The big read: ‘Part of the family’ – the growing status of pets in households and what it means for society [Boss Insurance]

The Big Read: 'Part Of The Family' - The Growing Status Of Pets In Households And What It Means For Society

For added peace of mind, some owners are turning to DNA testing to make sure their pets don’t have any underlying medical conditions.

One company, EasyDNA, offers DNA testing for dogs to help owners determine their pets’ breed, parentage, and disease risk.

About 40 pet owners buy these kits in Singapore every year, said Ms. Sharifah Khairiyah Syed Mohamad, Singapore and Malaysia Manager at EasyDNA.

She added that the benefits of having comprehensive information to care for their dogs in a targeted way has led to increased interest from pet owners in taking these tests.

As pet owners humanize their pets, some services long intended for humans have also been extended to pets, such as pet insurance.

Ms Annie Chua, head of personal lines at Income Insurance, said her Happy Tails pet insurance had grown by more than 150% between 2021 and 2022.

The insurance plan, distributed by Income Insurance and Aon, allows owners to cover themselves against unforeseen medical care for their pet dogs and cats. Certain specified congenital and hereditary conditions and certain medical treatments such as chemotherapy may also be covered.

“We are seeing a high number of inquiries from pet owners who are concerned about insurance that covers hereditary and congenital medical conditions in their pets,” Ms. Chua said.

Health issues aside, some pet owners treat their dogs like toddlers, sending them to dog daycare.

While the concept of pet daycare isn’t new, The Snuggery manager Elayne Kwok told TODAY that she’s seen a 20% increase in demand for her services this year, compared to to 2019.

Pawrents who can’t stand leaving their pets home alone or who know they need to provide their energetic pets with activities throughout the day spend S$500-800 per month on send them to the human equivalent of a kindergarten about twice a week.

“We are (like) teachers for children in a school because we communicate clearly with our customers about their pets,” she said, adding that they usually send several updates via WhatsApp daily. .

The Snuggery allows pet owners to customize what their pets’ day might look like – like going on outdoor walks, having one-on-one time with a trainer doing IQ games, exercises simple agility or basic obedience training.

Although rare, some pawrents also seek legal help to ensure their pets are cared for if their pets survive them.

Mr Tan Shen Kiat of Kith & Kin Law Corporation said the firm has seen growing interest in estate planning among pet owners and completed two such plans involving pet care last year. .

Mr Tan told TODAY that the company had also been engaged to seek out a suitable trustee to be a good custodian of a client’s pets and apply the funds to the care of the pets, which he described as a very “tailor-made” service.

If the animal dies before its owner, private sending of the animal is also gaining ground in recent years.

Mandai Pet Sanctuary, for example, handles an average of 2,200 cremations per year.

Having provided such services for over 30 years, the company has seen a shift in owners towards more luxurious closures and private cremations for the final journey of their pets.

The company said TODAY that it hosts three service rooms so that these private services can be carried out simultaneously, allowing owners to request closure.

Private cremations and cremations with ashes collected by owners represent 20% and 38% of the cremation services provided by Mandai Pet Sanctuary. A majority still opt for communal cremation, where the ashes are scattered in a communal cemetery.

The ability to bid their pets a good goodbye allows owners like Mrs. Quek to find a solution to their grief.

“In the past, there was no proper sending or closing…I always wondered how I could send my precious family member like this,” she said.

“Now at least you can do a proper cremation, there are established procedures, and your pets are sent off with more dignity. It brings more comfort.”

Some pet owners are also opting for greener ways to send their pets. Although the procedure can be longer – taking up to 24 hours – aqua-cremation has attracted interest from some pet owners in Singapore.

“Cremation can be uncomfortable for some because it involves fire and heat,” noted Mr. Yang Loo, co-founder of The Green Mortician. Since launching its services in March this year, the company has cremated 50 pets.

The process, which involves using a mixture of 95% water and approximately 5% alkaline solution, speeds up the decomposition process. Within hours, the company can salvage the animal’s bones and other foreign bodies, then burn them to ashes.