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Pet Culture in Nigeria

Pet culture in Nigeria is actually quite robust. From dogs to cats and to parrots, Nigerians have really embraced the culture of caring for animals, as opposed to just rearing them for consumption. 

Every household seems to have a pet these days, maybe due to the influence of Western culture or how enlightened Gen Z are. Because historically, Nigerians did not keep pets for the purpose of caring for them; rather, animals were reared for different purposes.

For example, cats had one single job: keep mice away from the house. Cows and goats were for meat, and dogs were to protect or hunt. 

These days, however, many people keep these animals as pets for domestic reasons or just out of love for that breed of animal. Pet culture in Nigeria is really growing.

Most common pets in Nigeria


Dogs are without a doubt the most common pet in Nigeria today. While some people keep dogs for security reasons, some others keep them out of love for the animal. 

Pet Culture in Nigeria - battabox.com

The most common breed of dog is the German Shepherd. According to research, people prefer German shepherds for their intelligence, strength, and pristine appearance. They are also very obedient, loyal and easy to train. 

Most Nigerians would choose a German shepherd over any other breed of dog. 


Coming close second, are our feline friends, cats! 

Pet Culture in Nigeria - battabox.com

Even with the popular belief that some people’s wicked grandmother share their souls with cats, they are the second most common pets in Nigeria. 

A major reason for this is that cats are low maintenance. Just like dogs, they can be trained and instructed, and they are very easy to maintain. Imagine a pet that bathes itself, keeps to itself, cleans up after itself, and keeps rodents away. 

That’s the cat. 

Many Nigerians have them as pets majorly to drive rodents away, but cats are also quite lovable, especially if you live alone. They can be attention seekers and quite jealous sometimes but they are great companions as well. 

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Rabbits are just really cute as pets. They are great for aesthetics and if you have kids, they are a good way to keep them occupied. 

Pet Culture in Nigeria - battabox.com

Pro tip: if you want to win parent of the year, get your child a rabbit. Thank me later. 

Yes, they have a bad habit of messing up the place and putting their teeth into your foodstuff when they are hungry. But this is a great way of teaching kids how to be responsible for another living thing. 

As long as you keep them clean and fed, they are happy bunnies! 

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Colorful, bright, and talks back, who wouldn’t want a parrot for a pet?


A great thing about this pet is its ability to mimic others within its environment. 

Parrots are really easy to care for. Their major food is fruits and they do not eat a lot. They are fun to teach new things and many Nigerians agree with this.

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Pet contests in Nigeria

Believe it or not, pet culture in Nigeria also involves pet competitions. An example of such is the Lagos Dog Festival.

In 2021, the festival recorded over 250 dogs in attendance. According to Jackie Idimogu, the dog festival aims at debunking stereotypes of Africans mistreating dogs.

She also expressed satisfaction at how Nigerians are beginning to understand the animals’ love language, and that dogs are not meant to be bred as guards alone.

Currently, the only pet contests we have in Nigeria are for dogs. We hope in the coming years to include other animals. 

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Pet culture in Nigeria: Debunking some very Nigerian myths

Cats and dogs are enemies

I’m pretty sure someone’s grandmother started this rumor to prevent her child from bringing a cat into the house. 

Pet Culture in Nigeria - battabox.com
Do these guys look like enemies?

The truth is that, just like humans, animals also have survival instincts. The characteristics of living things apply to them too. When you put two animals in a situation where they have to compete for attention or food, competition will definitely kick in. And they will fight for dominance and survival. 

The way to avoid this is to give the animals time to socialize and get acquainted with each other.  

You may also separate their personal items, like plates and litter to avoid competition.

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Cats have nine lives

I’m pretty sure that was an idiom that Nigerians turned into something else. 

Yes, cats have the innate ability to heal from injuries fast and can survive falling from dangerous heights. However, this is because they have built-in righting reflexes that help them reposition mid-air.

Cats have a higher chance of survival if they fall from taller buildings. This gives their righting reflexes time to kick in, so they land on their feet. 

So no Sholape, your cat doesn’t have nine lives. 

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Your pets know why you are shouting at them

It’s really funny because a lot of Nigerians do this. Folake, why are you shouting at Bingo? I can promise you that whatever result you get from shouting at your dog is temporary. 

Pets do things because they are being playful or they are just bored. 

The only thing you can do is train the pet. Use a strong ‘no’ or separate them from items you don’t want them destroying.

A dog’s lips are always clean

Those of you who kiss your dogs, come closer. 

Do you know how many disgusting things your dog eats daily? Apart from what they eat, they also play with rodents. But in a bid to show love, you are doing kiss kiss with bingo.

I’m not saying you shouldn’t love your dog. I’m just informing you of all the microorganisms that swim in that mouth and on those lips that don’t get cleaned. 

Do with the information what you wish.

I sha don talk my own

Rabbits should eat a lot of carrots

This one is just pure racial profiling from us watching too many cartoons where a rabbit’s favorite food is carrots. 

Studies have shown that carrots contain too much sugar for rabbits and they shouldn’t be consumed regularly. Instead, give your rabbit greens to prevent bunny diabetes. 

All dogs are Bingo

Do I need to say much on this? Who even started the trend? Couldn’t they have picked a classy name? Like Mathias, or Abednego?

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Pet travel regulations in Nigeria 

If you are an expatriate coming to Nigeria with your pet, here are some rules you should take into consideration:

  • Your pet must be 7 months or older. 
  • You must have vaccinated the pet.
  • Your pet must be microchipped 
  • Get a health certificate; this certificate must be valid for 10 days 
  • Your pet must be tested for rabies and other diseases

Dog slaughtering in Nigeria

Nigeria, a culturally diverse nation, embraces a multitude of traditions and practices. Among them is the controversial tradition of dog slaughter and meat consumption, which has been accepted within certain communities.

Below is a video from Battabox that displays dog slaughtering in Nigeria:

Dog Slaughtering

Dog consumption in Nigeria has historical and cultural roots in certain communities, particularly in some regions where it is considered a traditional practice. These communities often have specific beliefs and customs associated with dog meat consumption. Understanding the cultural context is crucial for engaging in constructive dialogue and promoting cultural sensitivity.

Below is a video from Batttabox regarding Dog consumptiom

In this article, we delve into the complexities surrounding this accepted tradition in Nigeria, considering the cultural aspects, ethical considerations, and the need for compassion towards animals.

Animal right laws in Nigeria 

Animals in Nigeria are protected under sections 495, 496, 497, 498, and 499 of the Nigerian Constitution. Although there are no reports that anybody has ever been tried and convicted for the offense, the 1999 Constitution prohibits the abuse of animals under Miscellaneous Offences. 

It states in Chapter 50 on ‘Cruelty to Animals’ that any person who cruelly beats, kicks, ill-treats, over-rides, over-drives, over-loads, tortures, infuriates, or terrifies any animal, or causes or procures, or, being the owner, permits any animal to be so used “is guilty of an offense of cruelty and is liable to imprisonment for six months or to a fine of fifty naira, or to both such imprisonment and fine.”

Ehn? Fifty naira? Are you people playing?

This ‘law’ protects all animals, wild or domestic. But it seems our Calabar people left the group chat.