Pet ownership cost

Costs of Owning a Pet: From Essentials to Everything Else

The joy of having a furry pet like a dog or a cat is more than just wagging tails, soft cuddles, and friendly kisses. They also provide comfort and security to every family member. With those cute eyes and soft fur, it’s no wonder these furry friends can effortlessly and instantly bond with humans. 

Aside from the happiness they bring, science has also proved that spending time with pets works wonders for one’s well-being. There’s an endless list of benefits to owning a dog or a cat. But, all these come with responsible fur parenting, commitment, and some costs. 

Still, owning a pet could be all worth it. After all, money can’t replace the love and loyalty that they can give. So, if you plan to own one, here’s a guide on pet costs and other things to know.

How Can Pets Improve Your Health And Wellbeing

Many pet owners know that life is better with pet friends, and those who have never owned one may be unaware of these bonds’ health benefits. Aside from fending off loneliness and giving its owners a sense of purpose, they could also positively impact your health. 

Owning a pet does come with a lot of responsibility, but the benefits outweigh all these. Here are some ways having a pet may improve your physical, emotional, mental, and overall well-being.

  • You’re less likely to feel alone and lonely.

Pets, especially dogs and cats, provide good companionship, and any simple interaction with them instantly raises Serotonin and Dopamine levels. On the other hand, Oxytocin is released by just staring at them. These “feel good” hormones improve one’s mood and happiness.

Another fact is that pets can lower one’s stress level by decreasing Cortisol. Cortisol is the body’s primary stress hormone, which triggers anxiety and affects many body functions. Spending a few good minutes with a pet can instantly boost your mood. What more if you live with them?

  • Pets can help you live longer.

Having a pet can also affect your physical health. Because you need to take them on daily walks and other fun activities, you’ll also get a lot of exercise. With this increased physical activity, you’ll get lower chances of obesity and risks of getting cardiovascular diseases and other heart-related health issues. 

Studies also show that pet owners over the age 65 make fewer visits to their doctors. Pets also have a therapeutic and calming effect during difficult moments. Further, having a pet helps lower blood pressure and prevent risks of hypertension.

  • Owning a pet allows you to become more sociable.

Pets, as they are adorable, can become instant catalysts for improving social relationships. Pets can help owners meet people and maintain new friendships. These social connections are suitable for long-term health, as studies say.

  • Pets can improve mental health.

Pets require regular feeding and others require a regular exercise structure. With this structure and added routine, you will always be mindful of these duties and keep your mind alert.

 

Average Cost of Owning a Pet in Singapore

Owning a cat or a dog in Singapore brings in plenty of expenses. Costs involved are one-time expenses such as spaying, microchipping, licensing, sterilizing, and many more. Then, there are also lifetime costs such as food, grooming, and healthcare. These are all essential for a pet’s well-being, and you should be financially ready for these if you decide to get one. There are plenty of ways to manage your expeneses, you could use an expense tracker app to help you manage your daily finances as well.

For Dogs

Dogs are a popular choice for pets more than other kinds. With innocent eyes and playful kindness, who can even resist them? The famous adage says, “a dog is a  man’s best friend, and indeed they are! They are compassionate, loyal, and forgiving no matter what. In return, they also deserve the same love they give.

Cost of Owning a Dog

You can give your dog a comfortable life by making sure that they are healthy and well-taken care of at all times. If you are planning to get one, here are the cost estimates.

Initial Upfront Costs

An adoption shelter is the cheapest way to get a dog, and Singapore has many of them. Getting a pet from here could be a rewarding experience as you could give strays new hope and a chance for a better home. 

Moreover, the adoption fees may already cover microchipping, deworming, and initial vaccinations for some shelters. Otherwise, an AVS-licensed pet store or a reliable breeder are also valid options for where to purchase a pet. 

