Okinawa Hai fallback


Okay, maybe not one hundred and one tips, but enough to get your beloved furry friend overseas.

The information is compiled from the Erin Blunt’s Experience PCSing with our dog in detail which can be read in full detail on OkinawaHaiSociety.


  • Get your microchip/2 rabies/FAVN things done ASAP!!!!! Seriously, have it done it even if Oki is only a possibility as your next station.
  • Have ALL rabies/certification, MDJ form 270, orders, IDs, etc available and in nice order to speed up the inspection and for the kennel. Inspection is NOT a big deal at all if you have the right paperwork. Getting all the paperwork ahead of time and preparing for the worst is the hardest part of PCSing with you pet.
  • All of the above documents must be attached to the outside of the airline kennel in a clear bag.  Label the bag: “Export/Import Pet Documents.”
  • Get a quote beforehand of how much the animal’s ticket will be from your departure city to arrival and KEEP THE RECEIPT for Tokyo reentry. Don’t think that confirming your animal on the flights means that they will have the animal in your reservation. The ticketers have to call and confirm themselves.
  • MAKE AT LEAST 3 COPIES OF ALL YOUR RECORDS!-Some docs may be taken from your records.


  • Make sure to have a water bottle on you so you can fill your animals bowl when you pick them up.  If you get a water bottle and freeze it before your trip-don’t fill it all the way so it doesn’t explode. (Water expands as it freezes.)
  • Give your pet a benedryl right before entering your departure airport and when you pick him up at your transfer. *But make sure to ask a vet and test the benedryl before you leave to make sure it doesn’t cause excitability.
  • You should receive a confirmation card to tell you that the dog was on the flights.
  • Put puppy pads to coat the bottom of the crate. The odor, while embarrassing, is unavoidable and understandable.


  • “Sumimasen” is one of the most important words starting when you arrive in Tokyo. I can’t count how many times I said “excuse me” and realized no one could understand me!
  • First thing you do when you arrive in Tokyo is go through customs with your passport and ID. (Don’t forget to fill out the back of the white customs sheet they give you on the flight.) Next you go down to baggage. When we picked up the dog in Tokyo, they brought the crate right out to baggage claim. (You also have to pick up all your luggage-carts are free, use them!) Tokyo quarantine inspection took us 10 minutes at the most. There was no line when we arrived. The inspection desk is to the far right of all the baggage claims as you approach them from the escalators. They’ll give you a yellow slip that is for customs check-keep it on you. Next, you bring your luggage and animal to domestic connections and actually pass by the first check in and go straight to another (Its right past the “Juicer Bar”that’ll be on your left, check-in will be on the right.) Here you need the yellow slip, receipt for your animals travel from your departure airport, ID, etc. They will re-check your luggage, put your animal crate in a net and take everything.  Next you go back through security, which is a breeze. The Oki gate is not very far past the security check. The flight from Tokyo to Okinawa was the only flight that did not give a confirmation card for the dog.


  • Once at Naha, your netted crate will be brought out to the middle roped off area. They will un-net your crate and then you take the crate and all your luggage (on free carts if you wish), show your baggage claim stickers and get out of there! Your sponsor should be right past the doors if you have one. If you need to take your dog to use the bathroom, there are patches of grass to the far left as you exit the airport (just past the police booth). If you do not already have a place for your animal to stay upon your arrival, you might need to have your sponsor take you to Karing Kennels, where they will stay until you secure a home on base or other place for them to stay. They require the MDJ form 270, shot records, most recent bordatella vacc proof, FOOD, veterinarian’s certficate (within 10 days of ARRIVAL *not departure*) etc.
  • You will need to bring your animal to the vet office within 72 hours of arrival to confirm everything so as to not get fined.


  • You bring your animal in, sign them in, give the vet the animal’s records (make sure to have a copy of EVERYTHING with you-cert, FAVN results, MDJ, etc). You sit in the waiting area through the whole thing and once they’re done with the records they weigh the pet, and scan the microchip.  They give you the run down on the quarantine and all things you need to protect your furry one from and then you’re off to return your pet to their “quarantine location”. *I hear there is only ONE vet office, so don’t expect to be seen immediately.

Another Perspective:
Contributed by Heather Hansen:

I’m going to post this here because it goes with the whole dog/ living out in town thing. I just want to point out the realities and expense of bringing animals. Of course I’m all for bringing them, if that’s what you choose to do. I just think the information isn’t out there for people to get the whole picture.

When you bring over an animal there are expenses with that… fees, airline tickets, shots… Then there is the boarding care.

After that, if you need to get a house in town, things don’t work the same here as they do in America. Here most places require first and last month’s rent, plus the deposit, plus you pay a fee to the company who got you your apartment. It is very expensive.

Keep in mind that you’re also going to be spending a lot of money when you move here. You will need cars, for instance. Cars can run you between 1K and 5K, but the deals are when you buy from military members who are PCSing out. So you ultimately would like cash for this. With the car, you also have to buy American insurance. This is cash or check only. No credit cards.

You will also be replacing your entire stock of food items… all your staples, etc. And cleaners and whatever else you couldn’t PCS.

If you have a dog that is an outside dog, be aware that they will also have a different kind of life here. You can buy and rent fences, but they are not the norm. Some rentals do have fenced in yards, however.

Plus, it gets way too hot to leave your dog outside all the time. If your dog is used to the freedom of the back yard this may be a problem.

Like I said, bring your dog if you want to. I’m all for it. I just want you to be aware of the bigger picture.

I know how hard it is to consider the alternative. We gave away our two dogs, who were like children to us. I’m still upset and sad about it. But I knew in the end, it was the only way for them to have the lifestyle they were used to and for us not to incur major debt with this move.

It’s easy to say, “Get a house out in town.” But very few people have the cash in pocket to make that a reality.

Other notes:
If you are PCSing between 15 May and 15 Sept., be aware of heat restrictions.  The flight may be unable to fly your pet due to temperatures at the transfer point exceeding 85 degrees Fahrenheit.

Thank you Erin and Heather for the informative contributions!

Useful links:

Karing Kennels: PCSing with your Pet

Kennel Okinawa

Documents for Download:

Pet Process Checklist

Veterinary Health Certificate: Form 2209

Application for Importing/Inspection of a Dog

Notification for Import of Dogs

Notification for Import of Cats

Veterinary Certification

Pet Quarantine_Examination Certificate

If there is anything else that you lovely animal lovers think should be added to this post or if there are any more questions, please share.


  1. My husband is going to Okinawa in March and I’m heading out there in June. My Question is, if I start the quarantine here in 29palms marine base, when it’s time for me to go to Okinawa, can I take my pup (3yrs old) with me on the plane if i have legal paperwork from doctors stating he is my therapy dog and need him with me to calm me down during flights to prevent having to pay the shipping and fees? Will I be able to take him in Japan without an issue? Would I be able to finish quarantine there since we will be living on base and he is an indoor pup?
    Please email me with ANY information please!
    I’m stressing out about this

  2. Hello
    I am using this forum to ask a question as it seems to be active and I am in need of responses.
    I will be moving to Kawasaki in the Kanagawa Prefecture and do not know what quarantine site I need to contact. I am bringing my cat who by all means is not tame, he has a feral side when confronted with travel.
    I am worried that even with prior certification he will be refused importation or faced with quarantine.
    The Japanese website states their right to refuse upon inspection regardless of preliminary certification.
    My question is, if my cat is unmanageable will he be refused or forced into 180 day quarantine?
    And if so, is quarantine traumatic due to small confinement and is visitation possible?
    Thank you,
    Mary O

  3. I have a question about microchipping…

    We have two dogs who are currently microchipped with PetLink, but the paperwork here says HomeAgain and AVID microchips are acceptable. Does that mean I have to get them re-chipped with one of those brands?

    Many thanks!

  4. Erica, in order to complete the quarantine, you have to have a favn test done, it’s supposed to be 6momths prior to arrival but you won’t make that. You can either kennel for the remaining time, have a friend on base care for your dog, or live on base. After the 6 months are done, your dog is free and clear. It’s much easier than it sounds, I’d recommend living on base as the kennels are 150/wk currently. After you arrive you have to take the dogs to the vet as a walk-in and then they go back again at 30 days and the end of their quarantine. This is for arriving at the AMC terminal. If you fly commercial it’s different and I cannot attest to that… The Facebook page has been answering questions about that recently.

  5. We just found out we are pcsing and have to be there no later than July. We have 2 dogs that will be going with us, both over 40 pounds. Can someone please tell me how the quarantine works? And the easiest way to fly them there? I have no idea where to start and I am freakin out! Thanks!

