Avoid Quarantine When Moving to Japan with a Dog

Moving to Japan with a dog is a scary endeavor, but it can easily be accomplished. In an effort to contain the spread of rabies, Japan has a six...
moving to japan with a dog

Moving to Japan with a dog is a scary endeavor, but it can easily be accomplished. In an effort to contain the spread of rabies, Japan has a six month quarantine period for dogs brought into the country. Just the mere thought of our poor little doggy in some government quarantine facility for six months is enough to make most would be expats change their mind about moving.

I’m here to tell you a little secret.

You can avoid it.

You see Japan allows you to do a home quarantine in your country before you leave and then bypass the long quarantine period after landing in Japan. You’ll have your dog back in your hands within 12 hours of landing.

Now a home quarantine is not exactly what you think and it’s actually a lot easier than it sounds.

Here are the requirements for moving to Japan with a dog and avoiding a long quarantine period. You need to start this process seven and a half months before travel.

  1. Your dog must be micro chipped with an ISO compliant (11784 and 11785) microchip.
  2. You must give your dog a rabies vaccine. Yes, even if he already has one it must be after the microchip and within one year of travel.
  3. After at least 31 days, your dog will need an additional rabies booster. (Dogs must be vaccinated twice after the implantation of the microchip and within one year of travel)
  4. Sometime after the second rabies vaccination, your dog must get a rabies titer test. The results of the blood test shall be equal to or greater than 0.5 IU/ml.
  5. Find a vet in your area experienced working with international health certificates for all of these tests and be sure they are able to obtain USDA approval.
  6. After sending the sample to relevant authorities in Japan, you must wait 180 days in your home country. This is the home quarantine and yes, you can still take your dog outside and do all the regular activities you normally would.
  7. 40 to 50 days before travel, notify the Japanese Animal Quarantine Service of your intent to import your dog into their country and the date of your planned arrival. They will want copies of all of your paperwork.
  8. 10 days before travel have your vet examine your dog and fill out an International Health Certificate then have it stamped at the USDA office nearest you.

There are additional details to each of these rules that you can find by visiting Japan’s Official Animal Quarantine Service website.

That’s it. You’re ready to go and your dog can now avoid any lengthy stay in some government quarantine facility.

If you’re interested in learning more about ensuring your pet is safe and happy when flying, read How to Make Your Dog Comfortable When Traveling Overseas. If moving to another country that already has rabies, read Moving Overseas with Your Dog. You’ll see that the process is even easier.


Author’s Favorite Travel Gear



Petmate Sky Kennel – What it was time to bring my dog on the plane, I was sparing no expense to make sure he was safe. I bought the most heavy-duty cage I could find to ensure that he wouldn’t be able to accidentally escape on the runway. This cage served me and my four-legged buddy extremely well. It has a four-way lock and ventilation holes on every side.

Cabeau Evolution Travel Pillow – Your dog shouldn’t be the only one comfortable on the long flight. You need to catch some zzz’s, too. I have tried a number of different travel pillows, even this funky looking thing, and this one is by far the most comfortable.

Doggone Dish – Be ready to give your pup some food and water any time, anywhere, with this set of collapsible bowls. They can easily be rolled up and connected to your dog’s leash with the integrated clip. They are great for hikes or a day at the beach.

Brett Dvoretz

A long time traveler and recent expat, Brett wandered through over 25 countries before he decided to settle in the little beach town of Sihanoukville, Cambodia. After struggling through the process of setting up a new life abroad, he decided to start Expats and Aliens to help other expats find the info they need before making the leap.

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