Mansoor Al Hammadi came up with this solution to ensure pets get the exercise they need to thrive
An Emirati pet lover has opened the UAE’s first gym dedicated to dog’s health and fitness. Mansoor Al Hammadi, who has three dogs, said that physical activities boost mood and have a positive impact on pets just like it does on humans.
“Coming to the gym makes dogs happy. In their natural life, dogs run a minimum of 3 km a day but a pet at home, maybe, would do zero km. It would lead to health and behavioral issues,” he said from his Posh Pets Boutique & Spa.
Al Hammadi has a 10-year-old Rottweiler, a Siberian husky of seven years and an English Cocker Spaniel pup.
He considers his pets as his teachers who have taught him how to look after them, and knew dogs needed some sort of a regular exercise system to remain fit and active. However, the hot weather in the country is not conducive for pet owners and canines to hit the road for a walk as the extreme summer heat can be dangerous for dogs’ paws. “Imagine the temperature outside is 45°C. Add 20°C of the asphalt to it. Now, imagine your dog walking on it.”
Exploring the world for a solution
Al Hammadi, an avid traveler, had been on the lookout for a unique solution for some time.
“I am a social media influencer. I travel to different places and countries almost every month. I explore the world to bring the best idea to the UAE. I follow the lines of the vision of our President His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, which is to be first in everything and unique in what we do.”
While surfing the internet, Al Hammadi stumbled upon a manual treadmill for dogs used in Germany. He visited and brokered a deal with the company to bring it here.
“I tried my dogs on the treadmill for two months. I saw the difference in their hair, skin, health and energy level, which all got better. Dogs eat and sleep well.”
The USP of the treadmills is that they are manually operated. Dogs can run at their own pace and stop whenever they wish to. For safety purposes, they wear a harness connected with an adjustable spring system depending on their heights. Such measures ensure the canines neither slip back nor run off the treadmill. There is a manual brake as well. Importantly, there are trained staff in the gym to look after the facility and the treadmills are disinfected after each session.
“It’s always safety first. A dog will get injured on an electric treadmill. We also ensure 100 per cent cleanliness.”
Gym session at Dh1 per minute
There are three specially designed treadmills, including one for small dog breeds. During the first visit, a dog is allowed 15 minutes on the treadmill and it goes up by 5 minutes every week, eventually hitting 30 minutes by the end of a month.
“This gym solves the problem for those who are busy and can’t find time to make their dogs run 3kms a day. They can spend a 15 minutes here while sitting and watching their dogs run.”
A minute on the treadmill costs just a dirham, Al Hammadi pointed out.
“This is not business for me. Pets are our companions. They make us happy. I personally select most of the products like food, treats, toys, supplements, grooming equipment, cat litter at affordable rates, all size clothes etc. The store is there not to make money but to provide care to our best friends.”
Mansoor Abdulla Al Hammadi, Owner of Posh Pets Boutique and Spa in Abu Dhabi. Photo by Neeraj Murali.
Treadmill challenge for dogs
As an encouragement for more pet lovers to use the first dog fitness centre, Al Hammadi is running a treadmill challenge with prizes, including free grooming sessions. The competition is for fastest speed and furthest distance, and ends on August 20.
“I have very good feedback from pet owners. I want more people to come with their dogs. We have the best environment for dogs. This helps solve behavior issues and teaches a dog to be calm. This makes them smarter and fitter. Even their sniffing power gets better.”
The store gets more customers on weekdays than weekends, and is mostly busy after 4 pm.
Al Hammadi has plans to open another shop in Abu Dhabi, then move to Dubai and expand to GCC nations.
“This gym may not just be the first in the UAE, maybe the first across Arab countries and Asia,” added the restaurateur and businessman.
“I have Arabic and American restaurants, and a company but this is my happiest place.”