The Animal Clinic Ask The Expert

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Resident vet, pet boarding, dog daycare and pet transportation experts from Dubai Kennels & Cattery (DKC) and DKC Veterinary Clinic (DKCVET), Lucinda Nattrass and Todd Carson answer your questions on pet health, behaviour, diet and nutrition, boarding and daycare and your pet’s relocations. Email your questions to suzanne.radford@arn.ae.

From animals in the home and in the wild, news, information, advice and inspiration tune into The Animal House Mondays on Dubai Today from 12pm.

 

  • My 17 year old cat (back home) has cancer in her mouth, we have removed it twice and it has come back a third time in three months. A surgeon specialized in this area arrives to my country on Sunday, our local vet is advising to wait. I am struggling… Should we go for a third trial? Or put her to sleep? Our vet insists she is not in pain, but in discomfort. She still wants to eat but the tumor in her mouth is making it harder. Help! We are heart broken…
    • These situations are always difficult and I am sorry that your cat is having these problems. I do not know what type of tumour it is or, or how extensive it is, but it clearly keeps growing back which is obviously a cause for concern for the success of another surgery. It may be a good idea to talk to the specialist surgeon when he arrives and question him carefully about the prognosis for a full recovery from the next procedure – you should focus on your cat’s quality of life and whether or not there is a realistic expectation for her to return to comfortable eating and being able to groom herself normally and enjoy attention from you. As she is an old cat you need to be sure that she is healthy apart from the tumour, and has no other underlying problems such as kidney disease  – these things all help make the decision regarding quality of life …. as you should only consider the procedure if she has a realistic chance of becoming her old happy self again, and for an extended period of time. Remember – you know her better than your vet does and are the best person to decide whether she is suffering or not as you are living with her every day.

  • We have a 3 month old Labrador. As both my wife and I work full time, we keep him on the balcony when we are not there. But I go home for lunch and spend 1.5 hours with him. So he is not alone for more than 4 hours at a stretch. Could you advise how we should potty train him to go in a specific corner of our balcony in our absence?
    • Training your dog to toilet in a certain place can be achieved by using the puppy training pads that you will find at most pet shops. You will need to place them where you want and then take your dog to the pads every time he wakes up, has finished eating or drinking (as this is when he is most likely to toilet) and praise him when he does his business there. With enough repetition, he will learn  – and Labradors are smart dogs!

      It may be better to teach him to stay inside when you are away, as balconies can get very hot in the summer and this will become an issue for him, if not possibly already, for when he gets older and heavier. Most people leave the balcony door open slightly so their dogs can step outside and toilet there during the day if they need to. When he is older and able to go for longer without toileting, you will be able to leave him inside without access to the balcony if you are coming home at lunch time each day – but he will probably need to be closer to ten months of age or even a year for this kind of control.

  • We have adopted 4 gourami fish. We are lost on how much food (flakes) to feed. Currently, we give them a pinch in 24 hours which lasts for about 2 minutes. Is that OK?
    • Gourami fish need to be fed small amounts of food twice a day so that they have food to eat throughout the day. So I would do what you are doing but increase it to twelve hourly.

  • Hello! We’re getting a kitten and will be first time pet parents :) What should we feed it? And how much?
    • Feeding a kitten is pretty easy as they tend to love their food! I would advise a premium brand kitten food and carefully follow the feeding instructions provided on the bag or tins/pouches as to the quantity to feed. They will need kitten food until they are a year old at which time you can switch to adult food. The good thing about kittens too is that you don’t have to toilet train them as they instinctively know how to use the litter bowl – phew!

  • Skin allergy keeps going and coming back on my cat. Can you please advise?
    • Skin allergies can be very frustrating as there is no magical treatment that will permanently stop your cat from being allergic. It is helpful to make sure that food is not causing or adding to the problem so discuss a hypoallergenic diet trial of three months with your vet. Controlling secondary infections from bacteria, fungi and yeasts are also important in keeping the itches to a minimum as well as controlling parasites. There are allergy medications available and some are more expensive than others, but your vet can advise you on that. However, unless you can determine the things your cat is allergic to and eliminate them, the allergies can simply only be managed going forward. Obviously, if he or she is allergic to pollens inhaled in the air, for example, it is impossible to eliminate these from the environment, but food allergies are conversely easy to manage as the diet can be controlled. The annoying news is that pets are often allergic to a combination of environmental and food allergens! So, the simple truth is,  you have to understand that this is something that is at best well controlled but  never completely cured.

  • Hello, I’m listening to your radio show at the moment. With regards to your discussion on pets in Dubai I would like to ask for some advice. I live in Al Barsha 3 and can see that someone keeps their large retriever type dog in a small pen with no shade throughout the day (it seems to be taken in at night). The dog is black with a long coat and lies there looking exhausted, I can only see this one dog at the moment but there are other pens that are out of view. There were also puppies in a small carry on cage, again in direct sun. I’m very concerned about this and don’t know what to do about it. I genuinely don’t think they are meaning to abuse the animals, but they are. Please help. I very much look forward to hearing from you.
    • This sounds like a case of ignorance, but it’s difficult to be sure. It may sound difficult but the best solution may be to kindly approach the family and explain your concerns and see if they respond favourably and make changes. If not then your only recourse is to report them to the Dubai Municipality and hope that they can help the situation.

  • I have seen a cat with a broken leg near my house. Who can I call to get help? Tried calling a vet, they said I´ll have to take responsibility and might cost 8000. Please help.
    • Stray cats are a problem in Dubai when they become injured as there is no welfare organisation specifically run by the government to help in these situations. You may find financial support by contacting one of the many charity organisations (Feline Friends, Bin Kitty, to name two) and they may be able to arrange rates at vets that they deal with or cover the costs of the initial consultation themselves. It is possible that the leg is not broken, of course, or that it is so bad that not much may be possible in terms of fixing it, but you will not know this until the cat is caught and taken to a vet for a first opinion; after that it will be easier to understand the treatment course and the cost implications. This is not an easy situation and it is good of you to want to help. Try the steps we’re suggesting.

