Pets & Animals

Which Animals are Allowed

Animals allowed for sale:
  • Dogs
  • Cats
  • Rabbits
  • Guinea pigs
  • Hamsters
  • Gerbils
  • Mice
  • Chinchillas
  • Red-eared sliders (red-eared terrapins)
  • Birds (birds listed in the CITES Appendices must be imported with CITES permits or Certificates of Origin)
  • Fish (fish listed in the CITES Appendices must beimported with CITES permits or Certificates of Origin)
  • Land hermit crabs (Coenobita rugosus)
  • Green tree frogs (Litoria caerulea)
  • Malayan box turtles (Cuora amboinensis) listed in CITES Appendix II

What to Consider before You Get a Pet

The decision to keep a pet should never be taken lightly. Once you are a pet owner, you have to be committed to the pet for its entire life. At no time should abandoning your pet be an option.

What does it take to be a responsible pet owner? Here are 8 tips to remember:

  1. Feed your pets regular nutritious and balanced meals.
  2. Provide your pet with suitable housing and groom it well.
  3. Provide appropriate training for your pet.
  4. Bring your pet to a vet when it falls sick.
  5. Spend time with your pet.
  6. Be considerate to others (pick up your pet's poop and don't let them stray).
  7. Sterilise your pet to prevent unwanted litters.
  8. Microchip your pet for easy traceability if it is lost.

Potential Pet Owners

Often, lack of knowledge is the reason for the irresponsible behaviour of some pet owners. For instance, many people who buy pets on impulse do not consider the responsibilities that come with owning a pet. When reality sets in and issues such as family objections, time and financial constraints crop up, some owners inevitably choose the easy way out by abandoning their pets.

Keeping a pet comes with responsibilities and is not unlike having a child. Potential pet owners need to consider certain factors prior to making that important purchase to avoid impulse buying.

Buying pets to simply "guard the house" or "as a birthday present" are poor reasons and can result in the pet becoming a liability instead of being a cherished member of the family, ultimately resulting in pet abandonment.

Factors to consider before getting a pet

Is your family agreeable to owning a pet?

Pets can help the family to develop closer ties by providing a common ground for family activities and togetherness. It would be good to make sure that all your family members agree to owning a pet before you get one as it would be a shame to regularly have family quarrels over a pet which can affect harmony at home. It would also be wrong to have a family pet with no one in the family having the time to commit to it. Ultimately, it is your pet that would suffer because of this.

What type of pet best suits your lifestyle?

Different types of pets have different characteristics and require different levels of care. Dogs, for example, require a lot of time and attention from the owner for exercise as well as training. Some pets will make a lot of noise if left alone for many hours in the day. Long haired or wire haired pets may need regular grooming such as trimming of its coat and herbivores such as rabbits and guinea pigs need their cage cleaned out everyday. Ensure that you have the time and financial capability to spend on the pet that you choose to keep.

Do you know enough about the pet to care properly for it?

Different types of pets have different needs. Find out as much as you can about the pet, such as the type of housing, environment, food, exercise and grooming the pet needs before getting one. This would go a long way towards ensuring that your pet is healthy and happy. As different pets have different characteristics and may bring various problems, it is also important for potential owners to learn more about the pet they are eyeing. For example, learn more about the pet's characteristics in order to determine the right pet to keep.

Do you know how long your pet may live?

It is important for you to know how long your pet might live. Hamsters and gerbils live for about 3 years; dogs and cats for about 18 years; rabbits and guinea pigs for about 8 years; and terrapins for 20 years or more! Getting to know about the lifespan of your pet will prepare you for the expected commitment. Be committed to caring for your pet for its whole life.

Lifespan of common pets

Birds: 5 – 30 years
Cats: 18 years
Chinchillas: 15 years
Dogs: 18 years
Fish: Variable
Gerbils: 2 – 3 years Guinea pigs: 8 years Hamsters: 2 – 3 years
Mice: 2 years
Rabbits: 8 – 10 years
Terrapins: > 20 years

Do you have the resources (e.g. time, budget, space) to own a pet?

Caring for pets properly can be demanding. They make demands on our time. Money is required for cages, feed bowls, food, accessories and vet bills. Pets also require living space within our homes. A responsible pet owner will need to make sure that all these are provided for the pet. In addition, owners have to be considerate by obeying licensing laws, sterilising their pets, cleaning up after their pets in public places and ensuring that their pets do not disturb other people.

