Bringing in dogs

I've gone over the paperwork requirements (shots, scheduling with the airlines, etc, etc, etc) but had a question for people who have brought dogs into the country.

What was your airport experience like when you brought them in?

The reason I ask is, I was talking to a friend and apparently he had a real bad time getting his dog in the country.  Here's what he had to say in an e-mail:

" It's gonna cost a fortune to bring them. We brought ours and once we grabbed her at the airport, the Kuwaitis took her from us and said she had to be routed through cargo because she's "big".  5 hours and 500 later we finally got her."

I'd really like to know if that is normal, or if my friend was just having a real bad day.  If this is not normal, I'd love it if someone could point me in a direction (regulations, etc) that would help me avoid such a scenario should I run in to the same thing when I arrive.

Thanks in advance guys!

Everyone I know who's bought in dogs pretty much had a similar experience. Expect to wait HOURS to get your dog back. I went with a company when I bought mines in and honestly it was a complete waste of money, as she couldn't do anything to speed things along and was completely useless.

Unfortunately I don't think there is anything that can be done to make the process smoother. Just have all you paperwork ready and be prepare to wait.

It has been like this for both cats and dogs ever since they changed the rules because of the retards who were smuggling wild animals like lions  into the country declaring them as cats. The guy at the gate was afraid to inspect the box with the cat fearing it would be a lion.

We brought a cat in and it was routed to the cargo terminal for paperwork. Yes, it will take a couple of hours and you will end up with a stash of paper of unknown purpose.

By "500" i suspect he meant US dollars? I think our total was around $35 for official charges and another $50 as "grease money" for the person who will help you find your way around. These $50 are the money well spent as you will have to visit 5 counters in 3 buildings.

We were doing this from midnight until 3 AM with a 9 month old child in tow, it was super fun.

So yes, everything is true, but I don't think that the cost for a dog would be so much higher compared to a cat (?)

Thanks guys.  Bring grease money, don't bother with a company, got it. :)

Ribosom:  I'll be feeling your pain.  We'll have 3-dogs, and 2 cats with a 4 year old and a 1 year old in tow...  I get the feeling it's going to be a loooooooooooong flight.


Definitely get your family to your accommodation first, hanging around the Cargo terminal for hours after a long flight is the last thing they would enjoy doing, and you stay behind to sort out the paperwork.

Good luck and let us know if everything went well!

BTW when are you planning to arrive? I am asking because during the warmer season most airlines refuse to transport animals as the risk of them not making it is too high. :(

Sorry for the late reply, it's been a bit frantic getting everything ready for the move.

Good call on sending the family ahead.  I hadn't thought to send them off to the house while I stayed behind. 

I leave April first.  The family follows a month or two afterward.  The heat during transport was an issue for us too.  We called the airline and the representative told us that they go by the departing city's temperature, and not the destination (so we'll be allowed to board them based off of where we live). 

In flight, it's all climate controlled.  Or worst case, a bit on the cold side in the cargo compartment.

But that leaves the Kuwait side when we land... We're hoping our late arrival (8pm-ish) in Kuwait city will be cool enough that the dogs will be ok.  (I'm not sure how quick it cools down there once the sun sets).  I don't know yet what we're going to do there.

on the good side, our airline has a "pet area" at our layover where we can let the dogs out, let them walk around, and refresh their food and water etc.

Good times

You should be good, after initial stress of settling in you will look back at it with a laugh. :)

How can find exactly what paper work is required to bring in a dog? I've been searching for the Pet Import permit from the department of animal health and cannot find it anywhere online. Do you have a summary of the required paperwork to bring the dog in?

Depend on which country u r brining in from. They don't have anything on line regarding this matter. Also they banned animals coming from Russia, ukrain n Serbia.

This might be helpful, but it's from a US perspective

Also, it mentions that pitbulls aren't allowed, but I've met a couple in the immediate area so I'm kind of wondering about the integrity of the info...

Nor are lions for that matter, but you will see them around. :) Integrity of the info is fine, but people's isn't...

