If you have always wanted to own a dog after watching cute YouTube videos of French bulldogs and dachshunds, think again. Beyond the “cuteness” of a dog, a lot of time, effort, and money are required to take care and raise your puppy.
Depending on the breed of your dog, some require more grooming and medical needs than others. For instance, short-haired dogs such as pugs do not require many grooming sessions but are prone to medical issues such as hip dysplasia and Brachycephalic Airway Syndrome due to their body structure and short muzzle. Conversely, dogs such as border collies require frequent grooming sessions due to their long hair but are not prone to as many medical issues compared to pugs.
Here’s an overview of the costs you need to be prepared to bear before welcoming a furry friend into your life.
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#1 Cost To Adopt Or Buy
To adopt a dog, the fees can range from free to an upwards of $350, depending on the breed, health condition, and age of the dog. Shelter such as Exclusively Mongrels only has mongrels up for adoption. Larger shelters such as Action For Singapore Dogs and the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals regularly hold adoption drives, so follow their respective Facebook pages if you are looking to adopt a dog. Adopters are encouraged to refer to new adoption guidelines drawn up by Rehoming and Adoption Workgroup. Under these guidelines, animal welfare groups are to clearly communicate information on pre-adoption screening, adoption processes and provide post-adoption support to the adopter.
Dogs from pet stores cost a lot more, with a small chihuahua costing more than $1000 and special pedigree dogs such as blue French bulldogs costing more than $10,000.
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[Update] From 1 September 2020, you can apply for one-time licence that is valid throughout the dog’s lifetime. This applies only for sterilised dogs.
A one-year license for a dog below 5 months of age is $15. For your first three dogs, you can choose between a one-year license, two-year license, three-year license, or a one-time license. The costs are as follows:
|Category||One-year licence||Two-year licence||Three-year licence||One-time licence|
|First three dogs||Sterilised: S$15 per dog
Non-sterilised: S$90 per dog
|Sterilised: S$25 per dog
Non-sterilised: S$165 per dog
|S$230 per non-sterilised dog||S$35 per sterilised dog|
Sterilisation costs about $350 to $850, depending on the size of the dog. Generally, it is more expensive to sterilise female dogs compared to male dogs.
The advantage of microchipping your dog is that you increase the chances of reuniting with your dog if it gets lost or stolen. This is because the microchip number acts as an identifier that cannot be tampered by other people. If someone picks up your lost dog, they can bring it to the vet for a microchip scan where your identity would be established.
Most shelters and pet shops would have already factored in microchipping charges. If your dog is not microchipped, you can bring it to the nearest vet clinic where it typically costs $50 to $90.
Vaccination: Dogs need a series of vaccinations in their first year, followed by boosters every year, depending on the vaccination immunity period. The cost of each vaccine is $30 to $60. For more information on which vaccinations to take, we can refer to Animal Veterinary Services Vaccination Guidelines.
Dry food and treats: Depending on the type and quality of food, a month’s worth of kibbles can cost more than $100. If you are planning to prepare your dog’s food from scratch, fresh ingredients from the supermarket will cost a lot more. For example, a serving of broccoli, fresh chicken, eggs, and cheese for your dog can cost about $6.
Grooming: Grooming is especially important for long-hair dogs, as it improves their physical appearance and overall health. Dogs also require their nails to be cut frequently as they can scratch themselves by accident if they have sharp nails. Each session costs about $50 to $80, depending on the size of the dog.
Medical and dental: Medical and dental fees are probably the highest expenditure for any dog owner. A basic consultation costs about $50, so if your dog falls sick or gets injured, the total bill can amount to more than $100 or even more than a few thousand if surgery was done.
Cage, leash, toys, protective cover for car: Many people have a misconception that their dog’s cage, leash, and toys are a one-off payment. However, it is important to change your dog’s cage and leash every few years as they wear and tear over time. Some dogs also require new toys every few months as they get bored easily, while others are prone to destroying their toys.
If you drive, you might also consider covering the back of your car with a protective cover as dogs are prone to shedding fur.
|Cage (every few years)||About $40 to $100+|
|Leash (every few years)||$10 to $40|
|Toys (every few months)||$5 to $20|
|Protective cover (every few years)||$20 to $50|
No MediSave, MediShield or subsidies: Unlike humans, dogs do not enjoy MediSave or MediShield coverage for hospitalisation or accidents. They also do not receive vouchers or subsidies in their lifetime.
Cab fares: Pets are not allowed on public transport in Singapore. If you do not drive, a trip to the vet can cost about $10 to $20 if you take a cab.
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Pet insurance: Currently, AIA, Aon, and Liberty Insurance are the few companies that offer insurance for dogs. Annual premiums cost $80 to more than $200.
Cleaning costs at home: The additional detergent you used to wash your floor for dog fur and the wet wipes to disinfect the dining table your dog jumped on all cost money.
Costs to repair or replace items dog chewed: If your dog is prone to destructive behaviour, you will have to change your furniture every few months.
Pet sitting if you are working: A pet sitter goes to your house to watch over your dog if you are not at home. It can cost as little as $20 per day or more than $100 per night.
Pet boarding when you go overseas: It can cost about $50 to more than $200 a day to entrust your dog to a pet boarding company.
Opportunity cost of time: If you spend a lot of time bringing your dog to the vet or for daily walks, it means you have lesser time to invest, work, read, or play.
A Lifetime Of Commitment
Dogs provide priceless companionship and act as our best friend and confidante. They give unconditional love without expecting anything in return. If you are ready to welcome a dog into your home, adopt, don’t shop. Besides the high costs incurred from buying a dog, you will also be giving an abandoned dog a new lease of life if you choose to adopt.
Despite the high costs required to take care of our furry family member, the journey of watching them grow is a proud moment for all paw-rents. Remember, they are just a pet to us, but they only have us in their lives.
Managing The Costs Of Looking After A Pet
Based on the calculations above, it costs about $20,000 to $35,000 to own a dog over a period of 10 years. This is not including the initial cost of adopting or purchasing a dog.
The purpose of insurance is to hedge yourself against adverse circumstances, and to give yourself some peace of mind. So, if you are the sort that will send your pet for treatment and may be worried about the medical cost that follows, a pet insurance policy may help ease your worries.
This article was originally published on 4 June 2019, and updated to reflect adoption guidelines introduced in 2022