No Furkid Left Behind: How to Move Your Pet to Singapore

Strap up and get your ducks in a row – here’s how to prepare for your pet’s relocation journey.

By SGN | 16 Oct 2023

Parting with your beloved pets can be a real nightmare and some of us can’t bear to be separated. We completely understand – pets are family, after all! Nevertheless, embarking on the journey of relocating to a new country with pets can be challenging.

Here’s everything you need to know about moving your pet to Singapore.

Source: NParks

Ensure Your Pet Is Fit for the Move

For starters, check that your pet breed or species is permitted for import. When it comes to dogs, breeds that are not allowed in Singapore include pit bull, Akita, Tosa and Boerboel. Bengal and Savannah cats are prohibited, as are piranhas, while the only reptiles allowed are red-eared sliders and Malayan box turtles.

Small animals such as rabbits, mice, hamsters, gerbils, guinea pigs and chinchillas are generally allowed. If you’re importing an ornamental bird, it must not come from a country affected by bird flu.

After confirming that your pet is allowed, ensure that veterinary conditions are fulfilled. Depending on the rabies risk category assigned to your country (A, B, C or D), you may have to send your furbaby for rabies vaccination and serology tests in addition to general vaccinations.


Book a Pet Quarantine

For exporting countries under Categories A and B, you may skip this step and fly your pet into Singapore directly. Otherwise, get ready for pet quarantine.

Don’t be discouraged about having to put your pet in a quarantine space if you’re coming in from a Category C or D country. They’ll be put under observation and monitored for clinical signs of exotic diseases like rabies. You should reserve a spot in the Singapore Animal Quarantine Centre as early as possible due to the high volume of applications that come in every day.

Do note that assistance dogs are exempt from quarantine.


Apply for Permits & Licenses

An import license is a critical document for moving your pet to Singapore. Remember, dogs require a dog license before you can apply for an import license.

If your pet falls under the CITES list of endangered species (e.g. macaw, cockatoo, Asian arowana, seahorse), you’ll need to apply for an additional CITES permit.


Obtain a Veterinary Health Certificate

Your pet must have a veterinary health certificate stating that they fulfil the veterinary conditions for import, are healthy, and is free from any clinical sign of contagious or infectious disease and fit for travel at the time of export.

Print out the certificate template from the relevant veterinary conditions document for cats and dogs, small mammals or birds. The form should be completed by the treating veterinarian and endorsed by a government veterinarian in the exporting country.

In the case of fish, a health certicate is only required for species susceptible to certain diseases.


Get Your Pet Crate-Trained

Time to prepare for the flight! Pets travelling to Singapore can arrive in-cabin with their owners as checked luggage or as manifest cargo. To reduce the amount of stress on your pet, it’s best to start crate training as early as possible and practise as often as you can. Forget about not being able to teach an old dog new tricks – with patience and persistence, you’ll both work it out just fine. We recommend watching YouTube tutorials by the Animal Humane Society or Be Chewy.

Now, what is manifest cargo? It’s the safest option for flying animals with commercial airlines. When a pet travels as manifested cargo, they are booked on an air waybill, which means that your pets can arrive before or after you.

Don’t worry about layovers – airlines around the world ensure that pets travelling as manifest cargo are fed and looked after by trained animal handlers before being checked into their connecting flights. Lufthansa, Emirates, Japan Airlines, and Swiss International Airlines are some of the most pet-friendly international airlines that you can consider flying with!


Look for a Pet Mover

Pet relocation can seem like a lengthy, intimidating process with lots of forms to fill out, especially if it’s your first time moving abroad with your pet. If you prefer to have experienced professionals handle it, Singapore is home to some great pet relocation services.

From the aptly named Pampered Pets to Mitchville Relopet, here is a list of high-rated pet moving services that you can consult to bring your furbabies along on your relocation journey.


Book an Inspection

At least five days before your furbaby’s arrival, book an inspection for them via the Intelligent Food Approval & Safety Tracking System (iFAST). If you bring them for inspection without an appointment, you will have to pay a last-minute charge.

Inspection hours are Mondays to Saturdays, 8am to 1pm and 2pm to 10.30pm, excluding public holidays. Unsure if your flight is coming in on a Singaporean public holiday? Check out the list of dates provided by the Ministry of Manpower here.

There are step-by-step guides you can use to create an account and book an inspection to ensure your furbaby’s seamless arrival on the sunny island!


Welcome to Singapore!

If your pet is arriving at Changi Airport, refer to the Changi Animal & Plant Quarantine (CAPQ) for the clearance procedure. This is what usually happens:

  1. Upon your furkid’s arrival in Singapore, they will undergo Veterinary Inspection by an Animal & Veterinary Service (AVS) officer at the border checkpoint
  2. If your pet doesn’t require quarantine, they will be released upon passing inspection. If they do require quarantine, AVS will transport them to the Animal Quarantine Centre.

Settle into Your New Home

You’re finally ready to start a new life with your beloved furkid. But where can you find food, litter boxes, and most importantly, toys? 

The local favourite is Pet Lovers Centre, Singapore’s top online pet store and retail chain. They’re one of the more budget-friendly options that provides grooming services, essentials, and toys for small pets, dogs, cats, and even reptiles. 

Another option is Happy Town Pets, an online pet store that offers low-cost, high-quality, environmentally responsible and nutritional pet food, treats, and supplies. All deliveries are carbon-neutral! 

Kohepets is another strong alternative. They believe that all pets deserve the best (as they do), so they have a compiled list of the top pet items available. They offer hand-selected, high-quality items with a simple purchasing and shipping process with kind and knowledgeable support staff. 

There are various pet stores and chains across the island that support different budgets and pet needs so don’t be afraid to go on the big G and find what’s best for your furbaby! 

As anyone who’s watched Lilo & Stitch would know, ohana means family and nobody gets left behind – not even little furkids. Say hello to a new life in sunny Singapore with your loved ones by your side. 

Still deciding which neighbourhood to move to? The island-city has lots of neighbourhoods that fit different lifestyles – find out which ‘hood is the best one for you! 

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