Pet Travel Question: Exporting Rats from Japan

Name: K.
Number of Pets: 2
Pet Type: Rat
Pet Breed: Dumbo Rat
From: Japan
To: Maryland (though Washington, Dulles airport)

I am leaving Japan in the summer (expecting to leave in the last week of July) and want to take my two fancy rats home to the US with me. I have contacted the CDC in both countries and they have said there are no specific regulations for pet rats, however I am having a difficult time just getting a list together of everything that I am going to need at the airport. As time starts to run out I am getting very stressed that there will be some sort of last minute thing that I forget!

Also, as I have never shipped a pet before, I am a little confused about how the whole process works. Do I just walk in the airport with the carrier and hand them over when I check my bags? I worry that with the stigma most people have of rats that they won't be treated as well as a larger companion animal would, but I haven't been able to find any airline that will let me take them as carry on (I'd even be willing to buy a second seat!).

I guess what I am asking is just for some idea of what to expect and what forms/ vet information I will need to have for them. Using a service such as your own also isn't out of the question. More than cost, I am just concerned about my (clearly very spoiled) rats getting home safely.

Thank you so much for your informative site. Any information that you can give me will be most appreciated.



Thanks for your question about traveling with your rats; your concerns are certainly understandable! First of all, you're right that it's important to start the process early in order to avoid being surprised about anything.

Here is some information from our site about obtaining customized rodent crates as well as how to travel with an exotic pet, and we also recommend contacting your airline directly in order to find out about their most up-to-date regulations. The good news is that the United States allows rats to be imported without much fanfare (here's a document from the Official U.S. Customs and Border Protection site that may be helpful).

Hopefully this information is helpful to you, and please let us know if you have any more questions or if you'd like a free quote for our services. Good luck with the move!


PetRelocation Team




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