Okinawa Hai fallback


Of course you want to bring your pet with you to Okinawa. YOU LOVE YOUR PET! Yes, the process can be confusing. But no matter how it goes down for you there will be piles of paperwork and months of waiting. Then when you arrive there are other hoops. This is a mountain of a topic. So I welcome you to chime in with any part of your experience about bringing your animals here and how to handle quarantine when you arrive. Courtney recently wrote in with a specific question about quarantining her dogs upon arrival.

My family is moving to the island in January with our two small Dachshunds (hot dog dogs). When we arrive in Okinawa my dogs will have I assume 1 week or the max 2 weeks left of their 180 day quarantine.Β  I was wondering how the kennels are where they will be staying until their quarantine is over. Also how hard is it to get housing on base or out in town with two animals? I know from reading the board that you can’t live in any towers with pets.

A certain dog I know had about a month left of quarantine once he arrived on the island. I say HE arrived because he stayed in the States for an additional five months after his family arrived in Okinawa. Because the laboratory that the military endorsed tested his blood as a human. Twice. Mistakes happen but if you have the time to plan WAY ahead, do it. The choreography involved in getting the dog here was a ten-man job. It was a lot to ask of family back home.

Anyway, they live off-base so keeping him in their home for the month was not an option. Or so they thought.

So they looked into Karing Kennels. They didn’t want to put him there because it was more expensive and farther from their house than they wanted. Plus they just didn’t want to put him in a kennel. They had missed him for five months already. When they went to Karing Kennels they were given a list of people on-base who were qualified to let animals ride out quarantine in their homes. They made a 270 dollar arrangement with one of these people to keep him. They paid her upfront and then when the dog arrived it occurred to them that no one was going to notice or care if they had him off-base. So they kept him home and quarantined him in my house. Not in line with the rules but they learned that all the hoopla is about GETTING the animals through customs. Once the animals have come through customs then no one much cared what they did.

And you? What’s your story?


  1. So I have a cat, which i’m not too worried about her process to get her to Oki. It’s my guinea pig (kind of like a bigger hamster for people who don’t know what they are) Is she able to come with us? She’s never had any vaccines done, she’s pretty old in pig years and i’m worried the flight, the stress of a move and the new climate might throw her body into shock. That’s happened to two other guinea pigs I’ve had in my life. Do you think it’s best to find her a good home here in Camp Lejeune or try to get her out to Oki with us?

  2. I am trying to PCS to Kadena but am wondering how many pets you can have on base housing. I have four small dogs and I know that you can only fly on the rotator with two pets max but I would have family members bring the other pets to me. Is there any stipulation on how many pets you can have in base housing or is it like it is in the states where you have to get a letter signed by your CC stating how man pets you have. I would appreciate any help on this.

  3. Anyone know if the FAVN testing has to be done through a military vet or not? The form only lists the two approved testing facilities, and my civilian vet listed somewhere else that the test would go.

  4. Hi everyone,
    Just some new information that I think will be helpful. The 2010 exception, which can be found at the end of the procedures manual on the AQS page for bringing cats/dogs into Japan, does allow for an exception for a pet with a previous (killed or recombinant) rabies vaccine that has not expired. It allows pets to get their microchip and 2nd rabies shot and FAVN on the same day (skipping the first, since they already had one). If the FAVN comes back and all is well, the 2010 exception allows for the quarantine date to start on the microchip date. This cuts out the need for 2 rabies shots post-microchip and will shave a few weeks off of the rabies + quarantine process. It also eliminates the need for your pet to have an extra vaccine if they have already had one in the last year. I have been emailing with the AQS office over the last couple of days and they confirmed this. This is really good news, and I thought it might be helpful to some island newbies. The base vet here in Norfolk, Va. told me about it and I was skeptical, but AQS has confirmed.

  5. @ Gray

    My vet explained it to me that the microchip MUST be done before any vaccines are administered because the coding (or whatever it is called) that is associated with that specific microchip MUST be put with the vaccines stuff.


    Thank you for the info! What a coincidence because I actually just talked to her today lol! We are having Golyath weighed and measured this week to determine how much weight he can safely lose. If it puts him in line with the patriots requirements we are going to try that route. If we are unable to get him down to the weight safely, we will have to fly first to one of the Hawaiian islands…then on to Japan. It actually looks like we will be able to get the big lug there lol!

    If we keep getting the run around with the airlines then we will end up using one of the pet relocation agencies (most likely Happy Tails based on the interviews I have conducted thus far).

  6. @Gray:

    We came in 2010 – all the questions that we asked of the AQS via email were answered promptly.
    If you send a very simply worded, clear email (bullet-list of dates of what’s what, including age of animal and type) along with a specific set of numbered questions, you should get a very quick, concise answer. For example:

    Short hair domestic cat, 4 years old, 4 kg.
    -Rabies vaccine (date)
    -Microchip, Rabies Vaccine, FAVN (date or scheduled date)

    Does this animal need anything else?

  7. Hi everyone, does anyone have any info on the 2010 exception? My cat received her rabies vaccine this fall, the base vet said she could be microchipped, receive a second vaccine and FAVN on the same day. This would skip the required two shots after the microchip rule, based on this exception. Has anyone heard anything about this? The language in the AQS website seems to back this up, but itis awfully confusing!

  8. Hello everyone!

    I have been calling people EVERYWHERE it seems like, and I keep hitting brick walls lol! It is looking like my hubby will receive orders for us to PCS to Kadena this Summer. It isn’t official yet; however, if you are PCS to Japan with pets you know how you have to start everything early lol. At any rate, we are trying to get there with a Great Dane. He weighs in at 115 pounds, and I cannot find a crate that will be light enough to get him in at the 150 weight max for the Patriot Express.

    Has anyone PCS’d successfully from the states to Kadena with a Great Dane? Has anyone PCS’d with a Great Dane on the Patriot Express? Where did you get your kennel from?

    • Heather,

      Did you successfully get your Great Dane to Kadena? If so, I am very interested in hearing what you did to get the pup here. We have a Dane and I am worried about leaving island. The 150lb weight limit will be tough for sure and I definitely don’t want to pay ~$2000-4000.

      Please let me know any helpful information you have.

      • nevermind. I just saw your Facebook success story. Looks like dieting it will be. I am also looking to shave some weight off the kennel. Make some “additional ventilation holes” and cut some weight off the metal door and siding.

        • Wait, where is this Facebook success story?!?! I need to see that it can be done. Can someone share it with me?
          We’re trying to get two Great Danes from Camp Lejeune, NC to Okinawa, and pet shipping companies are telling us it CANNOT be done. It’s going to be especially hard for the larger of my two dogs. He weighs 143 pounds… and that’s before the custom built kennel which will add about 100 pounds or so.

