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It is important to learn and understand the commitment, dedication, time and financial requirements needed to have a dog or a puppy. 


For example, a newly born puppy needs to be nursed every 2 hours with the correct milk formula, a 1-6 month old puppy needs to be fed 3-4 times a day with good quality puppy food, an adult dog must be trained to obey basic commands, such as "sit" and "stay", be able to

walk properly on a leash, and needs annual dental scaling to ensure good oral hygiene that will ensure proper and adequate food intake [1,4,8].

Below shows the estimated on-going cost of keeping a relatively, healthy dog in Singapore, not considering the weight of your pet and other premium, luxury products and options commonly available. 

Light of Life Vet: Estimated cost of keeping a dog in Singapore
Cost of Keeping a Dog

*Currency used SGD

Estimation does not include diagnostics like xrays, MRI, CT Scan; other major or additional surgeries or medication and treatment associated with sudden or chronic diseases.



Care for <2 Months Old

The Fundamentals

  • Buy a good quality rectal thermometer to measure the puppy's body temperature.

  • The normal temperature of a young puppy in should be kept between the range from 38.0˚C to 39.0˚C.

  • Puppies under 3 weeks old cannot regulate their own body temperature well [8].

  • Do not feed a cold puppy milk because their cold body cannot digest the formula and may cause severe colic, diarrhea and vomiting.

  • Do not feed cold milk. 

  • Drip droplets of milk on the back of your hand to check the temperature before feeding. It should be warm, not hot.

  • Always warm a cold puppy up slowly before feeding any milk [8].

  • Cover the puppy with a sweater and place insulated warm, heating bags nearby to help him/her keep warm.

  • Stimulate the genitalia area, after every feeding, by gently rubbing with a wet, warm cotton swab to mimic a mother dog licking the puppy to encourage it to urinate and defecate. You have to fulfill the role of the mother dog if you have adopted a very young puppy. [8] 

  • Always discard unused milk after 24 hours [8].

  • Always sterilize all the equipment used for feeding, e.g., milk bottle, spoons and bowls.

Light of Life Vet: One day old puppy



Above: One day old puppy. Pic by LOLVet


*This formula is NOT for long term use  because there are no published nutrient analysis. Buy a puppy milk replacer powder formula as soon as possible.


Right: Homemade Milk Replacer for puppies adapted from  Management of Pregnant and Neonatal Dogs, Cats, and Exotic Pets ( ME in kilocalories per milliliter (kcal/ml) of milk as fed. Bitch’s milk contains 1.46 kcal per 100 g milk as fed) [8].

Light of Life Vet: Emergency Homemade Dog Milk

A guide to estimate the amount of milk to feed according to the approximated age. 


The amount of milk and frequency of feeding should be adjusted according to

the type of milk fed, the breed and  

resultant weight changes of the puppies.

These figures should be used only as guidelines because the individual requirements of puppies can vary greatly.

Chart and information adapted from Canine and Feline Nutrition, 3rd Ed.

The different compositions in the milk of different species shows that dog’s and cat’s milk provides a larger proportion of their calories from fat and protein and lower proportions from lactose, unlike the milk of the cow and goat.


When converted to a calorie basis, the lactose content of cow’s milk is much higher than that found in a dog’s milk, and puppies that are fed straight cow’s milk will develop severe diarrhea. [1,4,8]

Light of Life Vet: Comparing nutrient composition of milk from dog, cat, cow and goat




Light of Life Vet: Mummy dog delivered puppies in clinic

Above: One day old puppies suckling mummy (natural birth). Pic by LOLVet.



Commercial milk replacers are the preferred source of nutrition as they have been tested for the specific purpose of raising neonatal puppies [1,4,8]. These formulas from reputable manufacturers are now easily available in Singapore pet shops. 

The most important aspect of nursing a very young puppies is not to change the brands abruptly as this may cause severe issues in the puppies' digestive system.  


The bottle or packaging of these puppy formulas should have clear mixing and feeding instruction to guide you.


