It’s a dog’s life here in Singapore, and I’m not talking about those born in 1982, 1994, or 2006 (check the Chinese lunar calendar to see what I mean).

I’m talking about dog owners in Singapore.

It’s really, really difficult to keep a dog here on our island nation. From housing restrictions to transport restrictions, it seems that it might actually be easier to keep a dog on Pulau Ubin than on the mainland itself. While we understand that many of the restrictions are for the good of man and dog alike, it does mean that keeping a dog entails several sacrifices. Several major sacrifices like:

1. No public transport system wants you

No dogs allowed here. Credit: SMRT Facebook Page

No dogs allowed here. Credit: SMRT Facebook Page

You can’t take public transport with a pet. That means no MRT, no bus, no LRT. Even if your pooch is small enough to fit in a pet carrier, you can’t bring a pet carrier on to the train. You can try Grab/Uber or taxis, but that’s a really risky proposition – you can’t always find one that can take you. Your best bet is to take a pet taxi, but those can be horribly pricey. A 2-way trip from Tampines to Sentosa will cost over $50.

If you have a dog, you’ll need a car first, which means that you’ll have to agree to be part of the 2020 satellite-based ERP system.

2. HDB restrictions

Only some dogs allowed here. Credit: Housing & Development Board Facebook Page

Only some dogs allowed here. Credit: Housing & Development Board Facebook Page

There’s a long list of HDB-approved dogs that are available on the site. That means that if you get any other dog, it’s a $4,000 fine. Also, you can only keep one dog, which means that he or she will be a lonely, lonely soul. Cats are completely not allowed, so in a sense, dog owners have it better than cat owners. Thankfully, HDB isn’t too dogmatic about their restrictions, in that it’s not heavily enforced.

Yet.

3. No Medisave for pets

It's worth it. Credit: Vet Central Facebook Page

It’s worth it. Credit: Vet Central Facebook Page

Like it or not, Medisave is actually pretty useful if you’re on a budget. It helps to keep healthcare costs down, provide you get to the polyclinic before 8.00 am (otherwise you have to be prepared to spend your whole day there).

Unfortunately, pets don’t have Medisave. That means if an accident happens in the middle of the night, you can expect to fork out up to $1,500 for a pet A&E visit. There aren’t that many pet A&E services around, so you really don’t have any other options.

Staying overnight at the pet hospital will also burn a hole in your pocket – a five-night stay can cost you $4,000. For reference, staying 5 nights at a Class A1 ward at SGH will cost you $2,140.

4. Dogs aren’t allowed in many public places

Esme the guide dog. Credit: Esme the Guide Dog Facebook Page

Esme the guide dog. Credit: Esme the Guide Dog Facebook Page

Let’s face it – many pet owners are hipsters. But not many hipster cafes welcome dogs for varied reasons. This means that going out with your pet can be a pain, since your options are limited. Even if pets are allowed in a shop, the general lack of awareness regarding pets can result in terrible misunderstandings, like a blind person being refused entry into Zara.

The worst part? Zara’s store policy actually welcomes guide dogs and their owners, which means this incident shouldn’t have happened.

5. High cost of keeping dogs

A Dog's Purpose. Credit: Golden Village Cinemas

A Dog’s Purpose. Credit: Golden Village Cinemas

Even if you’ve managed to keep aside some money for pet transport and healthcare, the cost of keeping a dog can be quite taxing. Just dog food alone can set you back $200 every month, and that’s not including dog shampoo and accessories. Plus, you’re not going to want your pet to be bored, so you’ll need to invest in some good quality toys to keep them busy and healthy.

Then there’s all the accidents (read: damage) that dogs can cause to furniture at home, which presents another often overlooked cost.

Keeping a dog might be more expensive than keeping a car.

A Dog's Purpose. Credit: Golden Village Cinemas

A Dog’s Purpose. Credit: Golden Village Cinemas

But despite all this, we still keep dogs because they’re man’s best friend. When you see those big eyes staring helplessly at you, it’s all worth it. If you don’t believe me, catch A Dog’s Purpose to see what life is like from the eyes of a dog. This unique perspective shows us just how important humans are to dogs too, and after watching it, you might understand why it’s all worth it.

Because that’s A Dog’s Purpose after all, right?

 

Credits: SMRT Facebook Page, Housing & Development Board Facebook Page, Vet Central Facebook Page, Esme the Guide Dog Facebook Page, Golden Village Cinemas