ABU DHABI (AFP) – Oscar beats the summer heat in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) by working out at a gym, hitting the treadmill two or three times a week. Nothing unusual about that – except that Oscar is a dog.
As increasingly fierce Gulf temperatures become health hazards amid fears over the pace of climate change, those who can afford not to work outdoors in the scorching sun are staying indoors. interior in air conditioning.
And for pampered pet owners who can afford to spend the money, an air-conditioned dog gym has become an attractive option.
“During the winters I would take him outside, but (in) the summers he would stay isolated,” said Oscar’s owner Mozalfa Khan, a Pakistani expat. “Because every time I take him outside he gets sick from the heat.”
The resource-rich Gulf is among the regions most at risk from global warming, with some cities at risk of becoming uninhabitable by the end of the century.
Temperatures often rise above 45 degrees Celsius in the United Arab Emirates and can stay above 40 degrees Celsius even after midnight.
The UAE, like other Gulf countries, goes into partial hibernation during its long, hot summers, with those who can afford it remaining cooped up in air-conditioned homes and workplaces.
Oscar, a Welsh Corgi, now works at Posh Pets Boutique and Spa in Abu Dhabi, a boutique and grooming salon that offers what is billed as the UAE’s first dog gym.
Staff carefully secure him with a harness on one of two adapted running machines before he starts running, with glass barriers on either side to keep him from falling. Rather than being set to specific speeds, the treadmills automatically adjust to each dog’s pace. Oscar’s owner started taking him to the gymnasium in the Emirati capital after a vet advised against taking him outside in the summer due to the risk of heatstroke.
“Last summer was really difficult for me because there was no place like this,” Khan said.
With the high heat and humidity, “we only walk two, three minutes and he’s finished, he doesn’t want to walk anymore”. Mansour al-Hammadi, dog-loving owner of Posh Pets, charges one dirham ($0.25) per minute for using the treadmills, or $7.50 for a half-hour run.
Dogs should get at least 30 minutes of exercise a day, experts say.
“So imagine when you can only walk them for a minute or two a day,” Hammadi said. AFP.
“We studied the project closely to make it 100% safe. Everything was chosen carefully and not randomly, to avoid any future problems and not to harm the dogs,” he added.
Destiny, a seven-month-old German Shepherd, is another regular, bursting into the gym and playing with the other dogs.
“For the dog’s health, it’s better for him to exercise and get tired,” said Destiny owner Fahed al-Monjed. “Using an indoor treadmill is the best solution.”
Fate can indeed tire you. In a recent treadmill competition, she set the fastest speed.