Disclaimer: This article should not be the deciding factor when you’re wondering if you should be getting a pet. Looking after a pet is a huge commitment and responsibility.
If you cannot fully comprehend what those two words entail, you’re probably not ready. So, don’t rush into getting a pet. There will be a right time.
Meanwhile, here are the five most popular pet choices in Singapore, what picking each respective animal says about you, and what it takes to take care of them.
You are: Looking for a companion, active, have lots of patience and understanding, a homebody but loves the outdoors and going on little adventures.
Daily routine: Dogs require daily walks, daily play time (be prepared to rough it out a little, especially with bigger dogs), and fresh food twice a day (depending on breed). Also expect 2-3 poops a day, and expect a shadow – they just want to be involved in everything you do!
Things they need: Playpen or crate, pee pads, lots of chew toys (especially when they’re teething), treats, dental chews, kibble (always check the ingredients to see if they’re suitable for your dog’s breed), doggy bed, a mixture of dog-safe toys with different textures to keep them curious.
Where to adopt: SPCA, Animal Lovers League, Causes for Animals, SOSD, OSCAS Singapore, Mdm Wong’s Shelter and Friends, F7 Home Kennel, Uncle Khoe’s K9 Shelter, Hope Dog Rescue, Mercylight, Voices For Animals
You are: Cool and collected, pretty much independent but also want a companion, likes a snuggle buddy, clean and neat, organised
Daily routine: They pretty much do their own thing every day, but require daily playtime, fresh food and water, and brushing of fur. Do expect “presents” from them every now and then - usually lizards and cockroaches. Gross, but they’re gifts, okay!
Things they need: Cat-proofed house, scratch board, kitty house, litter box, bedding, toy, fresh food and water.
You are: A working adult, independent, a homebody who likes the quiet, meticulous, gentle, soft-spoken, observant.
Daily routine: Rabbits eat hay throughout the day as it helps maintain their teeth, and usually sleep in the afternoon. Give them fresh vegetables for dinner (for their necessary fibre intake), and daily run-time out of their playpen to keep their joints healthy.
Groom their fur to prevent ingestion of fur which might cause blockage in the stomach. Give them lots of sayangs but don’t always carry them as it may stress them out.
Things they need: Playpen, hay, daily vegetables – fibrous ones like romaine, watercress and parsley. NO iceberg lettuce, please! It contains lactucarium, which can be harmful – or even deadly – in large quantities.
Treats (stick to fresh fruits instead of coloured treats sold in pet shops), bunny-safe toys (no coloured toys), a bunny-proof area to prevent chewing on furniture or wires, a hidey house (for comfort), daily run-time. Most importantly, do not bathe rabbits – they will be terrified and could die of shock.
You are: Ready for commitment (but also afraid of it), a busy bee, gentle, conscientious, patient, observant, not a child – hamsters are not recommended as a child’s pet because these creatures are prone to growths that may be hard to take care of without proper knowledge and understanding.
Daily routine: A top-up of food and water, daily playtime in playpen area or daily walk in run-ball. Do pick them up every day to check their skin for growths or infections.
Things they need: A cage that is at least 84cm in length and above (for dwarf hamsters; a bigger cage is required for Syrian hamsters), paper-based bedding or aspen shavings (though aspen should not be used for the entire cage; consider a half-half ratio), good quality hamster food such as the Bunnynature Expert series (recommended by the Hamster Society of Singapore), fresh small-cut vegetables, a small bottle, a wheel appropriate to their size, a run-ball, mealworm treats, a playpen so they can run safely, a hidey-house.
Where to adopt? Hamster Society Singapore
You are: Meticulous, organised, independent, empathetic, may be stressed easily and likes watching terrapins swim as it is therapeutic
Daily routine: Pretty much do their own thing but they do require cleaning of their enclosure frequently and they cannot be overfed as they will grow too big too fast
Things they need: Good food, at least a 3ft tank, enclosure requires wet (more than 30cm of water) and dry land (basking area), a UVB lamp to prevent shell rot, clean filtration system, filtration inlet must also have a strainer, water inlet and outlet for water circulation
Not allowed in Singapore
Hedgehogs, sugar gliders, iguanas, snakes, certain turtle breeds, and other reptiles are not allowed as pets because they either carry an infectious bacteria called salmonella, which is harmful to humans. These animals also require very specific diets and care routines, and large outdoor spaces.
If released into the wild, they could disrupt Singapore’s ecosystem. Turtle breeds such as the Indian star tortoises are endangered animals and therefore, should not be kept as pets.
According to a post on the Singapore Customs Facebook page: “Singapore does not condone the illegal trade in wildlife and has zero tolerance on the use of Singapore as a conduit for wildlife trafficking and timber smuggling.”
This article was first published in Wonderwall.sg.