What is quarantine?

To place a pet in an area isolated and separated from the main activity area, such that other animals have no access to it.

When the pet is under quarantine, the primary care taker must thoroughly clean and disinfect himself/herself before and after attending to that quarantined pet to prevent fomite transmission (refer to flow diagram below).

Why must we quarantine?

It is important to quarantine your new puppy from your other pets, including cats, dogs parrots, etc.

This will prevent any infectious diseases from passing between the puppy and your home pets.

For how long must the quarantine be?


We recommend a minimum quarantine period of 14 days from other pets (an ideal quarantine period would be 30 days).


During the quarantine period, the primary care taker must ensure that the puppy is eating normally, monitor if the stool remains firm, adequate urine is produced and the urine colour is normal, and if the puppy develops other conditions such as sneezing, vomiting or diarrhea, and to seek medical attention immediately.

Light of Life Vet: Quarantine area flow if work
Light of Life Vet: Puppies after cesarean procedure in clinic.

Above: One day old puppies (immediately post cesarean). Pic by LOLVet



Care for 2-11 Months Old



Ten things you should know:




Nutrient and energy requirement of puppies, between 3-6 months old, exceed those of any other life stages, except during pregnancy and lactation. During this period of rapid growth, the energy needs are approximately double those of adult dogs of similar size [1,4,8].


To support the growth of new tissues and vital organs, only feed food formulated for puppies that has higher protein content than foods formulated for adult maintenance, and contain high quality protein at the correct amount [1,4,8].


Always feed a commercially formulated food from a reputable company. 


You must be able to decipher the ingredient labels on the puppy food packaging, and choose a diet that is appropriate for your puppy's breed, age, lifestyle and body condition [4].


Homecooked food or raw food at this lifestage is not recommended because of the lack of adequate calcium, protein, vitamins, etc, and risk of infection [4,8].

We noticed that Singapore's weather is getting warmer and recommend that you train your puppy to accept the routine of eating canned food or homecooked food spiked with water (mixed into a porridge consistency) daily, in order to increase the water intake now.


Teach your puppy to drink fresh water daily and make it a fun routine so that he/she will carry it through to adulthood.



The first puppy vaccine should be given at 6-8 weeks old, followed by a second and a third vaccine 1 month apart.

This type of vaccination programs are timed to coincide with the period that maternal colostrum derived immune protection is waning and the puppies' own immunity is maturing.

Click HERE for vaccination recommendations.


Socialisation with other pets should be allowed only 2 weeks after the last puppy vaccine.



Anti-intestinal-worm medication should be given every 2 weeks until the completion of its last puppy vaccine.


The future schedule can be quarterly, 6 monthly or annually, depending on the lifestyle of the pet.



External parasites should be eliminated because they spread diseases and cause extreme discomfort to your pet.


There are many topical and oral medication available to prevent infestation of these external parasites.

We recommend monthly topical preventative medication only because of their wider safety margin.

Light of Life Vet: 3 month old puppies

Above: 3 months old puppies. Pic by LOLVet.

Below are some common and easily available treatments-:

Light of Life Vet: Frontline Plus
Light of Life Vet: Advantix II
Light of Life Vet: Revolution Dogs


We recommend sterilizing your pet at about 5-6 months old.

Click HERE for further explanation



Train your puppy to let you examine its mouth and teeth. 

Start teeth cleaning with a soft cloth and warm water so the puppy becomes receptive oral examination and brushing.

Click HERE for further explanation



The most rapid growth period occurs during the first 3 to 6 months of their lives. 

Your puppy should be growing quite rapidly - average increment should be at least 10-15% of previous body weight per week, depending on the puppy's breed [1,4].



Playing with your puppy will help them develop motor skills, vent their frustration of being cooped up and also help them bond to you.



Ensure that you have installed puppy-gate at appropriate places to prevent your puppy from escaping and getting into danger. Move all electric wires and chemicals up from ground level to prevent accidental electrocution and toxin consumption.

