Before bringing pets to Qatar, bear in mind that many people in Qatar are not very tolerant of dogs, regarding them as unclean.
To compare a person in any way to a dog is a terrible insult ( so avoid all those old idioms such as it's a dog's life, why keep a dog and bark yourself e.t.c). Dogs are considered too dirty to share house with people, and are banned from the Corniche.
One exception to this dislike of dogs seems to be Saluki hounds at least to Qatari enthusiasts. Saluki hounds are used for hunting in the desert and for racing, and some Bedouin have great affection for them. However, their owners are still unlikely to share living quarters with the hounds.
Muslims do, however, have more sympathy for cats. There is a story that Mohammed, when he went to pray, found a sleeping cat on his prayer mat. Rather than wake up the cat, he cut a circle round the cat and lifted his prayer mat from around it.
However they feel about animals, many locals are unlikely to understand the depth of attachment some people have with their pets.
Bringing your Pet into Qatar
Some breeds of dogs, especially large dogs, are not permitted to enter the country. These breeds include Rottweilers, Bulldogs and Dobermans.
Full list of banned dogs
You need to obtain an import permit from the Ministry of Agriculture before bringing a pet into the country. Application forms can be obtained via a sponsor, or by a (insert anchor tag) pet relocator. Health certificates (which must be issued from a government approved clinic) and rabies vaccination records must be submitted with the completed application form. The license, once obtained, is only vaild for 14 days from the day of issue.
The certificate must be signed and dated by a certified vet in your country, and must be clearly labelled with the words certificate of origin.
All pets must be registered with the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Agriculture's Veterinary Centre on Al Matar Street.
Taking your Pet out of Qatar
Pets must be vaccinated against rabies before being allowed to leave the country.
Airlines and Health Certificates
Airlines require a health certificate before transporting your pet. In Qatar this can be obtained from Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Agriculture's vetinary clinic.
New laws mean that pets cannot be brought in as accompanied baggage, but as cargo only. Even if transporting your pet as cargo, most airlines require a health certificate. Although you may worry about this, pets normally travel better like
Expats with pets on Qatar Living advise not to use local airlines, but to stick with specialist transport. One airline has even been known to lose pets. If you do use airlines, KLM and Lufthansa are both recommended.
Iata, the International Airport Trading Association, recommend reducing the amount of food your pet has before it flies, although you should still give it plenty of water. The pet should then have a light meal two hours before flying in order to calm it and, in America, must do so by law. If you have a dog, exercise it before leaving for the airport, and again before check in. Try to travel on week days when things are calmer and all staff are working, and make sure that the air freight facility will be open at the time of flying.
There are several pet relocators in Qatar, but Qatar Pet Relocators come particularly highly recommended.They also provide practical advice on what type of kennel to use to transport your pet.
Once in Qatar, there are places you need to avoid. Dogs are not allowed on Doha's seafront, or in the parks. The best place for exercising them is probably in the desert or out of town beaches.
The peak of the hot season is likely to be a trial for your pet. While your accommodation will have air-conditioning, exercise will be difficult, even at night. Make sure your dogs always has plenty of water and never leave your dog in a car. Dogs are more susceptible to heat stroke than people, and it can rapidly lead to death.
Signs of heat stroke can include rapid breathing, dry nose and mouth and rapid heart beat, while if the gums become dull, greyish pink or red you have an emergency on your hands. Get your dog to a vet as soon as you suspect heat stroke.
IPATA An international association of proffessional pet shippers.
Ministry of Municipal Affairs Department of Animal Resources and Main Veterinary Clinic
Tel: +974 456 0444
Vets in Qatar
Traveller's Pet Corner (on the International Airport Trading Association website)
Pampered Pets Kennels and Cattery
Ann: Tel: +974 588 4132 Steve Tel: +974 588 5726
Paws and Claws
Janet Tel: +974 528 6335.
Interested in other animals? Read Qatar's Natural History: an Introduction and see superb pictures of Qatar's wildlife.