  6. Just last week, we finally got our Corgi (dog) back from friends in the states. (We PCS’d here short notice in August ’12 from Germany and had to leave her with friends). I have to tell you that using Petsafe from United Airlines was wonderful. For less than $1000.00 she was flown from Las Vegas to Houston, then from Houston to Narita (Tokyo). All of the other quotes from companies who specialized in shipping pets were well over $2500.00. All I had to do was fly to Narita and claim her from the cargo facility. Of course, there was paperwork involved as always. Flying her from Narita to Naha (Okinawa) was a piece of cake using ANA (All Nippon Airlines). Simply check your pet in at the counter, complete a waiver, pay Y5000 (about 56 dollars), and they will take care of getting your friend onto the airplane.

    I should also mention that all of her paperwork was taken care of with a vet on a military installation in Las Vegas. This included the FAVN/titer testing, rabies, etc, etc, etc. Although stressful, she is home now and doing well!!

    If anyone has any questions, please ask. I want to share this with anyone who it can help. It was pretty stressful – but it turned out to be just fine.


    • The experience that Al had is essentially the info we provide from Action Pet Express
      Pets can fly both to Narita and to Osaka. We usually use Lufthansa from Washington DC This provides a great comfort stop in Frankfurt and the total charges are often less or about the same as United.
      We are a veteran owned business and really keep the charges as low as possible
      Jerry Mishler

  7. We just went to Smooth Move last week on Foster and were told that all American airlines (Delta and United especially) do not fly English bulldogs no matter what. I checked the airline websites and found this to be true. The only two options are the AMC flight or a foreign carrier all the way (expensive). We’ve had our bulldog for almost the entire 3 years we have been here and are very sad that we might have to give her away. We are still waiting to hear about which flight we are on, but we should find out this week. I’m really hoping that we get a spot on the AMC flight. If anyone has any suggestions, please let me know. Oh, we fly at the end of April.

  8. Emily, Thank you so much! This is really helpful information! You would think my cat was HUGE, (18lbs!). We will work on the Shogun inn. I did email the AQS today to make sure all was in order, and it was. Now we just need to try to stay on base. Here is hoping!I may have more questions as we get closer, but thanks so much.

  9. Gray,

    The vet did not ask any questions about where we were staying, nor did the people in pet immigration (other than where we listed it on the form). The vet did remind us that the cat is not supposed to be off base/outdoors and we signed a form to that extent. Our cat is indoors only, so this was not an issue. The whole process is not nearly as intense as they make it sound online. It’s pretty much on the honor system, and I don’t think they care nearly as much for indoor cats as they do for dogs, etc. I would try to book the Shogun if you can, and like you said, the earlier the better, as I don’t think they have many pet rooms. I don’t know of any other on base hotels that allow animals. Off base, the Hamagawa Lodge allows pets, and I believe the Eagle Lodge does as well.

    Our cat is about 8 pounds, so she is on the small side and fit well in the under seat carrier. I don’t think there is a weight restriction, but the pet has to be able to stand and turn around in the approved carrier (17.5 inches long x 12 inches wide x 7.5 inches high). We flew United and then from Toyko to Okinawa was on ANA. They required us to put the cat underneath on the ANA flight, but we were able to keep her with us for all other portions.

  10. @Emily Thanks so much. We actually are DOD and will have to live off base, so that does make it a bit harder.

    Does the vet ask a lot of questions about where you will be staying with said cat?

    We really want to take her on the plane, but she is an awfully fat cat. I am not sure of the weight requirements. How much do your cats weigh? Did you fly United over? We are thinking that is the way we may come.

    We are hoping for the Shogun Inn, which I hear accepts cats if we book early, then hopefully we can keep her with us for the majority of her quarantine while we look for permanent housing. Are there any other on base options that you know for our stay before we get housing that accept pets? Thank you!

  11. Gray,

    We just came over with our cat and she was only half way through the quarantine period when we arrived. If you can secure on base lodging (hotel) and/or if you are going to be living on base, then you do not need to quarantine the cat or put her in the Karing Kennels. When we went through the quarentine process at the airport, we just wrote Kadena – On Base. There was no problem with this.

    You will need to take the cat to the vet within 72 hours of arriving for a quick check… and then every 30 days after that until the quarentine period is up. You don’t need to make an appointment with the vet, and there is no charge. They basically take the cat’s temperature and examine her for signs of rabies. Once your 35 days are up, you will get paperwork stamped/signed from the vet and the cat can be taken off base.

    If you know that you will be staying on base, living on base, and/or have a sponsor or coworker who lives on base and may be willing to take the cat for a little while, I would recommend bringing her over with you. If you carry the cat on the plane with you the ticket is less than $200. If you send her unacompanied it will be closer to $700. Also being beneath the plane can be traumatizing! We were much happier having our cat carried on with us!

    Sorry this is super long. We just went through this whole process and it can be confusing! Please feel free to ask questions!

  12. We are moving in June with our cat and are trying to decide if it is worth finishing out the last 35 days of her quarantine in the states( then fly her over unaccompanied). Or, if it is best to just bring her and keep her in Karing Kennels for the duration. Does anyone have any thoughts on this? I really appreciate it.

  13. I am PCSing there in Feb and have been so stressed trying to figure out how i am going to get my two yorkies there. AMC can’t fit them on the flight with us. So we are trying to figure out the best way to ship our dogs there. Can anyone proved information from someone that has recently traveled there (that went through this too)? Please email me at

    • We just moved here in October with our cat. It was a long arduous process that I will hopefully never have to go thru again, but if you play do everything correctly your Yorkies should only be in quarantine overnight at Karing Kennels on Kadena, vet inspection the next morning and thats it! We had to fly commercial. We gave some sedation that our vet prescribed to our cat as she flew in-cabin with us from SF to Tokyo, then flew in cargo from Tokyo – Oki. We had soft-sided carrier for in-cabin, and we checked a hard-sided carrier in baggage. You get all of your luggage in Tokyo, go thru customs and check-in to your next flight and hand over your pet to cargo. Asi es! Your sponsor should contact Karing Kennels on Kadena to make reservations for your dogs and they will have someone there if your flight gets here at night so they can hold your pets in quarantine overnight. Good luck!

  14. I really need help because I’m getting some information from the United PetSafe program that my cat has to fly through Honolulu and Guam to Okinawa and that is the only way to get her there no matter if she’s cargo or excess baggage. We are first coming from the UK into San Francisco. So, they told me that even if we changed our flights to be all Continental the entire way (they are now United and ANA) that she still would have to go from San Francisco to Honolulu and then Guam. I know lots of people go through Narita with their pets, so I’m not sure why their telling me this. If anyone has info about what I need to ask for or who to talk to, I would really appreciate it!

    • I’m finally being told we can go through San Francisco to Narita and Okinawa with our cat. However, ANA is saying they can’t book the cat’s spot because the flight number is a United flight number and not an ANA number. United Pet Safe won’t book the cat on the ANA portion. Has anyone run into this? If so, what did you have to do to get the pet booking?

  15. I’m not 100% on this, but I believe if you are coming from the states and are the military member, you have to take space-A. There are companies out there that will escort your pet for you. I remember when we left the states to go to Tokyo a few years ago we couldn’t get my wife’s cats onto space-a. I paid for a commercial flight for her to take them and the Air Force reimbursed me a certain percentage since she was on my orders to come and did not take space-a.

  16. Trying to get my shihtzu to Okinawa, I went to the tmo, she told me theres no space available for amc, can I ask for a commercial fly, or I just got to leave her behind (and that’s a NO) do they got to find me something in commercial fly or is just like that, please help.

    • Hi Cathy,

      You can ask for a commercial flight. We did, flying out of Dallas, TX to OKinawa but told them we prefer flying out of JFK New York and since we have a dog we would rather do commercial. They said okay. Just speak to the travel management company Not TMO (the worst office I have dealt with is TMO). Hope that helps

  17. I have a unique question. My family and I are trying to buy a puppy from a US breeder back home. The pup would be about 10-12 weeks old and my wife is going to fly back to pick him up. We’d have all the paperwork completed, BUT the puppy would not be old enough for the rabies vaccine. I’ve been in contact with AQS and they initially said we could quarantine the puppy on base (Kadena) with an ID card and PCS orders. The base vet said we could quarantine the puppy on base as well, even without the full rabies vaccines being completed, as long as we did the vaccines as the pup reached the age appropriate times. Granted we would have to keep the pup quarantines for the entire 180 days on base from the start of the second rabies vaccine and test result.

