When my husband and I relocated to Manila from New York, we decided to bring our 2 adult English Bulldogs with us. We thought that the most difficult part was over when we had finally shipped them and got them to our new home in Metro Manila. What we didn’t know was that our troubles were just beginning. Honestly, Manila isn’t really dog-friendly. Caring for your canine in Manila is definitely a challenge. But, once you know where to go for their food, exercise, grooming, and vet needs, then it becomes much more effortless and you can simply enjoy the companionship of your pet dog instead.
Food/Nutrition – It is very difficult to find high quality dog food in Manila. Most grocery stores and pet boutiques only carry cheap dog food that has been in-stock for months. And, if you do find quality dog food, be prepared to pay for them at a premium. A cheaper and healthier alternative is to make home-made dog food. Cooking for you dog is not as difficult as one may think. All you have to keep in mind are proper ratios and proportions. The daily nutritional needs of an adult dog are: 30% protein, 30% fats, and 40% carbohydrates (give or take depending on the dog’s energy levels). Then you can basically mix and match ingredients depending on your budget and dog’s tastes then slow cook it in a stew (no need for seasonings). At the local markets in Manila, you can find a pound of chicken, pork, or beef entrails (best type of meat for your dog) for about P90 ($2). Vegetables are even cheaper. You can find squash for P30 ($0.70), a bunch of kangkong for P20 ($0.50) and malunggay leaves for the same. Don’t be afraid to substitute for local variants. Buying locally and seasonally will lower your costs and your dog won’t mind.
Health, Grooming & Supplies – There is a huge variety of dog boutiques and veterinary clinics in Manila depending upon your location and budget. Most of these places will usually perform grooming services as well. Your neighborhood mall will most likely have one or both of these establishments. For basic dog supplies, such as leashes, bowls, and brushes you will find these at the nearest pet store. If you are looking for specialized supplies for a specific dog breed, these may be harder to come by. For such items, I suggest to buy them online in bulk as shipping can be lengthy and expensive. Grooming services and veterinary services are very cheap compared to Western cities. Full grooming service with teeth brushing and nail clipping usually run up to P750 or $17 while a typical veterinary check-up will run you P250 or $6.
Exercise & Socialization – As in most cities, walking your dog on a leash is allowed in Manila. However, there are very few public places that will allow the pet owner to have their dog exercise leash-free even in dog-friendly designated areas. The best dog-friendly places in the city for exercise and socialization are Eastwood City Walk & Mall and Bonifacio High Street. Eastwood City Walk & Mall has a public plaza and certain air-conditioned areas where most dogs are allowed with their leashes on. Bonifacio High Street on the other hand, has a huge lawn where dogs can go leash-free as long as they do not stray too close to the nearby restaurant and shops. When exercising and traveling with your dog don’t forget to bring doggy bags for cleanup. Though not really required in Manila it is considered common courtesy.
You’ll find Eastwood City Walk & Mall at E. Rodriguez, Jr. Avenue (C5), Quezon City and Bonifacio High Street at Fort Global City, Taguig.
Cooling – The Philippines is a tropical country so the climate is very warm and humid even in the so-called ‘cool’ months. Temperatures in Manila and throughout the Philippines range from 75 F to 95 F only. So, if you own a dog that requires a much cooler climate such as a St. Bernard or an English bulldog, then you may have to keep your air-conditioner on throughout the day. To keep electricity costs down (Manila has one the most expensive electricity in Southeast Asia), keep your pet in a small enclosed area and have the setting on your air-conditioner to automatic shut-off so that it can turn itself on and off depending on the temperature. For thick coated and long-haired dogs, ask your veterinarian if he could suggest a specific cut that would alleviate the dog’s heat discomfort.