  • I have two rescued tortoises, I was wondering if I need to get any vitamins apart from their normal diet: lettuce, carrots, cucumbers, a little fruits.
    • Feeding tortoises can sometimes be challenging as there are differences in diet requirements between tortoise types. Mediterranean tortoises for example do not do well with fruit whereas the tropical tortoise breeds can tolerate and enjoy small quantities of fruit. Avoid cabbage and broccoli as these can add to calcium deficiencies which are seen in domestically kept tortoises. Some vets advise calcium supplementation to tortoises but make sure that the supplement does not contain phosphorous as this can cause problems too. There is plenty of good information on feeding tortoises available on the internet so take a look and also try and identify which type of tortoise you have so that you can understand the dietary requirements better. ‎ ‎

  • My husband and sons love dogs but I am concerned about hygiene. How do I deal with hygiene issues, like I feel they have a lot of germs on them. Do we need to wash our hands after touching the dog? Do’s and don’t’s about keeping a dog in an apartment and maintaining hygiene please.
    • Dogs are generally pretty clean animals and carry no more germs on them than any other domestic pet. As you know, people carry bacteria and viruses too and the reality is that the environment we live in is full of these pathogens as well. I would suggest that you choose a dog breed that does not shed a lot of hair (Maltese poodle. Yorkshire terrier, Labradoodle or crosses of these…just to name a few) as hair shedding in an apartment can be annoying and can add to a feeling of perceiving the pet as unhygienic. If you toilet train the dog well and take care of its vaccinations, deworming and general health checks, then you can be confident that the pet will not be putting your family at any risk. If you purchase a puppy, get it checked by the vet first before taking him home. There are a number of good disinfectants available for use at home that will enable you to clean the floors and surfaces in the event the puppy inadvertently toilets in the apartment.  A healthy dog will not require you to wash your hands every time you touch it, so you can relax and enjoy the experience without worry if you choose to purchase a dog.

  • Can you tell me the documents required to take my cat to India?
    • The requirements for cats travelling to India are nice and straight forward. They must have been microchipped, vaccinated against rabies at least 30 days prior to travel and less than one year old. The other cat vaccinations (commonly referred to as Tri-Cat) must also be up to date. Pets’ vaccination cards must show the current vaccination booster and also the previous vaccinations. There are 2 x health certificates required for travel, the UAE Health Certificate and the Annexure II, Indian specific health certificate. The latter must be completed and then attested by the UAE Ministry of Environment & Water. These should be gained within 10 days of travel and then be sent to the agent in India for gaining the mandatory NOC.
       
      Now that the easy part is over – in order for someone to import their cat into India they have to be transferring their residency to India and will have to qualify for transfer of residency (TR). The documentation required from the pet owner depends on the owner’s status and they would need to send their passport copies, along with the entry and exit stamps for the last 2 years in order for the agent in India to advise then what is required from them as the owner.
       
      Meanwhile, pets can travel into India as accompanied baggage or as cargo. The former would be the least costly way for them to travel.
       
      Lastly, pets can enter into the following airports in India: Bangalore, Chennai, Hyderabad, Kolkata, Mumbai and New Delhi.

  • Is there an animals shelter in UAE that someone who has a full time job can volunteer at on non-fixed timings? Couldn’t find anything as such online.
    • There are a few charity organisations which are always looking for help on a voluntary basis. K9 Friends and Feline Friends are just two of them, but there are others. A quick search on Google will get more information about that quickly. There are also some for-profit boarding facilities, such as DKC, which are happy to take on volunteers, so you just need to email them to ask about the opportunities.

  • We have a King Charles Cavalier Spaniel, he is 7 months. When do we go off medium junior food?
    • Thank you for your question – the junior diets all have a higher calorie content and also additional vitamins and minerals such as calcium that are all needed during growth. So we recommend dogs stay on these formulation until they stop growing, but if you were to continue them after this point they can lead to excess weight gain. Obviously Royal Canin SHN junior is a good choice, but there is an even better option for your pup – Royal Canin BHN Cavalier King Charles Junior. This diet has nutritional additives to help address some of the common breed issues that Cavaliers have – L-carnatine, Antioxidants and omega oils support best heart function, probiotics encourage better digestion of foods and stool production, and the kibble shape is unique for the short muzzle and jaw strength of Cavaliers. I would expect him to reach full size at about 10 months old, so this would be when you would switch him to an adult formulation and again the Breed diet would be the most adapted choice available. When changing between and foods it is really important to do a proper food transition (even between same brand different diets). This reduces the risk of digestive problems and also the development of food aversions. It gives your dog (or cat) a chance to become familiar with the appearance, smell, taste and texture of the new diet slowly. Start with 3/4 old and 1/4 new diet for 2-3 days then 1/2 and 1/2 for 2-3 days, 1/4 old 3/4 new for 2-3 days then finally onto the new diet.

  • My girlfriend has a six year old shih tzu and she feeds him brown rice, lamb chops and carrots. That’s what he eats everyday. Was wondering if that’s okay?
    • Unfortunately this would not be a balanced diet. I expect it would be deficient in both vitamins and minerals. You don’t mention if the meat and vegetables are cooked or not – but I’m guessing they are, in which case a number of key nutrients are also lost in the cooking process. Lamb bones if given after cooking are particularly dangerous as they tend to splinter when chewed forming very sharp edges that can damage the stomach and GI tract. I would recommend switching to a premium food but would suggest doing a very slow introduction for this new food – mix small amounts with the current diet so he gets used to the sight, smell, taste and texture of the new diet. Gradually increase the new diet and reduce the old diet until he’s only on the new – this should take at least 2-3 weeks.  Royal Canin actually do a breed specific diet for shih tzu that recognises that their jaw shape can make normal shaped kibbles difficult to eat, it has added omega oils to promote good skin and coat condition and dental chelators that reduce the formation of tartar.

  • My son’s hamster is nearly two years old. Last week it chewed off the fur of its front paws and tummy. Why would he do that?
    • Your hamster is getting on a little now in years so it would be a good idea to have him checked by your veterinarian to make sure that he is healthy and that his teeth are in good condition. He may be pulling off his fur because he is itchy from something like a parasite or perhaps there is something in his environment that is irritating his skin. He also may be doing it because something is hurting him or there could even be a hormonal or environmental issue, so it would be best to get him checked over to make sure all is well and so he can get whatever treatment he may need.

  • Are there any flowers poisonous to cats?
    • There are a large number of plants that are potentially toxic to cats and the list is truly quite extensive! The most obvious and dangerous flower that you may have at home in a bouquet are lilies and members of the lily family – these should be removed if you have a cat at home. Toxic effects of other plant species are generally less severe but can cause various symptoms. If you do some research on the internet you will find names and pictures of plant species that may cause problems for cats and then you can make sure that you cat-proof your home and garden. :-)

  • Can my puppy go outside yet? When is a good age? We don’t have a wall or fence.
    • It is safe to let your puppy outside into public areas that other dogs may frequent once it has had all its vaccinations so that you know he is properly protected. You should also get him used to the lead so that when you take him out you can control him properly – don’t want him running off and getting into any tight spots!

  • What causes white stools in dogs?
    • White stools are usually caused by high calcium in the diet and are most commonly seen in dogs that eat bones. However, they can sometimes be linked to liver problems, so if you are certain your dog is not getting bones from anywhere (they can be sneeky!) and is on a balanced diet but still has white faeces, then it is a good idea to get him checked by your vet to ensure that everything is alright.

  • Since our terrier was diagnosed with renal failure, we’ve given him a special diet. Are there any treats we can give him that are safe?
    • Treats in moderation should not significantly impact or negatively affect  your dog if he is already on a renal diet prescribed by your vet. It is great that he eats this diet and it will go a long way in helping him. You can also choose treats such as ice cubes (sometimes frozen chicken broth works well) or even vegetables or fruit, and if there is a good quality dog treat you know he likes then ask your vet to look at the bag as they will be able to advise you a maximum number of treats per day in terms of creating the correct protein balance between the treats and the diet he is on. Renal diets are partly aimed at providing high quality protein in regulated amounts that reduce the stress that their metabolism will have on the kidneys.

