The good news for animal lovers is that Singapore is a very pet-friendly society. There are plenty of facilities, activities and clubs for pets (and their owners!) throughout Singapore, as well as many specialist websites and forums devoted to pet lifestyles and accessories. You can rest assured that your pampered pet will be well catered for in Singapore!
Before You Go
As painful as it may be, you should take some time to consider whether moving your pet is absolutely the right thing to do – for them. Singapore is very humid all year round, so their ability to adjust is worth thinking about. Similarly, are they of an age that they can cope with the journey, or with finding themselves in brand new surroundings? Could you cope with separation should your pet need to go into quarantine? This is not intended to put you off – rather, it is only right to make sure that moving is going to be a positive experience for the whole family.
In addition, before going too far down this road, it is important to say that certain breeds of dog are not permitted in Singapore and so you are also prohibited from importing them. These are: Pit Bull (including the American Pit Bull Terrier, American Staffordshire Terrier, Staffordshire Bull Terrier and the American Bull Dog); Neapolitan Mastiff; Tosa; Akita; or any crosses of these breeds.
You also need to know that cats aren’t permitted as pets in HDB premises, and that you can’t bring reptiles, spiders or insects into Singapore.
What You Need
There are some important requirements regarding licensing, quarantine and health certification that you will need to have sorted out before your beloved pet can get the green light to move with you.
First of all, you will need to obtain an import licence from the Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority of Singapore (AVA), issued no more than 30 days before your pet’s arrival in Singapore (which you can do online). It usually takes two days to process (once you have submitted the form and supporting documents) and will cost you SGD$50.
Different airlines have different procedures and conditions when it comes to carrying pets, and so it is important to get specific, relevant and up-to-date information from your chosen carrier. IATA is the best place to start for a general overview.
For dog and cat owners from Australia, New Zealand, the UK or Republic of Ireland, there is good news – your pet will not need to be quarantined or vaccinated for rabies. Unfortunately, if you are coming from any other country a rabies vaccination will be necessary, as will a period of at least 30 days in quarantine in the Sembawang Animal Quarantine Station (SAQS). You will need to have made any quarantine arrangements before you complete the application for an import licence.
In addition, all dogs and cats require an Airline Declaration, an official form from your air carrier stating the aircraft your pet travelled on.
If you are intending to import any small mammals other than dogs or cats, you need to be able to provide documentary evidence that the animal has been in your possession for the last six months. If not, the animal will be quarantined and you will be responsible for its cleaning and feeding while it is there.
Before you will arrive, you will need to make sure that your dog or cat has microchip identification. If you don’t have this, it will be done on arrival by Changi Animal and Plant Quarantine (CAPQ) officers, and you’ll be charged SGD$83 for the privilege.
You will need to have a certificate that say that your dog or cat has been treated for both internal and external parasites. For external parasites (which include ticks and fleas), the certificate needs to be dated between 2 and 10 days before your departure. In the case of internal parasites (nematodes and cestodes), the certificate has to be dated within 4 days of departure. If you don’t organise this before you leave, the AVA will do it before they will release your pet to you, at a charge of SGD$10.50 per treatment.
In addition, you will be required to produce a vaccination card that shows that your pet has been vaccinated (more than two weeks but less than one year previously) against the following:
dogs – distemper; hepatitis; parvo virus
cats – feline calcivirus; feline viral rhinotracheitis; chlamydia psittaci; feline panieukopaenia/feline parvovirus
We would always recommend that you contact and work with a company who specialises in international pet removals. You will, naturally, have to pay for their services but this is one of those occasions when some additional outlay is advisable, as it’s a pretty specialised field and so it is a good idea to call upon people who have the necessary experience, contacts and know-how to make the process as painless as possible for you and your pet.
Once You’re There
Once your dog arrives in Singapore, will have to register him or her with the AVA. This will cost you SGD$14 per year (or SGD$70 if your dog has not been neutered) and it can be done online. There is an initial one-off registration fee of SGD$6.50 for all new applications.
Agri-food and Veterinary Authority of Singapore
AVA application for an import licence
IATA guidelines on pet air travel
Singapore Veterinary Association
This blog post 6 Things To Remember When Travelling With Your Dog also provides some very useful tips for dog owners travelling with their pets.