Traveling to Japan with a dog can be daunting due to strict import requirements. The biggest concern we hear about is the 180 day quarantine process. It is important to note that this waiting period can be done in your own home without any restrictions.
This page is intended to provide you with a high-level overview of the import process and highlight important guides and required paperwork for travel. It is our hope that we can demystify the import process and provide a road map for owners who choose to take their dog to Japan for mitral valve repair surgery. Key documents to help guide you through this process are:
To help guide you through the process, please use our step-by-step instructions on the Japan Pet Import Process page.
Surgical Consultation and Qualification
Contact the JASMINE Clinic for a surgical consultation and qualification and provide as much medical information and history as possible including the most recent echocardiogram. Typical tests requested are:
Brief past medical history and known current diseases
Blood Pressure (NIBP)
Blood Tests – CBC, Biochemistry test, Electrolytes, CRP
Cardiac Biomarkers (NT-proBNP)
Chest x-rays (3 views)
Urinalysis and further kidney tests if indicated
Full coagulation profile
Please consult with the JASMINE Clinic to confirm the specific tests required for your dog and when they are required to be performed. The typical test are indicated on this article we drafted, Requirements to become a surgical candidate for japan
Airline Reservation: Buy your flight tickets if you have not done so already and inform your airline that you will be traveling with a dog. You will need to also notify the Japanese Quarantine office forty days prior to entering Japan. Please follow the guidelines on our General Travel webpage to have your dog registered as an Emotional Support Animal (ESA). If your dog is comfortable in a carry-on pet case, that would be best. Upon arrival in Japan, your dog must be put in an enclosed carrier as there are strict rules about transporting your dog from the airport and to each inspection point.
Hotel Reservation: This is challenging because hotels in Japan are not known to be pet friendly. Contact us for recommendations made by previous owners who have gone to Japan for surgery.
Transportation: Arrange for a pet-friendly taxi (recommended by the JASMINE Clinic) to transport between airport-hotel-hospital.
Travel Items: Buy a pet carrier if you don’t have one. Even if your pet is a service dog, the Japanese airport officials require that your dog is placed in an enclosed carrier when moving throughout the airport.
This packing list is our attempt at helping you think of the things to bring that you may have forgotten, and a little guidance on what you can check through vs. what you need to bring with you on board the plane.
On the Day of Travel
Gather and take the following paperwork:
Rabies Titer Certificate
Certificates of Vaccination
Microchip certification (includes number and date of implanting)
Completed Japan Pet Import Notification Form
Approval of Import Inspection of Animals
Modification on Notification of Import Animals (where appropriate)
Completed Exporter’s Declaration (Form A)
Completed Export Health Certificate (Form C).
In preparation for the flight, restrict meals and water where appropriate. As needed on the flight, give water and food to keep your dog hydrated and fed during the flight.
Check out PetFriendly Travel for the latest listing of animal relief areas at US airports.
Take your dog to a relief area as close to boarding time as possible.
Arrival and Inspection in Japan
Upon arrival in Japan, your dog must be put in an enclosed carrier. There are strict rules with transporting your dog from the airport and from each inspection point. Pick up your luggage in baggage claim, and go directly to the Quarantine Office at your arrival airport in Japan. Have your paperwork handy, including Health Certificate (forms A and C), FAVN titer Report, 40-day Notification, Approval Notification, and a personal microchip scanner (if applicable).
The Quarantine Veterinarian will verify the paperwork you present to them, compare it to the copies they had received from you prior to your arrival, and make copies of everything. You will go through the information together line-by-line to verify accuracy, then you will both sign off. He/she will perform a quick exam on your dog, and if all goes well, you will be provided with a tag to attach to the carrier in which your dog will be contained while in the airport and at the customs department (examples below). Sample tags provided by Quarantine Services to be attached to pet carrier to indicate Quarantine Approval while in the airport and at Customs.
In addition to the pet carrier tag, an “Import Quarantine Certificate” embossed with an official stamp (Example below, left) will also be provided. If you have not yet completed or submitted an Export Application for your dog, you will be provided one at this time as well (Example below, right). Keep this paperwork safe, as you will need to present it to Quarantine again (along with the other documentation you provided previously), prior to departure. With your luggage in tow and your dog stowed safely in his/her carrier, move on through Customs and leave the airport.
Departure from Japan
In preparation for departure from Japan back to the US, complete and submit the Export
Application (sample above, right) at least 7-days prior to your departure date to the Quarantine office at your departure airport (you may have been provided this form by the Quarantine Office in advance, prior to your trip).
Hint: The information is nearly identical to the Import Certificate they provide. Therefore, it would be safest to copy the majority of the information from the Import Certificate to the Export Application.
You will be asked to schedule an appointment with the Quarantine Office prior to departure (between the hours of 8:30am – 5:00pm), at least three hours prior to your flight. If your flight is very early in the morning, you can schedule your appointment for the day prior to departure. The appointment is estimated to take 30 minutes – 1 hour.
Be sure to head to your Quarantine appointment immediately upon arrival to the airport, even before checking in with the airline, because airline personnel will check for your paperwork and Quarantine tag attached to your dog’s pet carrier. In addition to your Quarantine documentation, keep your ESA documentation handy, as you may be asked about that as well, both at the check-in counter, and as you board your flight.