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Challenges with bringing dogs to Singapore

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Jordya
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Challenges with bringing dogs to Singapore

Post by Jordya » Tue, 25 Aug 2009 11:21 pm

Hi- I am in the process of finalizing a corporate relocation to Singapore and my wife and I are trying to gather as much information about moving with our two dogs. The dogs are German shorthairs (50 lbs) age 11 and 8 and in excellent health. We know about the quarantine, the limited green space and the like, but would like to hear from people who have made the move with larger dogs and what challenges to expect. Incidentally, our vet does not see a problem and I will likely rent a semi detached with a garden for exercise. Any help to reduce our anxiety is appreciated!

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road.not.taken
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Post by road.not.taken » Wed, 26 Aug 2009 12:28 am

Hi Jordya,

You don't mention where you are moving from but I can help compare some of the differences between the US & Singapore:

Where I live in the US, people bring their dogs with them everywhere (car rides, the office, outdoor cafes, etc). With the exception of a few places in Singapore (the Botanic Garden for example), Singaporeans leave their dogs at home.

Dog food is of course all imported and therefore about 50% more expensive than it is in the US, however healthcare is much cheaper and there are plenty of excellent vets (including some that make house calls :)

The dog culture in Singapore is weird from a western viewpoint, but is changing. Unfortunately it is still common to see large breed dogs chained to the gate of a house at night for protection or in a small cage during the day. Most Singaporeans kept larger dogs for protection in the old days (10 - 20 years ago). That is changing, however now that the idea of having dogs as pets has taken hold, far too many new dog owners went out and bought exactly the wrong type of dog for their living environment (high energy/small HDB flat). So the culture is evolving, but still has a way to go.

Ninety-nine percent of landed properties, including Semi-Ds have a gate and fence. This means dogs stay in their yards. Better for the dog, and better for the people trying to walk dogs in the neighborhood.

If you decide to hire a maid, she can be a huge help with your pets. Not only can you travel and not worry about the dogs, but there is someone at home most of the day to keep them company (and vice-versa).

Most Singaporeans are afraid of/or misunderstand larger breed dogs for reasons mentioned above. Added to that, some Muslims can not be touched by a dog without undergoing a long, drawn out clensing process ~ so when you are sharing the sidewalk, you must be very respectful of who is around you.

It is damn hot in Singapore so our walks are limited to dusk and dawn (7:00pm & 7:00am).

Our 90lb lab was blissfully happy in Singapore, so much so that we are in the process of bringing a new lab puppy to Singapore in the next few weeks.

Hope this helps :)

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grivoise
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doggies!

Post by grivoise » Wed, 26 Aug 2009 7:56 am

Hi Jordya,

First of all, welcome in advance to Singapore. ;)

As pointed out by road.not.taken, Singapore isn't too dog-friendly, but you'd find that there are still quite a few places you could bring your dog along to. Most eating establishments don't have a stated rule about dogs so you'll have to find a favourite place which is "flexible" about it. I have brought dogs with me to cafes and beach restaurants, but be prepared to sit at the outermost table. Cafes with an al fresco section are usually more tolerant, as long as your dogs don't disturb other customers. There are a few eateries specifically for dogs, complete with separate doggy and human menus, you might like to check those out.

There are a few dog runs here, namely East Coast Park, Pasir Ris Park (this has pet-friendly eateries), West Coast Park, Bishan Park Katong Park Dog Run (I like this one, small but less crowded), Jurong Lake Park Pet Park (not many know about this, but when you get here just say "next to the old Tang Dynasty", lol), Pet Movers’ Dog Run (it's located along the stretch of pet farms, and has a dogwading pool, but if you do not wish to see pet farms, avoid), The Animal Resort Off Leash Park (grooming school and a run half the size of a football field), and Sentosa’s Tanjong Beach (dogs need to be leashed here). So there are places you could bring your dog to, just that you'd have to especially set aside time for the outing than say just bringing him along to the market. Perhaps you could find a residential place near these locations! As for greenery..... You might be surprised at the greenery we have here for a city. Of course, it'll be nothing compared to a suburban area but enough for a good doggy romp (and toileting, lol).

