Home Life Opinions 5 Tips for Expats Moving or Travelling To Singapore with Pets
Moving or Travelling To Singapore with Pets

5 Tips for Expats Moving or Travelling To Singapore with Pets

Most people with pets consider their pets to be a part of their immediate family. The thought of being separated, even for a few days, from your dog or cat can be distressing. It can be even more upsetting if you have to leave your pet behind if you have to relocate to another country.

Fortunately, it is possible to take your pet with you wherever you are going. If you happen to be travelling to or from Singapore, there are several points that you must keep in mind regarding taking your pet with you. Here are some of the things that you need to know.

1. Tips for Entering Singapore: Is the breed allowed in Singapore?

The first step that you must take is to check that your pet is not on the banned list. The Agri-Food & Veterinary Authority of Singapore (AVA), the government body responsible for ensuring the health and welfare of animals in the country, has issued a list of dog and cat breeds that are not allowed into Singapore. For example, pit bulls are not allowed. Certain cat breeds are also banned from entering the country.

It is also important for you to verify whether you will be allowed to keep your pet at your new residence. There are specific rules that govern the type and number of pets that you can keep at home in Singapore.

For instance, if you are living in a private residential property (as opposed to a Housing Development Board flat, where 80% of Singaporeans reside), you are allowed a maximum of three dogs. You should always check with your landlord or property manager if you are allowed to keep cats or other pets.

2. Check with the Airline

Each airline has its own set of rules regarding the transportation of pets. If you are flying Singapore Airlines, remember to verify the breed of your pets with the airline’s list of animals which are not accepted for travel.

Singapore Airline’s list is quite restrictive and the prohibited breeds include all types of terriers, boxers, pugs, and spaniels in addition to several other types of dogs. Not only that, many airlines permit you to transport your pet only as checked-in baggage. The weight of your dog and its container will not form part of your free baggage allowance. Be prepared to incur additional baggage fees.

3. Comply with the Singapore Government Rules

The AVA has categorised countries according to their rabies risk status. Australia, New Zealand, Ireland, and the United Kingdom are listed in category “A”, under “countries free from rabies.” There are 13 countries in list “B”, which indicates that pets from these nations carry a negligible risk of rabies. Similarly, there are category “C” and category “D” countries. Different veterinary conditions will apply for pets from each of the four country categories.

You also need to determine the documentation requirements that you will have to fulfil and the procedures that you will have to follow to bring your pet into Singapore. A good place to start your preparations is to use AVA’s Pet Import Requirement Calculator.

Simply key in your country of origin, the type of pet that you intend to bring into the country (your choice is restricted to a dog or a cat), the pet’s age, and your expected date of arrival in Singapore. The interactive tool will immediately provide you with the schedule of dates within which you should apply for a pet licence, the vaccination requirements that you need to comply with, and other useful information.

4. Quarantine Requirements

If you are bringing a pet from a country which is not rabies-free, you would need to quarantine your cat or your dog at the Sembawang Animal Quarantine Station (SAQS). Even pets from countries which are free from rabies may need to be quarantined if their veterinary certificates are not in order.

Quarantine space needs to be reserved at least three months before your pet’s arrival in Singapore. The quarantine facilities are extremely well organised and you have the choice of booking an air-conditioned or a non-air conditioned stay for your pet. The quarantine period normally lasts for 10 to 30 days. During this time, you can visit your pet every day from Monday through Saturday.

5. Some precautions that you can take

Bringing your pet into Singapore from overseas is complicated. It is advisable to inquire about the procedures to be followed well before your travel date. A few issues that you need to keep in mind are:

  • Your pet will need a special cage for the flight into Singapore. Buy this as early as you can so that your pet gets used to it.
  • On the date of your departure for Singapore, reach the airport early. You will need extra time to complete the formalities.
  • It is essential that the paperwork regarding your pet is absolutely perfect. A single missing certificate can result in an extended quarantine period.

Keeping a dog in Singapore

While Singapore is a pet-friendly city, you need to follow the rules applicable to pet owners. It is mandatory to keep your dog on a leash when you are in a public place. There are also certain restrictions on taking your dog into restaurants. There are also a number of cost items that you need to be aware of, like putting in a microchip. To find out how much it costs to have a pet in Singapore, you can read our guide on the average cost of pets, which breaks down the major categories of pet-related spending areas.

Ultimately, pets are some of the best friends that a person can ever have. Although you will have to do a great deal of work to bring your pet into Singapore, the joy and companionship that a pet can provide make it well worth the effort.

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