    So now I just received an email from the AQS saying that a puppy would not qualify under the SOFA and would have to stay in an AQS facility for 180 days?! That’s the exact opposite of what they told me in their first email and what the base vet has told me. Now I’m confused!

    Has anybody done this before…bought a puppy from the states and tried to bring him back? We are looking for a specific breed and we cannot get one here on island so we are forced to look elsewhere. Another option is to go with a very similar breed of dog from Austrailia and New Zealand since those countries are “regulated” zones according to Japan. That means they are rabies free and do not require that vaccination or a quarantine to enter Japan. But that also creates other problems…like how to get the puppy from another country to Okinawa! I guess this is a good excuse to take a vacation to Austrailia! Man, what a pain. Any help would be appreciated 🙂 Thanks.

  18. I NEED HELP!! I just PCSd in from Spangdahlem Germany. I left my pup there to finish out his 180 days and now I am trying to get him here. Does anyone know how to go about booking a ticket to get him here? I am planning on going back to Germany and picking him up myself I just can’t figure out how to get him all the way here. I’m stressing out!

  19. Trying to get two dogs (Shih Tzus) to Okinawa from Germany this August – commercial Lufthansa flight (Frankfurt to Tokyo) – seems that I can get them to Tokyo, but not from Tokyo to Okinawa on ANA.
    Also can’t get clarification if they will accept documents from German veterinarians and a FAVN test completed in a German laboratory – these dogs have never been in the states.
    Any advice would be appreciated – Thanks

  20. HELP!!! PCS’ing back to OKI this time with a dog on a commercial flight. Got the dog booked through petsafe through United, to which I was told my dog was a bag tag all the way through to Oki, just had to inform ANA of him being on flight. ANA tells me they can not book him on flight b/c it is a Marketing Flight by United so they will not allow the dog on the flight unless I change the flight to a regular ANA flight. United is telling me that he was booked all the way through, that he would go through customs in Narita and then transferred over to ANA flight for our connection. I do not know what to do now? I know that there are too many military families PCS’ing on and off the island and many are flying commercially. The govt travel has to book the the flight as United for funding purposes but ANA is saying if it stated regular ANA flight number then it wouldn’t be a problem. I know it can not be this hard with so many people PCS’ing on/off island with pets. Any advice is appreciated.

    • I found this as well….in another thread on birds.

      I’ll address the bird and dog situation; Okinawa Japan.

      First I want to address PCSing with a bird because we had 3 birds and wanted to bring them. If you think a dog/cat is hard, a bird is even harder. First of all the cost will be high with all the test done in the US and then additional test done in Japan. Then to return with them to the US is near impossible with the Avian and Pandemic flu issues. Getting back to the states will cost you at least $1000 per bird with numerous test including setting up appointment for people to meet you at the airport to test your bird as soon as you get off the plain. We just decided to give them to a family member and we get pictures. We did not want to expose them to anything here, or completely lose them on the way back to the states.

  21. Here is the emailed response from the animal quarantine service at Haneda Tokyo if flying commerical with your dog as Cargo. Sounds like it is time consuming!!

    answer your question.

    If you choose “cargo” of transportation,
    the procedure takes about 2~3 hours to pick animals up from arrival.

    Arriving animal is stored in the airline’s warehouse(TIACT).
    TIACT cotact number:+81-3-5757-7581
    1. Receive animal’s documents from TIACT or the airline.
    2. Go to the airline’s warehouse and come to our office with animal’s documents.
    3. TIACT staff brings animals from their warehouse to our animal inspection room.
    4. Have an import inspection at our animal inspection room.
    5. We will issue the import quarantine certificate if there is no problem.
    6. After inspection, TIACT staff returns animals to their warehouse.
    7. Go to the customs office and have customs procedures.
    8. Go to the airline’s warehouse and finally pick animals up.
    It takes about 2~3 hours to pick animals up.
    We recommend you have enough time for arrival procedure.

    It is necessary to confirm the procedure concerning transportation, customs clearance etc. to the airline, werehourse(TIACT), customs(Haneda branch TEL:050-5533-6969).
    Our cargo office have no regularly assigned our officer.
    Please tell us what time you will come to our cargo office.

    If you have question, please feel free to contact us.

    Sincerely yours,

    Ai Nishiuchi
    Animal Quarantine Service Haneda Airport Branch
    TEL:+81-3-5757-9752  FAX:+81-3-5757-9758

  22. More experience now with this move and the dog. Will add, most airlines, in fact I think all airlines now have a “summertime embargo” where your pet must fly CARGO. This is what confused me: CARGO vs. BAGGAGE. So, if your dog flies Cargo it can fly in the same plane as you BUT you will have to drop off and pickup your dog at the Cargo area for that airline. For example, we have a flight on Delta from LAX through Haneda-Tokyo to Okinawa on ANA ( from Haneda).

    Before the flight I will have to drop off the dog at the designated Cargo area which is off the airport grounds at LAX. When we land at Tokyo-Haneda I have to pick up the dog at the Cargo area and then check in to the other airline-ANA with the dog. We have 3 hrs and this is cutting it very close…..more to come on this when I actually go through it. Will post more later.

  23. Hi,
    I am worried we don’t know enough about this process and we are bringing our dogs in June. I have seen some posts on what to do with getting your dogs to Oki, but they are quite old…where do we go to get up-to-date info? The USMC doesn’t seem to be telling us anything as regards to the dogs and I’m afraid that if we just trust it is going to work out, that it won’t and there will be a huge delay or expense that we could have avoided.

    As for flights, we still don’t really know what the deal is…my husband is going to try to find out more today but we have been told the dogs should be flying with us but from what it looks like, we are flying commercial with American from NC to Seattle, then on a Military plane from there straight to Kadena……can this be right? And if so, will they take the dogs? They will be in 2 large crates.

    Also does anyone know what date the in-home quarantine starts? Is it from the date the rabies shot and titer was drawn, or is it the date the certificate was stamped as clear? If it is the first, we should be good, but if it is the second, we will have to do 2 weeks of in-home quarantine…but we won’t have a house yet so I guess that will mean kennels. Ughhhh!

    Help please!!

  24. Also about the 40 days notice. If you can find the emails to the quarantine port of entry that you are flying into, which can take some time to find, you can send in the notification much later than 40 days. I sent mine in about 15 days beforehand because of the AMC screw up and me buying my own flight 2 weeks out. It took them about 2 days to complete the notification and they emailed confirmation back to me so I could print it out. We didn’t have access to a fax machine so this was awesome.

    Narita’s Quarantine email is as follows:

    If you are flying in late, make sure you email the Vet on Kadena and Karing Kennels ahead of time. I also found these emails hard to find…

    Kadena Vet’s email is
    Karing Kennels email is

    Good luck!

  25. I just wanted to leave some info about getting your pets to Japan.

    If you are in the unfortunate position that I went through (AMC decided to forget to put my pets on the AMC flight, then told me that I would have to wait 2 months before I could get on a flight with the pets due to THEIR mistake) and considering shipping your pet unaccompanied, don’t even try.

    My dog’s plane ticket as cargo (she is large) from JUST LAX to Tokyo (and it has to be through Tokyo, I could find no other way to ship pets) was going to be $3600. Then you would have to buy your own plane ticket from Okinawa to Tokyo and back to Okinawa to pick up your pet and show quarantine paperwork.

    It is MUCH cheaper to buy your own flight from the US all the way to Okinawa, especially if you buy through ANA from LAX. I spent $620 for my ticket from LAX to Okinawa and paid $300 for my dog the entire way. Much cheaper than $3600, my round trip flight to Tokyo ($1020) and another 5000 yen to fly the dog with me from Tokyo to Okinawa.

    I do warn you, however, if you buy the ticket through ANA, do not expect the military to pay you back for your flight because it’s a “non american flight” and they wont reimburse you for the flight. Apparently if you buy the ANA flight through United, which is very hard to do without United forcing you to fly on their flight (and not to mention as of March 2nd 2012 they don’t even fly pets with you) instead of ANA across to Tokyo, the military will reimburse the flight. Delta is pretty much the only other airline that will fly your pets without making you pay outrages cargo prices, but your plane ticket will be a lot more expensive for yourself if you have to buy it last minute like I did.

    Anyway, I hope this helps out some. It’s a pain in the butt, but I’m glad my dog got to come with us.

    • Thanks for the info. I’ve been preparing for this since January and still is confusing. I was not able to get a AMC flight (actually happy) so have to fly Commercial with Delta.

      Delta will fly to Tokyo but will not fly to Okinaw (for the dog). ANA is the second flight from Tokyo to Okinawa. The issue is time to get dog from cargo to ANA flight. Any experience with this one?

