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6 Unexpected Costs of Owning a Pet in Singapore

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Joanne Poh

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Christmas is coming, and just about every parent in Singapore is going to have to think of yet another excuse for not buying their kids the dog or cat they’ve been begging for for the last 5 years.

Even if your kid has promised he’ll be responsible for cleaning up dog or cat poo for the rest of his life, be aware that financially speaking, a failed toilet training exercise could be the least of your worries.

You might get your new pooch cheap from the SPCA and buy the cheapest pet food at NTUC, but that doesn’t mean raising a four-legged child is going to be cheap. Here are six expenses many Singaporeans fail to take into account when they’re oohing and aahing over that adorable pug.

 

Taxi fare

If you don’t have a car, be prepared to fork out a significant sum of money to pay taxi or Uber drivers to drive your pet around—those who don’t have their own species-based prejudices, that is.

Animals are prohibited from travelling on public transport in Singapore, even when they’re placed in a cage or box, so each time your pet has to take a trip to the vet or some trendy new pet-friendly cafe, be prepared to pay to ferry him there and back.

 

Grooming

Your own haircuts might cost only $12 at QB Hairhouse, but you can expect to pay much more if your pet has long hair and needs to be groomed from time to time. Failing to groom long-haired pets can result in skin problems and a lot of excess hair all over the house. A basic grooming session can set you back at least $25 to $50, depending on the size of your pet.

 

Babysitting

Your kids might be old enough to take care of themselves in your absence, or you might even have avoided childrearing so you could go on holiday without having to rally an army to look after your offspring. Even so, when you go on holiday, you’ll have to arrange for someone to keep your pets alive.

If you don’t have a friend or relative who isn’t terrified of your pet and your neighbours all hate you for your living room karaoke sessions, you’ll have to pay a pet hotel, which typically costs at least $15 to $25 a day. You’ll also have to pay extra for food, additional exercise and the price of transporting your pet to and from the hotel if you don’t have a car.

 

Pest and parasite treatment

While your pets might not smell as bad as a busload of sweaty teenagers, they are actually more susceptible to pest infestations, as anyone whose darling Fluffy has come back from the void deck filled with jumping bugs would know.

Getting rid of fleas costs money, and you might need to bathe a very disgruntled pet in special flea shampoo as well as undertake a thorough cleaning at home. If your pet has parasites, you’ll have to take a trip to the vet as well as buy medication to kill the worms.

 

Obedience training

If you have a big, ferocious dog or a tiny yapper that won’t shut up, obedience training can be very useful. Believe me, you don’t want to get sued because you couldn’t control your dog and it ended up maiming someone.

In addition, it’s nice to not have to scream yourself hoarse at your pet, especially if you already spend most of your time screaming at your own kids. Obedience training,  like everything else in Singapore, costs money and can be as expensive as sending your kid for tuition.

 

Relocation

Should your company post you overseas or you decide to escape the high cost of living in Singapore by fleeing elsewhere, don’t think you can just leave your dog by the side of the road and drive off, you monster. If you want to take your pet with you to a country like Australia, you’re looking at a 30 day quarantine period and an insane cost of thousands of dollars per animal, plus a quarantine period of at least 30 days. The alternative, giving your beloved pet up for adoption, will make you ask why you even decided to adopt one in the first place.

What unexpected costs have you incurred thanks to your pets? Tell us in the comments!

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Joanne Poh

In my previous life, I was a property lawyer who spent most of my time struggling to get out of bed or stuck in peak hour traffic. These days, as a freelance commercial writer, I work in bed, on the beach, in parks and at cafes, all while being really frugal. I like helping other people save money so they can stop living lives they don't like.