Here’s a look at the initial costs:

Expense Estimate Costs 
Adoption Fee S$70 to S$350 (depending on age and breed)
If you are purchasing from a licensed pet shop or legal seller S$1,000 to S$12,000 (depending on the breed)
Microchipping S$50 to S$90
Sterilization S$300 to S$1,000
Initial Vaccination S$40 to S$100 (first three shots) 
Total S$1,460 to S$13,540

 

Note that with the ongoing pandemic, you should also expect higher prices, especially for those with breeds. 

Responsible dog ownership includes ensuring your dog gets medical care when needed. As such, ensure you take them to a trusted vet for procedures like microchipping, sterilization, and vaccinations.

License Fees

In Singapore, you can either choose to pay a yearly license or a one-time fee for your dog license. However, you can immediately look into sterilizing your dogs to be valid for the one-time license fee and save on costs.  

License Fees One-time License Fee
Dogs aged five months and below S$15 per dog 
First three dogs S$35 per sterilized dog 
Fourth and subsequent S$460 per sterilized dog or a reduced fee of S$35 per sterilized dog (One-time license fee)

 

In total, upfront costs for getting a dog would range from  S$1,475 to as high as S$13,555. This amount includes the license fee of S$15. Yet, this amount is just the beginning.

You also have to consider the ongoing costs of taking care of a dog. 

vet puppy check up

Recurring Costs

After the initial costs, you should also look into the recurring yearly costs. These may vary a lot, especially when it comes to food and medical needs. You will need to build a budget for this for the rest of your dog’s lifetime. 

Check out the table below:

Lifetime / Ongoing Costs Annual Costs (Estimate)
Dog Food S$1,415 up (starts at S$25 per 2 2 kgs. – Dry)
Medical Expenses
Annual Vaccines S$38 (does not include check-ups and consultation fees)
Health check-ups

Puppies

S$120 (minimum of two vaccines  plus health check)

Adults

S$65 (vaccine plus health check)
Pet Dental Care S$150 to S$600
Annual cost for  flea, parasites, heartworm prevention S$120 (S$10 per month)
Deworming S$10 (S$5 – twice a year)
Insurance S$80 up (depends on age and health conditions)
Total S$1,998 (minimum)

 

Food is a priority, and you should try to consider getting high-quality or premium pet food for your dog. While there are cheaper brands in the market, they are less nutritious and filled with additives that may be harmful to health in the long run. 

Make sure that the food will be appropriate for your dog’s age and nutritional needs. The bigger and the more active your dog is, the more food they will need. Still, you should also always check for the ideal weight.

Medical care would be another recurring cost in a dog’s lifetime. Like humans, dogs will also need vitamins and supplements and have their health checked once in a while. As they age, their health may deteriorate, and checkups and health care will become most important. 

Pet insurance is another crucial thing dog owners should consider. Some pet insurance policies may cover injuries, vet fees, death, and cremation. You may have to pay an additional premium for other types of dog illnesses. Pet insurance is necessary as it will save you expensive costs on vet bills.

Miscellaneous Costs

Meanwhile, here are some various miscellaneous costs to consider:

Miscellaneous Annual Cost
Accessories/Toys S$300 up
Training Sessions S$25 to S$300
Dog Walker Fees S$20 per walk (S$1,200 per year for a once-a-week schedule)
Pet sitter fee S$20 up per hour
Grooming Needs
Basic S$360 (S$30 per visit)
Full S$600 (S$50 per visit)
Total S$705 to S$2,420

 

Accessories for dogs don’t come cheap. You would surely want to give your dog a comfortable lifestyle and spoil them once in a while. It would be okay to splurge occasionally but make sure not to go overboard on your budget. Accessories and pet supplies could be anything such as

  • Beds
  • Wardrobe
  • Toys
  • Food Bowls
  • Collar
  • Leash

Grooming can also be costly, especially with dogs who have long and high-maintenance furs. Some dogs may need to be groomed every month while others on an as-needed basis. You will also need to buy specially formulated shampoos and other grooming essentials like flea powder and toothpaste for home care. 

two vet giving pet cat a shot

For Cats

Cats are another popular option when it comes to pets. Many would like to have them as pets because they are clingy and full of attractive characteristics like round eyes and sweet purrs. They are also cheaper to own than dogs. 

