Traveling Overseas: Dogs to and from Okinawa

As soon as we discovered we were moving overseas we began planning how to get our pets to Okinawa. Japan is a rabies free country and requires your pet to have a microchip, two rabies vaccines, and a FAVN blood test (in that order). The test determines the concentration of rabies antibodies. When this is complete you must submit an import request to the government of Japan. The pet will also need to be quarantined for 180 days. (We lived on base and were able to quarantine them with us if needed but because we had our paperwork done well in advance they were quarantined in our stateside home).We have a pug and blue heeler and due to our moving being during the summer we had to board our pets to ensure they could fly together. Our pug cannot fly in weather warmer than 75 degrees Fahrenheit. When we got to Okinawa I realized I did not have the knowledge or experience to complete the process of importing. I looked into a pet transportation company and found Sarah’s Pet Paradise. This company was amazing! The owner flies with your pets and gets them through the checkpoints, cleans them up and delivers them to your home on the other side. We just had to fly our pets to LAX. You can find her website at Our pets arrived clean, happy and excited to see us! When we moved back to North Carolina we were able to complete it on our own. We ensured the animals were up to date on all vaccines, and had kennels large enough to fly internationally. We had to take our pets to Naha International Airport for inspection the day before our flight out. This was a quick process just to check kennel sizes, and paperwork. The next day we dropped the pets at our ticket counter and made our way to the gate. Upon arrival in Tokyo we got the pets from baggage claim took them out for a potty break and water and checked them back in for the final leg of our travel. Upon arrive to DC (our final destination as there was no room on the final leg) we got our pets from baggage claim took them out and waited for the car. The dogs and cat were resilient and recovered quickly. As soon as we were settled in our hotel room the cat was ready for food a litter box and love. The dogs and cat ate in DC while waiting for our car. The dogs just wanted their bed and sleep! While it was a traumatic experience for all involved (especially me) everyone recovered even before the next day. If you want more information about doing it on your own, or the process, Sarah’s website has a plethora of information and they are very helpful.



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