The Adventure Dogs Guide to the UAE
We are always on the look out for amazing places to walk with our dogs and it is one of the most popular questions we get asked. If you are looking for tried, tested and adored places to exercise your dogs and also make for a unique day out, read our adventure dog guide.
Here are our top picks for where to walk, run, swim, play and explore with your dogs.
What could be better than starting your day with a sunrise in the mountains, look our for Arabian Toads, roaming donkeys, dragonflies and the silent bliss of being miles away from skycrapers and tooting car horns that accompany traffic.
1. Hike in the mountains of RAK
Our favourite hiking spot is in Ras Al Khaimah: Wadi Shawka
There is water in the wadi even as early as September after a long hot summer. As soon as the rain water tops up the levels of the wadis, you can find the hike slightly more of an adventurous workout by scrambling over the rocks rather than through the water. Some dogs may need a leg up over some of the steeper rocks whilst others bound across with ease. Keep in mind your dog's fitness and size when attempting some paths in the mountains.
We tend to head out for sunrise, grab a coffee on route and after an hours drive we are in the mountains. Check our packing list to make for a comfortable hike before, during and after a few hours in the mountains.
To join the Howl & Growl hiking club pre-register your interest in our contact form.
What to pack & wear?
Read our list of essentials to take with you on a hike for a more enjoyable day.
Hiking Dog Harness
Waterproof Dog collar
Travel water bowl
Towel & Spare change of clothes (leave in the car for journey home)
1. Hiking Harness
This is essential for this hike route as it allows you to help guide your dogs over the bigger rocks, or help them out of the wadi pools as the rocks can be slippery for them. We have done this route with and without the harness and we will never not bring them again. It is important that they fit snuggly so they don't slip out of it when swimming.
2. Travel Water Bowl
3. Waterproof dog collar
We always use waterproof dog collars for the hike, easy to wipe off any dirt and don't get damaged by the wadi water. I wouldn't recommend going collar free on the hike as you need to keep your dog safe with its ID tag in the event that your dog got lost.
4. Water & Suncream
It can get hot up there so protect your skin with suncream and take plenty of water for the car and to take with you on the hike.
**Put bottle in the freezer the night before, to help it stay chilled throughout the hike.
NO LITTERING...all empty bottles come back with you.
5. Back Pack
This makes life easier, carrying the essentials and we clip our travel water bowl onto the outside of the backpack for easy access.
6. Snacks & Dog Treats
It's not essential to bring snacks but can be nice for a mini picnic on the hike. We like to bring dog treats as a back up if your dog isn't feeling brave to swim in the wadi, a treat always helps persuade them.
7. Adjustable dog lead
A two metres long dog lead allows for keeping your dog safe if they don't have good recall and gives enough slack and space to walk ahead without pulling you down the slopes. Dogs move better with momentum over the rocks and they will not necessarily go slow and steady like a person on two feet would. If the lead is short you're pulling them back in their tracks which is uncomfortable for them and dangerous for you. Also check out our waterproof dog leads for those that want to guide their dogs through the wadi water.
Note: There isn't signal in the valley of the mountains but it's important to always carry your phone. Always have a phone with you. In an emergency you can head back to the car or higher ground to get a phone signal.
9. Towel, spare socks, flip flops (for the return ride home)
For those that don't feel confident climbing over the rocks, you will take the route that goes through the wadi, which holds water all year round. Sometimes knee height, sometimes above head height in some pools which means swimming. It's fun, refreshing and whilst you dry off through the hike, if you are not doing the full circuit and instead turn back towards the car you will have to do so via the wadi pools making you wet again.
10. Dog Training Whistle (for dog recall)
If doing an off the lead dog hike and your dog has stormed ahead, a training whistle is an easy way to get them back to the pack. Great environment for training recall and this is also why we bring dog treats to re-inforce the recall to the whistle.
What to wear?
1. Gym Clothes: something comfortable that you can move in and don't mind getting wet in the wadi.
2. Trail Running Trainers /Hiking Boots (at the very least trainers with good grip)
4. Baseball Cap
2. Take a dip in the ocean: Kite Beach Center UAQ
Take a road trip to our neighbours Um Al Quwain for an amazing dog friendly day out only 1 hour away from Dubai. Opens at 7am and closes at midnight for breakfast, coffee, lunch, snacks, dinner and moctails. Entrance fee for dogs is 50 AED and 20 AED for people. You will find huge comfortable cushions and seating some of which are under shade. Dogs are allowed on the beach front but not the inside dining area. You'll want to be outside anyway!
Tips for dogs who are new to swimming:
Use a waterproof dog collar and lead, to help encourage your dog to walk into the sea with you. Treat them for being in the water and positively praise them. Do not force them in, but each time you go to the beach you could practice these steps.
Tips for dogs who need more exercise:
If your dog isn't a natural when it comes to exercise, use the waterproof lead and guide them to run through the surf with you. As the water is deeper they will have to work a bit harder to run with you. This is fun, good exercise for human and hound plus your collar and lead won't get ruined by the harsh salt water.
What to pack for the beach?
1. Poo bag holder
2. Travel water bowl
3. Ball for a game of fetch
4. Waterproof dog collar
5. Waterproof dog lead or Café lead
6. Dog Towel
3. UNLEASHED dog park, Umm Suqeim: Parking within the Grounds of The Dubai Police Academy and Ripe Market.
You may have heard us talk a lot about this special dog park and here's why.
Real, green grass, the great outdoors, Boston Lane coffee, THE clubhouse, weekend Ripe market, and monthly events in the heart of the city it's hard not to want to hang out here. Access is permitted for registered and behaviour assessed dogs of UNLEASHED dog park to help us to keep playtime safe for all.
In our first month of opening we have seen timid dogs gain more confidence, energetic dogs burning off all that energy and a great bunch of people coming together to walk their dogs together in the park.
If you haven't yet joined the park, there is still time. With multiple membership options you can decide which will be best for you and your dog. A daily pass is AED 50 (second dog is AED 25) and for those that want to visit the park more than twice a week we have Monthly and Seasonal Memberships starting from AED 375 for unlimited park use.
The park opened on 18th October 2019 and operates under seasonal summer and winter hours. Follow @unleashed_dxb on Instagram and Facebook for up to date events and activities dedicated to dogs at the park.
4. Dart around the desert: Dubai, Abu Dhabi or RAK dunes within easy reach by car.
Head on out to the desert and park up for a stroll across the dunes. It's important that your dog has good recall and be aware that some campers annoyingly leave a lot of rubbish behind so hungry hounds may be curious to eat something they shouldn't. For this reason you are best to pick a patch of desert that isn't commonly used by campers. As you go towards RAK or Abu Dhabi, you may be in camel territory, just be sure your dogs can't give chase or pick another spot for desert dune dogs. You will love the sunsets and vast open space for a view minus the skyscrapers.
Don't get stuck in the sand! Stick to parking on the road side unless you have a suitable off-road vehicle.
Optional items for dog adventurers
1. Rex Specs
We bought Rex Specs for blue eyed Luna when we moved to Dubai to protect her eyes. We don't use them day to day or in the same way that we would need our own sunglasses but when out in the brightest parts of the day we do feel reassured she's not damaging her eyes when on a long hike that doesn't have much shade.
2. Dog Boots
I personally don't like to use dog booties, as I feel our dogs have a better feel and grip of the rock when it is directly in contact with their paws but they also don't tend to get blisters when on a long walk anyway. For those dogs with sensitive feet or delicate paws it may be helpful for you, however ensure you go with a reputable brand that uses breathable materials. The cheaper ones you see online may not be made from good breathable material meaning they don't provide extra grip or allow your dog's sweat to evaporate.
Now that winter has finally arrived here in the UAE, it is the perfect time to explore these different places and landscapes to give your dogs a day out they will never forget.