Light of Life Vet: Estimated weigh gain/ growth of dog breeds

Above: Graph showing the relative growth rate differences among dog breeds of different sizes. Canine and Feline Nutrition, 3rd Ed.



Care for >12 Months Old

Dogs are carnivores that have an adaptive metabolism for grains and fiber, therefore they should be fed food with an appropriate level of protein, and small amount of carbohydrate and fiber [1,4].

Providing a nutritionally complete and balanced food that supplies adequate energy to support the dog's daily nutrient needs is the primary nutritional concern in this period of life [1,4].

Light of Life Vet: Adult dog chilling on bed

You may start feeding the small breed puppy with food that are formulated for adult dog maintenance when they reach about 1 year old. The bigger breed dogs, like the Great Dane puppies, require specially formulated food to prevent excessive growth too soon which can cause future joint issues and maintain steady growth until they are approximately 2-3 years old, when they are considered a full grown adult dog [1,4].



Some dogs are happy to eat at a fixed time, some prefer to graze. Your can provide dry food all the time or canned food 2-4 times a day to accommodate their preference and ensuring that eating is a more pleasurable enjoyment for them [4].


Encourage good water intake at a young age making it into a fun game. Most pets should be taking about 60ml/kg of water daily.

You can feed your pets a fixed variety of good quality food.

Do not change you food randomly or excessively or introduce large amount of new food and treats so they do not develop a palate that is difficult to please. 


Change their diet slowly when you are feeding a brand new food by mixing the old and new food (50%-50%) together for at least 1 week before increase the percentage of the new food slowly and with a complete replacement after about 3-4 weeks [4].


Monitor your dog's daily poop consistency, colour and smell so that you can detect digestive issues as early as possible.


You should arrange for a veterinary consultation and discussion at least every 6 months so that the veterinary team can become more in-tuned to your dogs' personalities, behaviour, habits and medical status. The familiarity will help the team recognise illnesses in your dogs and derive at a diagnostic decision faster.

Light of Life Vet: Body conditon score

Chart to check your dog's body condition score. Adapted from Canine and Feline Nutrition, 3rd ed.


We recommend that the body condition score of your dog be maintain at about 3-3.5 because we noticed from the statistic of our client-patient group in Singapore that most pet dogs fairs better when there is a little more body reserve. 



Care for Aging Dogs >7 Years Old

A dog ages faster than a human physiologically. 


At about 7-9 years old, your dog's body condition is roughly equivalent to a 45- to 75-year-old human.


Some dogs may have inherited slower aging genes so they appear healthier and more youthful even at an older age.


Click HERE for more.

Light of Life Vet: Senior dog taken care of by clinic

Ten things you should know:


By now, you should have established a very close working relationship with your regular veterinary clinic and team. Your biannual to annual veterinary check for your apparently healthy dog should continue even if he/she appears perfectly healthy, as early stages of many diseases are hidden and not apparent. 


Remember, the accumulated bill for regular check ups is still cheaper than the treatment for any advanced, unmanaged and complicated disease that can cause death.



Normal ageing is associated with a decrease in lean body tissue (muscles) and total body water because lean tissue contains 73% water and an increase in the proportion of body fats [1,4]

As the physical condition of your dog changes with age, he/she may not be able to eat convenient, off the shelf, commercial food anymore [1,2,3]


Chewing big pieces of hard, rubbery food can become a mechanical problem, their ability to expel excess additive and chemical components like colouring or iodine may be inefficient, their digestive capabilities and ability to maintain proper hydration through food may be significantly reduced [4].


Nutritional goals should include supporting, and preventing the onset or slowing the progression of, age-related disorders, and improving the pet’s quality of life and, if possible, prolonging life expectancy [1,4].


Therefore, providing a larger portion of an easily consumed and highly digestible diet containing high-quality protein to your older dog at regular intervals throughout the day at this point of time is essential. This type of diet will supply the essential amino acids needed for body maintenance and minimize losses of lean body tissue [1,4].



