Inside the UAE's first dog gym at Posh Pets Boutique & Spa in Abu Dhabi

'The idea is to bring a healthy environment for all kinds of dogs,' says owner Mansoor Al Hammadi

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Mansoor Al Hammadi’s love for his dogs is what has led him to his latest venture: a first-of-its-kind dog gym in the UAE.

The Emirati, who has three dogs, is the owner of Posh Pets Boutique & Spa in Al Bahteen Tower on Reem Island, Abu Dhabi. Spread over two floors, the ground floor is a boutique shop selling items such as pet food, clothing, toys and accessories.

However, it’s the top floor that piques the interest of dog owners the most. Walking up a narrow black staircase, there are two small treadmills filling the space on the first floor, in addition to the two rooms used for grooming.

Al Hammadi says it was during his travels he was inspired to look for something to help dog owners in the UAE.

“In other countries, I see most people run with their dogs at any time of the day. If you think about it here, even in the winter, we still have summer and heat,” he tells The National. “We needed something to encourage owners to let their dogs run freely.

"So, the idea of the gym is to bring a healthy environment for all kinds of dogs in the UAE. I started with two treadmills and the others are on the way.”

I don't really look at my dogs as dogs, I look at them as part of my family
Mansoor Al Hammadi, owner of Posh Pets

The treadmills are specifically designed for dogs, to help with their health and fitness as well as keeping them entertained especially as the rising temperatures in the UAE make it difficult to be outside.

Al Hammadi says canines are never forced to run as the treadmills are mechanical, meaning they go at the speed the dogs go, unlike electric ones which give little control to those on it.

There are also a few safety measures put in place for the safety of the dogs.

At Posh Pets, clients are required to complete a health and fitness registration form before booking a session. The form helps the staff determine factors that may be detrimental to the dog. Breed, age, weight and medical history are also checked before utilising the treadmills.

Canines are only allowed to use the machines for 15 minutes on their first couple of trips before gradually increasing to 30 minutes and so on. This is to ensure a dog’s muscles can properly adjust to using the machine at longer intervals.

Dogs are also required to wear a harness, which is fastened to a spring system, to ensure they stay safely secured. There is also a manual break the staff can use in case it needs to be stopped.

Posh Pets owner Mansoor Al Hammadi with his dogs Leila, left, Luna and Gucci. Victor Besa / The National

“We have three highly trained professional staff who have undergone extensive training. They deal with all aspects of the treadmill, from the health and safety of the dogs to the maintenance of machines,” he says.

Since opening in September, he says he has had plenty of positive feedback and good reviews from pet owners who have stopped by.

“When I brought the treadmills, I tried it on my own dogs first for almost two months. I didn’t share it with any customers because I wanted to do an examination to see the results first,” he says.

One of his dogs, a 10-year-old Rottweiler named Leila, has experienced health improvement since using the machine. She used to go on daily walks for two hours during the winter but he was worried it was not enough.

“Since she started the treadmill every day, she’s increased from being able to run freely for 15 minutes to one hour. She used to limp before, she used to have a problem standing, she always wanted to sit down because she’s old but now she’s like a puppy,” he says.

But for Al Hammadi, Posh Pets isn’t just a business, it's something he also wanted to do to help the dog community.

"I don't really look at my dogs as dogs, I look at them as part of my family."

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Scroll the gallery below to see the dogs for adoption at K9 Friends Dubai.

Updated: June 25, 2022, 5:09 AM