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Puppy Love: Can You Afford It?

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Ryan Ong

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Who doesn’t love a fuzzy-wuzzy puppy or kitty?! Especially for the kids. So cute! Until you realize that Spike or Meow-Meow eats more canned food than they stock in Changi prison during the New Year countdown. Thanks to unprepared owners, local animal shelters are starting to look like gas chambers. So before you bring that pet home, you’d better know the costs:

Getting Your Pet: Buy or Adopt?

Buying a pure bred dog or cat is the most expensive option. These range from $1000 – $5000, with $1500 being the most common number. Many are dumber than mongrels, and more susceptible to disease. But who cares? You can put them on a silk pillow and give them embarrassing names.

Adopted pets are cheaper. It’s also more humane, since you’re saving them from death row. These cost around $200 – $500. If you adopt from the SPCA, you only need to pay for the medical fees incurred (during the animal’s stay):

 

Male Dog

$145

Female Dog

$155

Male Cat

$50

Female Cat

$65

Local Rabbits

$10

Purebred Rabbits

$50

Small Mammals (Rodents, mostly)

$10

*Prices based on estimates

Adopting may not be an option if you have a particular breed in mind. The shelters have what they have.

 

Food for Your Pet

If you buy wet (canned) food, expect to pay around $4 a can. The average dog or cat will eat two to three of these a day, so you’re paying about $224 – $336 a month. It’s supposedly healthier than dry food, and costs a lot more.

 

Cat being fed tiny piece of food
“Gee, thanks. How about I finish THE REST OF YOUR HAND with that?”

 

If you use dry food, it comes in huge sacks. You’ll probably get a hernia just lifting it off the ground. But dry food sacks are just $30 – $50 each. Most cats and dogs go through these at a rate of one a month. I don’t care what you’ve read on other forums, trust me: it’s one a month. Not one every 6 weeks. Not every 2 months.

If you also buy treats, these cost around $7 a pack, and you’ll probably buy one a week. That’s an additional $28 a month.

 

Grooming

Mobile grooming services will come right to your door, and they charge about $150 – $300, depending on the type of pet. Otherwise, you’ll have to pay about $10 for a round trip (to get your pet to the groomer’s and back).

Most pet owners are happy to have it done at home, since it means keeping your pet out of a potential flea pit. Maybe arrange for someone to sit in with the groomer, if you have to go to work.

 

Zebra dog
Animal Planet: the pet groomer’s fashion channel

 

Different animals have different grooming needs. Short-haired dogs and cats are usually groomed once a month, or once in six weeks. Long haired dogs and cats may have to be groomed twice a month. I shave once a week.

 

Vet Services

Did you know at one point in the early 2000’s, there were less than a dozen vets in Singapore? Probably because there are easier ways to make a living besides being arm deep in animal guts, and having your forearm used as a scratching post from nine to five.

 

Vet Services

Fees

Consultation

Around $40

Vaccination

$50

Spaying for Cats

$100 – $150

Spaying for Dogs

$150 – $500 (varies based on breed)

Spaying for Rabbits

$50 – $150

Heartworm / Distemper / Parovirus Test

$50

Microchipping

$50 – $80

*Prices based on estimates

You can bypass the cost of spaying by adopting a pet that’s already spayed. The other costs are mandatory; prepare to pay for them within the first year of getting a pet.

 

Vets operating on dog
“So I’m new out of vet school, but this is one of those dog things right?”

 

Microchipping, by the way, refers to the cost of implanting and activating a microchip in your pet’s ear (for dogs and cats). It works like a “Find my ipet” app. Except if your pet bites or scratches someone, the AVA knows how to find you as well.

 

Price Breakdown

This is the average price breakdown (1st month) of buying a pedigree dog:

 

Purchases

Approx. Cost

Purchase Cost of Pet (Pedigree Dog)

$1,500

Vet Consultation

$40

Spaying

$150

Vaccination

$50

Microchipping

$80

Heartworm Check

$50

Dry food (1 month)

$30

Grooming (End of month)

$200

Equipment (leash, bowl, etc.)

$150

Total

$2,250

*Prices based on estimates

After that, pet maintenance will be around $270 a month (dry food, vet check-ups, and grooming). So think it over before buying; adoption will shave $1k right off that bill. And while they may cost more than a PC or game console, pets are healthier diversions for children.

Image Credits:

Puplife, animalbing.com, adilugosi.blogspot.com, findavet.us, jkbrooks85

Are you a pet owner? Tell us about your pet costs and pet peeves in the comments!

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Ryan Ong

I was a freelance writer for over a decade, and covered topics from music to super-contagious foot diseases. I took this job because I believe financial news should be accessible and fun to read. Also, because the assignments don't involve shouting teenagers and debilitating plagues.

  • Sicheng Su

    Good info! Always good to encourage folks to count the cost. I’ve always loved dogs but since I just grew up with one I never had a clear grasp of the sources of financial expenditure. Having it put on a webpage in front of me is helpful. Thanks!

  • praticalsolutions

    If you can afford the food and vet care the pay back in physical and emotional health from having a pet is enormous.

  • Frankie Puggy

    sg isnt a place for an average working singaporean to adopt a pet. thanks for breaking down the cost and expenses.