I’m sure most people are familiar with the phrase “adopt, don’t shop”- encouraging pet adoption and not purchasing from breeders/pet shops.
The purpose of this article is not to discuss the ethics of pet adoption over purchasing one (I think we all innately know what we should be choosing over the other. That being said, I believe approx. 80-90% of pet owners in Singapore are still obtaining their animals from petshops / breeders).
For those who do not know, there are INDEED a lot of animals that are in adoption shelters, fosterer homes that are in need of a good home. (See SOSD Singapore)
The reason why I decided to write this is to prepare potential pet owners/and remind current pet owners of the TRUE cost of owning a pet. (Cost may vary in different countries however this theory applies across board).
We vets/ vet clinics see a sizeable portion of clients who are disgruntled over the cost of veterinary treatment. I do not deny that pet treatments can be costly, especially if your animal requires intensive medical testing and care.
However I also find it extremely puzzling that many clients are willing to fork out hundreds and thousands of dollars on the actual purchase of an animal, on food and toys, grooming, spa, boarding but yet are unwilling to spend when it comes to their animal’s health.
Let me provide a quick breakdown of the cost you are likely to incur the moment you set your eyes on the chosen animal. The cost estimates I will be providing are based on dog ownership in Singapore. (All prices are quoted in SGD $).
- Cost of pet:
(a) Adoption: 150-450
(b) Purchase from petshop/ breeder: 1500-6500 (depending on breed and shop)
- Registration cost (only dogs are required to be registered in Singapore; see article on cats) : 13.50-90
- Microchipping: 15-45
- De-sexing/ Sterilisation: 300-500
Total Upfront cost (no. 1-4)
Purchasing from petshop/ breeder: 1900-7200*
*I think it is quite clear how much more it costs to shop and not adopt.
A) Annual vet checks (on healthy animals):
(a) Consult: 25-110
(b) Vaccination (c4/c4/c5): 35- 80
(c) Heartworm prevention inj: 85-180 (depending on weight)
B) Topical or oral dewormer/ external parasite preventatives: 50-150/ 6 months
C) Monthly food cost: 50-300
D) Toys, enrichments: ~20/month
E) Grooming (shampoo, conditioner, professional groomer): 50-80/month
Annual recurring cost (A-E): 1100-1700
Multiply this with the lifespan of an animal
(Eg: Maltese ~ 10 -14 years, Golden retriever 8-12 years)
Other vet related cost on common conditions
(most animals WILL require an inevitable trip to the vet once to several times a year, unless you have an animal that is fit like a bull!) Prices are estimated to be per condition per consult:
– Skin conditions: expect range of 50-350 (wide range as some medications relating to skin can be costly)
– Vomiting/ Diarrhoea: 50-150
– Limping (uncomplicated): 50-150;
– Limping (slightly complicated; needing radiographs +/- GP surgery): 300-1500
– Limping (complicated requiring specialist intervention): 2500-5000
Unexpected vet related cost
– Foreign body surgery : 1500-3500
– Gastric dilation and volvulus (GDV): ~5000-6500
– Femoral head and neck excision (FHO): 800-2500
Animals are living beings, and like humans- they fall ill too. It would be unrealistic to not cater for this aspect of their care, yet the truth is that many do not.
As with humans, animals do suffer from age related problems such as cataracts, arthritis, heart disease, diabetes, etc. And like humans, these conditions require medical attention too.
Clients may get frustrated with the unexpected/ uncatered expense. Some bite the bullet and do what needs to be done. However many others take it out on veterinary personnel, abandon the animal or simply call it quits.
As harsh as this sounds, it is neither the veterinary staff nor the animal that is at fault. The sole culprit is the owner and their oversight of the true cost of pet ownership. I cannot further emphasize how owning a pet is actually a luxury that one needs to gravely consider before taking on.
For current pet owners: put aside a pet emergency fund (like how you would for yourself/ family/ kids). That’s why they call pets furkids.