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As you may know, owning a pet comes with plenty of responsibilities and monetary expenses.

Depending on the type of pet, breed, age, and even color, you will find a difference in costs from pet grooming to possible medical issues that are unique to that breed!

So, how much does owning a pet cost in Malaysia? Read on to find out what you’re getting into before committing to a pet.

And for this post, we’re assuming you’ve already considered that your lifestyle fits your pet choice. Not the other way around!

Table Of Contents:

General Annual Cost Of Owning A Pet

Taking care of a pet is a lifelong commitment. Dogs can live up to 13 years and cats up to 16 years. So if you have multiple pets, be sure that you’re in it for the long run.

Caring For Multiple Pets Costs More
Caring For Multiple Pets Costs More – Photo credits to Helena Lopes (Pexels)

Here’s a table we compiled on the average annual expenses for common larger pets such as dogs and cats.

Based on pricing in the Klang Valley and excluding the initial price you pay for the pet.

Type Of Expense Yearly Cost
Food* RM1,000 – RM3,000
Grooming RM480 – RM2,500 
Vaccinations and Supplements* RM200 – RM400
Parasite Prevention RM300 – RM1,000 
Accessories (beds, leashes, toys) RM100 – RM200
Veterinary Visits* RM200 – RM300
Boarding RM360 – RM600

*Based on normal diets for pets with no underlying medical conditions.

Pets With Medical Issues

The table above mostly assumes your pet is healthy and won’t need more than 1 visit to the vet in a year.

But like humans, pets can have lifelong medical issues that can appear at any time in their life. Or they are born with it and you do not realize it until you bring them home.

The responsible thing is to continue looking after them just as you would your child.

Not to abandon them because you can’t afford to look after them! Too many pets get abandoned because of skin allergies and other ailments.

Please Do Not Get A Pet If You Are Not Prepared To Pay Medical Bills!

From personal experience, we stay out of Klang Valley and already spend RM500 a month on 3 dogs for food and medicine.

Because one of them has chronic skin allergies (a problem that is more common than you think) and requires daily medication and ointments to keep her symptoms under control.

Exotic Pets

Should you decide on getting a more exotic pet such as reptiles or aquatic animals:

We highly recommend that you do thorough research before purchasing them, as the costs will vary greatly. Reptiles and some fish require very specific environments!

Depending On The Species Aquariums Can Have High Initial Cost
Depending On The Species Aquariums Can Have High Initial Cost – Photo credits to Gabriel P (Pexels)

Furthermore, some animals do not do well in captivity (e.g. birds, squirrels, hamsters, etc).

And while your local pet store may stock them, we do not encourage buying wild animals or even worse, supporting the illegal animal trade!

Birds Should Be Free To Fly
Birds Should Be Free To Fly – Photo credits to Murilo Folgosi (Pexels)

Plus, it may be difficult to find the right accessories or even qualified veterinarians for more unique pets.

So make sure you have the right resources and experience with more common pets before dedicating yourself to a more unique pet.

Adoption VS Buying

The age-old question; adopt or shop?

With so many unwanted dogs and cats around, and puppy mills generating profits without a second thought for the well-being of their animals:

It is best to adopt from a local shelter even if they don’t always have the specific breed you’re looking for.

We don’t personally condone choosing a pet based entirely on looks. But that is a whole other issue to discuss in another post.

Adopt Don't Shop
Adopt Don’t Shop – Photo credits to Helena Lopes (Pexels)

Where To Adopt A Dog/Cat In Klang Valley

Websites such as PetFinder offer free adoptions if you’re looking for rescues (namely cats and dogs).

That being said, some do charge a fee to cover deworming, spaying, or neutering costs. A plus side of using rescuers is that you can sometimes find specific breeds.

Note: If you want to know what cat breeds are available in Malaysia, we’d highly recommend you check out our common cat breeds in Malaysia article.

Many rescues have medical issues and are elderly, so make sure you have the resources to care for them if you want to adopt them.

Puppies and kittens also require extra attention and training during their early years.