      This blog is way outdated for the current polices. Frustrating.

    • We’re having this problem now with a United flight number for an ANA flight, so ANA is telling me to change the flight number or buy an ANA ticket to accompany my pet. Was anyone able to work it out where the military booked the flight as an ANA flight for you? Otherwise, how did you get around this to get your pet to Okinawa?

  26. I think you are getting some bum info there. The Fly America Act has been around since the early 90s and yet many, many PCSers have brought their pets to Okinawa. The ANA flight between Tokyo and Okinawa allows pets, but they may not confirm your pet slot at the time you make your reservations because of their standard practices. But, have no fear, I have never heard of anyone failing to get their pets aboard the flight when ANA was notified in advance. Just make sure the pets are listed on your orders, follow all the Import procedures, and you will be just fine. Good Luck!

    • Yeah, this dude must have been off his rocker or something. Thank you! I spent all yesterday crying because of this and being 33 weeks pregnant I don’t need anymore stress than what already comes with PCSing LOL. Thank you!

  27. I’m going to post this on ever PCSing with pets post I can find on here. My husband an are will by flying commercially possibly. The guy at DTMO was telling us that there is no way that we can bring out 2 cats with us if we fly over to okinawa from camp pendleton on a commercial flight (American, Delta) because our connecting flight from Narita would be a Japanese commercial airline and they won’t accept out pets on the plan because of this dumb “fly America Act” How does that make sense? If we are spending our money on the cats tickets and it is not on the “federal governments dime” why would they not accept them because of this act that only apply to government travel? Does this make sense? It’s really hard to explain this when writing. PLEASE HELP

  28. Rhiannon, You will send the 40 Day Advanced Notification to your first port of entry in Japan. This is either Narita, Haneada, Osaka, etc. They will review all of your paperwork there and send you on your way to Naha.

    Here is the link to the Japan Animal Quarantine Service which has all the contact information as to where to send the notification. I believe it is all on page 7:

  29. Hi all,

    My husband and I are due to PCS to Kadena end of Nov 2011. We have 2 large dogs we want to bring. We have to fly commercial as there is no room for our dogs on the AMC flights. Has anyone had issues getting the airlines to confirm the reservations for the dogs to fly? Currently we are experiencing issues with “All Nippon” they say that they cannot put both of the dogs on the flight because they are too big. Any suggestions? Also currently All Nippon is the only airline our local travel office will allow us to fly with in Japan.

    Secondly, our dogs will only have apporx 90Days in the state side quarantine when we enter Japan. I ready that they would be able to stay on base housing through the SOFA agreement. Any truth to this? Thanks for the help!


    • Amber, we are PCSing with 2 cats around the same time and yes that is true. Your dogs can finish out their quarantine in house as long as you live on base. I’ve researched everything to death and I have friend who just went over their in February and he dog finished quarantine in house.

  30. Rhiannon – Did you get a response to that? Our dog couldnt fly on amc with us so she is flying as cargo on United through Osaka and then to Okinawa…who do I send the Advance Notice to? and where do I find a fax # that works?

  31. Wow, so much useful information! It really helps relieve stress. However, I still have a question for everyone here.

    We’ve been told when flying commercial we will need to provide a 40 day notification. Our destination is Okinawa, but we land in Tokyo first, so does Tokyo need the notification? Or do we send it to Okinawa?

    • Tokyo is your first overseas port of entry so they get the advanced notification form.
      I had to go to Narita’s website and cut and paste the e-mail address into my yahoo.
      Just scan the advanced notification form and send it as an attachment.

  32. I got word from a girl who just got to okinawa a week ago who went to the housing brief and All towers on ALL BASES are now cat friendly through out all floors and dog friendly on the 1st and 2nd floor. I guess because of all the construction that is going on and people that were living in multiplex and such are being moved to towers they have to accommodate people who had animals in their previous home

  33. I PCS from Nebraska to England in 2006 with 3 cats and OMG what a pain! The cats had to be micro-chipped and then the chip has to be scanned about 1 month before you leave. One of my cats had lost it’s chip, apparently it had worked it’s way out of the skin and so they would not let him fly with us because they had to re-chip him and quarantine him all over again which takes about 8 months total. I was mortified, I cried for days! There was no way I was giving him to another family so I had to put him in Kitty foster care and the vet had to run him out to the place to get his new rabies tags and certificates and then they had to run him out to the airport which was about 4 hours away and put him on the plane. So 8 months later he arrived at the airport in England which is a 6 hour drive from where we live. I was so happy to see him. 4 years in England and then we were off to Okinawa Japan and OMG again! why is it so hard to bring pets to England and Japan? sheeesh! so again we had to do the rabies, and certificates and shots and such. We get to the airport with our 3 cats and were told that we had to check them in as extra baggage! (I thought oh that’s cool it will be cheaper) OH NO! $1,000 per cat. Yes I said $1,000 per cat! but we had no problems bringing them here to base housing. There is a 2 pet rule, but if you have more and they are not a nuisance they are pretty forgiving.
    You can use off base vets and get shots and the base vet is fine with that. The base vet here is always full so you will definitely need an off base vet!
    The base vet has 1 day a week that you can walk in and get your pets their shots with no appointment. I think it is on Wednesdays, but be prepared to wait a couple of hours!
    Unfortunately the cat that had to go to foster care and went through hell to get here went missing! It’s been 2 years now and there is not a day that goes by that I do not think about him and look for him. Through all of my searching and posting fliers and talking to the police I found out that Animals go missing off the base all of the time! The Japanese “pounds” do not scan them for a microchip and there are no animal rights here on the island. If your pet gets off base and is picked up they will be taken to Ozato (pound) and gassed after about 3 days. There have also been incidences of animals being stolen here off the base and sold in the community. My neighbor lost her dog and after some research was found being held somewhere. When they tried to get it back they were told they would have to pay $900 to get it back!
    Anyway I know I am not painting a pretty picture, but this is information I wish I had had before I got here!
    The island is full of stray cats and dogs! if you live on the island for any length of time and you are an animal lover you are bound to rescue either a cat or dog that has been left on the side of the road!
    We now have 3 cats, 2 labs and sugar gliders and are already saving to take them with us when we fly back to the states.
    There is a 2 pet rule, but you are better off just flying all of your pets cargo because there is never room for the pet or it is too hot to fly or yada, yada, yada! be prepared!
    There is a lady on the island that will handle everything for you and I have heard she is wonderful and affordable! her email is and she takes care of everything from start to finish…flight details, shots, boarding etc and it isn’t just dogs and cats that you can fly with, you can take most pets with you apart from birds. U can take ferrets, sugar gliders, guinea pigs, bunnies, sugar gliders and more. I will be taking my gliders, cats and dogs with me when I go. I have heard that it is cheaper flying back to the US with pets and easier than it is getting here from the states. I have heard that is costs about $800 for a dog under 95lb and $200 for a sugar glider. So we are looking at about $3,000 again but we have more pets!
    Well I hope this post helps!

  34. @Jennifer,
    We PCs’d here in June of 2010. We have two dogs and one cat. We had to move on base, as the option of moving off base was closed at that point. We hid the cat when the housing inspector visited. Hate to break the rules, but she is 15, and not being left behind. He foubnd out, and laughed. The housing here is ancient and ugly, so who cares? Also,we took all of them to the vet for the quarantine inspection, and they don’t care either. But the good news for you is that the option to live off base is now open! Do it! They have some amazing rental houses here…

  35. Hi Everyone! My husband and I just found out that we are PCSing in August to OKI. We are super excited! We have already gotten our pets through their shots and titers and are in the 180day quarantine.

    My worry is that recently I have seen a few sites stating that in base housing you can only have 2 pets. We have 2 dogs and 1 cat, and don’t want to leave anyone behind. Does anyone have experience bringing more that 2 pets to OKI?


  36. We are in Kinser towers and I wondered if other people may be able to answer a couple of questions I have… 1. does the wind ALWAYS sound like a we’re in a hurricane? 2. who hangs kitchen cabinets this high, really? and, 3. why are all the kitchen drawers too narrow to fit a silverware tray? This is my first experience in govt housing (well, since I was 3) and I was just wondering if these are universal design flaws. Miss my animals but love the weather. It’s 20 degrees at home.

  37. @Stacy – So sorry to hear that you’ll have to leave your cats behind. That’s unfortunate news.

    The thing to remember about any PCS – whether it’s overseas or CONUS – is that you’re going to encounter bad and good. The hope is that the good will far outweigh the bad that comes your way. That’s why OkiHai exists – so that you can potentially carve out some enjoyment from what otherwise looks like it might not be what you expected.