Costs of Owning a Cat

Popular surveys show that you are less likely to spend big on cats. And you will see this, particularly regarding food, grooming, medical costs, and insurance compared to owning a dog. If you are a confirmed cat person, you will most likely do anything to make life comfortable for your feline friends. 

Initial Upfront Costs

The initial costs for getting a cat or a kitten will depend on the cat’s breed, age, and preferred lifestyle. The information should give you a preview of what to expect in the initial costs.

Expense Estimate Costs 
Adoption Fee S$0 to S$250 (depending on age and breed)
If you are purchasing from a licensed pet shop or a legal seller S$300 to S$1,500(depending on breed)
Microchipping S$50 to S$80
Spaying / Neutering S$200 to S$500
Sterilization

S$50 to S$100 (male)

S$80 to S$150 (female)

Initial Vet Care and Vaccines S$110 to S$550 
Total S$710 to S$3,030

 

Recurring Costs

Recurring costs like food and vet care is cheaper for cats compared to dogs. Most cats weigh under 5 kilos and will consume lesser food.

In terms of vet care, 

Lifetime / Ongoing Costs Annual Costs (Estimate)
Cat Food S$864 up
Medical Expenses

Basic Health Checks

S$45

Dental Scaling

S$191
Insurance

Microchipped: S$79.49

Without microchip: S$84.58

Total S$1,179.49 to $1,184.58

Grooming

You can personally groom your cat at home or have it done by a professional pet groomer. A basic grooming package may include nail trimming, ear cleaning, paw cleaning, bathing, and blow-drying. This package usually costs an average price of S$78.

Miscellaneous Costs

Like dogs, cats deserve a comfortable lifestyle and be kept entertained. Thus, the miscellaneous expense may include toys, furniture, scratch pads, and litter boxes. However, you don’t need to spend a fortune on these and try your best to buy affordable ones. Here are some cat items you will need and their costs:

Miscellaneous Estimated Cost
Food Bowl S$10 up
Cat toys S$40 up
Carrier S$20 up
Litter Box S$20 up (depends on brand and type)
Scratch Boards S$30 and below
Cat Furniture S$60 to S$200
Grooming Needs
Basic S$50 to S$100 (per visit)
Total S$230 to S$420

 

To sum up:

Costs: Dog Vs. Cats

Expense Dogs Cats
Initial Costs S$1,460 to S$13,540 S$710 to S$3,030
Recurring Costs S$1,998 S$1,179.49 to $1,184.58
Miscellaneous S$705 to S$2,420 S$230 to S$420
Total S$4,163 to S$17,958 S$2,119.49 to S$4,634.58

 

For owning a dog, you may need to spend a minimum of S$4,163 to as high as S$17,958.  On the other hand, getting a cat may be a lot cheaper and can range from S$2,119.49 to S$4,634.58 only. Expect to spend on the higher end if you should choose an expensive or a pedigree breed.

We understand the costs to take care of your pets will take some adjustments from your financial budgeting. Luckily, we have got you covered! Recommending some useful credit cards with cashback and cash rebates for your vet services like the HSBC Visa Platinum Credit Card and the UOB One Card.

Closing

Aspiring pet owners should always carefully consider planning and budgeting before getting a pet. Still, more than financial readiness, pets are a huge responsibility that involves utmost commitment. After all, you will consider these pets as new family members, fur babies as some may lovingly refer to them, and they deserve all the best care. 

Key Takeaways

  • Food costs and medical expenses form part of the highest costs in owning a pet in Singapore.
  • Pets will rely on care from their owners, so one has to be financially, emotionally, and physically prepared.
  • The cost of owning a pet significantly depends on the breed and size.
  • A responsible pet owner should also be prepared for unexpected costs such as vet bills.

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