Are dogs allowed in Saudi Arabia as pets?
There is no legal restriction in keeping dogs or any pets in Saudi Arabia, but generally, Muslims avoid keeping dogs INSIDE their houses. Dogs, cats, and birds are generally allowed as pets in Saud Arabia.
In order to bring dogs to Saudi Arabia, all dogs must be classified as watchdogs, guard dogs, or hunting dogs irrespective of their actual breed. Dangerous and aggressive dogs such as Spitz; Akita/Akita Imu; Affenpinscher; Griffon Bruxellois/Brussels Griffon/Brabancon/Belgian Griffon/Hovawart; Boxer; Bulldog (any type); Rottweiler; ALL terriers, including but not limited to Bull Terrier, Staffordshire Bull Terrier, Dandie Dinmont Terrier; Lancashire Heeler; Swedish Vallhund/Swedish Cattle Dog/Vasgotspets; Newfoundland; Pit Bull; Great Dane/Deutscher Dogge; ALL mastiff breeds, including but not limited to Bull Mastiff, Old English Mastiff, Neopolitan Mastiff; Leonberger; and Doberman are not allowed to enter Saudi under any circumstances.
How to bring Pets to Saudi Arabia?
The procedure to bring pets in Saudi Arabia is very long and time-consuming. This is the reason most of the time expatriates leave the idea of bringing them. However, we are explaining it to your respected visitors.
Import Permit – permission to import a pet must be sought before moving to Saudi Arabia. It means it needs to be sought during your stay in the home country. Without this document, your pet will not be allowed to enter to Saudi Arabia. You can get this form from the Agricultural Directorate in Riyadh (not to be confused with Ministry of Agriculture). Fill in the details (in Arabic) and submit the same. Once you get the Import Permit, the rest of the documentation has to be done in your home country. You can contact someone in Saudi Arabia if you know him to process the application. A pet relocation company can also assist you in this regard.
Veterinary Health Certificate – Veterinary Health Certificate must be issued within 30 days of traveling to Saudi Arabia. In fact, some companies require it to be issued even within 10 days of traveling. This certificate must be attested by the relevant medical authorities, Ministry of Foreign Affairs in your country, Saudi Embassy and or Saudi Culture Office in your home country. The certificate must indicate that the pet was examined and has been vaccinated against all possible diseases and that it is in good condition. The certificate must be translated into Arabic to be attested by the Saudi Embassy.
Vaccination Letter – Veterinary Health Certificate must be accompanied by a covering letter from your veterinarian listing out all the vaccinations given to your pet. There must also be a declaration in the letter that the pet is free from any kind of disease, most importantly rabies. This letter must be addressed to the Director of Customs, Saudi Arabia.
Physical Movement of Pet – If you have above mentioned two documents, you are ready to bring your pet in Saudi Arabia. Saudi Arabia Airlines allows the transfer of pets when placed in cages and be accompanied by a health certificate proving that they are free of disease as well as a certificate that allows their transport within or across the country. Saudi Arabian Airlines also allows transfer of cats and small birds with the passenger on board with limited cage weight allowance of (5 kg).
Customs Declaration Form – Animals are to be collected from Saudi Cargo Depot arrival to Saudi Arabia. Here you need to fill a customs declaration form. This form will be in Arabic and if you don’t know Arabic, it is solely your problem. It is my recommendation to hire a professional pet transporter so that he can help you in getting pet released.