Thinking about adopting a dog? From the best animal shelters to adopt a puppy (including dog adoption fees) to rehoming rescue dogs, here’s everything you need to know about dog adoption in Singapore
If you are planning to adopt a dog in Singapore, we’ve compiled a complete guide to the best animal shelters, things to consider and how to prepare your home for your new dog. Studies show that the simple act of petting a dog leads to a healthier heart, improved mental well-being, and a longer life. When you are thinking of getting a new pet, you may have a specific breed of dog in mind – a golden retriever, poodle, or corgi? However, you’ll need to think about what is right for your family – a puppy with bounds of energy that you’ll need to toilet train, a ‘Singapore Special’ mixed breed dog, or an older rescue dog or retired police dog that you can rehome.
Knowing where to get your new pet can be a bit trickier! If you are trying to avoid buying a puppy from a pet shop, we’ve put together a guide to dog adoption in Singapore listing animal shelters so you give the pup of your dreams a forever home.
Congratulations on deciding that you’re ready to be a pawrent! Not only are you saving the life of a rescued dog or homeless puppy, you’re helping to stop pet overpopulation by giving a second chance to a former stray or abandoned pet.
In general, if you’re buying a puppy, be sure to research where it comes from as you want to avoid irresponsible puppy mills (and sadly many dogs for sale in Singapore come from a puppy mill). These are commercial, high-volume puppy breeding farms where dogs are cramped together, bred often without rest between litters, and do not receive sufficient healthcare, food, water and socialisation. The best place to start when looking to adopt a dog in Singapore is with one of the active and reputable animal welfare groups in Singapore. Most of these long-running groups are passionate about working with strays and ‘Singapore Specials’ (ie a dog that has been bred in the streets and is a mix of different breeds of dogs) and are highly experienced in matching you with a suitable dog. If you prefer to get a certain breed of dog or want more info on what type of dog will suit your family read this.
Before you adopt a pet, keep in mind that most groups have a process that includes most of the following: pre-adoption assessment, home stay trial, adoption fees (usually to cover the cost of microchipping, vaccinations, sterilisation and administration), and follow-up visits. These procedures ensure that both Fido and their new family establish good responsible practices that will help the dog adapt to its new environment and family easily.
Best Shelters to Adopt a Dog in Singapore:
Action For Singapore Dogs (ASD)
Ricky Yeo is one of the tireless pioneers of animal welfare groups in Singapore, setting up Action For Singapore Dogs (ASD) in 2000 to rescue, re-home dogs and sterilise stray and abandoned dogs. Their Adoption & Rescue Centre is not an animal shelter, but a dog foster facility for dogs waiting to be adopted – instead of kennels, there are roomy dormitories that allow the happy pups to play, interact and exercise. The clever filter on their website helps you identify the dog traits (such as good with kids) that you’re looking for in your new pet. ASD also runs regular Basic Obedience Foundation classes to teach dog owners effective communication techniques.
Dog adoption fees: ASD’s dog adoption packages start from $230, and include vaccination, microchipping, one health checkup, and a sterilization procedure. ASD has also spearheaded Project ADORE, a landmark initiative to re-home mixed breed dogs in HDBs.
Action for Singapore Dogs, 80 Lim Chu Kang Lane 1, Singapore 718911, email@example.com
Animal Lovers League (ALL)
Singapore without strays? That has been co-founder Cathy Strong’s indefatigable dream since she began Animal Lovers League (ALL) in 2002, to feed and sterilise stray cats and dogs. In 2004, prompted by the culling of strays due to SARS, she set up Pets Villa, a no-kill animal shelter that now looks after over 500 animals when it’s at full capacity. Dedicated volunteers clean, bathe, feed and walk the dogs, and also feed and sterilise strays on a regular basis. Discover your perfect hound here, or just volunteer regularly to give some love to deserving adult and senior dogs (puppies get adopted more quickly!).
Dog adoption fees: ALL does not charge a dog adoption fee, but does have a thorough adoption process (including a two-week homestay) to ensure that pets are a good fit for families.
Animal Lovers League, 59 Sungei Tengah Road, Block Q #01-29, Singapore 699014, Whatsapp: (+65) 9670 8052, www.animalloversleague.com
Exclusively Mongrels Limited
Exclusively Mongrels Limited is a non-profit organization that aims to raise awareness of the plight of Singapore Specials, while also advocating for their adoption in Singapore by rescuing and rehoming dogs from shelters. EM is an independent organisation that relies purely on donations to sustain its work. Singapore Specials fostered out through EM have their food and medical provided for through the organisation. They also have a few categories of listings for dog adoption including HDB-approved dogs, non-HDB approved dogs, and puppies. Be sure to watch out for special events, like Singapore Specials Day, on EM’s Facebook page.
