PetRelocation’s Guide to Moving Your Dog or Cat from Japan to the United States

Relocating a beloved pet can be an exciting and daunting experience for pet parents. In this comprehensive guide, we'll cover everything you need to know to ensure a smooth journey for your furry friend.

Preparation Is Key

  • Start the planning process several months in advance
  • Consult with a veterinarian in Japan
  • Consider enlisting the services of a reputable pet relocation company
 Pro Tip: Keep a relocation checklist to track each process step and stay organized. A well-prepared plan minimizes stress for both you and your pet.

Health Requirements and Vaccinations

  • Ensure your pet is up-to-date with all necessary vaccinations, including rabies.
  • Obtain a valid CDC Rabies Vaccination and Microchip Record
 Pro Tip Create a digital folder to store copies of all vaccination records, certificates, and test results. Having organized digital documents ensures easy access during travel.


  • Confirm that your pet has an ISO-compatible microchip
  • Update the microchip information as needed
  • Confirm the microchip was implanted before the rabies vaccination.
Pro Tip: Periodically verify that your pet's microchip is functioning and can be scanned correctly. Ask your vet to perform a quick scan during regular checkups.

Travel Arrangements and Arrival

  • Determine the best travel method (cargo or in-cabin) for your pet
  • Reserve pet-friendly flights and choose one of the 18 designated airports with a CDC quarantine station for your pet's arrival
  • Review the specific pet policies and requirements of your chosen airline
Pro Tip: For long-haul flights, inquire about layover options for pet relief breaks. Properly planned layovers can enhance your pet's comfort during travel.

Compliance with State and Local Regulations

Pro Tip: Reach out to local pet organizations and rescues for insights on state-specific regulations. They can offer valuable guidance on regional pet laws and resources.

Settling into Your New Home

  • Gradually introduce your pet to their new surroundings
  • Create a cozy space with familiar items like their bed and toys
  • Monitor your pet's health and well-being
Pro Tip: After settling in, consider exploring pet-friendly parks, trails, and activities in your new area. Engaging in outdoor adventures together helps strengthen the bond with your pet and promotes a happy, active lifestyle.

Anecdote: A Successful Journey

At PetRelocation, we've had the privilege of assisting many pet parents with their international relocations. One such story is of Momo, a playful Shiba Inu who traveled from Tokyo to San Francisco. With careful coordination and attention to detail, Momo's journey was seamless and stress-free. Upon arrival, Momo's family expressed gratitude and joy at reuniting with their beloved companion in their new home.

Pro Tip: Like your passport, your pet's documents should accompany your pet while traveling. Bring all of your pet's documents, including the CDC Rabies Vaccination, Health Certificate, and Microchip Record,

Whether you're an experienced pet traveler or are embarking on your first international relocation, we hope this comprehensive guide has provided valuable insights and information. By following these steps and seeking professional guidance when needed, you and your pet can look forward to a successful relocation and a warm welcome to your new home.


PetRelocation Team


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