  38. After jumping through all the hoops to bring our cats to Okinawa, we ended up in housing that doesn’t allow pets, so we’ve had to impose on a friend at the last minute to take our cats for 3 years. On top of leaving my horses for 3 years this is not the news I was hoping for. That weather had better be amazing! Aside from the weather, what is the big draw about Okinawa? I’m struggling to find it.

  39. Hi,

    I’ve just read a few of the posts above and feel I might help as I brought two cats here in July 2010:

    Below are links to sections of the Japan animal quarantine site. Included in these links are how to fill out the advance notification forms (examples):

    Also, I scanned and emailed the notification forms to both Narita branch division 1 and 2 vs faxing them. emails are listed on the link below:

    The Japan animal quarantine office is very helpful. I received a quick reply when emailing them as I had questions before exporting my cats in 2007.

    Regarding the question of what to do about your pets; bring them or keep them home as you don’t know what the housing situation will be like; I suggest seeing if a family member of friend can keep your dog and have it shipped later. Or you can later fly back to the US and bring it back here with you.

    Regarding costs of bringing a pet; that depends. The different airlines have different fees. It’s more expensive to bring your pets overseas. The airlines have pretty good information on their websites about costs, restrictions, etc. Bottom line though is it’s much more economical to have your pet traveling in the belly of the flight you’re on vs paying a company to ship your pet. Advance planning and research is all that’s needed in my experience.

    Be aware of the following, regarding taking pets on planes though:

    1. Temperature restrictions

    2. Some will not allow pets on a transpacific flight

    3. Others will not allow pets on a flight over 12 hours.

    4. You MUST make advance reservations to bring your pet on the plane. Sometimes the official travel office is helpful in doing so and sometimes not. Always double check with the airline that the travel office did so if they say the did.

    5. AMC flights have very few pet spots; the last I checked they only have 2 in cabin and 10 spots under the plane.

    6. After your do successfully check in for a flight with pets, be sure you keep all documentation regarding proof of your payment of the extra fees. You will be asked to show this several times.

  40. We are PCSing to Okinawa at the beginning of May 2011. We have already chipped our Beagle (25 pounds) and she will get her second shot and FAVN testing this week. So, she will be good to go as far as quarantine. However, I am not finding any clear information about how much it is actually going to cost to get fly her with us. Can someone help me out with this?

  41. Ok, my family is PCSing to Okinawa in January. We have a dog that we would really love to bring…which seems to be opening up a bunch of problems. My husband is a marine and the base housing office is not being much of help. We are unable to find out until we get to Okinawa if we are able to get housing that is pet friendly. Can any one suggest what I should do? I would rather my dog come with us when we fly out then to have him shipped out here once we arrive.

  42. We live in Okinawa and our friend is flying here in Oct with our dog. The Advance Notification form…..who is the consignee and consignor? Measurements/weight request on the form is this my dog only or the crate and the dog? My friend and dog are initially arriving in Narita….what is that fax number. On the Japan website, they have like 5 phone numbers. I appreciate any direction and help.

  43. Hi everyone, I thought I’d give a little bit of perspective from a civilians’ experience in PCSing here with pets(2 cats).

    1. The cats received their FAVN via a vet out in town.

    2. Fortunately, as I had DOD issued orders, the on base vet (I worked on an Army installation and am not retired military), agreed to perform the health exam on both cats and complete the form 2209 a week or so before I flew. This was great as I didn’t have to worry about getting USDA endorsement stamps as when all steps are taken care of at an off base vet.

    3. My wife and I flew with both cats in cabin, via United airlines, from LAX to Narita. This was painless, but each cat easily fit into 8″ high by 15″ long sherpa carriers. However, after paying in cabin pet fee at check in, we were asked several times (at security twice and at the gate before getting on the plane) to show receipts that we paid this fee.

    4. After going through immigration at Narita and locating our bags, we then went to the Animal Quarantine Service desk. There was no line which was nice. Even though I had the required prior approval to import both cats, the MDJ 270, etc, the agent went through the paperwork with what seemed like a fine toothed comb. She seemed concerned that I didn’t have the ORIGINAL copy of the FAVN test results. I advised that the vet only provided me a copy of the original. She said it was ok, but next time to get the original.

    5. I’m so glad I had the United Airlines pet fee receipt copy with my passport as this was requested when I checked in for the Narita to Naha flight on All Nippon airlines. I was told there would still be an additional fee (when requesting the pet space for that flight portion a few weeks prior), but the check in agent didn’t ask for one.

    6. I checked my pets in at the Kadena Vet clinic the day after I arrived. Due to my advance planning, there was no quarantine requirement. I was happy about this just in case I’d have to live off base vs on since they allow you to complete quarantines in on base housing only.

    Lessons learned:

    1. Be nice, beg, plead, etc to get as much of the paperwork, exams, and shots done via a vet on a military base if you work on a base. That is if you have orders or other documentation, even if you’re not active or retired military like me and you know you’re heading to Japan.

    2. Regardless of how the FAVN is done, be sure to get the ORIGINAL copy of the result AND if done off base ask for the blood sample to be sent direct to KSU not a reference laboratory. My off base vet sent the FAVN test request to a reference laboratory first and not directly to the KSU Rabies testing laboratory. Of course I received the test result from the reference lab and not KSU where the actual test was ran. After the base vet saw the reference lab report of the result she immediately told me to call the KSU lab myself to get a print out of the results from them instead of via the reference lab. However, what I received from KSU was not the original, it was a copy (yet it was in the format that the Narita AQS office expected to see). Time was short at that point so I didn’t have a choice.

    3. From what people have told me and what I’ve observed, on base housing that allows one to have pets in it, appears to depend on rank/if you will live in family housing. I was fortunate to receive a housing unit which allows pets.

    4. I’d fly again with pets in the cabin on United, as it went very smoothly. No worries about temperature restrictions.

    5. Researching and taking steps long before never hurts. Even though it was only possible I’d head to Japan, I still ensured the cats had the FAVN done in Oct 09. I’m sooo glad I did that as I arrived here in July (after being notified of the move in April 2010)

  44. Thats good to hear Amanda! I wish you all sorts of good luck with it! It bothers me they tell people it’s recommened to not take your pets. I see a pet as a commitment and a part of the family also. Once we got ours I knew we were in for some responsibilities and a lot of money. People in the military really need to take a hard look at buying an animal if they can’t afford to take them with them and dealing with the issues. I don’t care how much cost and aggravation it costs us, our dog comes with us. I have heard a lot of adoption agencies that won’t adopt out their animals to military families just for this reason, a lot of families “dump” their animals when they move to their next duty station. It gives us a bad name and it makes me sorry for the animals. Please do take him with you if you can, again best of luck, I’m sure everything will go right once you get it all done.

  45. Thank you so much for your reply. I called the vet and talked through it 🙂 Basically we have just enough time to get all the shots and stuff in. I also asked the vet about the housing issue once we get over there, they said that it is highly recommended to not take your pets. Which I can understand, but at the same time, I am totally one of those people that believe people’s pets ARE family. So the idea of not being able to take our “kids” with us is gut wrenching. But it is comforting to know that you haven’t heard of people having to get rid of their pets once they got over there. We’re going to start the process and just hope and pray for the best 🙂

  46. Amanda-
    From everything I have read they must have their second rabies shot to go. I have not heard of anyone having to get rid of their pets because of what you posted but I am sure it’s happened. They don’t promise that you will get housing that allows pets, this is true. They will try to though if you tell them you have a pet, it’s really all about availability. They show you 2 options and you get to choose out of those 2. We also had the option of living off base because the occupancy rate for our rank was over 94% or something. We told ourselves that if they didn’t give us choices that allow animals we would go look off base. They ended giving us both options that allow animals. Have you asked your base vet about these problems? They should know about the rabies shots and what you should do about that.

  47. Hi! 🙂 DH and I are PCS’ing there in December, and like everyone else I am so stressed about bringing our dog with us. I just spent an hour reading every comment posted, and still haven’t found answers to my questions. I am hoping someone will be able to help!

    We have been told that we are not guaranteed pet housing once we get there, and if we don’t get pet housing, we will have to get rid of our dog. Has anyone ever experienced this or heard of someone going through this?

    The next thing is, we have a very young puppy. He will be 11 weeks old this Saturday, so by the time we move he will have only been able to get one of the rabies vaccines. DH thinks we should just get rid of him because of housing and he thinks they won’t allow him through customs because he wouldn’t have the second rabies vaccine. Any ideas on what happens in this situation?

