Falling in love with dogs is easy, and many pet lovers obsess about owning a dog as soon as they see a cute one. Often, they’d imagine a stress-free life with them to be pure fun and play. And while it may all sound fun, you need to prepare yourself for a lot of time, money, and long-term commitment.
Having a dog is truly rewarding as they bring joy, companionship, and unending loyalty. While this is true, owning a dog is a big responsibility that entails sharing your home and becoming a good fur parent first. So be ready to make necessary lifestyle adjustments before welcoming your new pet.
Dogs need a lot of care and attention at all times. So if you are up for a good 15 years of challenge, then take time to read this complete guide to owning a dog in Singapore.
Things to Consider When Getting A Dog
Are you ready to make that considerable lifestyle change? Yes! You read right. Dogs will change your life the moment you bring them into your home. Still, there are many other things to consider before heading to the adoption center, the local pet shop, or the dog breeder. Please ask yourself the following questions before getting a new dog:
1. Do I have an excellent personal reason?
To have a good reason or a significant intention to own a dog is the best place to start your dog journey. It could be because you want your kids to have a playmate. Or, maybe you’re alone and want to have a great companion. Whatever it could be, make sure you did some serious soul searching for a deeper reason why you want to have a dog.
2. Do I have enough spare time?
Pets like dogs need a lot of care and attention. You have to devote a certain amount of time to feed them, walk them, and play with them daily. There will also be regular trips to the vet for check-ups and grooming needs.
3. Can I afford my dog’s expenses?
You don’t necessarily need to be rich to own a dog in Singapore. But, it would be best if you were financially responsible for providing your dog’s needs accordingly. Some dog expenses would include:
- Dog food, treats, and supplements
Dogs need a nutritious diet and vitamins to keep them healthy and strong.
- Grooming Sessions.
Some breeds like poodles and Shih-Tzus need intense maintenance and full grooming. Likewise, short-haired dogs need essential or basic grooming too!
- Check-ups/vet visits.
You will often find yourself at vet clinics for dog’s health check-ups, fleas and tick treatments, or vaccine schedules.
- Toys and training lessons.
You need to entertain and train your pets to behave. While you believe you can do it alone, some pets are just too hyper or stubborn to listen. Hence, you may need to hire a professional trainer for them.
4. Am I ready to face future dog challenges?
Owning a dog also comes with many challenges like potty training and health-related concerns. Your traveling plans should include your pets. Otherwise, if you are the sole carer, you may even need a dog-sitter to cover for you when you have unexpected plans.
And dogs, just like naughty kids, certainly know how to make mischief. Think, peeing on your favorite couch, pillow, or blanket, and chewing off your favorite shoes. Hence, you will need a lot of patience. Moreover, you will also need to clean your home for dog mess more often.
5. Does your current accommodation allow you to have dogs?
Most rental apartments in Singapore have their own rules and restrictions. Many landlords don’t allow pets to avoid disputes with other tenants. Some dogs tend to bark a lot, which could cause disagreements between tenants and neighbors.
Some landlords may allow dogs limited to certain breeds. So, before getting that dog you want, check first with your landlord to avoid future problems.
If you live in an HDB flat, you can own a small-breed dog. Yet, you need permission from HDB if you are getting more than one dog. However, if you have your place, you can own up to three dogs. Note that you can hold only one from the more giant breeds and two from the smaller types. (Check the list for HDB-approved breeds here.)
How Much Will Getting A Dog Cost?
Owning a dog in Singapore can be pretty expensive. If you are a first-time dog owner, you may even get overwhelmed by the costs. Initial costs will depend on whether you got it thru adoption shelters or commercial purchases. Yet, it does not end here, as keeping a dog happy and healthy will involve a lifetime commitment of caring for them and spending for their needs.
Adopting A Dog
Adopting a dog thru animal shelters is the socially responsible way of getting a dog. There are over 10,000 stray dogs in Singapore alone. While you may not get the fanciest breeds at adoption centers, you’ll be adopting for a greater purpose. That is – making a difference by giving them a second chance at life!
Being a fit and responsible pet owner is crucial for adopting a dog from a pet adoption agency. Aside from this, there are other essential rules and procedures before adopting a pet dog.
Here’s a general guideline on the adoption process:
- Contact the pet adoption agency and inform them of your intention.
- Check and pick from the available pets.
- Prepare for a home visit and interview with the agency’s adoption counselor.
- Once the counselor deems you fit, you will sign the adoption form.
- Pay the necessary adoption fees and bring your pet home.
There will be relatively lower costs involved when you adopt a dog rather than purchasing from a pet store. More often than not, dogs up for adoption are dewormed, micro-chipped, sterilized, vaccinated, and even licensed.
Here are the adoption centers you can choose from in Singapore:
1. Society for the Prevention and Cruelty of Animal Singapore (SPCA)
SPCA, located in Sungei Tengah, is the top adoption agency you may think of for animal welfare and pet adoption. They are very willing to help you find the pet that best fits your home, interest, and lifestyle. Their clean and well-maintained facility hosts many lost, injured or sick, and rescued animals.
However, the standard adoption fee is S$180, except for pedigrees and their cross-breeds costing S$250. For those with a heart for dogs over 7.5 years, you can get them at S$70.