The minimum water intake of a dog should be approximately 60ml/kg/day.


Ensure that cool, clean water is available all the time.


If your senior dog does not drink enough water, his /her organs can start to malfunction and develop problems such as kidney, liver and cardiopulmonary failure easily, or suffer from deadly conditions associated with heat stress or heat stroke in hot and humid Singapore.




Feeding the correct type of food that suits your dog's unique body requirement will ensure that your senior dog stays health and fit, with an ideal body weight [4]


Obese dogs can develop diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, skin diseases, even cancer [1]

Underweight dogs are prone to have poor immune system, skin diseases, digestive problem, even cancer [1]


ensure that the dietary intake is not affected by mastication problem associated with bad oral health [2,3,4,5,6,9].




Moderate to slow exercises and walks should be scheduled in to the daily lives of senior pets [2,3,7,9].  


Never exercise them in the afternoon under the hot Singapore sun and never force them to do what they refused to do or intensify the exercises when they are not physically ready.




Toys, at this point of time, should not require them to dash or run around.


More appropriate toys and games may be a gentle tug a war on the bed with his favourite pillow or soft toy, a short session of peek-a-poo with his special towel, treasure hunt for treats hidden around the living room and even a food puzzle for him/her to solve [2,3,7,8,9].




Some senior dogs may need you to change your lifestyle in order to accommodate their aging physiological requirements [2,3,5,6,7,9].


For example, dogs with arthritis need beds that lower, short ramps and staircase, non-slip mat on the floor for better traction while walking, bowls that are placed higher so that do not need to lower their neck too much to eat and drink [2,3,5,6,7,9].


Spending quiet, quality and exclusive time with your elderly dog is the most important aspect of loving him/her. 

Light of Life Vet: Cooked food menu for senior dogs in clinic



The simplest supplement to help fortify your senior dog’s health is fatty acids such as Omega 3 (DHA and EPA). It has been shown to improve mobility in dogs with arthritis, help skin condition and assist the aging heart [4].




Brushing is a simple way to keep the teeth of your dog clean. 

If your dog does not allow brushing, consider annual dental scaling by your regular veterinary team which will help

Light of Life Vet: Spending quiet time with senior dogs

Your senior pet can already feel more secure, draw strength and comfort from just laying beside you and probably 

can maintain a better cognitive connection with his/her surrounding and people with such interactions.



1. Case, L. P., Daristotle, L., Hayek, M. G., Raasch, M. F. (2011). Canine and Feline Nutrition, 3rd Ed. USA: Mosby

2. Coffey, L.T. (2015). My Old Dog. Rescued Pets with Remarkable Second Acts. California: New World Library

3. Davies, M. (1996). Canine and Feline Geriatrics. UK: Wiley-Blackwell

4. Fascetti, A. J., Delaney, S. J. (2012). Applied Veterinary Clinical Nutrition. West Sussex, UK: Wiley-Blackwell

5. Gardner, M., McVety, D. (2017). Treatment and Care of the Geriatric Veterinary Patient. UK: Wiley-Blackwell

6. Gram, W.D.; Milner, R.J.; Lobetti, R. (2018). Chronic Disease Management for Small Animal. USA: Wiley-Blackwell

7. Landsberg, G.; Madari, A.; Zilka, N. (2017). Canine and Feline Dementia. Molecular Basis, Diagnostics and Therapy. Switzerland: Springer

8. Lopate, C. (2012). Management of Pregnant and Neonatal Dogs, Cats, and Exotic Pets. USA: Wiley-Blackwell

9. Shanan, A.; Pierce, J.; Shearer, T. (2017). Hospice and Palliative Care for Companion Animals. Principles and Practice. UK: Wiley-Blackwell



Blk 703 Bedok Reservoir Road 

#01-3508 Singapore 470703



Tel: 6243 3282 

(By Appointment Only)





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2 pm to 4 pm, 5 pm to 10 pm



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