  48. I would recommend tryng as hard as possible to get a space on AMC before trying to go through a commercial airline as cargo. The only reason I say this is because we had to because they told us there was no room for pets on our flight. Going through all of the stress with our dogs flight was really terrible. Between the contradictions, the heat restrictions, and everything else I felt like I was about to explode! Our dog’s flight went great and she came in fine about a week after we did but it sure was stressful. I also feel like the military almost purposely makes it hard on families to bring their animals,I mean the paperwork alone for both governments is enough to deal with. They need to allow more pets to go on AMC flights considering how many families have pets,one of the ladies at AMC told me she thought they only let 8 pets on every flight. I was very upset when I saw one lady with 2 boxers on our flight, but yet our 20 lb Beagle couldn’t fit. We probably paid close to $1400 to get our dog here and $975 of that was the flight alone. I don’t want to discourage anyone from bringing their pets because I do think a pet is a commitment for the entire life of said pet but I am very disappointed with the military’s handling of things, they could make it better for people. Now after saying all of that I will say that I did work at a Vet clinic so that made the paperwork part easier on my half. I will also say that it will be much easier to do this again after doing it once, it seems like after the first time you kind of know what needs to be done. After getting out here I do see that a lot of families have pets that they brought over here so that’s nice to see that a lot of people have done the process and survived it lol. I will also encourahe anyone who wants any help or advice to contact me and I will do my best to help. Good luck to all and please do bring your pet with you even though my account may have been a little bit discouraging lol. If you love your pet as much as I do I know you will not regret it after it’s over. My email address is

  49. if you have a short snouted dog like a Shi Tzu, your dog will not be able to fly with you OR cargo during JUNE – SEPTEMBER do to heat restrictions!

    Finding a positive in all of this we are PCSing July and the good thing about this is we can get settled and unpacked before out dog comes over in October.

  50. For pets who must travel by themselves ONLY
    as cargo, PLEASE, do NOT ship via Tokyo.
    We ship many pets to Okinawa, and the best
    way, by far, is United from San Francisco to
    Osaka, connect to All Nippon to Naha. Do
    NOT try any other way. The cargo hold is
    VERY safe. We have been doing this for over
    40 yrs.
    Regards, Jerry Mishler Action Pet Express

  51. I need help with any info about PCSing with pets. My husband and I are expected to be at Kadena sometime in June 2010. We have been getting a lot of mixed reviews as to whether or not I will be able to get our dog on the AMC flight due to spots available and have no answers with the “restricted flying” due to temperatures and time period and all of that. Everything I am doing right now is going off a guess of a mixture of contradicting information. I am afraid that when it comes down to scheduling the flight (which will hopefully be this coming Friday 30 April) everything we were told will once again be incorrect and I won’t be able to get my dog over. As of now I have all his shots and favn (I think that is what it is called) up to date and ready according to what I was told. Any other information about AMC or commercial flights will be very helpful. My husband has already mentioned that if we can’t get our dog on the AMC flight that we will not be able to bring him due to financing a commercial flight, and I really don’t want it to come to that. Thanks for any help.

  52. We don’t know what airline we are flying yet when we pcs to Okinawa with our dogs in June. But I was told that if you fly the AMC/Patriot Express from Seattle you will get to walk your dog during the layover at Yokota AFB. Does anyone know if you will get to have your dog out of the crate and walk him during the layover at Narita Airport? Thanks.

  53. Hi Danielle. Our smaller dog we knew would be fine to fit under a plane seat but our larger, 11 pounds, one was questionable. Depending on the airline, you need to be sure your dog can fit in the kennel sizes listed on the website. Your dog has to be able to turn around and lay down in the kennel, although no one actually checked that when we checked in at the airport. The larger dog barely fit under the seat on a United flight from Chicago to Tokyo.

  54. Hi Anthony,

    I can answer come of your questions:

    1) All 4 cats can stay in the kennel. They do not have a limit as housing does.
    2+3) You might want to contact some housing agencies from off base. Right now, all service members have to live on base, but if they reach the housing occupancy rate they may let you live off base.
    4) You can travel commercial with as many pets as you want to pay for. We had friends who PCSd to Okinawa with 5 dogs. It is all our of pocket but they wouldn’t leave their pets behind.

  55. Hi. Thank you all for the wonderful information.

    My wife and I have four cats we want to bring IF possible. Is this realistic or should we really be looking for homes?

    I’m not afraid to rent off base, due to the 2-pet rule. But that’s where “being realistic about it” comes in. Here’s some related questions:

    1) Can all 4 cats stay in the base kennels while we set up housing, or do the kennels have a 2-pet rule also? If the kennels have a 2-pet rule, what’s the alternative?

    2) Will landlords rent to someone with 4 cats or will we have a very hard time finding a place?

    3) We are against de-clawing. Will landlords require cats to be de-clawed?

    3) How many animals are you allowed to travel with? If there is a limit, what are the alternatives?


  56. Charity, does this mean that I can fly with my 15lb. Miniature Pinscher in the cabin? I have two dogs and I would hate to put the smaller one under the in a crate with the luggage. I belive the larger one should be fine though. How did you find out if you could fly her with you?

  57. I have been trying for the last few days to get my two dogs (L and XL crate both under 70lbs) on All Nippon Airlines. They are telling me that they do not deal with pets. I’m having a hard time understanding this because everyone that I have talked to, has used this Airline in NRT. I’m trying to get them as excess baggage and the L crate has been okayed for size but, now they are saying they don’t except pets at all. In Sept ’09 a friend of ours flew his 85lb dog in an XXL crate through ANA. Am I doing something wrong?!?

  58. Hi Melissa. We brought our two chihuahuas (5 pounds and 10 pounds) with us in the cabin all the way to Tokyo. Japanese airlines don’t allow animals in the cabin so they did fly under the plane to Naha. Our smaller dog was very easy to get under the seat but the larger one was bordering on being too large. No one measured the kennels or even seemed to notice, though, so he was able to stay with us. They both did great on the entire trip (we came from the east coast).

  59. I read all about your dog going under the plane but what about the ones that will be on the plane with you…can anyone help me with that. she is only 11 pounds and Im NOT taking her if she has to go under the plane she is way to small.

  60. I just PCS’d to Okinawa with our pet. We had no problems since all of our paperwork was in order, but one thing we had not accounted for was the different regulations of each of the airline companies. We flew commercial. We originated on Northwest Airlines and then transferred to ANA. Northwest required one bowl of water to be inside the dog carrier. ANA required two bowls of water to be inside the dog carrier, in addition to food which needed to be taped to the outside of the carrier (in the instance of a layover, they could feed the dog). Just be prepared with bowls and a small pack of food in case!

    • Hi,
      I recently saw that you PCSed and had no problems. I had been searching and asking about how to fill out the advance notification and i have had no help from the girl who does pet pcs at the base vet clinic. this is her first time helping someone pcs to japan so she doesn’t know much. I am a little confused as to what to put for our address since we do not have base housing. Our dog will need to be quarantined because he is still a pup, but from what I have heard they can do quaratine on base housing. I was just curious as to what you put down. Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thank you.

  61. Being former military myself, I really know
    what service families go thru when they PCS,
    especially with pets.
    We can make life so much easier for you
    And, our charges are the most affordable.
    And, we do NOT have outragious consultation
    and other fees, and offer a couple dollars
    off as a discount.
    Feel free to contact us anytime.

  62. Melissa,

    I am currently working on all of the paperwork to get our dog to Okinawa in January.

    1. On your first question regarding notification, you will need to give an advanced notification to the airport in mainland Japan in which you will fly through. They require the notification 40 days prior to entry into Japan.

    2 & 3. I also use a civilian vet. Our vet will complete the health certificate and send it to USDA for overnight stamping. I believe you work with your vet to complete the certificate. The Form 2209 is used by military vets and does not require a USDA raised seal. I don’t believe you would use this form since you will use a civ vet.

    4. Since I am using a civ vet, the following forms stamped by USDA: Health Certificate, Rabies Certificates, Certificate A & C, and FAVN report (if it’s not the original). Everything needs to include your dog’s microchip number on it as well.

    Hope that helps. I am right there with ya. Will be glad when we get through this.

  63. Hi everyone. I haven’t seen any new replies to this thread in awhile, but hopefully someone will drop by who can answer some questions for me. We are PCS’ing on January 6th and bringing our three year old cat. The microchipping, rabies shots, and FAVN test were all done back in March and April so her 180 day quarantine period is already over, so I assume we won’t have any problems there. My questions are:

    1) We are flying into Kadena, so I read that the advanced notification is not required, is that true?

