Pugs and Chihuahuas tops the list of must-have pets for Dubai residents.
They are, no doubt, adorable to look at and make for perfect companions, but buying one in Dubai has achieved a superior status symbol.
And, it surely comes at a price.
“If you go through the proper channels, you will have to shell out Dh8,500 for pugs or Chihuahuas.
“But, you would always find them cheaper through your social networks,” says Nicky, owner of two dogs, one adopted and one bought.
“I shelled out Dh6,000 for my Maltese, and later, I adopted a blind dog.”
The ‘cute’ dogs, Dubai Marina resident Rebecca believes, don’t come cheap. “Unlike cats, some of the dogs that are up for adoption aren’t cute.”
A soon-to-be-owner of a pet dog, Anamika, insists that she was adamant about owning a pug.
“They are so cute and adorable. I wouldn’t differentiate one dog from another, but this is just my personal preference.”
A waitress at a café on JBR walk claims she was privy of a conversation among a bunch of ladies who wouldn’t want to be seen with an “ugly” dog.
“They chatted about how they’d never adopt a dog because they didn’t look nice.
“Such people should never have a pet in the first place. It’s just something they want to flaunt.”
Apart from the supposed luxury tag, owning a pet is not an exercise in affordability.
After the initial purchasing cost, you need to take care of the annual vaccinations that costs around Dh500.
“And, if you want to sterilise them, then it costs an additional Dh1,000,” updates another pet owner Rachel.
“You also have to get them a passport, micro-chipped and organise their papers. These are crucial when you board them at community kennels when you go on holiday.”
Even their medical aid could increase the pet budget with private vets costing a bomb.
“There are government veterinary centres, but I prefer taking mine to a private centre in Jumeriah because I want to give my pets the best treatment,” adds Rachel.
And, if you ever plan to take your pet on your travel escapades, then the costs will turn out as expensive as yours, if not more.
“The flight ticket is the same for me and my pet dog! And, there is a host of paper work that needs to be sorted out to get him on board.
“Even the cost of his cage would differ. The bigger and more spacious would cost more,” elaborates Nicky.
Although her dogs have never travelled with her, they stay back at her friend’s place when she is away on holiday.
And, when she is in Dubai, they stay back in her one-bedroom apartment in Silicon Oasis while she is away at work. “Since they are trained, it is OK to keep them home,” she adds.
The Dubai heat is another detriment, leaving many pet owners with a huge electricity bill.
“I have to keep the air-conditioner turned on during the entire day, or else it could get really stuffy for them,” claims Rachel.
Some dogs, like the pugs, are prone to respiratory illness, so their owners have to take extra care to ensure their environment is dust-free.
The day-to-day expenses aren’t substantial, considering pet foods come at a bargain price.
“It’s only Dh5 for a pack of dog food, so that’s not much. You can always increase the budget. If you want to splurge on your pet, you can there’s loads of stuff you can buy like pet accessories, shampoos, custom-made beds,” adds Indu, owner of a pug.
Many working pet owners even use the help of dog walkers, who charge Dh100 (or above) for an entire day of fun and activities.
“Some even offer pick and drop facilities at no additional cost, and it’s brilliant,” admits Sherin, owner of a beagle.
There are even daycare facilities for the pouches.
Most working owners find it tough find house helps who double up as a pet-sitter, so they have to eventually put them up in a daycare for their pets.
“Some kennels charge Dh10 per hour for daycare, but their transportation becomes difficult,” claims Indu, a pug owner.