We WILL NOT support such operations and WILL NOT tolerate any form of cruelty towards animals. Do you really want to encourage puppy mills? Do you know that by ordering a puppy from internet mail order company or buying a pet from an importer in Dubai without asking for some proof of puppy being from a home based origin, you may save some money, but you are inadvertently fuelling the puppy mill production? We suggest you to do a bit of research on puppy mills and decide if you would like to pay for a pet that you do not know the source of. Puppy mills often rely on excessive inbreeding and pups often begin to show genetic problems within months. Inbreeding means mating of brother and sister to save on the hassles of finding the right stud / new blood line and to increase production to satisfy the demand of puppies/kittens.

Our pups are guaranteed home-bred and raised, they are purchased and exported through our highly reliable associates in EU. If and whenever necessary, or requested, we provide pictures of puppy's/kitten's parents usually at breeder's home. As mentioned above, a pedigree certificate does not guarantee loving home based environment. Most home based breeders do not bother to obtain pedigree document for their litters due to cost and hassle involved. However, home bred pets are healthier and more social with humans than the ones born in puppy farms or similar commercial facilities.

Once again, we believe we are the only pet store owners, who have actively taken this initiative to import strictly home bred pets. We hope other pet stores/importers will follow suit. Please read Importing & Selling. Why and How for more information on detailed process involved.

We are confident enough on the quality of our pets that we offer you a 30 day "Money Back Guarantee" based on any serious health issue (please read our Health Warranty). We offer more value for your money and less hassle involved than buying cheaper, but unhealthy puppy or kitten from unethical source with not enough medical scrutiny or observation. You must be aware, the vet bills in Dubai will quickly surpass the cost of the pet in case of even minor health concern. So please think through & don't be thrifty when it comes to taking home a lifelong companion.

I live in an apartment. What breed of dog or perhaps any other pet would you suggest?

Choice of a pet will depend on many factors, including size of apartment, your working hours, if you have a housemaid or other help in your absence, if you are single or have other family members living with you, if you travel often or if you enjoy regular time out on weekends. In general, we do not encourage dogs for those expats who work long hours or for single expats living alone. We suggest a cat or two for most of you who live in apartments alone. Cats are independent, need less attention and care, and are relatively easier to manage than dogs. Small pets like a hamster, reptile or a parrot are also suitable, but I caution people against locking any animal in a cage 24/7, so please be considerate and think longer term when it comes to pets.

Whether in apartment or villa, rule of thumb for a dog is not to be left alone at home for longer than 4-6 hours at a stretch. Left unattended for lengthy hours frequently, such dogs will most likely develop behavioural problems in order to get your attention. However, in case you are in an apartment living alone, yet confident you can manage consistently lunch breaks at home, or you can arrange for someone to visit, feed, play with and clean after the puppy during your working hours, at least 1-2 hours during your absence, you may opt for a small, generally quiet breed of dogs. Please feel free to email us with questions if you have concerns or for suggested breeds for your lifestyle - we will be happy to help.

You may also do some basic research online, these are examples:

http://dogbreedinfo.com/searchcategories.htm or http://dogbreedinfo.com/search.htm

I want a large breed of dog like a Husky, Pit Bull, German Shepherd, St Bernard or Great Dane. Can you import one for me?

We aim not to import larger breeds (with exception of very very occasional Labrador or Golden Retriever) due to our belief that most expats have neither enough time nor space required for the proper care of such breeds, not to mention cultural restrictions mixed in with lack of canine friendly public areas. Moreover, some breeds are just not suitable for UAE climate (Husky, St Bernard come to mind instantly) and many are prohibited by Dubai Municipality mostly for the reason of owner's inability to train well and manage these breeds. Please be considerate and sensible when planning a new pet. Factor in the realistic possibility of relocation with your pet and calculate the costs of a large breed vs smaller one.

What if I am relocating to UK, Europe, USA or any other country, can I take my pet with me? What is the process?

