Keeping Pets in Singapore: 5 Extra Costs and Considerations for Your New Home (2023)

Eugenia Liew
Keeping Pets in Singapore: 5 Extra Costs and Considerations for Your New Home (2023)
Many families keep pets such as cats and dogs in Singapore. Nowadays, it’s increasingly common to consider our ‘fur babies’ as part of the family.
When shopping for a new home, the needs of family members are often at the forefront of one’s mind. That means more are taking their pets’ needs into account too and ensuring our animal friends have adequate living space.
Now, you might be thinking that there isn’t much to it – after all, what’s so difficult about buying a tank for your pet fish, or a cage for your new hamster? While it might be true that small pets are easier to care for than larger ones, there are some inconveniences one can encounter without careful planning.
Not to worry though, we’ve got a list of things to help you plan ahead for both you and your pet. This guide will come in handy when planning and budgeting for a new and pet-friendly home.
But before we explore those nuances, let’s first consider the easiest pets to keep in Singapore.

What Is the Easiest Pet to Keep in Singapore and HDB Flats?

About 80% of Singaporeans live in HDB flats. As such, when house hunting, it is essential to know what are the easiest pets and breeds to keep in Singapore, as some pets and housing types do not fit into the same equation.
Pet ownership will impact the type of property you can move into, though this applies more to large dogs and cats than other small pets. For instance, no matter how friendly and people-loving your golden retriever is, large dog breeds such as these are not allowed in HDB flats due to the lack of floor space within the unit.
It’s not just about size. Despite their lack of stature, corgis are also disallowed in HDB flats as the high-energy breed is very active and sheds fur excessively. The Ministry of National Development has deemed these traits to go against maintaining a “pleasant living environment and good neighbourly relations”.
Cats face a similar dilemma – keeping cats in HDB flats is illegal due to their tendency to roam, caterwaul, and are generally deemed challenging to contain within a flat.
A landed property with room to roam might be your best bet if you have large or active dogs or cats for pets. Condominiums will remain a viable option too, although some condo managements have imposed rules regarding large dogs too, like not being to take certain lifts.

Considerations When Home Shopping with Pets

Type of Pet Key considerations and costs
Cats The risks of high-rise living and the costs of meshing up windows
Fish, terrapin, etc Costly fish tanks and enclosures, as well as plumbing solutions for ease of cleaning
Various pets Planning for a suitable bath and wash-up area
Various pets Replacing destroyed furniture and buying other pet-related furniture (e.g. shelves, aquarium stands, etc)
Now, let’s consider a different scenario. You’ve settled into your new home and are considering adopting a pet. The situation is now reversed – instead of being restricted to certain housing types depending on your pet, the type of pet you adopt is now impacted by the house you live in.

Keeping Cats in Singapore: The Risks of High-Rise Living & Costs of Meshing Up Windows

If you live in a high-rise apartment and plan to adopt a cat, remember, cats are proficient climbers. They are also curious creatures, which means that open windows can become hazards, and could risk your cat falling several storeys if precautions are not taken.
To prevent unwanted accidents, your windows will need to remain closed permanently, or at the very least be meshed up if you plan on opening them. You will need to mesh your front gate too, as these slinky animals can easily slip through small gaps and escape.
The cost of meshing your windows will vary depending on their size, so set aside a small budget if you plan to bring home a feline friend. There are several pet services that will provide you with a quote based on the size of your windows, but if you plan on installing the mesh yourself, the mesh will cost between $8 to $37 for a 0.5m by 1m roll.

Keeping Terrapins, Arowana and Other Fish in Singapore: Costly Fish Tanks and Plumbing Solutions

If you are an avid fish enthusiast, you might have dreams of owning an elaborate aquarium filled with lush aquatic plants and vibrantly coloured fish.
For those who believe in feng shui, you might want to rear some larger fish breeds like Arowana or flower horn (‘luohan’) fish for luck and prosperity. Or maybe you and the kids plan on rearing some terrapins, which can grow significantly in size. The size of your tank will affect how convenient or difficult it is to maintain your aquarium, so think this one through before you go ahead!
The commonly available rectangular fish tanks come in various sizes and are typically made of glass. Large tanks can hold 100 litres of water or more, while more modest ones can hold anything between 8 to 50 litres. Either way, your fish tank will need to be strategically placed so you are not too far from a water source or bathroom. Imagine having to lug pails of both clean and dirty tank water while navigating through your home… Any spillage will mean a lot of cleaning up to do.
If you are sure about upkeeping an aquarium, include these plans in your discussions with your interior designer or contractor, who can help you work out any solutions to your water problems, and what these might cost.
It’s hard to estimate the costs as these plumbing solutions will be unique to the layout and design of your home, but it is a significant expense you’d want to budget for.

For All Pets: Pet-friendly Gates in Singapore

Both cats and dogs require pet-friendly gates. Like meshed windows, having pet-friendly gates for your cat ensures they won’t escape your home. After all, cats are curious creatures who go wherever they want; when they see something that excites them, they are prone to wander off.
For dogs who are known to be explorers and are keen to follow their fur parents wherever they go, gates help set boundaries. Since most homeowners are working adults and have to leave our pups at home for an extended period, giving our dogs free rein of the house may only bode well sometimes. This is especially so if your dog is prone to separation anxiety and may tear the place apart.
Setting some boundaries and keeping your dog safe while giving him room to roam freely is essential. You can do this by having a pet-friendly gate installed in your house. There are many pet-friendly gates in Singapore, mainly sold at leading pet retailers.
When choosing a pet-friendly gate for your dog, one should select sturdy gates that are chew-proof, so your pup won’t be able to munch it off. A gate with a walk-through door with a latch is also essential for you to open it easily and walk through it quickly.