  9. We PCSed with our cat from Yuma, Arizona, at the end of September. It was stressful, for us and the poor kitty. We had her with a vet out in town, and they were pretty great with the vaccines and giving us records for the paperwork we had to do. I suggest starting the process to take your pets as soon as you get your orders. The sooner you get it all done, the better. Of you are flying AMC, there is no need to do the advanced notification with the Japanese government. We found that out after a panicked few days of trying to get a hold of the military, before just contacting Japan directly and getting an answer within twenty-four hours. We flew AMC from Seattle into Japan, and were lucky to get to bring her in the cabin with us. It’s a VERY long flight. We drove from Yuma to LA, and flew from LA to Seattle, then Seattle to Japan. That was about three days’ worth of travel, and she held herself as long as she could. Food and water is easy. I had a Ziplock baggie of food for her that she ate from my hand, and we bought bottles of water after going through security and I gave her water directly from the cap. I tried to keep it to a minimum to keep her comfortable as there is no place anywhere to allow your cat to use a litter box, obviously, and so holding themselves is all they can do. She held herself til about two hours before we landed in Japan, and then she peed all over herself. I felt terribly guilty. I had come prepared with wipes in the carry on, and when we landed, I was able to clean her up a bit. We landed in Iwakuni first, and ended up stuck there for a few days due to a huge typhoon hitting Okinawa at the time, and she was put in a kennel, which we were grateful for, though she was anxious while we were separated. There really were no customs since we flew right into Iwakuni and then Kadena once the weather let up. The trip felt as though it would have been simpler with a dog. It’s difficult for a trip to be cat friendly, and that is something people need to understand before hand. I wish I had realized it. They don’t make it easy at all to bring pets, and you’re responsible for paying for your pet’s space on the plane. It IS a little easier to bring dogs, or so it seemed to me. Less stressful, at least. I was glad when the trip was over. Our cat still has about a month left In her quarantine, and when we got here we were lucky to already know some people here who were able to “foster” her for us until we got housing. It seems like quarantine isn’t all that enforced once you get here. You just have to take the animal to the Kadena vet clinic every month until the quarantine is up, and that’s all the check up there is. It’s a walk-in basis, too, which is nice because they DO get extremely busy. Overall, I’m very glad our kitty made it safe and sound, not without lots of stress on hers and our parts. Is it worth it? If you have someone in the states who can take your cat while you are here, I would recommend doing that over shipping them. It’s a lot of unnecessary stress on them, usually for a selfish reason, at least in my case. If your cat and you really can’t be separated emotionally, then make sure you have ample time to prepare the paperwork, and do what’s best for them, and you. I would suggest leaving elderly pets in the states, it’s an extremely stressful trip, our cat must have shed enough during the trip here to cover three other full grown cats. Younger pets will get restless, it’s a long trip, and they’ll be confined for a very extended period of time, so do what you think is best for them. I would suggest layering the bottom of the carrier with something absorbent, like puppy pads, for any accidents. Otherwise, your pet’s fur will end up absorbing it all, and they’ll be dirty, and even more unhappy the remainder of the trip. I am definitely glad I brought her, but I wish I had found this site and known a little more want to expect before the trip. Be as prepared as possible.

  10. Sherri, When we came we had about 100 pound lab. The weight limit with kennel is 150. So unless you are able to find a kennel big enough that only weighs 25 it prolly can’t fly amc. Also, you might want to make sure you can even bring this dog on base…they banned a whole bunch of dogs in January like pittbulls and chows. I think rottweilers was on the list as well. Another option would fly the dog commercial via cargo. It is going to be really expensive though. Like 3-5K. You should contact camp canine. She is very very helpful and gave me the most reasonable price for shipping my dog if I decided to go that route. We ended up getting our dog on AMC but I had to wait until a flight opened up and had to travel seperate from my husband. Good luck.

  11. Can someone help me, I am confused at the moment. We have a rottweiler (125lbs) that we are trying to move to okinawa with us, Ive seen several post about getting them on an AMC flight:

    1) How do we do that? We will be leaving from seattle at the end of august.
    2) What are the other options?

    Any help would be greatly appriciated

  12. Seems like most of these posts are old with no replies in some time… it goes. Flying from LAX to Okinawa through Haneda Airport in Tokyo with Delta Airlines. The second leg is with Al Nippon Airlines to Okinawa. Has anyone ever had this flight before with shipping a dog? Appreciate the help, also any feed back on jet-a-pet program? Thanks.

    • I flew with 2 dogs (a 10 pound maltese mix and an 80 pound golden retriever) from San Francisco to Haneda on Delta and then Haneda to Naha on Al Nippon. I had a problem with the golden retriever when we hit Haneda. They said she was too large to put in the luggage hold and wanted to to send her on as cargo (different air line!) I had been traveling for 20 hours at this point, and just burst into tears… The Japanese are not real big on overt emotional outbursts and were so flustered by my sobs, they put her on with the luggage and appologized and bowed for a good 5 minutes…. Other than that, it was pretty easy.

  13. I’m not sure if anyone has touched on this at all, but we have a 70lb Pitt bull and were told that unless he was classified as a military/service dog, he couldn’t come, REGARDLESS of any paperwork, quarantine, etc, simply because he classifies as an aggressive breed… Can someone please verify this for us? He is really the biggest baby in the world, for all his “aggressive breed” reputation…

  14. I was wondering; our puppy we left in the states because we thought coming here he would be quarantined for 6 months and thought he’d be alone. He should be 8 months now, and before we left for Okinawa we were in the process of getting everything done to ship him. (We didn’t do the paperwork because we had found out about the quarantine process, but still were not knowledgeable about how it worked). With that being said, if my husband and I were to have the paperwork at home completed for him to come overseas, how would the quarantine process work? How much longer would he be away from us before he can live with us?

  15. Has anyone had any experience shipping a dog over after you have arrived on the island? I am pregnant and will be making it to Okinawa literally right around the time I would no longer be allowed to fly. Our flight had room for our cat, but not our dog. I don’t know if the travel people here just don’t want to work with us, but we have not found an option that would allow us to take both pets. The quotes we’ve been getting from third party shipping companies is close between $3000-$6000 which is just not possible for us. We’re supposed to leave in 2 weeks and are quickly running out of options. We have a place for her to stay temporarily, but nowhere long term enough to be able to travel back to the states to get her. Please help πŸ™

  16. Shonda, (Bird info)
    Hey πŸ™‚ I own a type of small parrot called a lory that I’m trying to bring over here from the states. Knock on wood, but it looks like things are Finally working out for my parents to bring him and one of my dogs in late Sept. I’ve missed them all SOOOO much! Anyway, unfortunately bringing a bird back to the U.S. is not only based on its health; it is mainly about where the bird originated. As you said, there is currently a ban on All birds from Japan that is unlikely to go away soon. Take a look at this USDA animal import site for the details. : The only birds allowed to enter the U.S. are pet birds of U.S. origin (hatched in the U.S.) and depending on the species U.S. Fish and Wildlife permits may be required in addition to tons of other paperwork that I’m currently working on. All original Japan entry paperwork must be kept to present for re-entry to the U.S. or else they’ll refuse entry, so it’s a risky business. If I were you I’d call the USDA to confirm that cockatiels are included in the ban, but it seems like it’s any bird. Sorry this wasn’t a positive note since I agree cockatiels can be great pets if trained correctly. Maybe you could keep your eye open or put up a posting on Okinawa Yard Sales for a pet bird of U.S. origin that someone’s trying to rehome. ? Best of luck to you either way.

  17. Hi, I am about to get a cockatiel and wanted to know if I could get it into the states or not. I currently live on Kadena in Okinawa and I know about the bird ban in the states but what if we have him for 2 years here and he sees the vet here the whole time (being an American vet). Would that help with getting him to the states with us. I dont want to get a pet I cant always take care of but I really want him. I have read the previous posts about birds but it doesnt make sense if the bird has seen an American vet the entire time here. They should be able to vouch that the bird is fluless. Am I crazy for thinking that?? Thanks for your help!

  18. @ The Gy – I think your best bet would be to contact a pet shipper and send him cargo. I know people have send pets unaccompanied from around the world via cargo using that route. It is going to be expensive, but he’ll get here.

  19. I’m getting sent to the rock with my family for the first time. I’m running into different information I have a St Bernard that weighs close to 150lbs. This guy is a huge part of the family any tips at all on how to get him there? thanks

  20. Not sure if you read through the previous comments but Karing Kennels has some positive cat reviews (so don’t worry!). They had housing units ready for immediate move in in February, but I ended up off base. Summer is “PCS Season” so I figured it best to warn you there might be a wait for housing. As a result, you might want to save up for some Kennel time just in case.

    My wife will be on her first PCS with our new cat in June, hopefully your travels both go smoothly!

  21. We have 2 cats. Both have been microchipped and had all their rabies shots and current on their rabies shots for 2 years. How difficult will it be to get them to Okinawa and how long would they have to be in a kennel until we recieve housing? We are pcsing in June. I couldn’t find anything on wait times. This is our first time PCSing and I am nervous for them! Any help would be appreciated.

  22. I just brought my cat over two weeks ago. I second the suggestion to contact the AQS for where ever you are flying into. They were so helpful and went over all my paperwork so that when I got here, it took less than 20 minutes to clear through. I do find its easier to deal with them through email, and they even suggested to as well, than on the phone. They answer email promptly and explain everything fully.