Checklist for Potential Pet Owners

Run through this checklist and if you answer 'No' to any of the items listed, it is best to reconsider that decision to get a pet.

Checklist for Potential Pet Owners

Yes No
Does my family agree to owning a pet?

Am I committed to looking after it for life?

Can I afford to pay for my pet's veterinary bills, food and grooming accessories?

Do I have enough time for my pets?

Do I have enough space in my home for a pet?

Do I know how to care for my pet properly?

Getting a Pet

Once you are sure that you are ready to be a responsible pet owner, it is important to choose the right type of pet that best fits your lifestyle. A pet is a life-long commitment, so ensure that you find out more about their characteristics and how to care for them before making a choice.

One such consideration is the origin of the pet. If the pet (e.g. Chinchilla, Siberian Husky or Alaskan Malamute) comes from a cold country, Singapore's hot climate might not be suitable for it unless you are able to provide a cool environment for the pet at all times. You may have to have the air conditioner or fan on for your pet and make sure that you do not bring it out when it is too hot or sunny. For dogs with thick coats such as the Siberian Husky or Alaskan Malamute, you will have to bring it for regular grooming to strip down the coat to make the dog feel cooler and to ensure that the coat does not get entangled.

If you are unable to provide such pets with a suitable environment, think twice about getting one!

What You Need to Know

Pet Purchase Declaration

Pet owners must be assessed by pet retailers on whether they are suitable to be pet owners. There will be a pre-sale screening process where both the pet buyer and pet retailer have to complete the AVA Pet Purchase Declaration (PPD) form. For dogs, the buyer has to visit Pet Animal Licensing Systerm (PALS) to complete the online PPD when the pet retailer transfers the ownership of the dog upon sale. 


Microchipping your pet

As a responsible pet owner, you should send your pet for microchipping. Microchipping ensures that your pet can be traced and returned to you if it is lost.

What is a microchip?

A microchip is a tiny transponder, the size of a grain of rice. It is a permanent identification system that is implanted under the pet's skin and read by a microchip scanner. We strongly recommend that it conforms to ISO (International Standards Organisation) standards 11784 or 11785.

How is microchipping done?

The microchip will be implanted with an injector under the loose skin between your pet’s shoulder blades. The microchip will reveal a code that is unique to the pet when it is scanned.

The microchip registry database can reveal this information:

  • pet's owner
  • breed
  • emergency contact
  • health problems and food requirements
Why is microchipping recommended?

Microchipped pets have a high chance of being returned to their owners when the pets are lost. Microchips are the best form of permanent identification for your pet. Even though your pet may have visible identification such as a collar tag or a tattoo, they can come loose and get lost.

Tattoos may fade or blur over time and are also difficult to find on a lost, frightened pet that may be reluctant to let strangers search its body for identification.

Responsible breeders also use microchips to assure that the puppies they sell will be identified and appropriate action taken if they are ever lost or turned over to an animal shelter or pound.

Sterilising Your Pet

Surgical sterilisation of your pet is important to prevented unwanted litters. You may find yourself in a situation where you do not know what to do with your pet's newborn litter.

Attempts to find homes for your pet's offspring may be difficult and these baby animals may end up being abandoned. Many pets are put down each year because there are not enough homes for them.

The best way to prevent this is to sterilise your pets.

What is sterilisation?

Sterilisation is a surgical procedure in which a part of the reproductive organ of your pet is removed to permanently stop it from reproducing. Sterilisation is done mostly on male and female dogs, cats, rabbits and guinea pigs.

For male animals, the testicles are removed. The ovaries and uterus are removed in the female animal. The procedure is done by a licensed veterinarian under strict sterile conditions with the animal under general anaesthesia. Most veterinarians also recommend that sterilisation be done when your pet has passed 6 months of age.

Benefits of sterilisation

Sterilised pets are less aggressive and more affectionate. Your pet also becomes less prone to certain diseases.

Sterilisation can help to:

  • Prevent unwanted litters
  • Modify your pet's behaviour so that it is easier to manage
  • Prevent womb infections and reduce mammary cancers in female animals
Changes to your pet after sterilisation

Sterilisation can reduce your pet's level of activity, making it easier to manage. However, it does not cause obesity – lack of exercise and overfeeding causes your pet to be obese and lazy. To prevent that, you should reduce your pet’s food intake and monitor its food intake.