A bit of an update since we're getting closer to move time:

So the paperwork for the family visas took longer than we thought.  September 25th is now our return to Kuwait date (I've been in country, they have not).  A few things I learned along the way:

According to the International Vetrinairy Hospital, we need a pet import license from the ministry.  You can bring one cat and one dog (or two cats) on one license.  Only one license will be issued to a person per year.

In my case we had to enlist the help of my mom.  She's bringing one of our dogs, my wife will have custody of one cat and one dog, and I'll have one cat and one dog.  I'm afraid there will be no ditching of the family as we all need to be present to some extent.

The temporary import licenses cost me 50kd total at the IVH and they required a signed document from your landlord saying you can have dogs on the property, A copy of your landlord's civil id and passport signature page, scanned copy of your passport (or in this case my mom's and wife's as well) and they were very adamant that we do not put all the animals on one ticket.  We're told to check in one at a time like we're not together.  Same on the receiving end.

So yeah, I'll update this when we're back in the country.  Inshallah :P

Respect for taking the effort to bring your entire "family" in. I would often get "the look" then I told people we brought our two cats of "domestic breed" with us.

When you accept a responsibility to take care of the living being, then you stick with it.

Thanks!  and agreed.

I've got the "Why don't you just get new dogs there?" question more than once.  I couldnt imagine...   :mad:

Good times


Ok. as promised here's how it went (may I also say life gets much busier when your family arrives?)  Sorry for the delay, here's the quick and dirty of the airport run :)

So I arrived at the airport at about 8:30 pm (fly Lufthansa, they have a pet area in Germany where the dogs can stretch their legs, go potty, be watered, etc).  We collected our bags and our dogs were waiting for us in the baggage claim area.  We had about 4 bags each plus our carry ons and cats, so we paid 3 porters to help us with all our luggage, it was money well spent.  (I think I gave them each 20kd, which is a LOT but like I said...).  We needed these guys, and with the cash we gave them they were very happy to wait with us while we did everything we needed to do.

My wife stayed with the porters and kids while I was directed to a room to talk to a customs agent.  I showed him my pet import licenses, was given a stamp, some fresh baked cookies, tea, and was free to go (I think they even gave my kids cookies).  The porters and three other gentlemen helped me and the dogs through the next x-ray area for our bags, and from there we were told we needed to go to the "Air Cargo area" and our dogs would meet us there.   (the three guys that helped with the crates are not supposed to be tipped.  This caused a bit of confusion with the customs officers who thought they were taking bribes).

Anyhoo, the air cargo area is about 2-blocks away from the airport terminal (turn left out of the arrivals building, and then right near the mosque parking lot if you're walking).  It's best to drive or take a taxi here, but if you're already living in the area do yourself a favor and make a few dry runs on foot.  If you take a taxi, the going rate is 4kd.

Since we had a rental vehicle, my wife stayed with our luggage outside the arrivals building with the porters while I went downstairs to the Sixt counter to get our van (rental car counter should be included in your dry run).  We loaded everything up when I drove back curbside and headed to the air cargo area (total time so far is about an hour, maybe 2)

At the air cargo terminal guard booth I showed the stamped paperwork to the gate guard and was directed to the cargo building straight back, on the left side of the road.  (stand at the guard shack, and look down the road and to the left.  you'll see the entrance)

At that building I traded my civil ID for a visitors pass and was directed to the loading dock.  At the dock they had a sitting area for us, and we waited there for our dogs to be brought out.

The dogs were brought out but there was more paperwork to be done, so again my wife stayed with the dogs while I went with a very helpful man in his car to talk to "the vet".  More on the vet in a second:  In this waiting area there is a water machine (a faucet, basically.  They're all over Kuwait so if you're already here you know what I'm talking about).  It'd be a good idea to have a water bottle with you so you can make sure your pets are hydrated.  They wont let them out of the crates but they're pretty understanding of the fact that your animals are stuck in a hot environment.

Ok, the vet:  The vet needs to see vaccination records, health certificates, microchip numbers, the import permits, and make sure you have EVERYTHING handy and organized.  I'm told I got the least helpful vet, and I believe it.  He definitely seemed reluctant...  I would go back now and make a list of ALL the documents you need.  Check it twice, check it again, and make sure you have EVERYTHING.