  23. Callie-
    Your sponsor should be making your pets reservations are Karing Kennels. Kadena has a lodge where you can stay with pets but there are only 8 rooms with this option so it is very hard to get. You will likely be in lodging and your pets in the kennel until you get your housing secured.

  24. “Also, how do I send it 40 days in advance when I won’t even know the info such as address and flight number and date until the last minute?”

    What you need to do is contact AQS and ask if anyone speaks English. They almost always have someone on staff to help. I faxed mine to them two weeks before my dogs flew in.

  25. Does anyone know about the AQS forms A,C, and the advanced notification form? I don’t understand where to send these forms and when. Also, how do I send it 40 days in advance when I won’t even know the info such as address and flight number and date until the last minute? Can I just send them with those lines blank?
    Does anyone know where we will be living with dogs? I heard they are going to allow dogs in the towers now. Do I need to make kennel reservations for when we get there or is there a place we can stay on base with the animals? Thanks for any help anyone can give!!

  26. Stephanie,

    I’m a civilian who PCS’d to Kadena in July 2010 with two cats. Whether you’re military or civilian coming to Japan, advance notification is required UNLESS you come to Japan via an AMC flight. I’d ask your TMO office asap on how you’ll travel here. If you go all the way commercially, the Japan animal quarantine service office requires at least 40 days advance notification.

  27. I notice most of these posts are over 2 yrs old…I understand the laws have changed some? I am PCS-ing with 2 cats. I haven’t seen anything on the list about advanced notification. Is it still a requirement?

  28. Lea,
    Thanks for the info. That eases my mind a little. About the bird, I’ve talked to Fish and Wildlife and USDA about it and they have permits and tons of other requirements to do but have assured me a U.S. bird with all his import paperwork can return to the U.S. even with the bird ban. It’s just very strict about having all the pprwrk to prove he’s from America. Let me know anyone has a friend who knows about bringing a bird. Thanks πŸ™‚

  29. Lindsey,
    I would definitely not get a dog now if you’re about to leave. You won’t have time to do the process and the dog will be in quarantine for months over there. Plus, I’m not sure you can bring a puppy. Adopting a dog over there would be a great thing since there is a huge problem with too many dogs dumped over there.
    Your daughter would be able to save a life. πŸ™‚

  30. @Lindsey — If you read through the 100+ comments here you’ll probably find all the info you need for doing all the paperwork necessary to bring a dog with you in February. But if you want my 2 cents?? I wouldn’t do it. I’d get her a stuffed animal dog with a note that promises her a new puppy in Okinawa. The amount of work you will have to do over the next weeks is pretty extensive, and if you just wait a few weeks, you can skip it all and adopt one of the lovely dogs OAARS always has available (search for OAARS on here for more info). But, to answer your question, it is do-able. Just a LOT of stress to add to several already stressful upcoming months. But WELCOME TO OKI, ALMOST. πŸ™‚

  31. This is a long shot but we want to get our daughter a small dog for Christmas next week. We will be arriving in Okinawa in February. Is this do-able? Are we crazy? I have NO idea how to pcs overseas with a pet. Any advice would be very helpful!!

  32. You can use the old type of MC if you bring your own scanner. And always remember, the worst thing that the quarantine office (if you fly through Tokyo) is going to do is give you 180 days and let you through. If you get to the Vet on Kadena and they can find it, the quarantine dates can be amended.

    You can bring a bird into Japan, but then it can’t leave. The US won’t let it back into the country because of the huge bird flu scare a while back. It’s definitely no fun.

  33. I was wondering if anyone has heard more on bringing dogs in with the old non-iso microchips. I too was told to get the wrong type and don’t have time to do everything over again. Is it ok if we have a microchip reader with us like the AQS website says? I’ve heard both sides and the base vet in Oki wasn’t much help.
    Also, has anyone ever brought over a bird?? My lory is part of the family and I Really want to bring him, but there are so many permits and pprwrk! Then SATO told us birds aren’t allowed on military flights…what do we do then? Thanks!

  34. My brother left me his 5 month old labrador with me who will join him in Japan once all the paperwork/requirements are ready. I wonder what airline is available to fly the dog to Fukuoka Japan that will not be too expensive and will not have max weight restriction. I am afraid that by the time he is ready to go, he will be about 90 lbs. My brother is in the military so the dog will be living with the family in the base.

  35. Stacy,

    My wife and I flew here last month, with two cats, both of whom flew in the cabin. They were in small soft sided carriers; one under the seat in front of my wife and the other under the seat in front of me. It went very well. That was from LAX to Tokyo. As I brought hard sided kennels as excess baggage, the cats had to go in the cargo hold from Tokyo to Naha as Japanese airlines dont let you have pets in the cabin.

  36. Suzy,
    Thanks for the info. It definitely helps calm my nerves. Did your cat travel in the cabin with you, or did he go with the baggage (or wherever it is that they put pets in crates)? I’m also worried about how absolutely FREAKED OUT my pompous little drama queens are going to be about this whole charade. Just taking them to the vet 10 minutes away is like the end of the world. I’m having visions of heart attacks from all the loud noise of being loaded and all the layovers etc. Am still trying to convince my dad he would love to have some cats for a couple of years…

  37. Meg, I would call the vet at Kadena to check on that issue. Especially if you are getting conflicting answers. Go right to the source. It seems that a lot of people are getting misinformation from base vets in the U.S. Good luck!

  38. Hi,
    I will be traveling with two dogs to Okinawa in or around 6 months from now. I had both of my dogs microchipped a year ago with home again on a base vet. I am recently in camp pendleton and had my dogs favn test done today and they told me that my dogs had the wrong microchip and I will have to start the process all over again and that japan will not accept that microchip any longer. The base a came from nas Pensacola said the microchip was fine. I am hearing two different stories I was wintering if someone could please help me out. I do not want to have to start the process again.but if I need to I want to start it as soon as possible. Thanks so much.


  39. Sara~ I should clarify, so I don’t panic you. You can’t fly big dogs from Norfolk on United. Perhaps you are flying Continental. Joelle is correct, the Japanese airlines are amazing. Double check that you are not flying from Haneda. sato does not truly understand that hurdle when making the reservations. Feel free to contact me. Liz

  40. Sara — you need to just call Japan Airlines yourself. Customer service is SUPREME in Japan, so calls like this, once you find the English phone number, are usually very helpful. Just be sure your connection IS from Narita to Okinawa and not from Haneda to Okinawa. As you’ve probably read in the comments, you’d then have to take a bus from Narita to Haneda and this is nearly impossible with the dogs. My guess is that it will not be any problem. Worse WORST case scenario, you’d have to spend the night in Tokyo if you missed a connecting flight to Oki that had space for the dogs. A pain in the butt, but not un-doable. Don’t let this stop you from coming to our island paradise!! πŸ™‚ Hang in there!!

  41. OMG! They push and push for officers to go to Okinawa (Navy) Then make it next to impossible for them to get there if they have pets. We have 2 60-70lb lab-retrievers, and because of a screw-up with our DEA, which we got at the end of June (had our request in since beginning of May), there are no spaces available for our dogs on any AMC flights in September (when we have to be there). Sato has placed flights on hold for us on Delta from Norfolk to Detroit to Narita, then on Japan Airlines from Narita to Okinawa, but cannot confirm spaces for our dogs on Japan Airlines!! So we supposed to fly all the way to Japan, and pray that we can then get our dogs from the mainland to Okinawa? Can anyone help us? Leaving them behind is not an option. We are close to requesting an order mod, which would be killer for dh’s career!

  42. @Stacy…I went out and bought puppy pads and doubled them up and duck taped them to the bottom of my little removable pad from our softsided carrier. My cat didn’t “go” for 13 hours bless his little heart. But I didn’t want to chance it without putting something down. If you don’t have a removable bottom you could try to throw one together instead but just make sure it’s something that is water resistant and can be somehow secured to the bottom of the carriers to keep it in place as best as possible. Also, our carrier had little tiny pockets so the smallest thing I could find for a makeshift waterbowl was a little tiny ashtray and then when we’d stop at the different airports I’d give him just a little here and there out of our water bottle. I didn’t take actual food for him to give him throughout the flight but had greenies on hand to give him little treats here and there. Hope this helps!

