FAQ: Exporting Dogs to Singapore


I get emails regularly from people asking me questions about moving to Singapore with their dogs. I don't mind answering them at all, but I figured a FAQ post might be in order.

If you're here looking for information on exporting dogs to Singapore and still have some questions after reading this post, please don't hesitate to send me an email or leave your question in the comments section. I am more than happy to help!
The dudes, at home in Singapore.

Q: How hard is it to find housing that is dog-friendly?
A: When Jeff arrived and started house-hunting, he told the property agent that we had two dogs and needed a dog-friendly place to live. This might be more difficult if you're house-hunting on your own. With an agent, it wasn't that hard to find a dog-friendly place. In fact I'd say it's probably harder to settle on a place you like over finding one that takes pets. Our landlord had us pay a pet deposit, which is what we expected.

I recommend finding a place that either has room for your dog to run about and go potty, or somewhere near a park or the beach. In our case, we settled on a place near East Coast Park and are extremely happy with our decision. 

Q: Did you hire a pet relocation company to help with the export process?
A: Yes, we hired Pet Movers to help us with the importation of our dogs into Singapore. 

Q: How much did pet relocation services cost?
A: At the time of our move (August 2010), we paid SGD2,457.22. This included 10 days of quarantine in an air-conditioned kennel, dog licensing, import handling and documentation for both dogs, overtime for our late arrival into Singapore, transportation, daily exercise, and import permits. That's not including what I spent in the US for four months of vet visits, vaccines, rabies tests, air transportation and two dog kennels.

This total was for two dogs; if you've got one dog you can expect to pay about half of this.

Q: How did your dogs do on the journey to Singapore?
A: The dogs did remarkably well. When the pet agent picked them up at the airport, he said they were wagging their tails and sniffing around. I feared Little Joe would be a bit more traumatized by the whole ordeal, but he was fine. 

If your dog isn't used to a dog crate, I recommend gradually introducing them to the crate and getting them used to spending time in it. I started by assembling the crates and leaving them around the house so the dogs could smell them and be comfortable around them. Eventually I trained the dogs to climb in when I said "crate." Then I got them used to being inside the crate with the door closed; I started with short periods of a few minutes until they were comfortable sleeping in their crates overnight. I think this was really beneficial for them because at least they felt their crate was familiar, despite all the new noises and smells of planes and airports.
Stanley (and Joe in the background) sleeping.

Q: Did you ever feel your dogs were in danger, or in perilous conditions?
A: Not really. The only time I was a little concerned is when I switched flights at Narita Airport. I asked someone at the gate if my dogs were on board and they said yes, so I was really relieved after that. 

Q: Which airline did you use to fly your dogs? 
A: I flew from SFO to SIN on United Airlines. Pet Movers recommends KLM or Lufthansa, as they have flights that arrive to Singapore during the day, but their flights from San Francisco were also about 10 hours longer for me than flights on United. Because my flight arrived at midnight, I had to pay our pet agent extra to be there and pick up our dogs. 

Not all airlines accept dogs on long haul flights, and not all airlines accept all kinds of dogs. I highly recommend flying a direct flight if at all possible. 

Q: What are the visiting hours like at the quarantine station?
A: Visiting hours are from 4 to 6 pm Monday through Friday, 2 to 6 pm on Saturday, and closed on Sunday. There are fenced yards you can reserve so your dog can exercise, but these can only be reserved for 15 minute appointments and you must book these in advance. Check out the AVA's website for more info.

Q: How did you get your dogs a 10-day quarantine as opposed to a 30-day quarantine?
A: There are different checklists you can use in preparation for moving your dogs to Singapore. You can read more about that on my post about the checklists here
Little Joe. The nose knows.

Q: What was your experience like with the AVA (Agri-Food & Veterinary Authority)?
A: Very good. I was told that the folks working there are either veterinarians or trained to work with animals. They answered all my questions, knew my dogs by name, and were generally very friendly.

