Moving to Saudi Arabia with your pet

pets in SA
Shutterstock.com
Updated 2022-02-23 08:19

Saudi Arabia is governed by the Shari'a, which is the Islamic Law. According to Wahhabism, animals, and dogs, in particular, are deemed to be impure creatures. Thus, Saudi authorities used to prohibit dogs as well as cats from entering the country for years.

However, foreigners who have settled in Saudi Arabia have managed to take their pets with them and nowadays, it is very common to see expats and locals walking their dogs. In fact, recently, local authorities have set up a series of conditions and regulations so that you can travel to the country with your pet, whether it is a dog or a cat. Parrots and rabbits are not allowed into Saudi Arabia. Note that you cannot bring your pet to Saudi Arabia with a tourist visa. Only foreigners on a working visa or with residency can enter with their pets.

Prohibited dog breeds in Saudi Arabia

First, you should know that some dog breeds are strictly prohibited from entering the country. Below is a non-exhaustive list:

  • Akita
  • boxer
  • Bull terrier
  • bulldog
  • Danish
  • Mastiff/Pitbull
  • Rottweiler
  • Staffordshire Bull Terrier
  • And some others

Risks of traveling to Saudi Arabia with your pet

There are many risks that come with traveling with your pet to Saudi Arabia. One of these is the heat which can be unbearable, particularly in summer. In addition, old pets might find it difficult to adapt to high temperatures in summer.

Will you be able to get up early in the morning or go to bed a little late so that you can take it for a walk to enjoy more reasonable temperatures?

Also, make sure that the compound or independent housing where you will live accepts pets. You are advised to talk about it to your employer to be able to find accommodation where pets are allowed.

Important:

Dogs are not allowed on public transport in Saudi Arabia.

Procedures for importing pets to Saudi Arabia

For all kinds of pets eligible to enter the country, a permit to import from the Ministry of Environment, Agriculture and Water is required. Other documents to ensure smooth entrance are the following :

Feline/Cat imports:

  • ISO-compliant microchip
  • Rabies vaccination - This must be administered at least 30 days but not more than 6 months
  • International Health Certificate for Export (issued in the exporting country)
  • Saudi Arabian Import Permit (issued by the MOA) - It is important to note that the import permit is valid for 30 days and only for the port/city for which it is issued.

Canine/Dog imports:

  • ISO-compliant microchip
  • Rabies vaccination - This must be administered at least 30 days but not more than 6 months
  • Include vaccination information – batch number and manufacture
  • DHC2PP vaccination
  • Test results confirming no parasites/infections
  • Letter issued by vet stating that the dog is healthy for export and is a guard dog
  • International Health Certificate for Export
  • Import Permit

If you are taking a dog to Saudi Arabia, it should be classified in the following categories on the health certificate issued by the veterinarian: guard dog or hunting dog, even if it is a Chihuahua! If not, it will not be allowed on Saudi territory. Guide dogs and assistance are welcome, but only under the working dog category.

Custom formalities for cats and birds are more straightforward. However, make sure to check if these are classified as authorized breeds by the National Commission for Wildlife Conservation and Development of

Important:

Dogs and cats coming from Europe must receive treatment against ticks and worms before traveling to Saudi Arabia.

Pet quarantine in Saudi Arabia

Quarantine is not required for pets in good health and in the presence of supporting documents.

Taking care of your pet during holidays in Saudi Arabia

If you are going to work in Saudi Arabia, you may travel at least once per year for vacation. Meanwhile, you have to sort out whether your pet is going to accompany you, or you will find someone to take care of them in your absence. Some zoo/ pet shops provide “hotel” services for pets when their owners are traveling. However, make sure to compare the prices before choosing whether to book these services or simply let them board the flight with you.

Fostering a pet in Saudi Arabia

Are you a pet lover, living in Saudi Arabia, who wants to give shelter to a cat/dog? Then, you might join some Facebook groups and receive information about how to get involved. Unfortunately, many people are leaving behind their pets, around the time for the final exit from the Kingdom. There are some charities taking care of these abandoned pets and looking for people who would like to adopt them.

Useful links:

Riyadh Animal Shelter

Ministry of Environment, Agriculture and Water

We do our best to provide accurate and up to date information. However, if you have noticed any inaccuracies in this article, please let us know in the comments section below.