  43. DEAR Fred in Okinawa, thank you for the straightforward, user-friendly information. in one simple layout you answered all the information needed to make my move to Okinawa a success. Know that there are a lot of people who will benefit from your straight forward info.

    Thank you very much.

  44. I’ll be traveling to Oki with 2 cats in December, and my main concern is with the logistics of traveling. It’s a long trip and surely they’ll have to use the bathroom. Did anyone put litter in the crate with their cats?

  45. I have Akita that weighs approx 108lbs. how do you recommend getting him over to Okinawa. He is already micro-chipped and current on rabies. I will probably by PCsing this summer. Also can i bring my Honda Ridgeline truck to Okinawa?

  46. I need some help.

    I’m trying to bring my puppy here to Okinawa from the states but he only has gotten one rabies shot so can i bring him here and get the second one and the test or does he need all the rabies and the test first. either way he got to do the 180 quarantine because of his age of being under a year.

    Can anybody help please

  47. Tony,

    Did you come up with a solution for the AMC flight with no room for your pet? We are going through the same situation, we are booked on an AMC flight that I have to be on to make my RNLTD and there is no room on the flight for my dog. Has anyone else run into this problem and have suggestions on how to get the dog over to Okinawa? I have looked into carrier companies and the fees are well over $1000, I was hoping for a cheaper way.

  48. Tony…what if you mysteriously miss that flight;0? That probably wouldn’t work though would it? I think we got around not being put on a patriot express because we chose to drive to Ohio to visit family and then the military was kind of stuck flying us out of Cleveland commerically. I’d try to call SATO or whoever schedules your flights and tell them you’re going “to such and such” and need to be flown from there. I’m sorry you guys have to go through this! It stinks! Good luck!

  49. I spoke with TMO and I’m stuck at this point

    I will be taking the patriot express and there is no room for him, furthermore, I will not be reimbursed if I take a commercial flight because a government flight is available.

    Oh the agony and complications!!

  50. Tony, my Ridgeback was a 100lbs too. There are only a couple of airlines that will fly them that big. We were on United. The other issues is that they won’t take anything bigger than an XL kennel. We did choose to have one made because if the dimensions of the kennel EQUAL the total dimensions of an XL crate then it’s ok. So we made a taller, skinnier kennel than the usual XLs so she could turn around, etc, better. It’s quite expensive — just plan on that.

    The international portion was fairly workable, but for the mainland Japan to Okinawa part things were stickier because the animals have to be taken off the plane and taken to the cargo terminal — all in the time between your flights… The nice part about this is that the Japanese are such incredibly helpful hosts that my husband was surrounded by about 9 agents all trying to help him get the dog on. They ended up taking her as baggage and putting her into a kennel that THEY had (smaller) and then sending her empty kennel along. I still don’t understand that at ALL but somehow it made them happier.

    Another thing to take notice of is that if you fly into Narita and then have to change planes to Haneda (both in Tokyo) that you’ll be screwed cuz you can’t take large pets on the bus between the two — so a flight in and out of Osaka is the better idea.

    Good luck!

  51. Tony, best bet is to request commercial flights. I had the same issue with my Golden when I moved. It will be more of a hassle for you (changing planes and such) but the weight limits are different. You’ll incur extra fees though.

  52. Ok, I just got orders to go to Kadena in July (i know, late orders)

    We have a 100lb golden retriever.

    AMC website said they won’t ship more than 100lbs (pet + Kennel)

    What are my options at this point?

  53. So, we had to leave our pets in SC when we came over here, b/c it was too cold for them to fly. We REALLY miss them and want them with us. I am going to fly to the states to get them, however, thus far, I have been told by an airline that I can get them as far as Tokyo. Apparently the ANA has a kennel size limit way too small for one of our dogs, and we are VERY desparate to find a way to get them here, before the flight restriction starts. Please, if anyone knows how I can get our dogs over here without trouble, let me know. We don’t know anyone that has gone back to the states to get their pets, so no one knows who to go through. Thank you very much.

  54. Can anyone tell me how picky the airlines are with the kennels? Do they measure them? We are flying United and one of my dogs is going to be in a kennel that is just a hair bigger than what the website allows and I’m wondering if I’m being overly anxious about it with my fear that they will turn us away at check in.

  55. Laurie, if you know this far out that you are flying to Oki in August, I highly recommend taking the Patriot here. You won’t have the heat embargo issues on it. The only draw back is that for at least a while it is making two stops in Mainland Japan instead of one but it is still better than having to worry about the heat issue coming on a commercial carrier.

    I have brought two cats over here twice now in August and it really is not as hard as it sounds. Just make sure your paperwork is squared away, that you have plenty of copies of everything and that you make reservations at Karing Kennels (just in case you need them) at 60 days out. They are the most economical way to board you animal for quarantine if you live off base or have to stay in billeting for any length of time. Billeting here does not allow pets but some off base hotels do (of course, you wouldn’t be able to keep them there anyhow because they would need to be quarantined). Once you get a little settled in, you might foster your animal out to someone living onbase for the rest of your quarantine period. Sounds like you will be really close to having it done with though so you might only have a few weeks…

    Hope this helps.

  56. Suzy – I did confirm with ANA that they will still do that, so yay! My big concern now is that my male needs a medium sized carrier that is 17.5 x 10 x 10.5 and United’s limits are 17 x 10 x 10! Ugh! I am so stressed out. So I have this huge fear of them measuring the crate while we are checking in and saying, “Um, no. You can’t take that kennel in the cabin. Better luck next time!”

  57. Charity, I didn’t bring a dog, but I used a dog soft sided carrier for the in cabin flight over here for our cat. We purchased it from petsmart (the salesman said they’re all ok for most flights). Then when we arrived to Tokyo, ANA stuck our soft sided carrier inside a larger plasticy crate thing and off he went! I think you’ll be ok with whatever you choose as long as you submit the crate size to Japan for the entry approval. Good luck!

  58. Can anyone help me with crate info for small dogs? My husband and I are heading back to the states to pick up our two beloved chihuahuas. We got bum scoop, too (could it be Camp Pendleton is confused?), so we didn’t think we were able to bring them with us on our original orders. I know we can have the kids in the cabin with us on United but not ANA. My problem is the only crate (hard) I can find has the wire top and I’m worried ANA won’t allow those crates in cargo for some reason. Can any of you who brought your small dogs along, in the cabin from the states, give me your crate info? Where you got it, what brand, size… Any info would be helpful! Thanks.

  59. thank you i cant understand how a base vet would give bum info i go this afternoon so hopefully with this info off this site i can correct any wrong info. i know each and everyone of you have felt this horror of trying to get pets over there. I am still alittle confused about the early approval from the Japanese gov…

  60. Laurie, don’t worry about the 180 days that’s not even an issue. They’re giving you wrong information. We brought our cat and had not problem with that part. It just means that you’ll either have to keep the cat onbase somewhere (doesn’t specifically have to be your own house so you can still choose to live offbase) or you’ll have to board it, it’s your choice. I have no idea on the embargo due to the heat during certain months however. I’d call the vet office over here (I put a link up somewhere in the comment section to their site) and ask them if they have any advice. I’d also check with the airlines. I’ve heard of people shipping their pets as cargo after the fact and flying to meet them at osaka or tokyo so that could always be an option for you guys. Good luck! I know it’s frustrating but it’ll all work out.

  61. HELP HELP… I am going to the vet tomorrow at camp pendleton to get my cat micro’ed and rabies shot. they are telling me i have to leave my cat behind because the 180 wont be up. IS THIS TRUE?? Also we are pcsing in Aug. bad time:( anyway cant get out of that one so i was wondering if ANYONE has pcs’ed during that time with pets. I can get him in the cabin for the US carrier but not for japanese airline. If i leave him behind and have him sent after heat embargo how do i get him to Okinawa by himself. I can get him to Osaka but who will take him to the quarentine office to be inspected and who will put him on the next flight. I am freaked out i sure hope someone else has done this. Last time i went to Oki it was in Mar2001 so everything has changed. if you have any info pls let me know.