In very few cases, an older sterilised pet may lose some control of its bladder or experience thinning of its body coat. These are not serious conditions and can be easily resolved with medication.

Common sterilisation misconceptions

Sterilisation is a painful and dangerous surgery

Sterilisation is the most common and routine surgery performed on animals. The risks are minimal if your pet is sterilised by a licensed veterinarian. Your pet will not feel any pain as the procedure is performed under general anaesthesia. Most pets recover quickly and are back to normal after 24 to 48 hours.

Sterilisation is costly

Sterilisation is a one-off procedure that will last your pet's lifetime. The cost of sterilisation is small compared to the cost of raising a litter of your pet's offspring.

Sterilisation can also be considered an investment, as sterilised pets are less prone to certain illnesses.

Obeying the Laws

Dog owners have to take note of these licensing, leashing and muzzling conditions required by the law:

Laws Description
  • All dogs must be licensed.
  • HDB apartments only allow 1 dog of an approved breed or its cross. The cross should be 40 cm or less at the shoulders and weigh 10 kg or less. Refer to Breeds Approved for HDB Residential Flats for the list of dogs allowed.

    You can refer to Licensing a Pet to find out more about Licensing Requirements for dogs.
Leashing All dogs have to be leashed in public areas.
Muzzling These dogs must be muzzled in public areas:
  • Bull Terrier
  • Doberman Pinscher
  • German Shepherd Dog (and related breeds)
  • Rottweiler
  • Mastiffs including the Bull Mastiff, Cane Corso and Dogue De Bordeaux
  • Crosses of any of the above

You should be a responsible dog owner and follow these guidelines:

  • License your dog.
  • Discipline and socialise your dog.
  • Control your dog properly at all times and do not let it become a nuisance.
  • Do not allow your dog to bark excessively.
  • Have your dog on a leash when it is in a public place.
  • Muzzle your dog if required by law.
  • Pick up your dog's poop in public places.

Which Pet is Suitable

Choosing a Healthy Pet

Ensure that you get a healthy pet through legal means. If you are buying your pet from a pet shop, check on the reputation of the pet shop and only patronise responsible pet shops.

To help you choose a healthy pet, look out for the following :

  • The animal looks bright and healthy.
  • The animal stands and moves naturally and comfortably.
  • The animal is in good physical condition.
  • The animal's eyes, ears and nose are free from excessive discharge.
  • The animal's coat appears clean and lustrous with no obvious hair loss.
  • The animal does not scratch or chew itself excessively.
  • The animal is free from external parasites such as fleas and ticks.

Use the checklists below as a guide when you are choosing your pet :

Where to Get a Pet

Adopting a Pet

Give a homeless animal a second chance. Consider adopting a homeless animal from an animal welfare organisation or from someone fostering a pet, instead of running down to the nearest pet shop. 

Whether you want a puppy or a more mature dog, a purebred or a mixed-breed, even a rabbit or a hamster, animal welfare organisations offer a wide variety of pets for adoption. In addition, the animals have all been screened for good health and behaviour and are also sterilised.

These animal welfare societies also endeavour to match pets to potential owners and offer advice and information to help guide and support adopters. Though not free, the expenses you incur in adopting a pet go towards paying for the medical needs (e.g. sterilisation, deworming, vaccination) of the animal and the administrative cost of the adoption. Purchasing a pet from a pet shop can be a costlier affair.

Why adopt a pet?

Homeless stray animals do not have a good life. It is estimated that a stray dog or cat lives an average of 2 to 3 years whereas those kept as pets can live up to 20 years. If strays or abandoned pets do not find a home, they will be euthanised or put down humanely. There are far more animals than there are homes for them. Adopting a pet saves a life and would help minimise the problem of strays.

Why adopt an older pet?

By taking home an older pet, the adopter can avoid undesirable surprises later, as the personality, size and appearance of the pet can be assured. In addition, the pet may already be toilet trained and have other basic training.

Where can you adopt a pet?

Animal welfare societies like the Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA), Action for Singapore Dogs (ASD), Cat Welfare Society (CWS) and House Rabbits Society of Singapore (HRSS) have many adoptable animals. Many of these are abandoned animals that are rescued by these societies and are kept either at their premises or premises of their members who care for these animals.

Contact the animal welfare organisations below to find out more about their adoption procedures :

Back to Top LAST UPDATED ON Friday, November 23, 2018
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