    2) Which of the many health certificate forms that I’ve found is the one I should have filled out?

    3) I know I have to have the health certificate stamped by the USDA, but is the actually certificate itself filled out by her personal vet first? We are on recruiting duty right now, and are nowhere near a base, so she goes to a civilian vet.

    4) Are there any other forms that need to be stamped by the USDA? Her microchip and rabies certificates maybe?

    5) MJD Form 270…is that filled out before we leave, or after we arrive?

    Thanks in advance for any help you can give. I just can’t wait to get this all over with and get there!

  64. Thank you so much for all of the great info it has put me a little more at ease about our possible PCS to Okinawa. I am curious about the quarantine period…

    We are looking at a Jan 1 move date but that is still up inthe air & it has been over a year since our dogs first rabies shot so doest that mean they only need 1 more shot. Sorry I am confused. Did I mention this will be my first PCS??

    Ok back to the Quarantine…is it really 180 days from the the FAVN test or if that is all done before you leave is everything usually ok once you get there??

    Thank you so much in advance for any guidnace you can provide!

  65. Nicole — there are kennels on base where it’s easy to keep your dog while waiting for housing. It is best to have your sponsor book that for you starting the night you arrive so that there is for sure space for you. The airport is 45-60 minutes from Kadena.

    He can certainly be on the plane with you — but not necessarily in the cabin. You have to check with the individual airline about that. And if you check ahead of time, possibly you can request the military to buy tickets on the airline you prefer.

    And yes, travelling with a dog, no matter the size, is very stressful — but we love ’em — so it’s gotta be done!

  66. Hello, my husband and I are PCS-ing to okinawa in late Oct with our 5lb yorkie dog. All of this paperwork and documentation makes me some what stressed. is it really that stressful PCS-ing with a small dog??? I love him like a child so I really don’t want to leave him here.

    We have taken him on plane with us serveral times, however I was wondering if he can travel on the plane with us over to Japan? I know its a loonng flight from CA…

    Also once we arrive in Okinawa how far is the base from airport. Last question… during the quaratine period, does anyone know of any families on base that are willing to hold pet( for the Q- period) for reasonable fee while we seek housing??? Sorry for the 100 questions…Thanks in advance for your help…

  67. We are leaving in 8 weeks for okinawa we just found out that they have no room on board for our dog (90lb lab). I am considering flying him out the day prior to us but am going crazy with all the information from each airline. What way is the best to fly a pet out by themselves and what airline is usually the most accomodating? Thanks!

  68. First off, KUDOS to you all for the wonderful info!!

    My cats were microchipped early April 2008 & received 1st rabies then – a THREE-year booster. Does anyone know if a 3-year booster is recognized in Japan??? I have heard conflicting information.

    If Japan doesn’t recognize the 3-year booster, I will have to start all over with the rabies series since it has been more than a year since their 1st shot.

    If no one here knows, who would you all recommend I call to find out? Vet office here on base doesn’t know.

    Thanks in advance!!

    • Hi Megan,

      I have the same issue. Did you have to redo the second rabies vaccine? I read that the 1 year vaccine is essentially the same as the 3 year so it shouldn’t be a problem. Please let me know how everything turned out for you.


  69. We just got back from being our “kids” back from the states. If anyone has any questions about bringing little ones over (ours rode in the cabin all the way to Tokyo), I’ll be happy to answer them! I know it’s a little different from most people who brought their pets as baggage or cargo.

  70. Hi, do you happen to know if there are families on-post (Kadena) who possibly foster for in-coming families? We are PCS’ing during the heat of the summer and may not be able to ship our dog at that time. We were hoping to find a family who may be able to foster him a month or month & half before we PCS so he can be there before the heat really kicks in.

    If anyone has information about this, please let me know. Thanks!!

    I look forward to moving to Okinawa

    OR–if we have to leave our dog behind for a month or two to settle in…. has anyone really went to the mainland to meet their pet before? (when they were shipped unaccompanied or Cargo) How easy/hard was this? I would think it would be easier for my husband to take a flight from okinawa to to Narita(or the other one) and then get our dog and turn around and get back on a plane back to Okinawa. How reasonable does this sound to anyone who has been through this.

    I would love to hear from anyone regarding PCS with a pet, in summer especially. We are moving end of June/first of July and would love to get to know some people before we head over there. My private email is :

  71. Whenever I have to ship a pet, I prefer Continental(if you have a choice). Their pets area if heated/cooled the same as the cabin. I have been able to ship in the dead of winter and though the summer. I have had pets refused because flights were canceled for engine problems but never(so far) because of the weather. I have been boarding and shipping pets(with or without owners)since 1985, here on Okinawa. Although I have a business, I have no problem with answering questions and helping you arrive, leave, board or find a good off base vet as a service. Please call or email. Contact info is on website.
    Also, the reason you can’t sedate your pets for travel is they can’t regulate body temp. when they are sedated.

  72. Another question….did any have any problems with the temperature restrictions? I see that a lot of flights stop in Chicago which will be below the 45′ cold temp limit in Dec for sure. I don’t know what we would do if she was left behind because of the weather! I am really getting distraught over this. My children will be in my sight the whole time, but poor Rosie gets shoved below the cabin. Scary!!

  73. We’re coming over in Dec. I was looking into using one of the animal shipping companies to get our Dachshund to the island. I haven’t seen any comments to that effect. I was wondering if anyone has used them or has any experience with them. Thanks!

  74. Hi Christina – My husband and I are flying back to the states just to get our chihuahuas so I have done tons of research on this! 🙂 I do know that you can take dogs in the planes on the AMC flights, but I believe the kennel/carrier size depends on the airline. United is 17x10x10 for an under the seat carrier. Our situation is a little different because we are flying commercial.

  75. Christina here again, I forgot to mention that we are moving to Okinawa with the Marine Corps (PCS) and will be flying on a military jet. I’m not sure if that makes a difference regarding flying with our small Dachshund dog (in the cabin) or not. Thanks.

  76. Does anyone know what the regulations are for traveling with your small dog in the cabin with you? I have a miniature Dachshund who is about 15 lbs. We are moving to Okinawa this July. I am hoping I can bring her on the flight with me in a pet carrier that fits under the seat. Thanks.

  77. Charles, if you can try to fly AMC (assuming they will let you put two dogs under your seats, and a 3rd one in cargo). It requires a lot less running around and overall, is just easier.

    Depending on where you are going once you land in the US, only certain carriers will even put pets on board regardless of the month so you’ll need to decide if you are going to fly or drive to the next location.

  78. I am scheduled to PCS in Aug-Sep with 3 dogs. My wife and I were looking to do a possible early dependent return for her and what will be our 1 year old son to avoid the summer months restriction on pet travel. Also due to her small dogs ages they would ride in the cabin with us as they did on the way here 3 yrs ago. Our 3rd dog is a Lab and would travel as cargo. I would have to go with her obviously to help out. Traveling AMC or commercial just depends on what is best for our situation. This is just our current plan, and was hoping someone could share some wisdom on the best course of action for us. Thank you.

  79. Jeanine,
    I remembered seeing a few comments from the post “How do I get my dog or cat or ferret or parakeet to Okinawa?” regarding unaccompanied pets. This is what I found. I hope this helps! Also, there are a lot of other pcsing and pet related experiences discussed on Okinawa Hai Society here:

    Original question was regarding who will fly a pet into Naha unaccompanied…

    No one will fly him into Naha unaccompanied, as it is illegal. You’ll have to meet your dog in Tokyo or Osaka. Traditionally, pets are quarantined at their port of entry in Japan (ie, Osaka or Tokyo, depending on which flight you choose). Of course, this is waived for you since you’re military, but you still have to met your pet at the port of entry in order to show your paperwork and get your animal through customs. If you refuse to meet your pet in mainland Japan, they will quarantine him in Osaka or Tokyo for the duration.

    Posted by: Kat | September 10, 2008 at 08:52 PM

    That should read, “No one will fly him DIRECTLY into Naha unaccompanied.” Sorry about that!

    Posted by: Kat | September 10, 2008 at 08:53 PM

    @Kat. So I need to plan a trip to Tokyo to meet Clue and then fly back into Naha or do I go to Tokyo, get down to Yokota and fly back into Kadena? Either way I understand I am taking a flight. Still cheaper than flying back to the states. Do you know which airline will fly him unaccompanied to Tokyo?

    Posted by: Enid | September 11, 2008 at 09:15 AM

    You can do it either way, or send him into Osaka. I’d do whatever is cheapest for you!