  62. Hi,

    We might have orders to Okinawa Japan. Can anyone tell me how many pets you can bring with you? We have three dogs and 2 two cats. I know we can’t take them all, but I want to know what the limit is?


  63. New here to Kadena with an Army hubby:

    We brought great danes.

    From Bragg.

    …Yeah. You read it right. Great danes. Not just one, either. Two.

    Two gigantic kennels (35x32x48 inches), over 300 pounds of dog and cage together, months of planning beforehand, getting stuck in customs and ending up spending the night in Tokyo, the two solid weeks at Karing Kennels…

    What a mess. Was it worth it? Countless nights worrying if my dogs would even live through the thousands of miles in cargo, let alone be sane when they came out of it. The hours upon hours speaking to the PCSing vet at Bragg (who was wonderful-I will love you forever. Thank you so much). Getting almost no sleep for days on end trying to get calls back and forth between places here in Japan from back in the states…

    We put them on a plane 11/29/08 from Raleigh, NC. We left the following day. We arrived 12/2/08 here on island, with them, terrified, in their kennels.

    Today they got to come home from Karing Kennels. They’re currently fast asleep on the floor behind me, a little thin, exhausted and overjoyed to be home at last. Today’s 12/15/08.

    I can truly say it’s worth it, without a shadow of a doubt.

    and I’m happy to help anyone in the states reading this with information regarding Delta, phone numbers-anything. I went through it alone. I’d hate to see anyone else do that.

  64. Yesterday I left my concern on the Island Newbie blog, however I realize that this is the one I want.
    I also have a concern about getting my pet bird to Japan. I am a bit upset because I fear that she might not be let in. I have been trying to do research and came up with problems on importing birds into Japan because of the Avian Influenza. It would seem that there is a ban on birds from New York (I live in NY), Idaho, New Hapmshire and Cali. Hopefully this is just on the poutry types of birds sold for food. My husband said we shouldn’t have a problem getting her there according to the Kadena Vet but getting her back to the US would be the challenge. And in my research he might be right. I think there might be a quarantine of 30 days to get them back in the states and only 3 locations that do it: NY, Cali and Florida. However my research is incomplete and I am not sure if this is the case. I was hoping someone might have experience with this who can help out myself and Shana (sorry I don’t know anything about turtles).

    Shana if you would like to see information about the Avian Influenza go here
    I got the other info about importing back into the US on
    than the link for import and export
    If I find out more info I’ll let you know… I’m not sure when I’m going to Oki yet though the orders should be coming soon.
    Hope that helps

  65. Thanks, Suzy!

    I just got off the phone booking my cats to fly Continental cargo and also booked us flights from Naha to Tokyo to meet them. Continental instructed us to meet them at JAL cargo where we’ll go through customs with the cats, which is a relief as we’ll be able to answer any questions they might have.

    One confusing thing the agent said is that in addition to the international health certificate within 10 days, a rabies certificate is also needed within 2 days of flight. So their caretaker will have to take them to the vet TWICE before they can fly. Has anyone else had to do this? The agent didn’t sound completely in command of this facet of information, so I don’t understand. It sounds like maybe it might be an airline requirement, not a Japan requirement.

  66. Hey Jeanine. You should have plenty of time. We had more than enough to get through customs (twice! long story:), to recheck a zillion pieces of luggage, grab snacks, and board the next flight. Our time was crunched because we had a little one with us on top of our pet but it worked out great. And, I’m not sure about the quaranine stop there. I totally messed up and skipped that stop although it was right by the customs entrance. I thought I only had to do that once we arrived to Okinawa. No one knew what I was trying to say when I got to the island so that was a mess. But, Japan didn’t seem to have a problem with my mess up and let it slide when I had the vet submit the paperwork the next day. Good luck with everything!

    Shana…the best way to find out info on PCS’ing over here with anything other than a dog or cat would be to contact the vet here…
    They have an email and a phone number listed. Good luck!

  67. We will be pcsing to Kadena in June 09 and we have three birds and a turtle. Can anyone give any advice or experiences with shipping birds or turtles. I can find a lot of information about dogs and cats, but not much on birds and turtles. My kids will be so heart broken if we can’t take our animals, they are part of the family too.

  68. Per Suzy’s comment back in January, was your two hour layover sufficient?

    We are already in Okinawa and plan to have our cats sent cargo to Narita and meet them there, then fly back to Okinawa with them. The flight schedules permit only 2.5 hours between them arriving and our flight departing and I would like to know if we should plan on staying in Tokyo with them a night for if this will allow enough time for them to get through customs/quarantine check and for us to grab them and get on the flight.


  69. I’ve read all the comments and from what I can tell if you take AMC in the summer months you can avoid the heat restriction that the commercial airlines have on pets? Is that correct? We have two labs and will be PCSing July 2009.

    Thank for any help.

  70. 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!

  71. @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?

  72. 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.

  73. Hi,
    We are at Camp Lester and Clue our dog is still stateside in VA. We need to get him over here. We left him because he did not have the FAVN test done but it is complete now. He will get his health certificate once we get his flight together. His quarantine period will be over in December but we will do in home quarantine once he is here. Which airline will fly a dog into Naha unaccompanied? I know most will fly to Tokyo. Any suggestions will be appreciated.

  74. Melanie…our dog is still in Germany because of flight issues initially, but now we are in Okinawa trying to get her here and Pet Air told me they could only get her to Osaka or Tokyo, that they could not handle the Okinawa leg of the trip…Wow, so many different stories this is driving me nuts

  75. I’m not sure what Pet Air is, but if it’s a private pet chartering service, then yeah, that price sounds about right. We chose not to go that route, but to book our dog’s ticket ourselves. It was $300 total to fly him from Texas to Okinawa.

  76. Hello.
    I got a question.
    Right now we’re in germany.
    My husband got orders to Kadena
    for october this year.
    What I would like to know is
    about getting our dog (dachshund) to Okinawa.

    We got already everything done, it’s just about his flight.
    Pet Air said, he would fly to Tokyo and then Okinawa.
    This is the exact way our flight does.
    So we wanted to take him on our plane.

    But is it possible that we’re paying almost the same amount of money for the dog as mine???
    It’s almost 700 Euros.

    Is there a cheaper way?
    Thank you already in advance!


  77. I asked a few questions a couple of months back, and I wanted to follow up. We came in to Okinawa on the AMC flight from Seattle. It was a great way to go. We had a long day, but it worked out great for our 55-lbs yellow Labrador. It cost $103 (payable at the counter), and we were able to walk her when we arrived in Yokota. Getting to Kadena, we briefly met the vet, and he told us to bring her in after the weekend. Everything was so much easier than we thought. Currently, we are staying at the Shogun on Kadena. They have eight pet rooms, so call early to request one. We do not have one the entire time, so we’ll have to put her in Karing Kennels for a few weeks.

    Overall, it was a good experience, and I’m glad that we chose AMC over commercial.

    Please feel free to write me directly if you have more specific questions on this.

  78. I have a bird given to me here in Okinawa several weeks ago. (Long story.) A parakeet. How hard is it to get it to mainland for new duty station? IMpossible? cost an arm and a leg? It’s never been to the vet. we leave in one month. thanks!

  79. Eleanor, if you start the entire process now you shouldn’t have to worry about the quarantine process over here. Talk to your local military vet asap or go and look at the kadena vet link I posted above your first comment. They list the PCS process for pets. The steps have to be followed precisely or the process will have to be started all over again. It’s a pain! My cat ended up getting a total of 3 rabies shots in one year because their steps have to be followed in a certain order. But, I really only had a months warning before we flew out here so we didn’t have time to do everthing over a period of time. Good luck!

  80. You may be far enough out that you wont have to worry about quarantine at all. After they get there shots updated you get some blood work done. You send in the blood work to be checked and make sure everything is ok. From that point is where your 6 month quarantine begins. In the states this can be done at home. If you come and the 6 months has passed no need to worry about quarantine over here. However, quarantine over here can be done at Karing Kennels and some have stated in there house, but I would plan on Karing Kennels!