The quarantine facility itself is really far away (in Sembawang). It is a very clean facility. You can choose to put your dogs in an air-conditioned kennel or not. Every time I was there (which was everyday of the dogs' 10-day quarantine) the dogs' kennel was clean and their water bowls were full. 

Q: How are your dogs coping with the hot weather?
A: Surprisingly well. I have taken to cutting their hair rather short, but the only one that seems to mind is me. I've noticed they drink a lot more water than they used to so I leave a few water bowls out for them. 

I recommend avoiding midday walks if at all possible. Morning and afternoon walks when the heat is less brutal are better. I try to avoid walking my dogs on sidewalks or streets too, since these surfaces can burn their feet.

Q: Are there places for your dogs to go outside?
A: That depends on where you live. Our apartment complex has two "pet lavatories" for dogs to use; I think this is common in some of the larger private apartment buildings. I prefer walking the dogs along the grassy areas next to the sidewalk on our street when they need to go potty. 

There are many green areas in Singapore to take your dogs to, but dogs must be leashed at all times except for in dog parks. 

Q: Do dog parks exist in Singapore?
A: Yes, they do. I have yet to make it to any of them because I'm pretty content living close to East Coast Park, though. Here are a few links to dog parks and dog-friendly places in Singapore:

My boys.

Q: Since you don't have a car, how do you transport your dogs?
A: I've been pretty lucky so far about not having to stress out about transportation for my dogs. Our vet is a 15 minute walk away, the beach is nearby, and the dogs' boarding kennel comes and picks them up when we travel. However, I realize this might not be the case for everyone.

You can arrange for a pet taxi service to pick you and your dogs up and chauffeur you around. I have used Pet Mobile before and they are pretty convenient and their prices are reasonable.

I've never tried booking an actual taxi, but a fellow dog owner told me she usually hires a cab in advance and specifies she will have a dog with her. By booking in advance, you should guarantee that your cab driver is comfortable with a dog in the backseat.*

*UPDATE: I recently called the Comfort DelGro taxi booking center to book a cab when I had to take Stanley to the emergency room. I asked for a cab that would take my 10kg dog. I waited a few minutes longer than the usual taxi booking, but finally a dog-friendly cab showed up. It was really easy and I didn't have to pay extra. Not sure it would work with large dogs, but it's worth a try!

Q: Do you have any tips to make the relocation easier for pets?
A: Our dogs had a predictable routine of walks, feeding, play time and bed time in the US that I kept pretty much the same here in Singapore. I think this really helped them adjust. I also got them used to being crated, and I brought with me some of their old toys and treats so had something familiar waiting for them when they came home from quarantine.

I really think visiting them regularly in quarantine is important. Daily, if possible. This way they realize you haven't abandoned them, and the new smells and sounds won't be completely unfamiliar to them if you show up every once in a while.

And finally, give your dog some extra attention. Traveling to Singapore is one hell of a journey! 


  1. I'm always intrigued how it all works. Thanks for filling us in - I've heard great things about pet movers too. glad you had a good experience!

  2. I love the doggie focused posts.

  3. Hi Flora! Thank you for putting this post together - always love meeting another animal lover ;-)

  4. been reading your posts every now and to gain insight into living in Singapore... used to blog, but stopped a couple of years ago...
    we are moving from the UK at the end of the month and our dalmatian Cooper is coming with! thank you for sharing your experience with your bedlington boys - very comforting to hear they are doing well. keep up the great blog!

  5. awww- i meesh demz :o/ did that clip go through of joe spinning? hope so. was that a duck, stan 'destuffed' in that second pic? too cute!

  6. Thanks everyone for the kind comments.

    @nlo yes the video worked and yes that used to be a duck. Stan has a basket full of toys but they're not as fun as those squeaky ducks he loves.

  7. What breed are those dogs?
    Hmmm... Poodle x fox terrier? ;)

  8. @London Caller they're Bedlington Terriers, although they haven't gotten a proper breed cut in a while.

  9. oh such muffins!! :) we're hoping to one day move our puppybear back to singapore. thanks so much for the tips!


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