  • My dog has fractured one of his teeth. A little piece broke off yesterday. What do I do and does that mean no more chewing of bones?
    • You should certainly have your dog’s tooth checked by your vet as tooth fractures can be painful and cause the death of a tooth. Depending on the age of your dog and which tooth it is will affect the correct course of action to take. Sometimes nothing needs to be done at all, but we would suggest you have it checked. We would certainly stop feeding bones and try a softer kind of chew treat – there are many rawhide and other such animal products available as chew treats that would be safe for the teeth. Also, be careful of tennis balls – the constant rubbing of the fine hair on the ball can also damage your dog’s enamel – who would have thought, eh?

  • I have a female cat that constantly wants food and she does eat well. Could worms be the issue, although she has been dewormed, or could it simply be a habit of knowing that pleading will result in food?
    • Greedy cats are not uncommon at all but there are a few things you should keep in mind. Firstly, be sure she is not overweight because if she is that can seriously harm her health and should be addressed. If you are not sure, just ask your vet for their opinion. Secondly, if she is an older cat and is hungry and losing weight then there may be an issue with her thyroid gland that your vet could check for you if you think she falls into this category. Some cats become addicted to dry food and constantly want their bowls filled. This can be annoying as well as problematic if your cat is indeed fat, but if she is not then we wouldn’t worry too much. Cats eat many times during the day in the wild so small amounts of food regularly will also help reduce the chance of obesity. You can check the feeding instructions on the cat food to see if she is eating more than she should in any one day. It is highly unlikely that worms are causing this behaviour, so we wouldn’t be concerned about this but if you haven’t dewormed her in a while it would be a good idea to do that too.

  • Why are pet transport costs so high? It would certainly help the decision to relocate, if this was adjusted.
    • Yes, relocating pets IS expensive. There’s no beating around the bush on this subject – even in the best case scenario, it’s always a pretty expensive thing to do. And sometimes the costs can be heart-stopping.

      Why? Well, it’s important to put this into context. All international relocations are expensive, for humans and for humans with pets. Consider the cost of your last house move, particularly if you’ve moved from one country to another. The reasons for this are fairly obvious (besides the common assumption that you’re being ripped off! ) but when shipping pets a key component to the overall cost is the air waybill (the flight ticket), which the airline itself imposes on you or the agent you’re using. In other words, even if there were no other costs, the air waybill itself will always cost a pretty penny, and the further your pet flies, the more it will be, just like your own flight ticket.

      Most people feel understandably a bit assaulted and certainly surprised by the pet transport quotes they receive from the agents they approach. Just keep in mind that a significant portion of that quote is the charge for the air waybill and that the entire quote is in fact just the service charges of that agent. Then there are often veterinary fees for services required in meeting the import requirements of your destination country.

      This said, shipping agents such as DKC and others of course do also charge for their services too. So when you add it all up, the cost is eye-opening for sure. One thing you can do to mitigate that cost is to handle the shipment yourself. By eliminating the agent you will still have to pay the expensive airline costs and veterinary bills, but you could save thousands of dirhams on shipping agent fees. That’s the good news and it IS good news because it IS entirely possible to completely manage your own pet’s transport arrangements. The bad news is that doing it yourself really does require dedicated and sometimes longlasting effort on your part – pet transport can be complicated and is indeed error prone when you don’t have the experience.

  • I have 3 cats who have all been adopted. 2 boys both neutered and the last addition an itty bitty girl who had spinal damage when we rescued her. She is doing great now and after constant physiotheraphy from us – has fully recovered. The 2 boys are always after each other. The girl is quite well behaved. How do we teach the boys to be friendly with each other? HELP!
    • The first step is to try to asses how serious the “always after each other” is. It could be serious and if it is, then of course you might need to take steps to resolve that. However, it could also just be the two of them playing… roughing it up, as boys sometimes do, and actually having fun. How do you know the difference? Well, probably your intuition will tell you, though if you’re not sure, perhaps get some help from your vet or an animal behaviourist to help you make that assessment. But keep in mind that even hissing, scratching and, believe it or not, slapping can all actually be just a bit of fun or fairly tame warnings to stop, one cat to the other.

      If you do think it’s more serious than just play and warnings, then you’re probably dealing with territoriality between them, which means you should separate them for a while, including their litter and food, so they can both become more comfortable and feel safer in their respective spaces and, therefore, in your overall environment. How long you need to keep them separate is a tough one to know, but it certainly would be for a fews days at least and quite possibly weeks, as you slowly start to reintroduce them to each other.

      There is a lot of information on the internet about such things, and more than we could write here, so with time, interest and some patience on your part, there sure is a chance of getting them comfortable with each other. This said, if no satisfying solution can be found, you might indeed have to look at permanently removing one or both of them from your home.

  • I have a Turkish Angora male cat, he’s quite heavy and big. I wonder how large his box would have to be if we relocated him back to Germany. I’m concerned the box will be too small and he’ll get claustrophobic (which he sometimes does).
    • Ahhhh… the old Goldie Locks scenario – this one’s too small, that one’s too big… this one’s juuuuuuuuuuuust right! Your situation is not entirely uncommon and you’re right to be concerned about it because the correctly sized travel box is one of the most important aspects of your pet travelling safely. Although the plastic travel boxes available in the marketplace are generally designated by the manufacturer to be for certain types of animal, there is no actual requirement on this, and the smaller ones, which are normally targeted for small dogs and cats, may indeed not be the ideal size for your cat if your cat is larger than average. The simple solution is to get a box the next size up. Just be aware that the bigger the box, the more expensive your flight ticket for your cat will be – but safety and comfort first, right!? Frankly, the best way to get through this is to contact a pet relocation specialist, tell them what you need and your concerns, and they should be able to help you navigate the problem. And we would suggest you do this long before you intend to travel so that you can purchase the travel box well in advance and give your cat the chance to get used to it; this can help a lot.

  • I have a 9 year old cross breed, medium sized dog who keeps licking his backside. Any ideas why and what to do to stop it?
    • There are actually many different possible reasons for this; mostly commonly anal glands which need to be expressed or, possibly, worms. Whatever it is, it is probably not serious but (please don’t worry) could be, so for sure you need to visit a vet to have your pooch checked out.

  • When my pet is boarding how long is the outdoor time it gets? How much time do you recommend? My cat isn’t very friendly with other members of its species so I want to know if in that case it would get “private” outdoor time.
    • This is both easy and difficult to answer – difficult because probably 1000 different people will give you 1000 different types of answer… and further, because each kennel/cattery business will do things differently too. The easy part of this, therefore, is to simply tell you how DKC looks at this stuff and how we handle things in our business.
       