    When we were looking into shipping ours unaccompanied (I ended up staying behind for a couple months, then they came with me), we looked at United (call and ask an agent about United Cargo…I couldn’t find any good answers on their website) and American Airlines. The AA Cargo page on shipping animals unaccompanied is here:

    Good luck!

    Posted by: Kat | September 11, 2008 at 11:41 AM

  80. We just brought our cat and dog here from Oregon. I thought I would add to all the great advice already given and try not to duplicate anything that has already been said while sharing our lessons larned. A little background to our story. The pets started the process in North Carolina. Due to summer heat at the time of our move, we drove them across country, found out how much our family loves us by asking them to pet-sit for us, then we collected them this week and flew them with us as we returned from a trip to the states. We were on a commercial flight, not the freedom bird.
    Here goes:
    *get a receipt from the airlines showing pets are ticketed all the way to Naha
    *prior to flying, speak to a representatve of each airlines you will be flying and make sure your pet is confirmed for each flight. Get the name of the individual with whom you speak.
    *As long as you paperwork is in order, the process is not as stressful as I imagined. Carry not just the official paper for the customs process, but also copies of all your pets health records. One of the documents from our vet showed an innocrrect date for a rabies vaccine, but because we had all files regarding our pets, we could correct the error with no problem.
    *Our flight to Tokyo was cancelled, causing us to arrive on a different flight and day than stated on our approval document. It was not easy, but we were able to get a representative of the airline to call the customs offfice at Narita and notify them that our status had changed due to a mechanical failure on that airlines aircraft and update our arrival information.

  81. I’d like to put it out here that we are on the verge of completing an unaccompanied pet-as-cargo scenario with our 3 year old Bearded Collie. Since all the shots, tests, and forms appear to have been done correctly, and we are expecting a smooth flight, I am offering to answer any questions about this version of getting a dog to Okinawa, that is: unaccompanied flying as cargo. Email me at csmmom at gmail dot com I will be glad to help.

  82. Has anyone here PCS’d from the US, CA preferably, around the end of June with pets? We are hoping to go AMC. We just found out today that we are slated to leave probably June of 09. Of course, this can change (which it has for us numerous times already!). I have read such conflicting information. It’s frustrating. The cats already have the shots, chips, blood work, etc. I’m hoping, too, that that doesn’t expire!

  83. Heh, “funny” you should mention the lost bags in Chicago. My husband and I went home for a visit in June/July. WE made our connection from Chicago to West Palm Beach, but our bags certainly did not! It was so much fun washing and wearing the same freaking outfit 3 days in a row while they decided to take their sweet time getting our stuff to us!

    The 2 pet rule on Kadena has only been effect since late 2004- early 2005. I was already here with my 3 pets, so I’m grandfathered in. However, I did not PCS in with all 3 of them, my only experience with this rule in regards to base housing.

    Through work, I know plenty of people with 3 or more pets. I plan to just take my babies back on my own dime via commercial flights if I get any flack from the military.

  84. It is not true that the vet on base does not honor shots from off post. I purchased my puppy a from an off post store and took her shot records (all in Japanese) to the vet clinic on Kadena and they transferred all of it onto a AF form. Not a problem.

  85. I had a vet appointment today for my kitten and asked the vet assistant about it. She was giving me a lot of information and said I shouldn’t have too much of a problem when the time comes. She said they see a lot of people PCSing out with 3-4 pets with no problems. So who knows – luckily we have time to save up money if need be for anything!

  86. Nikki-
    PCS’ing out with more than 2 pets- I highly doubt the 2 pet rule will change any time soon, I wouldn’t count on it. (The 2 pet rule in base housing has been in effect at least since my hubby joined the AF-in 1996.)

    When we inquired about coming here with 3 animals, we were told that the third had to have a waiver from AMC (Scott AFB maybe??) officials, and that the third pet would fly space A. All other fees, etc applied. We ultimately decided to leave our pets stateside, since we were unsure of how well it would work to PCS with 3 of them.

  87. Yes, I was told not to sedate as well, though they said that half a Dramamine pill for every 15 pounds of dog was fine, that Dramamine was not a “sedative”. I did that because my male pug gets horribly carsick, and I didn’t want to take the chance that the poor thing would vomit through he entire flight. I have pugs though, so I’m not sure if the size of the dog makes a difference–be sure to check with your vet, and then get a second opinion just in case!

  88. Just adding to Suzy: I was told the same, not to sedate my large dog. I guess if they are sedated they can hurt themselves (break bones) as the crate shifts. And I think it’s more common for “accidents” if they are drugged.

  89. Hello All,
    Today Mako started down the road to accomplishing his Japan PCSing paperwork. The base vet office was great. They have a binder with all the requirment for a PCS to Japan. Even though Mako was already microchiped they had me rechip him due to the fact I couldn’t remember the microchip company. Japan only accepts two kinds so make sure to know who your pet is microchip thru. Mako will get seen again in 30 days. It was very easy and stress free. Kudos to Moody AFB vet office 🙂

  90. Tommorow I’m going to post the aftermath of my PCS story which includes getting a dog off of the island. Here’s the part I wrote on that topic:

    Our fifty pounds of royal mutt-itude, Rick Maltsby P.I. made it back from Okinawa to DC in one piece. He did not mess himself in the cage and in Chicago I was allowed to take him to a grassy knoll while they did a rather unofficial looking “crate inspection”

    A few days prior to leaving the island I took Maltsby to the vet on Kadena to get his official Health Certificate and such. I was told there that I needed to bring all the documentation to include our orders and FIVE copies of this said paperwork to the Animal Quarantine Office at the Naha Airport. They gave me a map that worked out just dandy.

    I was also told that they would check there to see if his crate was permissable for flying. I was excited about this because I wanted to be reassured that the crate was an okay size for our flights on ANA to Narita then United to Chicago then Chicago to National. I dutifully went to Naha with all my paperwork. I even put it in a baggy and duck-taped it to the top of the crate.

    The meeting was anti-climatic. They stamped stuff and told me they wouldn’t look at my crate and that I needed to contact my airline. ANA said it was too big then just fine then too big then just fine.

    So I was nervous getting to the airport. Unsure whether he would make it. We paid about 18,000 yen to get him to Naha. Then 44,000 to get him to DC. There are all sorts of quadratic equations and derivatives of pi that are used in coming up with the cost most of which are based on the fair-weather airlines. I wish I could give you a one price fits all.

  91. I also vote for posting about PCSing OUT with a pet…not that I’m PCSing out anytime soon. It’s just good info to have when you need it.
    Also, is it true that if you take your pet to an Okinawan vet (oh, say like Noah Clinic) for shots, the base doesn’t honor those shots? A friend who recently pcsed told me this. Are the shots on base more potent??? Just wondering. 😀

  92. Like Kat, it was amazing how unstressful it was and how they just breezed our dog thru (hello, why did I rent that microchip reader?). The airport people were more interested in coochiecooing him. I think the way the military have it laid out in writing and how they make it look so complicated is what puts people off.

  93. Great info! I had a heck of a time trying to figure out everything on my own when we came. The only thing I want to add here is to check with your vet before sedating any animal. I was going to do it with our pet for comfort but was strongly warned not to. It had something to do with the animal not being able to properly regulate body temp as well esp. if they are put in cargo areas. I really have no other info on that b/c I didn’t go to vet. school but I thought I’d share what I was told:). Oh and the puppy pads are an excellent idea. I used them for out cat too:)!

  94. I’m really glad this was posted. I remember all too well the major stress I felt about bringing our dogs here. I had to do it myself, my husband was already here. I remember getting really worked up, especially the month ahead of time, making sure I had 10 copies of each document (you really don’t need that many…I recycled a lot of paper after arriving!), crying as I had to let go of my babies so that they could be boarded.

    I pretty much harassed the flight attendants for my “pet is on board” confirmation paper. I had one tell me that “It will be given to you after takeoff”, and I was like, Um NO, it will be given to me NOW or I’m not taking off, that’s the point. I don’t think I was too popular on those flights. 😛

    Then we arrived in Tokyo. All my stress culminated to…about 10 minutes of inspection, with little to no fanfare. They didn’t even take my pups out of the kennel. I really, really wish I’d known how un-stressful the actual EVENT would be before.

    • Kat,

      I am flying my two cats cargo via United Airlines from Tokyo to Okinawa. I am told by Japanese Animal Quarantine Service in Narita (Tokyo) Airport that the whole process to pick up my pets, go through customs, quarantine, and get all of us back on a plane might take 2-3 hours. Problem is that I have a little under two-hour layover. That’s the best I could do on such short notice. Is there hope or am I completely screwed?

      Thanks in Advance,