  81. My husband & I have orders to Kadena AFB in April 2009. As reading in detail from all the following comments, I’m still confused about the dog quarantine processes. Can someone please help me with the following: Some owners are able to quarantine here in the US with family members while setting up their PCS move at their base. … or they have the option to quarantine at their vet’s clinic until the 180 day mark? Then I read about being able to take your dog with you upon your flight to Japan and then having them quarantined over at the military bases or an off base vet clinic? I’m still a little confused. I’m trying to prepare ourselves and our 2 dogs for this move ahead of time before it gets even more confusing. Also being that my dogs will be due for their vax in August ’08 (next month). What is the most convenient way to go about the quarantine? I would be really appreciative on any help with these questions πŸ™‚ To add both dogs are below 20lbs.

    Thank you.

  82. Here’s a valid link for the vet on base…

    Also, the local military vets are great at answering questions too. I had to rely soley on the help of the Army Vets in San Diego before arriving…they were a huge help! I had to pay between 75-110 on each flight commercially to bring my cat. The fee varies by all carriers so you’ll need to contact the airlines to get the right quote. To answer an earlier post…I believe you can only bring a max of 2 pets here and I think those only included dogs and cats??? We were told that any other pets are out. You’ll have to check with the vet though on that one. Also, here’s another link for a woman who helps families PCS to and from Oki with pets that I always recommend. She may be able to help out with info that you can’t get from the vets…

    Good luck~

  83. I’d also be interested in hearing other thoughts about shipping animals seperately. I checked into it some once we got settled here back in October and I was quoted $900 EACH for my 2 cats. Luckily, they have a good home with my mom in the States but I really miss the “kids”!

  84. Hello all! I have a question about once we get to Oki…We have a cat and Jack Russell that will be staying stateside until we get settled ..Does any one know anything about flying/shipping to Oki and the costs?? Thanks!

  85. We just found out that we might be coming to Okinawa in November. Details are still coming in. I am concerned about bringing our cat and was looking for the link to the detailed paperwork (link listed in earlier post didn’t come up).

    Our cat is 4 and has been an indoor cat the whole time. He had one set of immunizations when he was fixed (6mo) but none since. Sounds like I need to get him to the vet but expect quarantine regardless??

    I’d appreciate any help as I am 6 months pregnant, and as crazy as it sounds, what I am most concerned about at this point is traumatizing my already scaredy cat. (I’m kind of in denial that this will all be happening with a newborn.)


  86. Hello, my husband and I are planning on coming to Okinawa in October. We have two cats and a small dog. I was wondering if there was any sort of limit as to how many animals we could bring. I heard there was a limit of two animals per household on base, but we are going to try searching for housing off-base. I just couldn’t find anything about how many you can actually bring over, and is this going to cost an arm and a leg? Thank you!

  87. I am reading everyone’s posts & they are relieving my stresses somewhat. Maybe someone can help me out with this process, though. I just received orders the end of March and will be PCS-ing mid-June to Okinawa. At the beginning of May my Cairn Terrier was microchipped and got a rabies vaccination. She will be getting another on June 2nd, which is also when they will be drawing the FAVN test. I understand the process once we get over to Japan for the quarantine, but am concerned about us getting her to Okinawa. My personnel office has not yet secured flight arrangements for us. It really sounds like we will be going MAC from Seattle to Kadena, which I guess will be the better option with a dog. Where can I find requirements for crate sizes? Do I not have to send the 40 day notification at all if we are flying into Kadena? That is what has me stressed the most at the moment. As you all know, Lola is part of our family & I really want to ensure her transfer goes as smoothly as possible as well. ANY information anyone has would be greatly appreciated!

  88. Crystal R!! You said ANA waived your crate size. They are saying my crate size is too large for my Shelties!! No WAY! Do they have breed specific crate restrictions?! Plus, the ANA gal said the measurements were 19L x 23W x 47H??? his would make the crate 4 feet high! NOT! Who did you talk to and how at ANA?? Thanks, Corey. PCS’ing in July.

    PS. Anyone know the USDA Vet in VA? Or will Belvoir suffice for the correct health cert?

  89. We had an XL Kennel for one day (craigslist lol) It was a 550 series and Mya (my pup) had absolutely no room at all. She couldnt even turn around without scrunching up. With the 700 series she has room to stand, turn around, sit, lay out and sprawl out if she so chooses. Even if we were to get her a custom kennel made I am afraid it would still be too big. Shes a big girl.
    Hopefully all will fall into place come December.

  90. I have posted on this previously (if you have time to read through all the millions of posts here), but I brought a 100lb dog. But I did have a kennel built specially for her (which cost $100) because she’s taller than fat. It’s a lot of work, but if you call the airlines specifically they can tell you what the TOTAL dimensions are allowed to be — that way you can adjust if someone can make you a kennel. It might be that they won’t allow a GIANT kennel but will allow something bigger than an XL — if that makes sense.

  91. Jenn, that is so weird about how much you paid, we ended up paying $94 for the dog and as you know had the same problem with the very odd dimensions…and we still have our micro chip reader here that we haven’t sent back to the states yet and they didn’t even use it at the airport…
    Stephanie – best of luck, keep talking to the TMO people, you should not have to leave your dog, that’s not right.

  92. I can’t speak for the weather, but I can speak for the crate/dog size. I don’t know if you’re planning to take a MAC flight to get to the island or fly commercial, but I would recommend getting your dog on a MAC flight if you can. We just flew here with our 60-lb. bulldog and his large kennel (total weight of 90 lbs) and the airline gave me a really hard time. I had no problem getting him from the States to Tokyo, but the planes that fly into Naha are so small that they weren’t sure he could get on the plane. When I called to add him to my reservation, ANA made me wait a week to find out whether or not he could be on the flight from Narita to Naha. ANA’s maximum weight for travel to Tokyo is 99 lbs. and the crate dimensions cannot exceed 35.4 long by 24 wide by 25.9 high (weird, I know). In the end he did make it on the flight, and it cost about $230 to get him there. I wish i had just taken the original MAC flight the military offered me, which meant I would’ve had to wait another month to come, but it probably would’ve been worth it in the end.

  93. My husband just got orders to Kadena. His report date is the end of the year. We have a 120 lb English Mastiff. We are currently at Elmendorf. I am concerned with the crate size and weather portions of getting my beloved pup to Okinawa during the winter. If it is too cold for her to fly what are my options? She has to have a Giant size kennel (XL is too small lol). So …yea, any info would be great.

  94. SATO won’t allow us to go into Osaka, only Seattle-Narita-Haneda-Okinawa. Getting our dog from one airport to the other is going to be difficult.

    I decided to look into AMC flights. I called SATO and they said that they cannot “see” the flights after June. Does this make sense? Is anyone there traveling on the Seattle-Yokota-Kadena plane during the summer? I tried to call Seattle AMC terminal, but no luck. I thought this may be out best bet in getting our dog there in the beginning of August.

    A continued thanks for the help.

  95. My dog was 100 lbs plus the crate — you have to pay a bit, but she flew on ANA as cargo. But as I posted long ago here, only certain aircraft can take the cargo animals — I think there were about 5 of the flights that she could be on our of Osaka during the course of the day. We chose Osaka because you don’t have to move between airports (which sometimes happens if you fly into Tokyo.

  96. Macron5, it was us that needed the waiver, just speak to the TMO flight people, ours called ANA for us and then ANA called me direct and said that they would waive the crate size, just like that! However, our dog is 45lbs and I think the crate was about 25lbs, but it was a Large crate…Good Luck…and if it doesn’t work the first time, make a fuss, I think people forget that our pets are part of the family too!

  97. Macron5 we didn’t need a waiver. We are flying United from DCA to Seattle and then taking the Patriot Express over from there. They said the dog weight was not a problem so we lucked out. We are getting around the heat issue because our flight leaving DCA is at 6 am and it’s in early June. Wish you all the best with getting your plans sorted it is such a hassle!