Dog adoption fees: Exclusively Mongrels Limited does not charge an adoption fee but strongly encourages dog adopters to donate to their cause. All proceeds will help them continue to save Singapore Specials and help them find a suitable home.
Exclusively Mongrels Limited, www.exclusivelymongrels.org
HOPE Dog Rescue
A non-profit run entirely by volunteers with the support of contributors, HOPE Dog Rescue strives to help animals who are abused, neglected and abandoned. HOPE does not have a physical shelter, so its rescue work relies entirely on generous foster families (you can fill out a form to foster a dog here!). HOPE also participates in Project ADORE, which helps place mixed breed dogs in HDBs – to enquire about adopting a dog or puppy you can fill out the dog adoption form.
Dog adoption fees: HOPE Dog Rescue charges a flat rate of $350 for the dog adoption fee. This includes full blood tests, heart & abdominal ultrasounds, dental work, and sterilisation.
HOPE Dog Rescue Singapore, hopedogrescue.blogspot.com
Oasis Second Chance Animal Shelter (OSCAS)
This non-profit charity and dog shelter has been around since 2006, catering to local mixed-breed dogs rescued from the streets (or from being culled). OSCAS is home to about 100 Singapore Specials, and has a thorough dog adoption process that includes multiple bonding sessions, a home stay, and ad hoc home inspections.
Dog adoption fees: $280 and includes sterilisation, microchipping, vaccination and any additional administration costs.
Oasis Second Chance Animal Shelter, 59 Sungei Tengah Rd, Block R, #01 33 The Animal Lodge, Singapore 699014, www.oscas.sg
Purely Adoptions began on Facebook in 2009 to share posts about puppies, stray animals and home pets up for adoption. Over the years, more and more like-minded people joined their cause with the same mission to raise awareness of abandoned pets and help them find their forever home.
Dog adoption fees: from $350 for a mongrel puppy or adult dog, which includes a medical checkup, three vaccination, a microchip, deworming, and 20% off sterilisation fee at its designated Veterinary Clinic. As an animal welfare group, all adoption fees are channeled back into helping more dog rescues.
Save Our Street Dogs (SOSD)
Started in 2011, Save Our Street Dogs (SOSD) hit its turning point in 2013 when it took over the abandoned Madam Yap Shelter and the 26 dogs there that would have otherwise been put to sleep. The team formed the SOSD Rehabilitation Centre that allowed them to expand their rescue capability. With the mission to advocate for integration and acceptance of mongrel dogs into society, they are one of the best resources for adopting dogs that are Singapore Specials, noting that these dogs are intelligent and healthier due to their genetic makeup, and make for exceedingly loyal and loving pets.
Dog adoption fees: SOSD’s thorough dog adoption process includes house visits and home stays, and a comprehensive $300 adoption fee. SOSD also participates in Project ADORE!
Save Our Street Dogs, 59 Sungei Tengah Rd, #01-42, Singapore 699014, sosd.org.sg
The Singapore Society For The Prevention Of Cruelty To Animals (SPCA) has been in existence since the late 1800s and is one of the most active animal welfare charity groups on the island. They receive around 400 pets and stray animals a month, and service the community through a 24-hour emergency service for sick, injured and very young animals, investigation of cruelty complaints, adoption of rehabilitated animals and public education programmes. It’s the perfect place to pick up your new pooch, as you’ll also be giving a future spot to an animal in need.
Dog adoption fees: The SPCA has a sliding scale of adoption fees that start from as little as just $25 for a special needs dog and $70 for a Senior Dog (age 7.5 and up) or longtime shelter resident.
Singapore SPCA, 50 Sungei Tengah Rd, Singapore 699012, Tel: (+65) 6287 5355, spca.org.sg
Voices for Animals
Voices for Animals rescues, rehabilitates, and re-homes retired breeding dogs, so it’s a good one to check out if you’re after smaller breed dogs that may be well suited to life in a small apartment. Run by a group of passionate animal lovers and volunteers, VFA rescues all pets (including cats, rabbits, hamsters, and other domesticated pets). VFA has a shelter in Pasir Ris that’s open to visitors.
Dog adoption fees: $250, with funds going towards helping other animals.
How to rehome a retired police dog
Hands down one of the toughest parts of dog adoption – particularly with puppies – is training. That is decidedly not the case when you adopt a former sniffer dog from Singapore’s Military Working Dogs Unit. This is also a great option for families that would prefer a purebred dog to a mixed breed; you’ll find Springer Spaniels, Labrador Retrievers, German Shepherds and more. All the dogs have gone through basic obedience training and go through regular health checks by in-house vets, annual vaccinations and a routine heart worm and parasite prevention programme. These retired police dogs have served their country and kept us all safe, why not give them a happy retirement?! Do note that these retired police dogs are not always available for adoption so, keep a lookout for news of SAF’s adoption drive or simply fill out this application form, and someone from MINDEF will get in touch with you.
