Singapore is a pet-friendly society, and Singaporeans often bond over their common love for a favourite fish and breed of dog; even our stray cats are protected by informal neighbourhood groups and animal societies.
It’s no surprise that there are pet resources aplenty, to cater to a growing market of pet lovers eager to splurge in pet cafes and accessory stores. Make no mistake -- your pet is in for a pampering good time.
Importing Your Pet
The import requirements for personal pets include health certification, quarantine and inspection.
An import licence is required within 30 days prior to the arrival date. Pet dogs and cats coming from countries other than Australia, New Zealand, the UK and the Republic of Ireland will be vaccinated against rabies on arrival, and subsequently quarantined for at least 30 days at the Sembawang Animal Quarantine Station. Due to limited quarantine space, a reservation is best made at least three months in advance.
Some thick-coated breeds may find Singapore's hot climate unsuitable, and will need air-conditioning at all times, or even stripping down of the coat. Exercise may have to be limited to nights when it is cooler.
There are several animal welfare organisations offering a wide variety of pets for adoption. The animals will have all been screened for good health and behaviour, and sterilised.
Adoption usually involves just paying a nominal fee for sterilisation and other basic services.
Licensing and Insurance
Dogs are required to be licensed at three months of age.
As a general rule, both dogs and cats are recommended to wear collars with tags. Microchipping is also widely available.
Currently there is no insurance specific to pets in Singapore, though NTUC and some other agencies cover domestic animals and aquariums as part of a home insurance contract.
The Muslim community in Singapore refrains from touching dogs as their saliva is considered unclean, so bringing dogs out to high-traffic areas requires some sensitivity on the owner’s part. Generally, parks and beaches are dog-friendly, especially Sentosa’s Tanjong Beach, which sees them frolicking freely in sand and sea, and the Botanic Gardens.
Most eating places do not allow pets on their premises, although there are exceptions, like Casa Verde. There are also a good number of pet cafes with separate menus for owners and their companions.
All dogs are expected to be walked on a leash in public. In addition, some breeds are required to be muzzled.
Pet Communities, Clubs, and Welfare Organisations
The Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority (AVA) is the regulatory agency that safeguards animal welfare in Singapore.
Advice, information, and support for the pet owner are also forthcoming from various interest groups. Among the most active are the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA), Action for Singapore Dogs, the Cat Welfare Society, and the House Rabbit Society of Singapore.
For those who take their pets seriously, premium clubs include the Singapore Kennel Club and the Feline Fanciers Society of Singapore.
In addition, there are a good many local internet forums catering to the many pet lovers who live in Singapore.
Vets and Other Facilities
There are a number of veterinarians in Singapore. The 24-hour Mount Pleasant Animal Hospital has several clinics around Singapore. For those who prefer alternative medicine, the Noo Age Dog Company offers holistic therapeutic treatments like Reiki healing, Esogetic Colourpuncture and gemmotherapy in addition to aromatherapy spa treats.
Pet shops are ubiquitous in every neighbourhood, and many offer grooming services as well. The Pet Lovers Centre is the largest chain here, with a comprehensive range of animals, quality products and services for sale. Farms like QianHu welcome visitors to view their world-class, award-winning ornamental fish. Most pet shops oblige with food delivery, though there are also pet taxis that will transport goods as well as animals.
Dog trainers usually operate freelance, but the Kennel Club conducts obedience classes as well.
Many neighbourhoods in space-strapped Singapore now have their own dog runs, but when space or time is really a constraint, the local pet lover has another resource in pet hotels. Even beloved fish get star treatment at places like Max Koi Farm.
If your pet is a member of the family, chances are there’s a place on the dresser for its picture. Pet photographers can provide costumes or turn pictures into cross-stitch patterns for that touch of novelty.
Shows and Other Events
The local pet scene enjoys an active calendar, including major events like the SKC Championship Dog Show, Eaglepack Championship Cat Show, and Aquarama, an international ornamental aquatic show incorporating Pet Asia.
Other events range from pet wellness seminars to “doggie’s day out” fundraisers for animal shelters.