  98. We are going through all the rabies, FAVN, etc., to get our yellow lab without too much of a problem. Our next hurdle is to find a plane that will allow her to fly. Our Seattle-Narita on United was fine, but ANA said she is too big for the Narita-Naha. I’m curious how Crystal applied for and received a waiver.

    The next is off-limit months. We are planning on going at the start of August. Is it silly to think that this will work? What do people do to get their dogs there during the summer months?

    Surely I’m not the first to go from Germany to Oregon to Okinawa, am I?

  99. Has anyone flown on the AMC flight out of Seattle with their pet and crate combined exceeding 100 lbs? We just submitted our paperwork and my weimaraner is 70lbs alone and the only crate she fits in is the XL one which brings the total weight over 100lbs by about 10-15lbs. Anyone have experience with a bigger dog and crate on these flights and if so did they allow you on the flights? If not what did you do?

    • Pamelala,

      We’re getting ready to PCS in and i’m running into similar issues. I am comfortable I can get the crate size for our larger dog waived from what i’ve heard. However, our problem is we’re booked on United. However the flight from NRT to OKA is operated by ANA with a United Flight #. They refuse to accept the dogs that way even though they’re both part of the Star Alliance and supposed to be interoperable. How did you work around that?


  100. My dog was much bigger, but the problem I had was that they continued to assume I wanted her to fly free as baggage. I kept repeating I was willing to pay for her to fly as CARGO (bigger dimensions allowed). HOWEVER, I was told that only certain flights into Okinawa were on big enough airplanes to allow for the larger crates. So I would check to see if there is another plane going 2 hours later that would allow the crate size.

  101. We had the same problem. I called the airport customs area which for us was Osaka. They wanted the exact dimensions of my crate. Our dogs are about the same size. I drew this odd picture with measurements all over it and scanned it and e-mailed it to them. They sent me e-mail verification that they would permit him and his crate on the flight like that. You are going through Narita so i don’t know who you would contact. You might also try to contact the vet here and see what they have to say. i believe their number is here inthe comments osmewhere. Screaming boys, must dash.

  102. OK, so we got out itinerary and dog is good on United from san diego to Narita, then we have to change planes on Aon (spelling?) airlines and apparently they said we have to have a smaller crate to put our dog in (now he isn’t massive, he is 45lbs). Well, we can’t get the size requirement they are asking for as he won’t fit in it, as we tried to explain, but they said there is nothing they can do, that is the requirement…Has anyone else experienced this problem and how did you get round it? Please reply ASAP…thanks
    ps: we tried to get on the freedom bird but it was full…so now we have no option to go this way HELP!

  103. We flew in from Seattle with our 80 pound American bulldog, no problem. When your husband’s command books the flight, make sure they know you’re taking a dog with you because they have to reserve room for them in the cargo area (our flight had to be pushed back a week because there was no room on the original flight they booked for us). Also, you will have to pay a fee of ~$70 for your dog that the military will not cover. I suggest getting a sedative for your dog so they can sleep and relax most of the flight, as it’s a good 13 hours from Seattle to Yakota. Once you reach Yakota, they will allow one adult (either yourself or your husband) to take your dog out of cargo and let them stretch and go to the bathroom in a small grassy area. Then it’s about a 3 hour flight to Kadena AFB on Okinawa.

    Once on Okinawa you have to take your dog to Karing Kennels on Kadena where it will be quarantined until you get into housing. Make reservations, as they fill up fast. If it’s booked, there are a few hotels on island that accept pets, but that can be tricky – it’s so much easier to stay on base, I think. Also, while at the Kennels you have to provide food for your dog, it’s not included in the price of $75/week. START THE RABIES PAPERWORK NOW to reduce your quarantine time here. It’s 180 days from the 2nd rabies shot, but it’s not that big of deal if you live on base…on base housing is considered quarantine also.

    I’m not sure about other flights, but we did the Seattle haul and it wasn’t bad. Good luck to you!

  104. We have orders to Okinawa and will be reporting in June. We will be bringing our dog and want to know about the flights to Okinawa that allow dogs. Does the flight originating in Seattle stop in Yakota? Are there any other military flights that allow dogs?

  105. We are headed to Okinawa Camp Courtney in May & we have a NEW Maltipoo puppy that is right now only 8 wks. old & I was wondering how hard will it be for us to bring her with us? Any help from anyone who had the same situation would be appreciated because she was an anniversary gift from my husband, who just got back from a 1 yr. tour in Iraq for his 3rd time & I REALLY DON’T wanna give her up. PLEASE HELP!!! Thanks

  106. has anyone tried to take a ferret back to the states. We got a ferret and I really do not want to leave her here when we go home. We are getting out of the military and our home state allows ferrets there. Thank you for your help.

  107. My husband and I will be headed to Okinawa in June with our two dogs. I was wondering if anyone had any experience with not being able to bring their pet due to the heat. I’m worried that it may be too hot in June to bring them over and I’m trying to see if anyone else had similar experiences or if it will probably be still cool enough in June to fly them out with us. Also I think I remember reading on here about one of the temporary lodging places allowing pets to stay with you. Could anyone elaborate further on this too? Thanks!

  108. Hey Jenn! We had a layover (about 2 hrs) when we arrived in Tokyo with our cat. Our cat was in the cabin with us on the flight from LA though but I’m not sure exactly how that will work with your dog. That will be something that you can find out by calling the airline that you guys will be flying on. When we arrived we followed the flood of people (I felt like we were in a rat maze:) to the passport counter. Then we went down to the baggage claim (which we didn’t realize that we had to get our bags ourselves…silly I know:) and then we went through customs. I completely skipped the quarantine counter that you’re supposed to hit before going through customs! I was told to check our cat into the facility in Naha, which was obviously wrong! Nothing happened mind you but it was still frustrating to know that I had done just about everything wrong. Anyway, I’m thinking that if they put your dog in the cargo that they’ll have him/her waiting for you next to the baggage claim so that you can go to the quarantine counter. Then I’m assumeing that the people at quarantine will either tell you that you have to transport it through customs or that they’ll meet you on the other side. Once you go through customs you’ll have to re-check in along with all of your bags to the domestic airline carrier that you’ll be on (we were on ANA after United). You’ll then have to pay another pet fee to the new airline (they accept credit cards) and they’ll put your dog into their cargo area. The law here restricts any animals being in the cabins during flights unlike in the states. When you get here you’ll meet your pet next to the baggage claim in Okinawa (Naha) and you’ll wait in line again to get through their customs(?) line to leave the airport. I hope this helps! Good luck with the move!:)

  109. We just did the flight because of vacation. I don’t know about with your pet, but when you get off the plane in Tokyo you will first go through customs (where you have already filled out a form on the plane, but a man pulled us out of line and said we had the wrong form. Got us the right form, took us to a room on the side and had us fill it out. Once it was filled out he then took care of us in that room. It ended up quicker than the line, but I am not sure what the deal was. It seemed like the same form). You then go through the gate and down to baggage claim. On the furthest left side was the desk for Animals. Then lady got her dog than her bags. Not sure what happened next, but for us once we had our bags we then went through the second and last part of customs. We then went to the ANA desk (our new flight carrier) and re-checked our bags and then went to the gate.

  110. I’m in the process of planning my flight to Okinawa, and I was wondering how much of a layover I will need at my first stop (most likely Tokyo or Osaka) to take care of my dog and customs? I was also wondering if someone could describe the exact process from getting off the plane in Tokyo/Osaka to walking out of the airport with my dog in Naha. This is my first time flying internationally AND my first time flying with a dog.

    Basically- where do I go first after I get to Tokyo? Do I meet my dog at the Animal Quarantine Service desk or at the baggage claim? Then, how does he get from there to my connecting flight? And after my connecting flight, where do I pick him up in Naha?

    I just want to make sure that I have an idea of what’s going on so that when I step off the plane in a completely new country, I’m not entirely overwhelmed and running around like a crazy woman.

  111. Randi — had another thought: not ALL of the flights from the mainland to Okinawa were allowed to take XL kennels. Some of the planes are too small (?), so check into that with JAL or whoever you are flying onto here with.

