Follow us on Spotify BusinessWorld B-Side

Filipinos love their pets, and demand for vet services did not wane all throughout the pandemic, said Richard P. Encomienda, a veterinarian from the Vets in Practice hospital.   

In this B-Side episode, he talks to reporter Patricia Mirasol about his life as a vet, and imparts advice for people considering getting a pet. 

It is important to consider both your lifestyle and financial situation when deciding to become a pet owner, Mr. Encomienda said. 

“As long as the pet is alive, it’s your responsibility, your commitment, to keep it healthy and happy,” he said. “Research on the breed. Some breeds need to be outside more often, like Labradors or retrievers. If you get a smaller breed, they can be let out once a day.”  

A dog’s lifespan is anywhere between 10-13 years, although there is variability among breeds and sizes. A cat’s lifespan, meanwhile, is typically 16 years 

Dogs are five times more popular than cats in the Philippines. 

Big dogs require two 20-kilogram sacks of dog food a month, with midrange brands costing P6000-10,000 per month for that amount of food.  

“That doesn’t include yearly vaccines; that would be around P1500. Plus, if you include heartworm prevention, [then you would need to shell out more],” Mr. Encomienda added. 

Topics related to animals and pets were among the top five Facebook and Instagram Reels (or short-form videos) in the Philippines for the first three quarters of 2022, according to Meta. 

Despite the costs of being a fur parent, demand for vet services did not abate during the first series of lockdowns in 2020, Mr. Encomienda told BusinessWorld.   

“Business was stable,” he said. “People just walked in [pre-COVID-19], but the pandemic forced us to set up appointments.”  

Recorded remotely on January 11, 2023.