Written by Natalia Dolidze, Managing Director of Pets Habitat LLC

Just a reminder…

Elevators. The danger of elevator to your pet pooch has been brought to attention of many since recent youtube security cam video went viral depicting the turmoil of Canadian pet owner when her Rottweiler’s leash got trapped in between the elevator doors. Her Rottie was very lucky to escape unharmed and the owner suffered just a couple of broken fingers, which is a very small price to pay in such dramatic ac! From our customers unfortunate personal experiences such and similar accidents end tragically for the dog and the grieving owners, often having to witness the shocking demise of beloved pet right in front of their eyes. Therefore, please pleases please remain vigilant when near elevators with your pet dog on the leash! I would say that best way would be to take your small to medium size pooch into your arms anywhere near elevators just to be on safer side and hold your larger dog (ideally should not be living in apartment in the first place) on a very short leash right by your side muzzled (to avoid another kind of accident inside tight spaced elevator with other people and possible other canines too).

High floors. The chance of your pet falling down is another common apartment related danger, especially for cats, who tend to get carried away by sudden onset of their hunting instinct every now and again. How many times have I heard “My cat knows”, “my cat would never fall/jump”, “my cat doesn’t care for birds”. They do care, they don’t always know and they do jump and fall, most often not on their feet as many of us tend to believe. Broken bones, fractured jaws and death results all too often. Please protect your pet animals, cats and dogs, by not allowing them access to the balcony without your constant supervision. This is your pet, YOU are responsible to know better, NOT the pet. It only takes a second…

Cars and busy roads. This brings us to another danger of urban living. Needless to mention we all live in a very developed world in UAE with number of cars soaring each year. All of us who drive well know the instant an animal, another car (or human) comes in our driving way. As much as we wish to avoid the impact, we often cannot with all our best intentions. Thus, please be responsible over your pet animals and do not always blame the drivers. Do not allow your pet dog off the leash near roads or on long retractable leash, retractable leashes occasionally fail and snap off, freeing the startled dog to run, often in front of the car. It should not, but it does happen.

Another aspect of this common situation is with cats. Many of us living in villas and townhouses often allow our felines to come and go as they please. Personally, after many unexplained disappearances over the years, I have finally put an end allowing my cats the liberty of outdoors. You find it cruel? May be. But they live much longer that way and I don’t have to carry another emotional scar of “what did happen?” As much as I agree that this is tabby’s nature and this may be what our cats desire most, it is for the benefit of their extended life not allowing them outside even with supervision. It takes couple of seconds for your pet cat to jump the wall and vanish into the neighbour’s territory unknown, how many bells will you be ringing in search of your moggy, especially if late at night? Thinking “my cat knows home and will come back later” often results in emails with subject line “help: lost cat”. Of course cats know and they will come back, hopefully, eventually, provided they will also be able to dodge all the cars on the roads they’ll choose to cross several times over and battle down all other dominant cats on their way and possibly a dog or two off the leash. How many times while jogging did I personally have to shoo some feline off the dark, dim, curvy roads, not just crossing, but also sitting, rolling over and cleaning themselves fully relaxed mid of driving path. Please try to think on behalf of your furry Kamikaze and keep them indoors for their own sake.

Heat and humidity. Should this even be mentioned?! It gets extremely hot and humid in UAE as we all can feel. If you cannot stand outside yourself, your dog (and even pet cat) may have even lower tolerance to the weather element. We have a choice of moving indoors, drinking water, cooling ourselves down when we feel we can’t bear the heat/humidity any further. Your pet does not always have that choice and ability to open doors, windows to come in or out, or starting the car if left locked inside. Please be kind and thoughtful! It takes just a few minutes for your dog (or cat) to become fatally overheated, especially brachycephalic (snub-nosed) breeds like Pugs, Bulldogs, Pekingese, Shih Tzu, Persian cats and others. I have witnessed crying owners unable to cope with sudden loss of their dogs due to such unexpected mishap. Leave a/c on for any of your pets indoors (even mice, I’ve seen them die within an hour when a/c accidentally failed once), make sure your pet always has access to clean fresh water (at any time, any place, any weather condition). Do not accidentally, or purposely, lock your pet out even for only few minutes during any weather, especially hotter months! It would also be a good idea to do regular very short trim for your pets during hotter months (at Pets Habitat of course!).

On that note, I would also like to clarify that we, at Pets Habitat, do not import puppies or kittens during extremely hot UAE summers. It is just too much for most animals to bear, especially those coming from cooler EU countries. We neither wish to put our pets through any more discomfort they already may be experiencing on flights nor do we want to take any risks losing healthy young animal to the intense heat of UAE while in brief transit between Dubai airport facilities. So please do not ask me to import you any pet during summer months, the answer will be “not before end September”, which is still hot, but bearable at night hours (when we schedule our animals to arrive).

Swimming pools. Another common danger not many people think about is your swimming pool. Unless your pet is a fish (who enjoys highly chlorinated water), please do not allow your pet dog or cat near pools unattended. Yes, probably all animals can instinctively swim, but for how long?! Most animals will not have our ability to pull themselves out of the water, especially after being shocked scared and exhausted inside. They may become disoriented in the waters on the beach as well as your household pool. Some of us who have been on a boat and jumped into the seas for a brief swim know not-so-easy process climbing back up in. Now imagine your animal alone in the pool. We have had customers whose pets drowned in their own pool when left unattended for a very short time. Do not allow animals alone near water, simple.

Burning hot asphalt, tiles, sand. If you think you can fry an egg on the hot surface during UAE hotter months, your pets would probably burn their paws as easily, particularly applicable towards dogs on the leash taken for walks. While walking with your pet try taking your shoes off. Can you walk/stand comfortably? If not, neither can your pet. Stay attentive, be kind. It may be disputable subject if staying indoors is a better option for you and for your pets during extreme heat of UAE summer, perhaps, you can adopt summer routine of indoors exercise.

Poisons. Aside from the obvious indoor/garden plants and fertilisers, let me remind everyone that chocolate is lethal to pets, dogs and cats particularly (as we would most often be tempted to offer this to our begging pet). Avocado is dangerous to many animals, particularly birds, although if it is harmful to cats and dogs is still highly arguable, I would avoid feeding it to my pets to stay on side of caution. Pear, apple seeds are poisonous to most parrots and other birds as well as fumes of frying pans (notably for the tefal coating) can be deadly to all birds, thus please keep all birds away from kitchens (not to mention fire and burning hazards of hot surfaces, water, knives, etc. of our household kitchens).

Anything I forgot to mention, please feel free to remind me on