      Both our boarding dogs and boarding cats stay with us in enclosures which have both an indoor and outdoor portion; separating the two portions are simple flaps and this means that your pets can decide for themselves where they would like to be. Sometimes the little fellas don’t always immediately understand this but we give them a quick little training session, showing them how to gently push their way through the flaps, and then they’re quite happy to move back and forth as they please, very comfortably. And you would be surprised how much of their time they, both dogs and cats, like to spend in the outdoor portion of their enclosures… even in the height of the summer heat! They really love it. The cats lounge around in the warmth, protected by the natural shade provided by the many trees we have on our property, as well as the structure of the enclosures/catteries themselves. They’ll pop inside for food or a break from the warmth, of course, and also some just prefer to be inside, but those that love the outdoors will happily spend entire days sleeping in or near the sun. As for your dogs, well, they too spend a lot of time in the outdoor portion of their enclosures and, because dogs are usually naturally social, there’s a lot of happy barking and communing amongst all the dogs in the kennels, neighbour to neighbour, as well as interaction with the many handlers passing them by all the time throughout the day. Yet added to this for the dogs is that we have a number of large play yards for them, and all the dogs are taken into the play yards at least twice a day (even more often sometimes, especially in the winter months) to romp and run… or sit (as so many rather ironically do). In fact, during the winter months, for those dogs which really have a lot of energy and want to be out all day (not all do, believe it or not), we leave them in the play yards most of the day, and often with other dogs they get along well with (yes, don’t worry, always with some supervision). There’s more we could describe to you about how this all works, but you get the idea.
       
      So, how much time outdoors do we recommend? Mostly we recommend that wherever your pet is, try to make it possible for him or her to have a choice and to make that choice without need of your help or intervention. If that’s possible, it’s ideal. If it’s not possible, then perhaps the simple answer is “as much as possible”; not a very helpful response but the truth is that most of your pets (though not all) really do enjoy being outside. Minimally, dogs really do benefit from at least a couple of walks a day and if you can safely let your cat out onto a balcony or into an enclosed yard for a while, they will often love this too – just please don’t worry that if your cat doesn’t get outside he or she must be unhappy; this is certainly not the case.
       
      Finally, if a pet staying with us really needs to be on its own for any reason, then that is certainly what happens. Pets do not share enclosures unless their owners want them to, and they do not share playtime unless their owners also want that. So it’s really entirely up to you… along with a little trust that we’re doing as you ask.

  • My dog lately has a lot of ticks, is it the season for it and how do I prevent the dog from picking up so many? I also wonder how I myself can remove it.
    • Ticks are certainly annoying – not only are they a tad gross, but can also transmit disease to your dog. We certainly see an increase in ticks at this time of year, but do notice them all year round in Dubai. Tick prevention generally involves using Frontline spot on applied directly to the skin at the back of your dog’s neck every four weeks. However, if you are noticing ticks attaching to your dog in spite of this, you can increase the frequency to every three weeks. Remember that washing your dog or allowing it to swim in the days after applying the product will reduce its efficacy and lessen the duration of effect. Make sure you are using the correct dose for your dog’s weight and you can also use Frontline spray on his feet and legs, and underbelly up to twice a week to stop ticks from attaching when on walks or outside.
       
      There are also tick collars that are effective – these last up to eight months and have been well received in general, so if this appeals to you then you should talk to your vet about them. Keep in mind that tick collars are toxic if eaten so if your dog chews his collar or if you have two dogs that chew each other’s collars, then this may not be a very safe route to take!
       
      Removing ticks can be done with the help of a tick removing tool that you can find at pet shops and veterinary clinics – the basic idea being that the tick is gently pulled and twisted at the same time in an attempt to remove all the mouth parts of the tick with its body (eeeew!). Sometimes putting surgical spirits on first may prompt the tick to release its bite – but this is not guaranteed – so if you need to remove the tick, do it with a twisting motion and apply gentle pressure as you pull backwards. It is not often that a tick bite on your dog becomes infected but it can happen – so keep an eye on the area to make sure it isn’t becoming red, swollen or painful.
       
      Happy tick fighting!

  • I have see two tiny kittens in Deira. Should I adopt them or will their mommy take care of them?
    • It’s very rare that a mother cat will leave her kittens – usually only when looking for food. It’s best not to move them because the mother will then not be able to find them.  If they’re moving around, with their eyes open and look healthy, then leave them as they are and their mother will almost surely be back to care for them.

  • Is there a list of ‘banned’ dogs in the UAE? We have seen a bull mastiff and a Japanese fighting dog in the last month!
    • The full response can’t be a simple “yes” or “no”, we’re afraid. First, yes, it’s true that some dog breeds are indeed banned in the UAE by federal law. And these are the breeds:
      All Pit Bull Terriers
      Argentinean Mastiff / Dogo Argentino
      Fila Brasilerio / Brazilian Mastiff
      Japanese Tosa Inu
      American Staffordshire Terriers
      English Staffordshire Bull Terriers
      Wolf/Dog Hybrids
      …and any cross-breeds of any of the above listed dogs

      So how is it possible you’ve seen one or more of these breeds in the country? Good question! Simply, they may have entered the country before the breed was added to the list of banned breeds – for example, English Staffordshire Terriers were allowed until about a year ago. But it’s also true that some are bred here illegally and that in fact there is a real lack of enforcement of these laws for pets which are already in the UAE.

      However, once a breed is put on the banned list, it is not possible to import that prohibited breed because the Ministry of Environment & Water (MoEW) will not issue an import permit for them – in fact, if one were to try to send that dog under the guise of another breed description, the Ministry vets would identify the actual breed at the time of import/arrvial and would not allow the dog to enter the country; there would also be a fine for the importer and the dog would be sent back to its place of origin, all at the owner’s/shipper’s expenses.

      Dubai Municipality also has a list of restricted breeds but this is only at the municipal level, affecting Dubai only. These breeds are:
      American Bull Dog
      Argentinean Mastiff
      Bull Terrier
      Canary Dog Fila
      Doberman
      Tosa
      Husky
      Miniature Bull Terrier
      Neapolitan Mastiff
      Olde English Bull Dog
      Perro De Presa Mallorquin /Bulldog
      Rottweiler
      Shar Pei

      There is some controversy about this list (for example, Rottweilers can be the most wonderful pets), but that is the list, such as it is. And rules do, therefore, apply, including:
      – These breeds must be registered with the Veterinary Services Section of the Municipality.
      – They must be walked on a leash in public areas.
      – They are expected to wear a basket-type muzzle in public areas.
      – And they will need to be homed in a villa, not an apartment.

      This said, and as earlier, we know that these rules are not very earnestly or proactively enforced… until someone complains or a problem/incident arises.

      And there you have it! The ABCs of the legal side of dog ownership in the UAE!

