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How Much Does It Cost To Own A Pet in Malaysia? (and its unexpected costs)

When we think of pets, we think of them as lifelong companions, best friends, and beloved furbabies. There are many benefits of having pets, from better emotional health to reducing stress and loneliness. However, pet ownership comes with financial commitments that could be burdensome if not managed well. 

The good news is that with proper planning, owning a pet doesn’t have to be financially burdening.

Keep reading as we discuss the estimated costs of owning a dog or cat in Malaysia and how to plan for these expenses. 

Initial Expenses

How much does owning pets cost in Malaysia?

Well, it depends. There are many factors that affect the costs, so let’s take a look at some of them.

When it comes to initial expenses, the obvious one would be purchasing or adoption fees. The price could vary a lot depending on the breed and age of the pet. A dog’s price could range anywhere from RM1,200 for a Shih Tzu to RM3,800 for a Pomeranian, or even higher for rare breeds. A cat’s price could range anywhere from RM600-4,800.

Adoption is a great option for giving shelter animals a new home and giving your wallet a break. Adoption fees start from RM350 for dogs and RM240 for cats. The fees may include vaccinations, neutering and deworming, helping you to save even more money. 

If you are a strong supporter of the "adopt don't shop" movement, then you must check out this list of animal shelter in Malaysia (up for adoption!).

a dog looking for adoption


If you were to spay and neuter your cat, it would cost RM150-200 and RM100-150 respectively. Meanwhile, it could cost anywhere from RM300-800 for dogs, depending on the breed and size. 

Kittens typically need 3 initial vaccinations, each costing RM40-80 per vaccine. Dogs are similar, with their vaccines costing RM50-100 each time. 

Deworming costs about RM10-20 per tablet. Heartworm prevention for dogs could come in two options: a monthly tablet costing RM15 per month, or an annual jab that costs RM15-20 per dog’s weight in kg.

Dogs in Malaysia are also required to be licensed under the local Municipal Council for a fee of RM10 per year. Aside from that, you would need to prepare some basic pet equipment such as food and water bowls, leashes, collars, and so on.

a cat enjoying its cat food

 

Recurring Expenses

In addition to the initial expenses, there are recurring expenses you will incur during the care of your pet. A good example would be pet food. This can cost anywhere from RM50-200 per month, although the price is difficult to estimate as it depends on the quality of the food and the size of your pet.

For cat owners, good news for you - we have a list of popular cat food brands in Malaysia. From cost-efficient food brands to healthy options, you can definitely find one that suits you!

Another recurring cost is grooming or physical hygiene. You would have to purchase hair brushes, pet shampoo, nail clippers, pet litter and more. While you can sometimes do the grooming yourself at home, long-haired breeds will have to be sent to the groomers, and each session will cost you RM50-100. 

Other Expenses

As pet owners, we want to pamper our furbabies just as we would for our children. This means not only buying essential items for our pets but also accessories that make them happy. Some examples could be toys, treats and scratching posts.

a dog playing with its pet toy


For dog owners, you also need to consider the costs of getting a legitimate license for your dog. And the fee, depending on your local council, will typically cost around RM4 to RM20 per year. Do note it's on a renewable basis. Plus, some pet owners will also go beyond and apply for an MKA cert for their dogs.

MKA certification in Malaysia is another topic of its own and we highly recommend you to read all about it here.

Besides that, some dog owners might sign up their dogs for obedience training classes. Another fee to consider is pet daycare. When you go on vacation, your pet will need someone to take care of them while you’re gone. 

A fee that is often overlooked by pet owners are third-party damage costs that you would have to bear if your pet causes accidents or damages. It is normal to run into incidents of dogs chewing on shoes or cats scratching on furniture with animals.

Last but not least, there are medical costs to consider. General vet consultations cost around RM35, and that only covers the basic fee. There will be additional costs for any medication or extra diagnostic tests that need to be conducted.

If your furry friend runs into any health problems, the monthly bill could set you back up to RM5,000 for hospitalisation and treatment. This is no small sum by any means, which is why it is important to be prepared. 

However, it's not all gloom and doom! In Malaysia, you can get prepared by signing up for pet health insurance!

Also, if you're still at the consideration stage of getting a pet, you might need to think about your neighbours too. Is the place you're staying in pet-friendly? Here's a list of pet-friendly condos & apartment in Klang Valley area.

a cat wearing an elizabeth collar


Easing the financial burden of pet ownership

The last thing you want is to be faced with a huge medical bill with no means of paying. One way to prepare for these expenses is to set up a pet savings account and deposit a fixed amount every month. This can help you to be better prepared for any unexpected medical expenses.

The downside of a pet savings account is that you are essentially still paying for all the medical fees out-of-pocket, and not everyone can afford to do so. It is also difficult to prepare for large unexpected bills.

A great option is to sign up for pet insurance. Having pet insurance can significantly reduce your financial and emotional burden when it comes to paying medical bills.

Oyen offers affordable pet insurance that can be purchased online instantly. With medical coverage up to RM8,000 annually, your furry friend will be well-taken care of.

Whether your pet needs vet consultations or surgeries, or if they need diagnostic tests (blood test, X-ray, ultrasound) or medication, Oyen has you covered. It’s convenient as you can claim from any registered vet clinic in Malaysia.

Oyen also covers cremation and burial costs, as well as third-party injury or damage fees up to RM50,000. With premiums starting from as low as RM299/year, you’ll find that it costs even less than your 1 year's pet food supply!

Conclusion

To sum up some of the expenses previously mentioned, you may refer to the table below. Do note that these are general estimates for prices in Klang Valley and the cost may vary depending on many factors.

 Expense   Dogs   Cats 
 Purchase fees  RM1,200-3,800  RM600-4,800
 Adoption fees  From RM350  From RM240
 Spaying  RM300-800  RM150-200
 Neutering  RM300-800  RM100-150
 Vaccination  RM50-100 per vaccine  RM40-80 per vaccine
 Deworming  RM10-20 per tablet  RM10-20 per tablet
 Heartworm prevention  RM15 per month (tablet)  -
 Pet food  RM50-200 per month  RM50-200 per month
 Grooming  RM50-100 per session  RM50-100 per session
 Vet consultation  RM35  RM35


Being a pet owner may come with a heavy price tag, but with careful planning, it is completely manageable and worth it! Pets are loyal, precious companions that take care of us. You’ll want to make sure to return the love and care that they deserve.