How to prep your home before adopting a dog
How do you know when you’re ready to adopt or buy a dog? We spoke to dog behaviourist Marie Choo from D.O.G.S (Dog Owners Guidance Support) and dog trainer Ricky Yeo, founder of Action for Singapore Dogs, to suss out some important considerations you need to keep in mind about dog adoption in Singapore.
1. Family and home planning
Your children’s age, and whether you are planning to have more children, will help you decide whether the timing is right to welcome a dog into your family. By planning ahead, you are less likely to be overwhelmed by the needs and integration of both your kids and your adopted dog into the same home. If you’re pregnant, here are our top five tips for introducing a new baby to your dog. And if you upsize or downsize your home in future, don’t forget to take Fido into consideration, too!
If you live in an HDB flat, be sure to check HDB’s list of approved dog breeds to make sure that your dog meets the guidelines. You are only allowed to have one dog at home and must have your pet licensed by the NParks Animal & Veterinary Service (AVS).
2. Time and financial commitment
Most children will badger their parents to adopt a dog because it is cute or the parents may dangle a dog as a reward for good grades, but the reality of the menial chores such as feeding, cleaning, and walking the dog must be thought out and managed. A dog must be considered a family member who will be with you for at least 10 to 15 years. During this time, you (or the person who is the main caretaker) will be responsible for your pup’s financial upkeep, from food and toys to vet fees and medication, and even boarding costs when you’re on holiday. Head over to these pet food shops in Singapore to get an idea of how much to budget for your new dog.
Marie Choo also reminds us that dogs need plenty of exercise and stimulation to keep them in great health and prevent behavourial problems. “A daily 5-minute walk is just toileting, and not sufficient for exercise,”. Depending on the dog’s breed, expect to take your four-legged friend for at least two walks of 15-30 minutes every day. If you need to get a cuppa, you can take your dog out to any of these pet-friendly cafes so you can enjoy your coffee while your dog ‘mingles’ with the other dogs. But if you and your kids are not ready for the time commitment required to take care of a dog, then perhaps you could start with getting a fish from any of these pet fish aquarium shops in Singapore.
3. What kind of dog do you want?
Some people may have a preference for a particular breed (whether that is a corgi, poodle, golden retriever or labrador) – know your basics, as the breed will determine the size, energy and temperament of the dog. Says Ricky, “The family should choose a dog based on the personality and their lifestyle rather than on aesthetics. If the family has a busy schedule, avoid very active dogs like Jack Russells or big, heavy coated dogs such as Border Collies as they require high maintenance and attention.” Mixed-Breed dogs (called Singapore Specials in local parlance), are generally thought to be healthier and quite intelligent, with fewer inherited diseases than purebred dogs. If you need more reason to adopt a stray dog here are five reasons to adopt a Singapore Special.
Age is another factor to take into account when adopting a pet; yes puppies are adorable, but they also require A LOT more attention and training. Older dogs are generally much calmer and may require fewer walks and potty breaks; your heart will also melt when you bring home a longtime shelter dog that is grateful to finally have a warm home and loving family to call its own.
Marie adds, “Be sure to involve the whole family, including the helper, when choosing and learning to care for a dog, thereby also teaching your kids to be responsible animal owners in future.”
Things to consider before adopting a dog / rehoming a rescue dog
If you’re thinking about adopting a dog, there are some things to mentally prepare for before welcoming the dog into your home. Depending on the dog’s background, he might have trauma that could cause him to be fearful, overly assertive or possibly have abandonment issues. This means that you will have to show extra patience and love as he adjusts to his new home. He may also have bad habits that may require some retraining. And as they say, ‘It’s hard for a leopard to change its spots’. It’s not impossible, but it will take time and lots of patience.
Financially, you may have to prepare to deal with more health issues and trips to the vet, so make sure that you are ready to care for your adopted dog’s medical needs. In addition, those with medical needs may be more reactive towards lively children, especially if they are experiencing pain or discomfort. So, it would definitely take time for both the kids and the dog to adjust to each other.
Things to consider before adopting a puppy
For all the parents reading this, do you remember what it was like when you had a newborn – the multiple diaper changes, exhaustion and sleepless nights? Well, having a puppy at home is not that different! With older dogs, you can leave them at home while you head off to work for the day and walk them when you get home in the evening. But with a puppy, he would need to go outside at least once every hour (sometimes more!) until he is potty trained. You might even have to wake up in the middle of the night to take him out.
Because this little puppy is new to the world, you’ll need to take the time and patience to train them so that he will be disciplined enough to follow your rules at home. Adopting a puppy is a long-term financial commitment – dog food, treats, grooming, and trips to the vet. Make sure that you are financially prepared to take care of your pup.
Good luck with your search!