  • My dog Marcus, a bulldog was poisoned by what was diagnosed as a spider bite. He woke up one night and started throwing up. Initially, we though he had just eaten something off when we’d taken him for a walk earlier that evening. But we realized it was something else when hives broke out all over his body. We rushed him to a vet who gave him a steroid injection and some medication – to which he reacted. Ultimately, he had to be hospitalized for two nights and took at least a week to recover completely. What’s the best first aid to give at home, if I were to face a similar emergency situation again at as odd time when it’s not always easy to reach a vet? Is there any OTC medication which I can stock up at home which can be given for temporary relief?
    • Allergic reactions like that can be hair-raising, to say the least! We’re sure you’re nervous about it happening again, and of course it’s just fine to try to prepare again for the future, but we would also caution you against becoming too concerned. These things do happen, of course they do, but they don’t happen often, and you and your Marcus have just been extremely unfortunate. This said, being prepared sure can’t hurt!
       
      Your vet can certainly advise you on anti-histamine and/or cortisone‎ tablets that you can purchase from a pharmacy to keep at home in case you find this happening and you cannot get to the vet. The doses and frequency is important and depends on your dog’s body weight, so please ask your vet to advise you. Keep in mind, too, though, that no matter how hard you try to prepare, even these remedies may not apply appropriately in the moment, for the particular issue that has arisen – so really, it is always best to get to a vet who will be able to distinguish and respond to each individual case.

  • My daughter’s bunny died just like that for no reason after a week with us. Some discharge came out after it died. She is devastated. What should we look for when buying a rabbit?
    • So sorry to hear about your rabbit! It’s very sad when something like that happens so suddenly – there could have been any number of reasons for it.
       
      When purchasing a rabbit, try, as far as it’s possible, to go to a well-presented and clean pet shop where you can see that the living conditions for the pets there are clean and well ventilated.‎ Your general feeling of the place should be that animals are being cared for – if you’re feeling is not that, then you’re probably correct and should be concerned not only for the animals there but also for yourself if you should decide to buy one from that establishment.
       
      Make sure the rabbit you choose is not too small – it really should be at least eight weeks old, if not older; Google some pictures of rabbits around that age, which might help you a little in identifying one when you’re in the shop, so that you’re at least a little familiar with the expected size and weight of it. The rabbit definitely should not feel underweight either – when you stroke it, you shouldn’t feel bones over the ribs too obviously. It should also have clear eyes and nose, with no discharge coming from either at all. Finally, the rabbit should look and indeed BE active in its enclosure and looking alert. The best situation is if the shop will allow you to take the one you like to a vet for a check-up before purchasing – that would really be ideal!

  • We have three guinea pigs and I have two questions please! We thought we were buying three female guinea pigs but in fact two are female and one is male, so the male is in a separate cage. The cages are next to eachother but we worry that the male gets lonely be alone in it’s cage? How would we know if it is depressed? Also, our guinea pigs squeak very loudly when they see or hear us coming – is this them chatting or are they scared? Thanks!
    • Guinea pigs certainly prefer to live in groups as they are highly social animals, so it is possible that the male is feeling lonely. Guinea pig depression (wow! – is there such a thing!?) can manifest as him remaining largely inactive and withdrawn and puffing up his fur and sometimes hiding. You could get him castrated and then he can safely be reintroduced to the females so they can then skip on about together!

      Squealing and squeaking are normal parts of guinea pig communication – if they scream loudly it indicates fear , but chatting and squeaking are often signs of pleasure and contentment. These guys probably know you are bringing cuddles and food! If they freeze on the spot with their eyes bulging, or dash off and hide, then they’re showing fearful behaviour, but if they’re relaxed and just being noisy around you. we’re pretty sure they’re just chatting!

  • My 11 year old standard female poodle has started to loose patches of hair on her back. A vet has looked at her and will test her thyroid. Any recommendations?
    • It is difficult to advise you in any detail without actually seeing your dog, but it seems entirely reasonable to us that the vet wants to check the thyroid gland with the symptoms your dog is showing. If the test ends up being normal, then other causes for the hair loss will need to be looked at. Good luck!

  • I give my cat cuddles and playtime in the morning and evening before I go to work and when I get home and before bedtime. He is an outdoor cat but he always wants more attention from me. If I give him more will he simply get more and more demanding?
    • We don’t think if you give him more attention he will expect more, but we DO think that he’ll  become used to and familiar with any regular quantity of attention you give him. This means that if you increase the cuddles and then for whatever reason you are away or cannot be there to keep up the supply, he may miss the attention and possibly suffer kitty stress from that. It sounds to me like you are giving him plenty of attention and the fact that he can go outside is also good for variety and stimulation. So don’t feel you should or shouldn’t give him any certain amount of attention… do what feels right and we’re sure he’ll be puuurrfectly happy!

  • Carrots are always shown to be a rabbit favorite but in fact, it can cause diabetes when fed in large quantities. Is that true?
    • Carrots should not be a large part of a rabbit’s diet, that’s true. They contain sugars that can predispose to diabetes and are not a particularly good source of fibre or overall nutrition for your bunny. Hay and grasses are very important and should form the largest part of the diet (80%), with commercial diets only being fed in small amounts. Leafy greens and other vegetables are good too but should be introduced slowly and not fed in large quantities either. Carrots are a favourite indeed, but should be fed in smaller quantities as treat foods only.

  • Why do animals target the eyes of another when fighting? We foster a cat from animal action and he had surgery and is missing an eye and the other eye is scarred. So he can’t see anything above his eye level.
    • We don’t believe animals target eyes particularly or especially. This said, they are sensitive organs and are very vulnerable to damage by claws and teeth during a full-on and aggressive tumble‎. Cats especially swipe at each other with claws bared and it is understandable that a sharp claw could puncture or even scratch an eye badly in such a circumstance. When cats are properly fighting, and not just playing, they mean business and can do damage to each other and we think the eyes are particularly at risk because they are not really protected and are close to the mouth so an animal trying to push away an opponent’s teeth will often catch an eye.

  • My overweight cat of 3 years old has been unable to have a bowel movement for 4 days now but has been able to urinate strong urine. What can I give him to help him poop?
    • Before we can suggest a home remedy for you to help him poop, it is important to make sure that he is otherwise happy and healthy. Is he eating and drinking normally? Is he comfortable and not straining to pass poos in the litter box? If you are happy that the answers to these questions are all positive, then you can go to your vet and pick up an over-the-counter mild laxative for you to try for him at home. But please… if you are in any way concerned that he is otherwise not himself, it is better to have him fully checked by the vet because constipation, if severe, can be a serious condition. Good luck and happy pooping!

  • My 8 year old male cat has had to be kept in at night recently after complaints from neighbours due to fighting. This is a huge problem because as soon as it is light he starts to make noises to be let out. Any suggestions. We don’t know who is the owner of the other cat? Any help appreciated.
    • Cats, as you may already know, are very territorial animals and clearly this other cat has threatened what was previously your cat’s territory. These issues can be very difficult to address, especially if you cannot find the owner of the other cat to make sure that he is neutered. However, neutering doesn’t always solve the problem, as the two cats still need to sort out whose space is whose, so we certainly do sympathise with you. It isn’t wise, due to the risk of your cat being infected with viruses that can be transmitted via biting, to let your cat out until the issue of the other cat is addressed. In the meantime, try and make him comfortable at home and get him used to not being let out at first light.