As for walking your dogs... As a local dog walker, I can tell you that the heat is almost unbearable here between 10am to 4pm and especially at 12, where you will be roasting in the sun. It can get to even the dogs sometimes. The dogs I walk in the afternoon tend to tug me home soon after they've done their business - they can't stand to be the in heat a minute more, lol. It may seem like a small thing but if this is your first visit to Singapore the heat can literally fry your good spirits. Since your dogs are shorthaired they shouldn't have too much problems adjusting. The only thing you can do really is try to keep to the shade of the trees in the area when walking them (and time for get more doggy waterbottles!), and preferably adjust your walking schedule. Say... if you walk them four times a day do it at 8am, 2pm, 7pm, 12am or 6am, 11am, 6pm then 11pm. Whatever it is, just avoid 12-2pm like the plague!

Generally, allowing your dogs to mark on lamp posts and bins are okay, but try to avoid letting them mark on curbs which are just outside peoples' homes if you are walking in a landed residential area. There really is no problem with that technically (and legally) but the owner may give you the evil eye each time you pass.

Speaking of Singaporeans being afraid of big dogs...

The younger Singaporeans are actually fine with dogs, but there are many others who are scared of anything bigger than a Cocker Spaniel, or simply feel that dogs are "hygienically impaired" (aka dirty, lol) and just don't wish to be near one. I'm assuming you'd be used to letting your dogs walk near people (as long as said person isn't reeling with horror) and making friends..... well, not in Singapore. Always keep them a bit closer to you when you're walking past someone. Don't worry, after spending some time here you'll be able to spot whether the approaching local stranger has an expression of dog horror or not, haha. Also, it is common for owners with their dogs approaching other dogs or children to greet them with, "Don't worry, he/she's friendly!". I find myself repeating it every day.

Regarding Muslims, technically they are allowed to touch dogs, just not allowed to come into contact with any wet area of the dog (mouth and nose). Of course, that makes petting a dog a bit tricky doesn't it? lol. Personally, when I recognise a Muslim person walking towards me, I try to take a big round past that person, it's much easier than seeing the fella stress himself out avoiding me. Just make it a habit, because if you have to walk directly past a Muslim family, the kids will all start screaming as if they're on fire (you'll hear them say "Anjing! ANJING!!!).

Major dog food brands like Science Diet, Eukanuba, Nutra and Solid Gold are easily available, plus other brands and even organic ones. Finding your choice dogfood shouldn't be an issue. The only thing that I personally find lacking is the variety of leashes. Not the number of options, but the type of options. They're mostly retractable leashes or horrid-looking nylon ones which don't really last and are awfully overpriced. Buy a few spare sets there before coming over.

Just do a quick search for local dog forums and you'll find several dog groups which organise events, dog runs and meet ups, a great way for you and your dogs to make new friends. :)

Jordya
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Re:

Post by Jordya » Wed, 26 Aug 2009 8:38 pm

Thanks for both of your posts. Great information. I also figured out how to search on this site and found some additional information. One remaining question...Is there any green space parks or forest areas where you can simply let your dog run outside the confines of a fenced in area? Ideally we hope to live close enough to one of these areas to use such a place, but this may be a stretch. The pet Movers run info on puppy farms is a bit troubling. We are considering them for our relocation.

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Post by carolynW » Thu, 27 Aug 2009 3:47 pm

There is one big open park just for dogs on the west coast, I took my dogs there 6 years ago and my 3 were not too socialised so they didn't enjoy it. Near our present home, there is a large open space so we let them run free there.

I used to take them to Fort Canning and let them loose at the big park area but had to be careful that they didn't scare children or go after other dogs.

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