Actually, most people think it is extremely difficult. In our opinion, it is not as hard as it may appear if you can plan the move at least 4-6 months prior to export.

Most countries allow pets to be imported, but there is certain essential medical documentation required for every country as per the regulations. Australia is probably the toughest in its requirements at the moment.

Main prerequisite by most countries is the confirmation your pet is virus free & immune to rabies. Thanks to latest medical innovations there are specific blood tests that can reveal and confirm if your pet is immune to a certain virus such as rabies. With help of these blood test and conclusive report, most countries now allow the pet in without or with minimal quarantine period. Best advice we can give is to contact us or any relocation company 6 months prior to your expected date of departure to your destination country.

Pets Habitat LLC is a member of IPATA and a recognised professional International Pet Mover. Please fill up our Live Animal Export or Import Quote Request Form if you are looking to relocate your pet either to another country or if you wish to import a pet into UAE. We can provide a complete door to door solution at reasonable fees.

How do you justify your pet grooming rates?

Our grooming rates reflect three main factors:

>> Shortage of skilled staff in this field in this region. Pet grooming in UAE is not as evolved as in the US, Europe or even Asia. Consequently, there is severe shortage of skilled professional pet groomers, pet groomers by choice, trade and experience, who did the same line of work back in their home country and who will continue doing so upon return back home or any other country. Such rare employees must be sourced from abroad and have to be well paid, earning above average wages compared to other professions.

>> Highest quality specialised professional equipment designed specifically for pet grooming industry. We are the only ones within our region using the most expensive ceramic blades, couriered in from USA every three months to avoid any possibility of razor burns to your pets! Our thinning shears and scissors are also very frequently replaced and are usually also sent in by courier from abroad. It is not by accident Pets Habitat maintains the highest safety and injury free grooming records in this industry in UAE. In fact to the point that we have been occasionally ridiculed by our competitors for high costs of running our grooming department!

>> Average time spent hair clipping and proper designing of the pet hair according to breed standard. Pets usually do not stay still, thus many breaks must be taken for the pet to calm down and allow the groomer to do his job without scaring, aggravating or traumatising your pet. No harsh struggle or restraining is encouraged or permitted since it may hurt or frighten the animal. Last but not least, blow drying the pet consumes minimum 30 minutes or longer. Usual time for full grooming procedure is 90 minutes (or longer with some animals, particularly cats). The average time spent on each pet would mean very few appointments in the 9 hour day of the groomer. Monthly overtime/commissions are essentially involved for each and every grooming staff member. In order for the salon to cover its rents, equipment and staff costs, we must take a minimum of 4-5 appointments a day. As example: average hairdresser for a female customer would spend 15-30 minutes for haircut/restyle and blow dry, chargeable minimum AED 200. Let's just conclude that neither one of us, ladies, ever attempt to bite, scratch our hairdresser, run away or pee in the middle of the salon and all over the equipment, not to mention the number of appointments accommodated in a working day of an average hairdresser!

We believe our grooming rates are reasonable when all costs involved in running our operations are calculated in return of the quality of work and skill of our groomers.

What about dog training? Can you recommend a trainer?

We know our good friend Vic for over a decade & would recommend him for any type of most basic to advanced obedience training. Dog training is his bread & butter, so please do give him a call on 050-6355017 to discuss your pet's training needs. He will happily visit you at your residence to offer the training package or just a session for long term benefit for you & your pet.

Can I speak directly to the owner?

You can speak directly to the owner, I am very much reachable on natalia@petshabitat.com or 050-7871357. However, please use your discretion when you dial my number to ask me for directions or before calling me late night to ask our opening hours or availability of a collar (or anything else for that matter). Such calls can be easily managed by my staff on 04-3418085 between 10am to 9pm daily. If you do have a subject to discuss that you feel should be addressed to me directly - please feel free to call, message or email.