      You can try doing this by making him sleep in a certain room with a bed or space that is completely his own, and by feeding him in the morning when you wake up so that he associates the morning with food and not with being let out. Preferably the room should not have windows looking out onto the garden where he could possibly see the other cat and become stressed by that, so it is advisable to keep curtains drawn during the night. You can try letting him out an hour or two later so he becomes used to this routine. There are various cat calming remedies or pheromones that you can use in this room to also help him feel more relaxed with the new routine. If you find he starts crying to make you feed him very early, you could also look for an automated feeder that can be programmed to release a meal at a certain time which would save you from getting up too early. Hopefully this other cat moves on soon, but until then, there isn’t too much that can be done without the cooperative involvement of the owner of that other cat. Good luck!

  • I’m looking to buy a French bulldog. What do I need to consider, how is a bulldog different to another dog?
    • The main issue to consider with a French bulldog, or any bulldog, for that matter, is that they are a brachycephalic (which means “snub-nosed”) breed. This means that their noses appear flat or “squashed” as a desired part of the breed’s appearance, and it causes these dogs to have narrower than normal airways. What does this mean for an owner? Well, it means that you need to take great care to ensure that your bulldog doesn’t get too hot, as dogs cool down by panting and these little fellas struggle to cool down easily due to the narrowed nature of the airways. Living in Dubai can get HOT (as you know), so you need to take extra special care during the summer if you own one of these breeds.

      Additionally, if you intend to import or export your bulldog by air, many airlines do not accept this and other similar breeds for transport because they are a greater risk for health issues, or even death, due to the potentially lethal combination of the additional stress they are experiencing and the restricted airways, causing problems for their breathing. Now, many of these breeds do travel perfectly well, but it is true that they are at risk and it is certainly true that depending on your destination and therefore the airlines available to you, you might find it difficult to find an airline which will be willing to carry your pet.

  • Are salt-contained foods harmful to some pets?
    • Salt in large quantities can indeed be harmful to your pets, so it is best to avoid salty foods. If too much salt is ingested, a pet can develop neurological signs and go into a coma and possibly even die, but it’s all dependent on the amount ingested. Please don’t worry if your dog or cat has had a small cheeky salty snack, but if there has been a binge on a huge bag of salted potato chips and your pet is a small dog or cat, it would be best to give your vet a call. ‎ It is a toxicity that is easily treated but more importantly, easily avoided!

  • Please let me know if a hamster is a good choice for a pet in Dubai.
    • Hamsters make good pets in most places in the world because they are generally kept indoors in cages or hutches. Things to consider are that they need to have their cages cleaned regularly and that they should be fed the correct diet and given fresh water daily. They also enjoy scuffling about…especially at night, so you may want it sleeping in a different room. Most hamsters are  friendly, but sometimes they bite, and this should be kept in mind when handling them. Also remember that they don’t often live past two years of age but are a very popular family pet in Dubai and all around the world.

  • Is a harness better for a small dog than a collar?
    • I would say yes, a harness is better for a small dog as it allows you greater control over the little one without the risk of pulling too hard and inadvertently injuring the head or neck. Little dogs also often slip their collars, so I think a harness is a better choice.

  • Do I need to treat my rabbit for parasites?
    • Rabbits don’t need to be routinely treated for parasites but from time to time they can require treatment for skin and intestinal parasites. If you are concerned about your rabbits skin or body condition, you should ask your vet for advice.

  • I’m thinking of taking a driving holiday with my dog from here to Cyprus, through Iran/Turkey. Any idea what Iran’s regulations are?
    • Road trips! Love ’em!

      Unfortunately, a road trip with your dog, through many countries, might prove too unpleasantly bureaucratic and complicated for you to want to actually do it.  :-(

      You see, you’ll need to meet the entry and exit requirements for each of those countries. We can certainly advise of the entry requirements for each of the countries when travelling from the UAE but bear in mind that the requirements from one of the other countries to Cyprus may differ and it’s best to check with a relocations agent and/or government authorities in those specific countries regarding the requirements.

      From Dubai to Iran

      • Pets have to be microchipped
      • Pets should have up-to-date rabies and annual canine vaccinations, with the rabies vaccination being at least 30 days old at the time of travelling.
      • UAE Health certificate should be gained within 10 days of travelling.

      From Dubai to Turkey

      • Pets have to be microchipped
      • Pets should have up-to-date rabies and annual canine vaccinations with the rabies vaccination being at least 30 days old at the time of travelling.
      • Rabies blood test (RNATT) is required and the blood sample should be taken at least 30 days after the rabies vaccination. At least 3 calendar months should pass from the date of the blood sample before the pet can travel to Turkey otherwise the pet will have to undergo home quarantine for the remaining period.
      • An import permit is required for Turkey and this is given on arrival in Turkey.

      From Dubai to Cyprus

      • Pets have to be microchipped
      • Pets should have up-to-date rabies and annual canine vaccinations with the rabies vaccination being at least 30 days old at the time of travelling.
      • Pets should be treated for internal and external parasite treatments prior to travelling.
      • UAE and EU Health certificate should be gained within 10 days of travelling.

      And then, of course, on your way back you might well have to go through another and repeated complicated process! If you’re serious about trying this, we suggest you get in touch with us directly and we can start to provide more specific advice. Good luck!

  • I have a male tabby 6 year old cat. Why does he still mark his territory? Is it possible that he wasn’t spayed correctly? Do I have to check all is OK?
    • It is remotely possible that he may not have been done properly but unlikely, especially if he had two testicles visible prior to the operation. Sometimes cats have a testicle retained inside the body and it’s possible if he wasn’t “done” properly that in this case it could have been left behind. We suggest you take him to your vet for a check-up and they can determine if there is a problem in that regard or not.

      What is more likely is that he is marking his territory, as he has learned this behaviour and possibly was castrated later than the usual six-month-of-age period. Or he is particularly territorial and is possibly threatened by cats next door or in the area and so feels the need to mark. They are territorial animals and even castrated males, for example, will fight with neighbouring cats. If a cat is threatened by other cats or even feels stress at home (whether this is real or perceived), they can demonstrate marking behaviour as part of their response to this. We would advise you get him checked out and explain the dynamics of his home life to your vet to see if a solution can come from that.

