Expat Guide: Moving to Singapore with Your Dog? Here's What You Need to Know

Expat Guide: Moving to Singapore with Your Dog? Here's What You Need to Know

If you are planning to move to Singapore with your dog, one of your top concerns is likely about how pet-friendly we are here.

While Singapore isn't going to be winning an award for pet-friendliness (and we do win quite a number of awards), I would say we aren't at the bottom either.

Most importantly, there have been improvements and various malls and business owners are working towards making their establishments more welcoming to pets.

To help you navigate a new environment and culture, we have prepared a guide to what you need to know as a pet parent in Singapore.

Pet Import

Everything you need to know and do when preparing to bring your dog or cat into Singapore can be found in this link by the Animal & Veterinary Service (AVS), the government agency that handles all animal-related matters.

You can choose to hire a pet moving company to handle all the administrative work or do it yourself. Be sure to follow every step and triple check all deadlines.

Pet licence

All dogs must be licensed in Singapore. A one-time licence (from S$15) can be applied for sterilised dogs. For non-sterilised dogs (from S$90), you can choose to apply for a one-year, two-year, or three-year licence, which changes to lifetime if you eventually sterilise your dog.

Find out more about pet licensing here.


In Singapore public housing (HDB flat), homeowners can keep one small dog of an approved breed in each unit. You may be able to adopt a mid-sized dog or an ex K-9 dog under various programs. You can find out more here. Cat licensing in HDB will start in September 2024. Flat owners are allowed to keep up to 3 cats or 2 cats and 1 dog.

For dogs in private housing, a maximum of three dogs is allowed, of which only up to one specified dog is allowed. Find out more here. There is no restriction to keeping cats in private properties, subject to management rules, if any. 

Unlike cities like Bangkok, condominiums and apartments do not charge extra for pets living in the building.

Whether you stay in public or private housing, any complaints from neighbours can make things difficult for you. Always try to be considerate and train your pet well.

General etiquette

In Singapore, pets are not allowed at most indoor spaces and public transport. Inevitably, many residents here grew up without much interaction with pets and may even be afraid or avoidant of dogs.

We also have a significant Muslim community in Singapore and it considers dogs as unclean. The Islamic Religious Council of Singapore (MUIS) says, "Any area that comes into contact with [dog] saliva or excrement (urine or stool) has to be cleansed once with water that is mixed with earth (soil) and then followed by clean water 6 times. [...] Despite that, touching and holding dogs as explained above, is not against Islamic law and is not a sin." 

Even though it's not prohibited, most Muslims simply steer clear of dogs altogether to avoid any hassle. Pet owners in Singapore generally respect this preference and keep their dogs away when they meet a Muslim. 

Pets have to be leashed in public spaces. Failure to do so may result in a maximum fine of S$5,000 if caught. Specified dogs will also need to be muzzled.

You will have to clean up after your dog. Always keep poop bags and a water bottle with you during walks to wash off any urine and poop stains. It is also an offence to leave behind your dog's poop; a fine of up to S$1,000 will be imposed if caught.

Public transport

The likelihood of Singapore ever allowing dogs on buses and trains is almost zero. However, we do have public taxis, private-hire cars and even private pet taxis that allow you to ride with your pet.

ComfortDelGro Taxi

ComfortDelGro Taxi is Singapore's leading taxi company. For small pets that can be contained in a carrier, you can leave a note when booking a taxi to let your driver know that you have a pet with you. To ensure that they didn't miss your note when accepting your ride, it is a good idea to give them a call to check prior to their arrival. 

We use this option the most often as it's the most economical choice.


Some ride-hailing services also offer a pet-friendly ride option, albeit at a premium. Pet owners opt for this for convenience or when they have large or multiple dogs.

Pet Taxi

Pet taxis are the most pet-friendly option but they usually have to be booked in advance and may be more expensive. We personally used SG Pet Taxi and always had a good experience.

Parks and dog runs

Most parks are welcoming to dogs except nature reserves and reservoirs. You can find a dog-friendly park near you here.

Dog runs are enclosed areas where dogs can run around off-leash and socialise with other dogs. Here's a list of dog runs that you can explore with your pup.

Beaches and dog pools

One of the more popular dog-friendly beaches in Singapore is Tanjong Beach on Sentosa Island Singapore. Dogs have to be leashed on beaches as well although some people do ignore this rule when no one's watching. You can visit Singapore's many islands like Coney Island and ferry accessible Lazarus and St. John's Islands. 

There are also dog swimming pools like Wag & Wild and Mutts & Mittens Active you can check out. 

Also read: 30 fun things to do with your dog in Singapore.

Pet-friendly malls

As Singapore gets more pet-friendly and establishments recognising that it is worth pursuing the wallets of the dog parent community, we are seeing more pet-friendly malls and eateries. 

The most pet-friendly mall at the moment is One Holland Village Mall. It has pet-friendly restaurants, a sprawling outdoor space with grass patches, pet water dispensers and selected stores you can bring your dog into for some shopping. We applaud their efforts and hope that more malls will follow suit.

Other pet-friendly malls where dogs in a stroller or carrier are welcome include VivoCity and The Star Vista. CQ @ Clarke Quay, an outdoor riverside destination also has hydration and pet waste stations and an upcoming canine recreational and daycare club.

Our very own Vanillapup pet supplies store is located in Cluny Court, right next to the Singapore Botanic Gardens, Singapore's first UNESCO World Heritage Site, which is also a great place to walk our dogs. Our store is pet-friendly but pets have to be carried or in a stroller at the common areas of the mall.

Pet-friendly eateries

Restaurants in Singapore need a licence from AVS to welcome pets. You can find our large list of pet-friendly cafes and restaurants here. If you wish to dine at an eatery with an alfresco area that is not in our list, you can give them a call to check whether they have pet-friendly seating.

Grooming salons

It's not hard to find a pet grooming salon near you but do take time to find one that can provide a stress-free experience for your pet. Home grooming services are also an option for timid or skittish pets.

Vet Clinics

Most vet clinics in Singapore are managed by general practice vets. You can Google for a vet clinic near you or check out our recommended list of vets. We also have a list of 24-hour vet clinics you may want to bookmark, in case of emergencies. Most specialists are found in vet hospitals, which you will find in our list of 24-hour vet clinics. A referral from a regular vet clinic will be required.

Shopping for pet supplies

The largest pet supplies store chain in Singapore is Pet Lovers Centre and along with smaller chain stores, you should be able to easily find pet stores and pet grooming salons within any neighbourhood. Curated pet stores are also peppered across the country. If you prefer to shop online, there are also plenty of options, including Vanillapup. You can shop online and physically at our store in Cluny Court.

Facebook groups

Looking for your community? There are many dog-related groups on Facebook you can join, including breed-specific ones. Some of them would organise regular group walks and events.

For more pet-related updates, follow us on our blog and also our Instagram and Facebook pages.

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