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Global Economy

How pets are pampered in Dubai

From luxurious resorts and daycares to doggy paddling pools and glamorous grooming salons, Dubai is full of pet pampering.

Originally established as a mobile nursing service, Shampoo continues to provide pampering in its signature pink and yellow vans, but now also has a permanent location.

The four-legged customers can book a complete care program including hair styling and pedicures. The pampering treatment is rounded off with a spray of scent and before and after photos on the Shampooch photo wall.

There is also day care for dogs and overnight accommodation in a "boutique hotel" in the heart of residential Jumeirah.

"At 'Shampooch' we have many different types of customers who come from all kinds of countries, like Dubai. It's a melting pot of cultures. It's the same with dogs, we have all kinds of dogs," says the managing director Shareholder Shaheen Shahani. "There are clients who leave their dogs with us and we have many busy professionals who leave their dogs at our daycare.

The dogs spend the day with us, it's like at school. They run around, make friends, chase balls and play in the garden. You are having a great day. They go home tired, happy and content, which is good for the owners too."

Another popular dog retreat, My Second Home at Dubai Investment Park has indoor and outdoor dog pools, an indoor air-conditioned park and a number of suites for overnight stays.

"We have pretty much everything you can think of for dogs," says My Second Home Director and General Manager Sean Parker. "We offer overnight accommodation, dog day care and training, grooming services, a dog park and our pet limousine service. We have a variety of rooms and each suite, whether standard or presidential, is equipped with a webcam, so very concerned owners can see their watch animals sleep at night."

Dubai is also home to several pet-friendly hotels that welcome travelers with four-legged friends, one of which was designed both inside and out by the late designer Zaha Hadid: the ME Dubai in Business Bay.

ME Dubai's "Pooch by ME" package includes a dog bed and blanket, free poop bags, dog brush and shampoo, and dog bowls. ME Dubai Executive Chef James Knight-Pacheco has also created a room service menu for pets.

"Creating a pet menu was a huge challenge," says Knight-Pacheco. "I usually cook for people, but this time I had to research very carefully what goes into dog and cat food. And of course, since we are here in the Zaha Hadid building, we had to include the design.

"On the menu itself there are options for puppies, dogs and cats. They go by different names, like 'Raise the Woof' and 'Notorious DOG' and are always high in protein with a little bit of carbs and no spices, since you're familiar with a dog's digestive system have to be very careful."

Pet-friendly restaurants are also becoming increasingly popular in Dubai. Reform Social & Grill Dubai in The Lakes is a restaurant that offers pet snacks on the menu.

Special petting experiences

Dubai's only indoor rainforest, The Green Planet in the City Walk, offers very special petting experiences, which has a variety of animal encounters in the program. Visitors can touch beetles and snakes, sugar gliders and sloths. Animal keeper Erik Rohrkaste is part of the team that oversees the encounters:

"Meeting sugar gliders lasts about 15-20 minutes. You get to know the whole animal family, you can feed them their favorite food, such as worms or grapes. You can touch them, hold them and learn all about these interesting little animals You can also get to know sloths up close. This meeting takes place every day at 1:30 p.m. and lasts around 20 to 30 minutes. Our sloth Liam then sits on a pole in our meeting room. You can touch him to trim his fur You can feed them and give them some of their favorite vegetables, such as carrots or fruits like plums and grapes. Sloths are very gentle. They sleep 12 to 18 hours a day. They are not very lively. All of their energy goes into digesting their food. In their natural habitat, they eat leaves, and it takes a long time to digest leaves. They don't move much; they sleep, eat, and sleep. D that's it."

In January, Green Planet announced a happy event. Sloth Liam and his mate Lemon gave birth to a cub, a female named Lime, the first sloth to be born in the region.

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