Flying to Japan

This forum is dedicated to places that people and dogs can enjoy together. If you want to travel, sight-see, or just go around town with your pooch, then you've come to the right place! Don't forget to plan a visit to Dogster's Pet-Friendly Travel Area! Book travel and support Dogster.

Ginger's- Suna Arashi

I'm Heading to- Okinawa, Japan!
Barked: Mon Jan 9, '12 10:35pm PST 
My husband and I will be moving to Okinawa, Japan in June of this year. His military and we got orders there. We REFUSE to give up our dog and cat. So they are coming with us. This means, though, that they have to endure the 20+ hour plane ride from Seattle to Tokyo to Okinawa.

Oh boy...

Our dog is a Pembroke Welsh Corgi, she'll be just over 2 years old when we fly out. She's crate trained (she loves her crate) and pretty laid back though she gets spooked really easily. Our cat will be almost 5 years old. She's very mellow. She tolerated the car ride from Michigan to New Mexico with just a little meowing.

Any thoughts on how to make this situation a little easier on my two babies? I'm terrified that one of them will die in cargo. That would be the worst thing ever to arrive in Japan with a dead pet. We probably won't be flying commercial, probably the military planes out of Seattle.

Any thoughts, ideas, reassurances, etc would be so appreciated. Thanks!

Barked: Tue Jan 10, '12 5:47am PST 
I wouldn't fly a pet in cargo for that long.

I understand how expensive air travel to Japan is as my sister lives there, but I'd still spring to have them fly up with me. Sounds like both would be small enough for most air lines to offer that accommodation.

dog-sitter in- charge.
Barked: Tue Jan 10, '12 6:39am PST 
Is there a lay over in Tokyo? Flying to Japan from Seattle takes something like 8hrs, tops, so if there's a wait in Tokyo you can always collect your pets and take them for a breather. I don't know how different commercial vs non commercial would be but when we've been back to Japan with the dogs, we've been able to take the minis in cabin. Also, there are quarantine rules in effect, though as I understand military is allowed to have pets spend quarantine in otherwise special accommodations. Usually the quarantine process takes about 7 months prior to travel.

Edited by author Tue Jan 10, '12 6:41am PST


Ginger's- Suna Arashi

I'm Heading to- Okinawa, Japan!
Barked: Tue Jan 10, '12 7:59am PST 
There is a layover in Tokyo. We're flying on a military plane so we'll stop at Yokota AB outside Tokyo for an hour or two. They let you get your dog out of the crate and walk the dog. They said we can also cuddle the cat and stuff.

Then we get on another military plane to fly the four hours or so down to Okinawa.

We already know about the quarantine and we're already set with doing that, the process has started. Plus, since we're military, we can quarantine the animals in our house once we get to our base. That's easier. By going military, we completely bypass most of the customs checks.

Unfortunately neither of our pets is small enough to fly in the cabin with us. I think the animal has to be in a crate that is less that 8 inches high, 20 inches long, and 13 inches across. Neither of our pets fit that description, even the cat! The cat wouldn't be able to stand up, turn around, etc. Also, the military flight does not allow pets to fly in-cabin from what we're being told.

Thanks for the advice though!

Work hard; Play- harder.
Barked: Tue Jan 10, '12 9:25am PST 
First, I'd be double checking on the base housing. Last I heard, there were issues with certain family quarters being "no pets" and families were instructed not to bring them over until they had house keys in hand. Several families had to either re-home or send them back to the US.

Second, make sure you get the ISO compatible chip. I know that the base vet clinic will tell you that you don't need it, but if for some reason you have to fly out/back on a plane other than the Patriot Express, you will need the ISO chip.

Third, as long as everyone is acclimated to their crates and in good health, you shoudl be fine. The biggest cause of animal deaths are undiagnosed heart issues (in dogs) or kidney issues (cats) as well as animals that aren't accustomed to being in a crate.

#4 I'd use a larger than normal crate for the cat so you can fix it a litterbox and most dogs will try to hold it, but 20 hours is a bit of a stretch. Both Bretta and Scooter held it for 25 an 24 hours respectively going from Baltimore to Seoul via Atlanta... and Scooter was given the opportunity to use a piddle pad in the lav but refused since he won't go "indoors".

#5 Keep your FAVNs up to date. If you ever have to evac, Hawaii is a possibility and they don't play with their quarantine. Also, Korea will be adopting the FAVN system next December; they were supposed to start it in '11, but had to push it back. You will also need to figure out how you will handle a possible evac since you can only take 1 pet per person under NEO rules and if it's NEO, Hubby isn't going.

Lilith, depending on which PE run it is, they can stop in Alaska for fuel, which makes the trip longer. They finally started sending it to Osan (in Korea), but they have never added the quarantine staff so they can process animals in or out. Korea not only requires you to get a regular health certificate to leave, but then you have to go by the quarantine office at the airport (or a couple of days in advance) to get an additional certificate. It's pretty, but completely useless.