If you're considering adopting a pet dog or cat into your home, you might come across pet breeders, pet shops, and pet shelters
21 September 2023| Last updated on 22 September 2023
A pet can add a lot to your home.
Whether you're interested in adopting a dog, cat, rabbit, bird, etc. pets make for wonderful new friends and companions for years.
In the UAE, there are three ways you can find a new pet: at a local animal rescue shelter, a pet shop, and from pet breeders.
There's a lot of confusion when it comes to pet breeders and pet shops, including what is allowed and what is morally ethical. In this guide, we take a look at whether pet sellers are legal in the UAE, and how it compares to pet shelters.
Are pet sellers and pet breeders allowed in the UAE?
Pet breeding for the purpose of sale, or selling pets in general, is allowed in the UAE if you have a valid license issued by the Ministry of Climate Change and Environment (MOCCAE).
Anyone caught illegally selling pets without a valid licence will receive a fine.
Adopting from a pet shelter vs. buying from a pet breeder
Adopting from a rescue shelter
It is usually recommended to adopt your pet from any one of the registered pet shelters and rescue groups in the UAE, as it said to be more ethical.
Animals sold at pet shops or from pet breeders often have health problems from the bad conditions they're raised in, or due to forced inbreeding to get "ideal" results. They might also have poor behaviour due to lack of adequate human and animal socialising.
Generally, adopting from a pet rescue shelter is less costly than buying from a pet store or a pet breeder. Plus, you will give a new family to a neglected, abandoned, or stray pet.
Adopting from a UAE pet shelter will also save the dog or cat's life, and helps to reduce the UAE's homeless stray population. Rescue shelters have limited space and are usually at full capacity, as too few people spay or neuter their pets, or they abandon their dog/cat for various reasons.
Adopting from a pet shop or pet breeder
Buying a pet from a breeder is more often the less ethical choice, as the animals are forced to breed as many aesthetically pleasing or "purebred" offspring as possible, and then discarded once they cannot produce more.
If you are set on buying from a seller, UAE residents are advised to adopt from responsible and authorised pet breeders and pet shops that prioritise the health and wellbeing of our furry friends.
Responsible pet shops and pet breeders will ensure that your new dog or cat is healthy, well-socialised, clean, vaccinated, and at least have basic house training.
Stay away from illegal pet breeders and sellers in the UAE. As much as possible, please consider adopting rather than shopping.
How to tell if a pet breeder is authorised in the UAE?
To legally operate, pet breeders and pet shops in the UAE must have a valid License for Practicing Animal Care Activities, which can be applied for through here so be sure to verify this before buying from them.
This government license is what permits animal-related activities such as pet care centres, pet rescue shelters, animal breeding, zoological parks, animal research centres, and more.
How to check a pet seller's validity in the UAE?
Go to the official MOCCAE government website, and visit the Registered Establishments page. Here, you can search up various animal-related establishments, find their contact details, and check if/when their license was issued.
MOCCAE also offers a Digital Certificates and Permits Hub to verify the certificates and permits issued.