  • My cat’s gums are inflamed. They always have been a little, and recently, we even had to extract a tooth. I also feel like he doesn’t want to eat his kibble, but goes for the wet food instead. How can I know or sense that my cat is suffering from tooth or gum pain? Is he just going for the wet food because he likes it better or because he can chew it better?
    • Gingivitis (inflamed gums) is a common problem with cats and is usually as a result of tartar on the teeth or the cat’s own immune system reacting inappropriately to the tartar, thereby effectively attacking its own teeth! We know this sounds weird but it isn’t really, and it is something we see commonly in cats in Dubai. We cannot say if this is, in fact, what is going on with your cat, but you should talk to your vet about this as he or she would have recently done the cleaning when the tooth was removed. It sounds like the gums may still be inflamed even after the procedure, so this should be investigated. Inflamed gums, depending on the severity, can be mildly to severely painful. Cats with very bad gingivitis often drool and refuse to eat, or they might even cry when their mouths are opened – this certainly doesn’t sound like it is the case with your cat (thank goodness!) but you should make sure she is monitored by your vet for any changes. Cats with these issues need regular dental cleaning and sometimes in severe cases they do very well when their teeth are removed entirely… this sounds awful, of course, but it truly isn’t and only applies to cats with severe inflammation and pain. Once these cats have had the procedure, they’re usually far happier and gobble up their food as soon as they wake up! Please understand that we are not suggesting this is definitely needed for your cat but we want you to be aware of the range of symptoms and treatments that gingivitis entails. We would advise that you chat to your vet about your cat’s teeth and gums to get a better understanding of her specific situation.

  • I have an 11 year old male cat with two different colors eyes. One is light orange and one is dark orange. The one that is darker continues to get darker little by little and I just noticed a small, white spot next to the pupil. He seems healthy otherwise, no drainage, pupils same size, etc. Should I be concerned?
    • Different coloured eyes in cats can occur naturally but usually they are born this way. The colour of the eye is determined by the iris and changes in colour can be due to changes in the iris itself or changes to the cornea and/or front chamber of the eye that make the colour appear to be different. We would suggest you have your cat checked by the vet to make sure there are no issues with the cornea or inflammation or pressure changes within the eye. The white spot you mention can also be checked at the same time. It’s always better to be sure there are no problems with the eyes as sometimes there can be changes happening that the cat itself is not aware of. Please don’t worry too much though, a check-up will shed light onto the subject and you will then know if your kitty requires any treatment or not.

  • I heard the question about a sudden increase in eating or drinking. How about a sudden drop in amount of food and water? My cat has no dental problems, but has became less active, and has bad breath too! She is 12 years old.
    • It’s not a good thing for a cat to start eating and drinking less – especially if you have noticed less activity as well. She is an older cat now so it is important you take her to your vet for a check-up in order to find out the reason for her drop in appetite and energy levels. The bad breath may just be coincidental (and unpleasant I know!) but it could also indicate changes in her kidney function. A trip to your vet and possibly a few blood and urine tests would put everything into perspective and you will then know if there is anything that need ongoing treatment or not. Good luck and we hope she feels better soon.

  • Doorbell dog! Bell goes and little dog yaps and yaps. Tried most things. Please help!
    • On the show today, we discussed the possibility that you need to try to desensitise your dog to the bell. This would involve a whole process of intentionally ringing the bell frequently throughout the day, perhaps for many days, until your dog learns that there is no one at the door and that there is nothing to get excited about or fearful of. There are no guarantees that this will work but it is worth a try and could indeed be very successful. The main ingredients here are:  you need to be dedicated; you need to ignore your dog when he’s “yapping” so that he does not feel in any way reinforced in his behaviour, nor punished for it. Just ignore him. If this doesn’t work for you, however, then there are likely other underlying issues which result in the excessive barking; most commonly boredom and lack of exercise. The solution? More exercise and less boredom! Sounds easy, right?

      One approach you might try is teach your dog to bark on cue, as well as learning a command to stop barking. For that, you need to find something that really excites your dog ~ perhaps a toy or a lovely treat. A toy is a bit easier as you can get your dog quite excited about it while playing with him or her. While withholding the toy or treat, they often start barking at you because they want it so much, which is the time you can begin to teach him or her to bark on cue. You can say “Bark!” or “Talk!” or “Speak!” (or anything sound or term you like) and if your dog barks, give him or her the reward – this will start to reinforce the benefit of barking and, conversely, that barking at other times reaps no reward. After a few days of repeating this (often!), you can then also introduce a command to stop the barking again, something like “Stop!” or “Thank you!” (or whatever). In this case, your dog will get to do a couple of barks and once he or she stops, you then say the command to end the barking immediately and give the reward again. Timing is key.

      One wouldn’t think so, but general obedience training can also help with this issue. The better the bond between you and your dog, the more responsive your dog will be to you, even during high arousal moments. Commands like “sit”, “down” and “stay” can help to distract the dog from the doorbell and the barking, and go a long way towards you gaining loving control over your dog rather than the other way around.

      Now, if all this doesn’t help, or if you feel you need some of your own training in order to carry all this out, you’ll need to get a dog training and/or dog behaviourist involved, and there are a few in the UAE, though we don’t know how helpful they can or cannot be. But worth a try. And if even this does not solve your problem… just switch off the doorbell !  ;-)

  • I am considering getting myself two grey African parrots. I am getting a good price from a seller from Bangkok, with all paper works. Would you recommend going for it or buy locally?
    • The sad and frustrating truth is that the sale of animals in the UAE is often unreliable with regard to the quality of the pet, the health of the pet and pedigree of it. We’re not saying it is impossible to get a healthy, wonderful and quality pet in the UAE, because it is possible, but you really do need to make very sure that you have all the evidence of this from the seller. This would include such things as the appropriate CITES certificate, in the case of an African Grey, and to confirm that this certificate is legitimate, and we would also recommend that before you purchase the bird you get it examined by a quality veterinarian to give it the “all clear”.

      This said, if you are ready to spend the money on having a bird imported, which is certainly a more expensive approach, and if you feel confident that the breeder/seller is a quality one, then your chances of getting a high-quality, healthy bird is probably a little higher. Still, though, do make sure that you do all that is necessary to ensure it is indeed the bird you hope for.

  • Is there anything I can give/I can do so my cat will shed less hair?
    • When your cat sheds it can be very annoying – especially if you have a black cat and a white sofa or visa-versa! However, shedding is normal and they will shed heavily usually twice a year but some cats seem to shed almost all the time which is even more frustrating. As long as kittie’s hair coat is in good condition and there are no bald patches you simply have to accept it is a normal part of owning a cat. Many people shave longer haired cats at the heavy shedding time and others brush their cats every day. You can also pull a damp towel across their backs to try and facilitate the shedding. There are various skin supplements available at the vet and in pet shops that claim to help the shedding process, but if your cat is on a good quality diet and has healthy skin, it is unlikely that these will make any difference at all. Gotta love that kitty and all that fur!

  • I want to ship a dog to New Zealand. How much money, time and paperwork are we talking about?
    • Weeeelllll… it’s impossible for us to tell you exact pricing without going into more detail with you, and there will be additional costs once in New Zealand related to quarantine and other things, but you’re probably looking in the region of AED 13,000. Now, perhaps more significantly, it’s important to know that New Zealand is arguably the most difficult country in the world to import an animal into – they are very careful and strict about the legal requirements for importing animals, and the result is that it takes at least 7 months to prepare for and actually execute the shipment. There are veterinary requirements, various types of import document requirements, etc., and all of these requirements must be done at certain times and stages of the export process… so prepare well in advance! As to the specifics of the paperwork, again, too much detail for this particular forum, but any experienced relocations agent will be able to give you all that detail if you get in touch.