  112. My dog weighed in at 100lbs herself. It can be done but you have to fly on only a couple of airlines — which can be a NIGHTMARE with Sato. If I remember correctly, United is the ONLY one that will allow XL kennels (which is what my dog needed) — and that is as cargo, not as excess baggage. Which means a huge expense usually. It was worth it for me, but not everyone feels that way. Also on the “hop” from the mainland to Okinawa, they also have to go as cargo — that part was supposed to be about $250 for us, but at the last minute, the attendants just let my husband go with her as excess baggage — but I wouldn’t count on that.

  113. I have one more question. Is there a weight limit on shipping dogs to Okinawa? I was doing some reading on a military website that said if the dog plus the crate were 100lbs or over it will not be shipped. I was just wondering considering my dog is over 80lbs. Thanks everyone.

  114. Just answering a few of my own questions, in case it helps anyone else coming over:

    If you happen to be lucky enough to go straight from Seattle to Yokota AB & then Kadena AB, the Advance Notification is not required. It’s only needed if you’re going through an off-base airport.

    If you have to get a health certificate through a USDA vet (our base’s only vet was on maternity leave), be prepared to pay quite a lot for a piece of paper. Nobody bothered to tell me it was $80 when I called them to make sure the *one* person qualified would be there (before I drove an hour one-way). The AMC counter in Seattle didn’t even look at the thing (I was disgusted with how uninformed and unorganized they were).

    Karing Kennel’s boarding facility is pretty nice for cats. Each kennel has 3 separated areas: a large area with a shelf & the food/water dishes, a “bed” area, and a litter box area. I didn’t think to take pictures, but other than being a little attention-starved, the cats are pretty well off. There’s no “official” visiting area for the cats, but you can take them into the Exam rooms and spend some time with them.

  115. Hi and Happy 2008!

    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.

    PCsing with a dog;

    You have to follow the sequence or the pet will automatically be quarantined for 6 months.

    1- Microchip
    30 days – 1 year

    2- Rabies shots
    complete history of two vaccinations

    3- FAVN blood draw

    4- FAVN Test Results
    must be 0.5 IU/ml (if not revaccinate start again)

    5- Advance Notification to the Port of Entry
    Advance notification form can be obtained –

    Port of entry form at;

    I filled out my form and faxed it into the port we flew into. Then I received a call from Japan and they asked me additional questions. It was emailed to me fairly quickly after that.

    6- Obtain a health certificate within 10 days of arrival into Japan. I recommend a military veterianrian, they will fill out form MDJ OP 229.

    For compelte instructions visit;

    We kenneled our dog at Karing Kennels, but some people offer in home care if needed. You can visit, some people advertise sometimes in their classifieds.

    Good Luck!

  116. Hey everyone! My husband and I will be arriving on the island in February, hopefully along with our dog. I have no idea where to begin on how to get our dog there. Is it better to go to the vet on base or off? Our regular vet is off base. Also, does it matter what order things are done? Our dog had his very first rabies vaccination a little over 6 months ago, and received his microchip this past December. The confusion is driving me nuts…..please help!

  117. okay i put Tokyo as my arrival but okinawa as my final destination, i just got my approval today and it says he will have to do 12 hours
    *After arrived at Narita airport, go to Animal Quarantine
    Service Counter before custom clearance. When the documents are completed, the quarantine period becomes the shortest within 12 hours*
    but our connecting flight to Okinawa is in 2 hours.

  118. Hey Alana. Write Okinawa down as your final destination. I think I may have put Camp Foster down so they knew our cat was going to a military base. But, I honestly can’t remember now. Make sure to include your email address though on the documents before you fax them over. That’s how I got my final comfirmation. Oh and I forgot to tell you…even after all of the trips to the mil. vet and a local vet, the USDA vet still had to fix some of the paperwork for me. Some of the dates and addresses were aparently wrong, so thank goodness for them! That could have been a significant hold up!

  119. Hi Alana. We had the same problem. I spent a couple of days at the local base vet trying to get them to explain everything to me. They are the best at walking though the steps with you. I heard that you can contact the state USDA office (their numbers are listed on the USDA website) and let them know that you’re overnighting the paperwork to them and that you need it overnighted back (on your dollar). I didn’t know that so I made the lady that booked our flights at SATO give us a lay over in LA (there’s a USDA vet like a couple of blocks away from LAX) and I took a taxi down there and had them stamp everything. It was a pain and I think the lady at SATO hates us, but we had no choice. We got orders a month before my husband was supposed to report for duty so everything was rushed. We also drove from CA to Ohio before we left to say goodbye to family so I totally understand your issue. If I were you I’d call the USDA vet in your home state and explain the issue and I’m sure they’d be more than happy to help you. Good luck! I hope this helps!:)

  120. We will be arriving in Okinawa in early February, with our cat, i am having problems with the USDA health certificate, can anyone talk me through this? everything i have found says there is basically one certifying official in each state and we will be driving cross country before our move, our last stop is 7 hours from any official and our flight is on a monday morning. i just dont know how i will get certificate dated within 7 days of our flight.

  121. The military has some sort of agreement with the Animal Quarantine Services. That is why the rules are so strict for quarantine in the home (they can only go out of the house to go to the bathroom). So don’t be worried about that.

    The best thing is to get your ducks in a row. For instance, I thought I would only have 3 months left for my dog’s quarantine, but because she had been late on a rabies vaccine 3 years earlier, they had to start her time over when we arrived. So, just make sure you cross your t’s & dot your i’s!!

  122. This post has made me breathe a lot easier about bringing my dog to Okinawa, but I’m still a little nervous about the process. My husband and I are PCSing to Torii Station in March, and our dog is only 6 months old. We’re going to start the vaccination process this month when we have him neutered and microchipped, so when we get to Okinawa he’ll still have at least 3 months of quarantine left.

    We’d been planning to leave him with family, until I saw this post. If I could keep him at home or even at a kennel nearby, that’s much better than leaving him in the States. But I’m still nervous and afraid that when I get to Japan, something will have changed and I won’t be able to leave the airport with him. The Animal Quarantine Services’ website expressly states that your pet has to be quarantined in an AQS facility, so why is it different for military? Will they still let me leave if he has so much time left for quarantine?

  123. I know I sound terrible and I hate to be the bearer of bad news but if people are breaking the quarantine rules, it is best if they don’t tell anyone since it will only make it harder for those moving pets here in the future. It says right on our paperwork that the fact that we are allowed to keep pets in quarantine at home on base is a priviledge that Japanese Govt provides and they can take it away at any time if people are violating the quarantine. It would suck if in the course of trying to help people reading this blog, someone accidentally ended up making the system harder than it already is.

    On another note, I did have my cat at Karing Kennels for 5 weeks and she did fine. The kennels are much larger than they used to be and she seemed to be fed and treated very nicely. I visited her as much as I could (hours allowing) and for the price, I thought it was very reasonable. I would recommend that if you are coming during the high PCS season, you have a person (sponsor or not) make reservations for you based on when you are going to arrive. I think you can only make reservations with them 60 days out but it is worth it to not be unsure where you are going to put them when you first arrive. A lot of the hotels off base are complying with the military requirements and not allowing pets anymore so the kennel was nice back up for us.

    I didn’t think the hoops we had to jump through in the states before bringing her were that bad…would have been nice to get orders out early enough that we could have completed quarantine there but oh well.

  124. Good point, Mishka. You’re right. Not sure I would do the same thing again BUT I did keep him in my house and he only went in our yard for the duration of the quarantine. Not by the book but I was careful not to be out and about in ANY form.

  125. Hansen doesnt have housing for married military. They all get housing on Courtney/McT(40 min. commute from McT to 7th Comm, which is the North end of Hansen) or Shields(not sure the commute). Depending on the kid situation you could get a tower which doesnt allow dogs. Good news is there isnt a lot of towers this way and if there isnt kids they have 2 bedrooms that you can have dogs in(towers are all 3 bedrooms) or if you rate 4 bedrooms you are guaranteed a house that you can have a pet at also

  126. I pcs’d twice to Okinawa with my lab-mix dog, Midori. She’s actually from Okinawa. Karing Kennel is excellent. They are total dog nuts and your pets will be well taken care of. