Dog Walking in Doha
Doha may not have any dog parks, but don’t let that stop you from taking your furry friend out for a long walk or a friendly romp. Dogs are tolerated in Qatar, but they aren’t openly welcome in most public areas. According to the Ministry of Municipality and Environment's Department of Animal Resources, “Dogs are generally not allowed in public places, including parks and the Corniche. Dogs are allowed on some beaches, provided that they are leashed at all times.”
That said, there are plenty of places in Qatar where dogs and their owners can enjoy some exercise outdoors. However, before you grab your leash and head out, there are a few rules to follow about walking your dog in Qatar.
Tagged and chipped
The Department of Animal Resources encourages owners to ID their pets with tags, tattoos or microchips, the latter being the most frequently used in Qatar. Managed by Qatar Veterinary Centre, petsafeqatar.com is a database that registers your pet’s microchip details and your contact information. It is used by many local veterinary hospitals and rescue groups. If your dog gets lost, this is the best way to ensure they make it back to you.
No poop left behind
It might seem like a no-brainer, but the quickest way for dog owners to wear out their welcome in a public place is to not pick up after their dogs. Not only is it unsanitary, it’s also very inconsiderate. If you plan on taking your dog out for a walk beyond your own backyard, bring plastic bags to clean up after them.
Keep them tethered
Your dog should be on a lead at all times when you are in public. Some owners let their dogs off their leashes in places such as beaches or open lots. If you choose to do so, be aware of your surroundings—avoid high-traffic and construction areas—and be considerate of those who may not like dogs or may be afraid of them.
It’s best to not let your dog off their lead if they won’t listen when you call them to you. There are lots of stray dogs and cats in Qatar and they can be quite a distraction for your pet. If your dog gets over excited and barks a lot at other people or dogs, then you should avoid busy locations. Remember, there are a lot of people in Qatar who do not feel comfortable around dogs. It is your responsibility as a pet owner to prevent your pup from being a nuisance to others. If this is your first time owning a dog and you need some help with training, contact Laws for Paws or The Dog School Doha Qatar.
Bring water and treats if you take your dog out for a long run far from home. Even in the winter, when Qatar is cool, the air can be dry and just as you would need a fresh drink of water after a workout, so will your pet. Treats are also good to have on hand. Some dogs can motion sick though, so be wary of giving your pet too much food or treats before a long car ride.
Watch out for BBQs and other hazards
BBQs on the beach are common in Qatar, and it’s easy for your pup to come across the remnants of a grill out. While it’s not likely that the coals will still be hot, even well-trained dogs won’t be able to turn away from leftover bones or other possible food hazards. It’s worth mentioning that there have been past incidences of dogs falling ill from eating something they’ve found on the beach (in some cases, poison), so it would be prudent to comb an area before letting your dog roam.
Where to walk
Most people walk their dogs in and around their compounds, but there are a few public areas where dogs on leads are tolerated. Quiet beaches, empty lots and even parts of the desert away from dune bashing traffic are reasonable places to let your dog run. Here are a few locations around Qatar that are known to be dog-friendly or tolerant.
Not to be confused with Wakrah Family Beach, Wakrah Beach is about 1km north of Wakrah Souq. Sometimes referred to as Wakrah Dog Beach by dog owners, this is by far the most popular dog-friendly area in Qatar. On weekends you can expect a flock of dogs and their owners frolicking in the water and along the shoreline. Its popularity makes it a great location for socialising your dog and meeting other like-minded pet owners.
Purple Island shoreline and mangroves
Purple Island used to be a great location to take your dog for a long run, but now that the causeway out to the island has been demolished, it is only accessible at low-tide. Instead, you can take your pup for a long stroll along the coast by the mangroves. Watch out for BBQ remnants though as the area closest to the large trash bin is littered with food waste and chicken bones.
Brouq Nature Reserve
If you’re willing to go for a long and very bumpy four-wheel drive out to the Brouq Nature Reserve near Zekreet, you’ll find lots of great areas for your pup to run around. The trail through the mushroom-shaped limestone formations next to Richard Serra’s East-West/West-East sculpture is a gorgeous kilometre-long stretch of mostly walkable sand and limestone. This is a protected UNESCO biosphere reserve and a natural habitat for oryxes and ostriches so be aware to not disturb any nests or breeding areas you come across. The reserve is quite large and there are some areas here where dogs are not allowed, so please keep an eye out for signage.
The Pearl-Qatar sidewalks
One of the few places in Qatar with long stretches of sidewalks, The Pearl-Qatar is one option within Doha where it is common to see dogs and their owners walking on the sidewalks along Porto Arabia Drive and other smaller roads. It is best to steer clear of the waterfront promenade though, as it is too busy to be dog-friendly. Qanat Quartier is also dog-friendly especially along the walkway in front of the Furrr Camp.
Sheraton Park and the Corniche
According to the Department of Animal Resources, dogs are not allowed at parks and along the Corniche. Nevertheless, there are some pet owners who take their small dogs for walks along this area. This is most likely tolerated because it is not abused and the area is not over populated with dogs. If you choose to walk your dog on the Corniche or in Sheraton Park, be aware that it may be a short-lived privilege if you are not respectful of others who do not appreciate the presence of dogs.
Some owners walk their dogs at Fuwairat Beach, but we recommend staying away from this area. It is one of the few locations in the world where Hawksbill turtles make their nests each spring. Allowing dogs to roam the area could scare off this critically endangered species from one of the few places where they can safely lay their eggs.