  • Hi. I was wondering if you can help me. We have 2 cats, a brother and sister 2 years old. The female cat has taken to eating clothes. Not just ripping but eating big holes through. The vet has said there is nothing medically wrong. The clothes are both clean and dirty so nothing to do with smell. It only recently started happening. They have plenty of toys but they are on their own in a large apt through the daytime.
    • Cats that chew things can be very annoying, especially if they develop an expensive taste for clothes! Firstly, it can be as a result of stress, so if you haven’t already done so you should purchase a cat pheromone spray or vaporiser (Felliway or Pet Remedy are often used) and see if that makes a difference. If you can identify a cause for stress, such as builders, visitors or new pets then also go about addressing that. Keep clothes away from the cats as much as possible as you don’t want her ingesting enough fabric to cause an obstruction and require surgery! If you do notice her chewing clothes, don’t make a fuss or any kind of reaction, for that matter, except for removing her from the clothes and placing her elsewhere in a mini time-out. You do not want to reinforce the behaviour with a reaction and, similarly, when she does play with or chew on a toy, you can praise or stroke her so that she hopefully learns that this is a better thing to do. Cats are sometimes too weird… good luck!

  • I live in JBR, along with all pet owners we have been given 30 days to get rid of our pets. Obviously it is impossible to move house. What should we do?
    • This sounds like a very tricky situation for everyone there and their pets. My only advice would be to ‎check your rental contracts and see what the position, if any, is on having pets in the apartment. If nothing is mentioned regarding this then it is worth getting legal advice to find out what a reasonable grace period would be for you to find alternative accommodation for you and your dog or cat, as well as whether the landlord has a legal leg to stand on in this regard or not. Otherwise you will have to board your pets at a boarding facility or with friends that are willing and able until you can find alternative accommodation arrangements.

  • What would the cost be roughly and what is involved in relocating my 6kg cat to South Africa? Eleanor
    • South Africa is one of the more difficult countries to relocate a pet to, so always plan well in advance in order to have the time to meet both the legal and financial requirements.

      Cats have to be microchipped and should have up-to-date rabies and annual feline vaccinations, with the rabies vaccination being at least 30 days old at the time of travelling. On the South African side, there is an import permit required. Also, and important to note, is that all pets travelling to South Africa have to travel as a cargo shipment (they cannot fly as accompanied/excess baggage) and can enter into either Johannesburg, Durban or Cape Town airports only.
       
      As for the cost, well… hold your breath. An estimate would be about AED 8,000+, approximately half of which would be our fees for providing the service if you chose to use Dubai Kennels and Cattery, of course – then again, you can always shop around. But even if you do the shipment on your own, you’re still looking at close to AED 5,000 in costs for the flight and other legal processing. Phew!

  • I have a female Scottish Fold cat about 9 months old. She loves to eat canned tuna in water (Al Alalia brand) which is meant for human consumption. My vet in Sharjah is completely against giving any kind of canned tuna for cats which is meant for human consumption. I had visited your DKC in Garhoud and DKC also serves the same kind of canned tuna for their cats. Please advise…what is the right thing to do?
    • If tuna is the only thing your cat is eating, this is not a good thing; it will lead to malnutrition because tuna lacks the vital amino acid called taurine that cats need for proper heart function. It also is low in certain vitamins that can lead to issues with fat metabolism and there is the further risk of too much mercury being ingested if tuna is fed as a sole diet on its own. Also, though, cats can become addicted to tuna and as a result it becomes difficult to feed other diets which are better for them, which would be an obvious problem. But, this said, tuna as a treat every now and again is fine, as they really do love it.

      In fact, this is exactly why we use tuna at DKC – only as a way to help get cats eating when they are not, which happens sometimes when cats are in a new and unfamiliar environment. In other words, we don’t rely on tuna as the primary or even secondary type of food, but sometimes do feed tuna when we think it will help get a cat’s appetite going. And because it is only in this circumstance that tuna is given, it’s just fine and nothing to worry about at all. As for the specific brand you refer to, yes, we do use it. However, to the best of our knowledge there is no issue with this brand – the important thing is that the tuna must NOT be in oil, only water.

  • Every day I see a little black crust on my cat’s left nostril. I think it’s dried blood. When I brush it off it comes back the next day. What could be wrong with my baby (he’s 10 years old and suffers from Feline Aids)?
    • A little black crust on one nostril certainly indicates that there is some sort of discharge coming from the nose. This could be related to an overly tearing eye on the same side or a possible issue with the tear duct, or it can be related to something going on in the nose and nasal passages themselves. It would certainly be a good idea to have this checked by your vet to make sure it is nothing to worry about; as we’re sure you know, cats with Feline AIDS can live healthy lives but need to be checked when they show any possible signs of problems as their immune systems may not be functioning optimally. Try not to worry, it is probably not serious at all, but you should certainly get your cat checked out.

  • My cat sheds a lot of hair, my vet charges me about 300 to put her sedated and then shave her. She gets aggressive, so I need to do this. But what can I do to reduce the costs?
    • Hair shedding is frustrating and more so because it is normal! In order to help this process along, we recommend regular brushing of your cat (if she allows it) as well as trying to remove some of the dead hair by gently pulling a damp towel across her body as the loose hairs will stick to the towel. There are various skin and coat supplements you can try that may or may not help – we have had varied reports from owners when using these for hair shedding, but some say they do work. Grooming or shaving obviously helps but as she needs sedation for these, it is expensive. Try and limit this to a shave twice a year to reduce the costs but understand that the vet has to monitor and make sure she is safe whilst sedated and that she safely wakes up from the sedation when the grooming is complete. This is what you are paying for primarily and it is important that sedation is carried out at a veterinary clinic and by a vet as her safety whilst sedated is extremely important. It is a pity she doesn’t tolerate grooming whilst awake, as that is certainly far more cost effective, but there are many cats out there that don’t appreciate that kind of pampering!

  • My cat has become weird lately, she will only let me hold her for maybe 2 seconds and when I stroke her head, she pulls away. She also is a bit jumpy and puts her head into the sofa’s pillows which she has never done before. I’m thinking what to do? Could it be her being in pain, maybe through a toothache?
    • It’s hard to say what could be causing your cat’s behaviour to change but you have noticed this change and it does seem to be very different from how she behaved previously. So what does this mean? It means we would certainly advise that you have her checked out by your vet as it’s important to have her teeth and mouth checked as well as having a general physical exam – your vet may pick up on an issue or be alerted to some explanation for the behavioural change. This is not a very helpful response, we know, but sometimes it’s difficult to see into the problem with also actually seeing the pet. Or it may be that your cat is just weird! ;-)

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