CARING FOR YOUR PET
Day To Day Care
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 some general tips. Remember that these are not exhaustive. Submit your own tip!
• Feed your pets regular nutritious and balanced meals.
• Provide your pet with suitable housing and groom it well (check out the Library for more information on pet needs).
• Provide appropriate training for your pet.
• Bring your pet to a veterinarian when required.
• Spend time with your pet.
• Be considerate to others (pick up your pet's poop and don't let them stray).
• Sterilise your pet to prevent unwanted litters.
• Microchip your pet for easy traceability if it is lost.
Different types of pets have different diet, housing, exercise and healthcare requirements. As a responsible pet owner, you should ensure your pet's wellbeing by providing it with proper care.
Look at our Pet Facts to learn more about each type of pet, their characteristics and how best to take care of them
Here are some instances when you will bring your pet to the veterinarian:
Vaccinations are essential to protect your pets from common contagious diseases. Diseases such as canine distemper and canine parvovirus in dogs and feline panleukopenia virus in cats are potentially fatal diseases that can be easily prevented by vaccinations. Some common respiratory diseases in dogs and cats can also be prevented by vaccination. These diseases are usually covered in a combination vaccine administered by the veterinarian. After the first vaccination course which starts when your pet is about 6 weeks of age, yearly boosters are required to maintain protection from these diseases.
You may wish to bring your pet for a check-up when you first bring it home and then annually thereafter to ensure there is nothing you have missed. Bringing your pet to the veterinarian for its annual vaccine boosters is also a perfect opportunity to give your pet a
As pets cannot talk, you need to learn how to tell if your pet is sick by its behaviours and appearance. Some of the things to look out for that may indicate illness include:
• Loss of appetite
• Shortness of breath
• Loss of fur
• Lack of normal activity
• Unusual/bad odour
Pets may need an operation if they have a condition that requires it (e.g. infected womb, broken bone, tumour growths, hip dislocation), or when they undergo routine procedures such as sterilisation.
Your veterinarian can also advise you on other matters such as vaccination, diet, exercise and general healthcare for your pet.
Please note that your veterinarian is obliged to re-evaluate your pet at appropriate intervals for ongoing illnesses/ conditions before dispensing further medications
Training your pet, especially a dog, is a really good idea because it helps you bond and understand your pet better. It can help to keep your pet out of trouble too! Train with your dog.
Pets can be trained to various extents. Some can learn to do more things than others. Dogs, cats, rabbits and guinea pigs can be toilet trained. Most pets can be taught how to play with toys that are suitable for them. Dogs can be trained to walk on a leash as well as to obey a range of commands. Dogs may be home trained or be enrolled in a dog obedience training class.
Here are several tips on training:
• Different pets respond to different training techniques. If you don't see results, it could be that you are not using the correct technique.
• In general, choose a quiet place where you and your pet can focus. Use rewards such as play, praise or food to reinforce positive behaviour i.e. when your pet has performed the trick, command or desirable behaviour (like going to the toilet in its litter box), give it a reward. Pretty soon, your pet will understand that obeying the command or performing that behaviour will mean getting a reward.
• Conduct "play training" whereby the training tasks are made into fun games and your pet's play drive is used as motivation. Make your training fun for
• Keep your expectations realistic. Some types of pets, or some individual pets may not be able to learn the tricks or commands that you teach it.
• Always be consistent in the commands you give, and keep the commands short and simple.
• Some pets have a short attention span. It is best to have several short 5-10 minute training lessons instead of one long lesson.
For more specific step by step instructions to different training techniques check out training guides/books. A good way of training a pet dog is to go to dog training school with him/her.
As a responsible pet owner, you should send your pet for microchipping. While it is important to provide your pet with some form of visible identification such as a collar tag or a tattoo, microchips provide one of the surest ways of identification and hence recovery of a lost pet.
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.
The implantation is done with an injector that places the microchip under the loose skin between the pet's shoulder blades. The microchip, when scanned, will reveal a code that is unique to the pet. By consulting the appropriate microchip registry database, relevant information such as the pet's owner, breeder, emergency contact, even health problems and food requirements, can be obtained.
If you get your pet microchipped, make sure you register it. Otherwise, the benefit of microchipping, i.e. traceability in case your pet gets lost, is not realised.
Sterilisation, also known as neutering, is a well-established and reliable method of preventing unwanted pets. It is a routine surgical procedure to remove the reproductive organs of animals.
Why should I sterilise my pet?
Many animals that are put down could have been great family pets. Many of these could have been great family pets but there are just not enough homes for them. Breeding your pet could very well add to this number because it is not easy to guarantee a good home for every pet - remember that not everyone wants a pet and not everyone will be a good pet owner. Taking into consideration that pets can have many more babies in a shorter time than humans, it is easy to see how pet overpopulation comes about. When you breed your pets, the babies also take away homes from those that are already homeless on the streets. This means breeding indirectly causes the deaths of these homeless animals that have to be put down.