Anyhoo, after the vet's first visit he had to come back with us to verify the microchip numbers of the dogs back at the loading dock.  He'll do this with a scanner THROUGH the dog crates.  It works about as well as you'd expect. (not well).

After that it's back to his office again for more stamps.

After that'd done with you go with your helpful man to a different building where you'll need 1kd stamps for each dog.  Make sure you have 1kd bills or you'll be wandering around asking for change at midnight (yes, it's midnight at this point).  Once you have the stamps, you basically wait while two customs agents do what they need to do with the paperwork (I think they printed out a new document here).  They're super nice and one of them shared pictures of his dogs with me.  I felt so bad for the guy, I know I was super stinky, but he had a pretty cool dog :)

After the 1kd stamp building you'll go back to the vet and wait a bit more while he does his final check and lets you go.  It was about 2am at this point.

When all is said and done your helpful man is going to ask if you have "something for him".  He's asking for cash compensation for the evenings work.  I gave him 20kd, and he seemed happy, but I really feel like he earned more than that.  How much you tip is completely up to you, I am by no means an expert :P

Back at the docks they'll let you drive in to pick up your animals.  We had two separate vehicles.  One for the dogs (the rental car) and one for the crates (since we had three crates and they wouldn't fit in our rental).  We paid three guys 3kd each to haul the crates to the second vehicle.

It was all worth it, and knowing what's ahead and doing a few practice runs between the buildings in my off time was well worth the effort.  Having cash on hand to grease the machine was definitely a necessity.  Being patient and knowing we had what we needed was well worth it.  If you're in kuwait you kind of know how these processes go, but if you're new it could be very stressful while you wait for people to do their jobs.

I know it sounds like a lot, and it was, but after a month, the sting of it all has long worn off and we're one big happy family again.  Fur babies and all :)

Cheers guys.

Congratulations, I see nothing much has changed in the mean time. Important thing is that it is done. How are you going to manage the cat/dog sitting while you are away? It is a real problem for us. :(

Guys if anyone here needs advices or help about their furry friends please feel free to contact me. Just don't leave ur pets behind.

When we lived in Hungary there were a group of older expat kids that would house/dog sit for us while we were away.  We're hoping to do the same thing here.

Our neighbor is from Jordan and he has a older child (early/mid teens?), and I was thinking he might be an option as he was telling me it was his dream to be a vet.

I've also done a volunteer day or two with CareQ8 (A foster organization that does adoption days at Pet Zone every friday).  Maybe one of their members would be willing to look after the pups.

So yeah, no real firm plans as to what we'll do come travel time but a few ideas that are probably worth exploring.

How did you find a place that will allow you to have dogs? Is it possible to to this online from the states before I pursue a position in Kuwait. I can't leave my 2 dogs behind - they are 10 and 11 yo.

There are places here that allow dogs, you see them more often than the internet would have you believe.   (my dogs are about the same age)

Just landed,, and OLX arabia should all have places searchable by "pet friendly".  (OLX arabia has the added benefit of having a mobile app if that's more your thing).   A lot of it, too, is going to depend on your budget and the area you want to live in.

I can put you in contact with the realtor that helped me (he's trustworthy).   Send me a PM if you want his info. 

For the import permits, you're going to need your landlord's signature saying they allow dogs.  You're also going to need someone else (a family member) to sponsor one of the dogs as you're only eligible for one dog on one import permit per person.  I'm not sure of your situation but life was made TONS easier for me by having my wife work things stateside while I worked things over here.

It's a daunting task but it's not impossible and it's well worth it once it's all over.  Let me know if you need any help along the way.

We hired the International Vet Hospital, here is their information
We worked with them and they provided us the import certificate, however, this being our first time to Kuwait we had them pick up the dogs and board them until we could pick them up. That was back in 2002 I think, some other requirements may be in place now.

Great information to know, we may be returning again and I was not aware that you had to have the landlords approval in writing to import an animal. Both times we were there we did get approval in order to move in but the dogs were already in the country. Thanks!

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