Puppies And Kittens Need Extra Attention And Care
Puppies And Kittens Need Extra Attention And Care – Photo credits to Sergio Souza (Pexels)

Adoption costs of dogs and cats from private shelters such as Paws can range from RM80-RM280.

SPCA also charges a fixed fee for dogs and cats at RM350 and RM240 respectively inclusive of vaccinations, spaying or neutering as well as deworming.

Adoption

Pro:

  • Affordable
  • Saves animals from crowded shelters
  • Animals may have already been trained
  • Support from staff to get your pet assimilated
  • Choice of age for pet
  • Able to return the pet if they are not suitable for your home*

Cons:

  • Difficult to tell temperament of some animals
  • Low chances of finding the breed you want
  • There is a waiting period
  • Rare occurrence of finding younger animals

Purchase

Pro:

  • Able to get specific breeds
  • Able to get younger animals

Con:

  • Difficult to return*
  • Expensive
  • High chances of supporting pet mills (especially puppies)
  • Staff may have inadequate knowledge on the pet

Note: We don’t condone returning pets after they have become accustomed to you, as this could potentially traumatize them, especially if they’ve experienced prior abandonment. Ensure you get to know the animal first by doing multiple visits!

Why Do Pets Cost So Much?

Don’t believe the figures in our table? Let’s take a deeper look into each of the different cost factors when owning a pet (in the Klang Valley):

1. Vaccinations, Parasite Prevention, & Supplements

To keep your new companion as healthy (and happy) as possible, they need up-to-date vaccinations, regular check-ups, and supplements. Some pets require monthly medication for their health issues.

Parasite Prevention Is A Must
Parasite Prevention Is A Must – Photo credits to Cats Coming (Pexels)

Furthermore, there are many kinds of diseases (and parasites) that your pet can catch if they often mingle with other animals.

Ticks, mosquitoes, and fleas are some of your pets’ worst enemies as they can carry serious and sometimes fatal diseases. Some diseases can be passed to humans too.

That’s why prevention such as tick medications and deworming are a must, especially If you have a garden or allow your pets to roam outside.

There are both topical and oral tick medications based on your pets’ size and species:

Therefore, you should discuss available options with a specialist, who can offer the best advice for your pet and budget.

You can expect to spend about RM 300 – RM 1,000 a year just on deworming and tick prevention. Generally, the bigger the animal, the higher dose you will need.

Vaccinations cost about RM100/dog or cat in the Klang Valley.

2. Spaying & Neutering

Spaying and neutering your pet, notably cats and dogs can be costly for a one-time procedure:

Costs vary for public or private clinics too.

For example, the SPCA does spaying and neutering services for cats and dogs at RM120 and RM180 respectively.

Meanwhile, some private clinics will charge around RM140 – RM280 for both spaying and neutering.

You may be able to get a better price if you do vaccinations and spaying together at the same clinic!

3. Medical Check-ups

A recurring cost that you’ll face eventually is medical check-ups:

While most pets don’t require monthly check-ups, kittens and puppies should have at least monthly vet visits until they are 1 year old.

A Carrier Cage Is Necessary For Vet Visits
A Carrier Cage Is Necessary For Vet Visits – Photo credits to Duc Anh Nguyen (Pexels)

These check-ups include things such as vaccine shots, flea and tick prevention, as well as heartworm medication.

From ages 1 year to 10 years old, you can get by on yearly visits.

Though this does depend on your pets’ overall health; Should your furry friend run into some health issues, you could be looking at more frequent visits (and higher bills).

When your pet is 10 years and older, this is considered their old age. And naturally, they will require more attention from the vet. Once every 6 months is ideal if your pet is still healthy.

Be Prepared To Look After Your Pet In Their Old Age
Be Prepared To Look After Your Pet In Their Old Age – Photo credits to Minda Haas Kuhlmann (Flickr)

Although, check-ups for older pets may cost more as your vet will do more thorough examinations such a kidney, heart, and liver functions.

You could also be looking at breed-specific illnesses such as eye problems in dogs with bulging eyes (e.g., pugs and Shih Tzu’s).