What happens during the operation?
The pet will be under general anaesthesia during the sterilisation operation and so will not feel any pain then. Most pets recover within 24-48 hours after surgery and are back to their normal selves.
What types of pets can be sterilised?
Sterilisation can be carried out on male and female cats, dogs, rabbits and guinea pigs by a licensed veterinarian. Generally, dogs, cats and rabbits are sterilised at about 6 months. To prevent unwanted breeding in pets (e.g. hamsters) that are not suitable for sterilisation, male and female animals should be housed separately.
How will my pet change after the operation?
Sterilising a pet while it is young reduces the risk of breast cancer and prevents womb infection in the female. In both male and female pets, sterilisation can prevent cancers of the reproductive organs, particularly if the operation is done in a young animal.
Sterilised pets are no longer driven by hormonal demands to find a mate, and are therefore generally calmer, more relaxed and make better house pets.
Responsible pet ownership is more than being committed to caring for your pet. It also entails being considerate towards those who do not own pets or are afraid of animals.
Here are some things that dog owners should take note of:
All dogs above 3 months of age must be licensed.
Why is licensing important?
• Licensing is necessary for rabies control. Rabies is a disease that can kill. It is passed from infected dogs to humans through a dog bite or saliva.
• Singapore is currently free from rabies but many of the countries in the region are not. This means that the risk of the disease being inadvertently brought into Singapore is always present. In the case of such an occurrence, dog licensing will allow AVA to quickly contact dog owners to control the spread of the disease.
Keeping an unlicensed dog is an offence and could result in a fine of up to $5000.
Obtain a licence for your dog online at http://www.ava.gov.sg or from AVA’s Centre for Animal Welfare & Control located at 75 Pasir Panjang Road.
Keep only HDB-approved dog breeds (if you live in a HDB flat)
Under the Housing and Development Board (Animals) Rules, only one dog of an approved small breed or its cross is allowed per residential unit. The cross should be 40 cm or less at the shoulders and weigh 10 kg or less.
Click here to view the breeds that are approved for HDB residential units.
Dogs in a public place must be leashed and properly supervised.
Why is leashing important?
• Leashing prevents dogs from getting lost or disturbing/hurting others. Choose a collar/harness and leash that fits properly as using the wrong type will not give the owner sufficient control of the dog.
• Leashing helps owners to keep their dogs close to their sides when walking past other people or in enclosed places such as lifts and staircases.
In addition to leashing, the following breeds must be muzzled in public:
- 1. Pit Bull, which includes the American Pit Bull Terrier (which is also known as the American Pit Bull and Pit Bull Terrier), American Staffordshire Terrier, Staffordshire Bull Terrier, American Bulldog, and crosses between them
and other breeds.
3. Neapolitan Mastiff
5. Dogo Argentino
6. Fila Brasileiro
8. Bull Terrier
9. Doberman Pinscher
11. German Shepherd Dog with its related breeds such as the Belgian Shepherd Dog and the East European Shepherd Dog
12. Mastiffs, including the Bull Mastiff, Perro De Presa Canario, Cane Corso and Dogue De Bordeaux
13. Crosses of the above breeds
All licensed dogs must be microchipped with an ISO compliant microchip.
• The microchip is a grain-sized inert electronic transponder that is permanently implanted under the skin in the animal’s neck behind the left ear or between the shoulders. The implantation of a microchip is done by a vet and is relatively painless.
• The microchip number is the unique identification number stored in each microchip. This permanent form of identity enables lost pets to be reunited with their owners and establishing rightful ownership if your stolen pet is found. The microchip number should be lodged with AVA.
A responsible and considerate dog owner should do the following:
• License your dog once it has passed 3 months of age.
• Discipline and socialise your dog properly.
• 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.
Find out more about licensing and apply for the license at the Dog Licensing Section of the
As a responsible pet owner, you should ensure that your pet is well cared for when you are away. Try to arrange for a family member or friend who is knowledgeable about the proper care of your pet to look after it. Alternatively, you can choose to send your pet to a boarding facility. When choosing the boarding facility, look out for the following:
• The facility should be recognised by AVA as a pet boarding facility.
• Customers should be allowed to visit and view the facilities.
• Customers, their family members or their nominees should be allowed to visit their pets.
• The premises are clean and tidy.
• When checking in, the staff should be able to handle your pet confidently and correctly. They should be able to answer your questions about the facility (including the type of veterinary care provided) and on how the animals are kept. They should also be knowledgeable about the animals and their care and should ask about your pet’s vaccinations (if appropriate).
• The animals that are there should look healthy, well managed, comfortable and rested.