2. Action for Singapore Dogs (ASD)
ASD is located at Lim Chu Kuang and has raised dog abuse awareness for 20 years. Like other pet welfare agencies, Action for Singapore Dogs has advocated rehabilitating and rehoming stray and abused dogs. Browse thru the adorable dog gallery at their website, and you may find your new dog friend here.
ASD encourages the adoption of local breeds. You can get male dogs at S$230 and female dogs at S$250. Still, if you prefer pedigrees, you’ll need to add S$100 more to the amount.
3. Save Our Street Dogs (SOSD)
SOSD is a volunteer-run team dedicated to the welfare of many neglected and abandoned stray dogs. It mostly shelters local breeds of dogs that you can adopt at S$300. The shelter is located in Sungei Tengah. So, if you are from here, and their mission aligns with yours, you may want to adopt a rescued fur pet from them.
4. Causes for Animals Singapore (CAS)
Still, in Sungei Tengah, Causes for Animals Singapore aims to help the community for successful animal welfare management. The dog adoption program has a success rate of 98% through successful campaigns. So, if you want to help their mission, try to set an appointment with their teams.
Depending on the initial healthcare, you can adopt a puppy for as low as S$70 to S$120. Adult dogs are priced at S$250. However, it is mandatory to enroll the puppy in socialization lessons they cater in-house. These training classes are priced at S$140 for four one-hour lessons.
5. Voices for Animals (VFA)
Voices for animals believe that all dogs deserve equal care. While they shelter many purebred types, most dogs have a sad history. Many of their dogs are over five years old and were rescued from puppy mills due to poor breeding conditions.
The adoption fee is S$250, and you need to bring the dog to a vet for a check-up and blood test. This vet visit is mandatory and will cost around S$400 to S$500.
VFA also has strict adoption rules, so make sure you read all their terms before making that big decision.
Not sure yet of long-term commitment? Then you may choose to foster from some of the mentioned dog shelters to get a feel of how it is to take care of one.
Buying A Dog
Not getting a dog from an adoption center doesn’t make you inhumane. After all, we have the freedom to choose what we want and how we get it. Yet, before deciding on the pet store or dog breeder, you may want to check on their background and make sure that they follow ethical breeding practices.
Note also that backyard breeding is illegal in Singapore! Try your best to look for a reputable breeder if you decide to buy.
Here are some of the places to look for when buying a dog:
1. Registered Dog Breeders
You may search for reputable breeders online or from friends’ recommendations. Registered breeders maintain high standards in their breeding practices. Usually, a breeder specializes in a few breeds only and takes pride in ethical breeding practices. You may want to visit the breeding pair and the place before buying your puppy.
Reputable breeders are often found in dog shows and don’t usually sell dogs at pet shops.
It could be hard to spot genuine breeders from printed advertisements, but it is still possible with careful speculation. You may also request a meet-up or a visit to the dog breeder’s home or breeding area.
3. Pet Stores
If you intend to buy from pet shops, check for good hygiene and health practices. Relevantly, you should also check the other kennel’s health conditions as it could also affect the health of the dog you are eyeing.
4. Pet Farms
Buying from pet farms should be your last option. Often, pet farms have unethical ways of breeding, and animals suffer from poor breeding conditions. Sometimes they also import breeds. It is always best to check for authenticity thru breed certifications.
Buying a pet dog from the pet shop, or a local breeder may have cost S$1000 up. At the same time, the average price of designer breeds can go up to S$8000. In addition to this, you will also be in charge of the following:
- Microchipping – S$50
- Sterilization – S$118
- Vaccination – S$38 per vaccination (excludes consultation fee ranging from S$20 to S$60)
Costs After Purchase and Recurring Costs
After getting a dog, there are many other expenses that you will need to consider budgeting. Whether you adopted or bought a dog, the following costs will be a part of dog ownership.
|Expenses||Cost (Estimate) / year|
|Food, dog treats, and other daily needs||S$360 to S$2500 (S$30 to S$210 per month)|
|Accessories (toys, bowls, leash, etc.)||S$50|
|Hygiene Products (shampoo, wet wipes)||S$240|
|Pet Furniture (bed)||S$300|
|Medical costs – flea and parasite prevention
Deworming (2x a year)
|S$120 (S$10 per month)
|Training School (8 lessons)||S$580|
|Grooming (approximately 4x a year)||S$120 to S$200|
|License||S$14 to S$70|
|Total||S$1,989 to S$3,685|
You will spend less on dog food for small dogs. However, spending on premium brands and food quality will still mean higher costs. Grain-free dry kibbles are the cheapest option. However, you’ll also find a variety of dog foods in the market, like wet canned foods, freeze-dried foods, and home-cooked meats.
Dog licenses are only valid for a year and should be renewed even before it expires. The renewal fee for sterilized dogs costs S$14 and S$70 for unsterilized ones. Keep your dogs sterilized to keep them healthy and increase lifespan.
The costs mentioned above do not even include the travel cost or boarding costs if you have traveling plans. Dog hotels can charge as high as S$70 a night, so if you don’t prefer this, hire a dog-sitter instead.
Beyond warm greetings and cozy hugs, it takes a lifetime of commitment. And if you are more than ready, the wisest choice is to adopt a dog that needs a fair chance at life. You’ll see, these dogs will reward you even much more with unconditional love and loyalty.
- Mongrel or pedigree, all dogs love equally, and they deserve care and love from their human carers.
- Please give dogs the care and respect they deserve to not end up in the shelters.
- Pick a regular vet as soon as you get your pet to avoid future dog health problems.
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