For All Pets: Planning for Convenient Bath and Washing Areas

Regarding the bathroom, fur babies like cats and dogs are sometimes similar to toddlers or young children. You will need to bathe them regularly and have a wash-up area for all their soiled items (like the litter box, toys, etc.). Some owners are okay with sharing a bathroom with their pets, but if you’re one of those who prefer not to, you’ll need to find a home with a spare or common bathroom.
Additionally, how small your bathroom is might become the bane of your pet-bathing existence. Particularly for pets that detest water, a small shower stall can be a dangerous place to bathe them if they struggle and resist. Getting sprayed in the face by your shower hose will be the least of your problems if there is a risk of falling and injuring yourself during the struggle.
Having a bathtub, or a large open area to bathe them in might be a better option altogether. Of course, installing a bathtub will cost you extra, so think carefully about this before deciding. The installation will set you back roughly $1,500 to $2,000, besides all the weight regulations imposed by HDB and condominium management.
Besides strategic placement and having adequate facilities, what else do you need to consider when preparing your home for a pet? Furniture, of course.

For All Pets: Budget for Pet-friendly Sofa and Furniture in Singapore

Pet-friendly furniture works in two ways – furniture for humans that your pets won’t quickly destroy, and furniture for your pets to use.
Any cat or dog owner will tell you that pet fur is something you will have to get used to, and the last thing you want is a sofa that attracts fur. There are different fabrics deemed to be pet-friendly, with some more suitable than others depending on whether you own a cat or dog.
For instance, leather is an excellent material for your couch as it’s easy for the fur to be cleaned off, but might not be so great if your cat loves to scratch and sharpen its claws. Alternatively, you’ll have to pick pet-friendly sofas in Singapore which are made of specially formulated scratch-resistant material. Other overall great textiles include microfibre and canvas, both of which are relatively inexpensive and easy to clean or replace. Whatever you decide, prepare a budget that allows you to change the fabric of your sofa and other furniture regularly.
As for furniture specifically for your pets, these again will depend on what sort of pets you keep. Your fish or terrapin tanks will require a stand while hanging cages for pet birds will need hooks installed into the ceiling or some other hanging feature.
As for more mobile pets, creating a niche space for them is also important in building a pet-friendly home. You may consider restricting access to some areas of the house, such as the kitchen or bedrooms. Child gates will come in handy, as dogs are unlikely to try and climb over or vault them.
For your cat, you may want to allow it free passage into your bedroom (or risk suffering the lack of sleep when it tries to enter at night), and install a cat flap on the door. Rearing an indoor cat instead of an outdoorsy one comes with a few perks. It will be less inclined to want to roam outside, but in doing so, you will have to find other ways to help expend its energy and keep it active. To this end, installing climbing fixtures or shelves can act as obstacle courses for your cat to explore.
These installations can be taken care of during the renovation process, and the costs can be incorporated into your renovation budget. Alternatively, they can be installed later, but you will have to take care of the drilling and installation yourself or engage a professional for some help.
While each of these will not cost nearly as much as home renovations, setting aside some money for these will give you an idea of the expenses required to raise a pet.

A Pet-friendly Home is a Happy Home

Now that you have a rough idea of the things to consider in creating a pet-friendly home, you might have realised that owning a pet is not a decision to be made on a whim. When you make the decision to adopt them, they become your responsibility and will rely on you to care for them, so it’s important to have a clear idea of what lies ahead. This checklist will be handy when you draw up your pet-friendly renovation plans!

Checklist for Planning A Pet-Friendly Home in Singapore

  • The new property I am considering has enough space for my pet to move and be active.
  • It is not illegal for me to keep pets on this property.
  • The property and surrounding environment are safe for my pet.
  • There are precautions I can take to keep my pet safe.
  • There are adequate facilities for me to clean my pet.
  • I have invested in appropriate furniture for my pet.

Keep Your Pet-Friendly Home Clean With Sendhelper

We can all agree that having a pet increases the time it takes to clean your house, especially with cats and dogs known to shed their fur. Thankfully with Sendhelper, you can have cleaning professionals who will assist you with sweeping and vacuuming the pet’s stray hair.
Sendhelper is a professional home services brand provider that can aid you in managing your home. Get started and find a reliable provider by browsing the app.
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More FAQs About Keeping Pets in Singapore

You can keep dogs, cats, small rodents like hamsters and chinchillas, and selected fish, birds, reptiles and amphibians.

There are many pet shops in Singapore where you can buy a new fur-mily member. The largest pet shop chain that sells pets and pet supplies is Pet Lovers Centre.

You can buy a dog from a pet shop, or better still, adopt a dog from a shelter! Some licensed rescue groups include: Action for Singapore Dogs, Animals Lovers League, Causes for Animals (Singapore), Exclusively Mongrels, Mercylight Animal Rescue and Sanctuary, Noah's Ark CARES, Oasis Second Chance Animal Shelter, Purely Adoptions, SOSD, Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) and Voices for Animals.

No, cats are legal to own in Singapore. It is, however, illegal to keep cats in HDB flats.

This depends on your unique needs, but in general, laminate is a popular choice as it is affordable and quite durable against scratches and stains. Learn more about the different flooring types here.

Yes, some landlords do specify explicitly in the Tenancy Agreement that they do not allow pets. If you're looking for a pet-friendly home to rent, be sure to check with the landlord and read the agreement carefully before signing.