4. Licensing

Specific pets do require a license.

For dogs, you can obtain a license for 1 – 3 years for around RM30 per year at the city council.

However, for more exotic pets, you require another type of licensing from Perhilitan which you can find here.

5. Accessories & Snacks

We love our pets and want what’s best for them! And while getting what is necessary is vital, we can’t forget to spoil them too!

Housing, toys, accessories, and snacks should be accounted for when calculating your monthly or yearly expenses for your pets.

While housing and standard accessories such as leashes and harnesses are often a one-time purchase, it usually comes to RM80 – RM400 depending on the type of pet.

Keep in mind that wear and tear is part of the package so do expect that these items may need replacing sooner or later.

Kennels for larger dogs can cost around RM100 – RM400 while large cat accommodation can range from RM200 – RM350. This of course depends on the crate’s build and quality.

For around RM50-RM100 a year, toys are always a fun addition and can keep your pets occupied when you aren’t around.

Plus, it will keep your pets from taking out their pent-up energy on your furniture! Cats need surfaces to climb and scratch, besides litter boxes too!

Cats Require Places To Climb And Scratch
Cats Require Places To Climb And Scratch – Photo credits to Arina Krasnikova (Pexels)

6. Food

Pet food is probably one of the largest costs depending on the size, age, energy levels, species, and breed of your pet.

It’s quite common for purebreds to have more sensitive stomachs and allergies, which could set your budget for food much higher too.

However, that does not mean mixed breeds don’t have allergies!

Trial and error are to be expected, so we do suggest always getting a small bag of food to try whenever you change your pet’s food.

As for recommendations, if you happen to own a cat, we do have articles detailing a list of the overall best cat foods available, as well as a list of the best wet cat food available in Malaysia.

And for dog lovers, our list of the best dog foods available in Malaysia should prove useful to you as well.

7. Grooming

Keeping your pets healthy and clean is vital in ensuring they don’t get any avoidable illnesses.

Do note that some animals with short fur or scales don’t require frequent grooming trips, or even at all.

But high maintenance pets such as long-haired dogs and cats require regular grooming to maintain their coat.

Grooming Can Be Costly If You Don't Plan To Do It Yourself
Grooming Can Be Costly If You Don’t Plan To Do It Yourself – Photo credits to Benjamin Lehman (Pexels)

This can cost about RM50-RM200 per session, depending on the size of your pet, upkeep frequency,  and the type of grooming required.

Alternatively, you could always purchase your own clippers, shampoo, and even toothbrushes to keep your animal companion squeaky clean!

This would depend on the brand of items, but generally, normal pet shampoo would cost about RM20-RM50.

On the other hand, should your pet have skin issues, you may have to fork out about RM80-RM100 for shampoo designed for their skin problems.

8. Boarding Your Pet

If you’re always away on business trips, don’t get a pet.

Pet Boarding Is One Option If You Have To Leave Your Pet For A Few Days
Pet Boarding Is One Option If You Have To Leave Your Pet For A Few Days – Photo credits to Blue Bird (Pexels)

However, if you only go away a handful of times a year, you can leave your beloved pet to a trusted friend or relative (who has experience with pets) for a few days.

And if that’s not an option, there are places you can board your pet. Charges range from RM30-80 for a dog/ night or RM10-60 for a cat/ night.

Note: Based on the prices listed on petbacker.

Conclusion

Whether you choose to adopt or purchase a pet, there will be the inevitable costs of raising your pet throughout their lifetime.

Recurring costs will be anywhere from RM1,850 – RM 5,460 annually.

This figure is highly dependant on the products you buy, how much you are willing to spend, how often you buy them, and if your pet has any special needs that require specific diets and medical care.

Janice

Janice is the editor for BestBuyGet.com. Wanted to be an author as a kid, got a D in English (First Language), but somehow now a content writer with an engineering background. Bakes, does yoga, plays the piano, reads, and most other introverted indoor hobbies. Also an active volunteer at Zero Waste Malaysia.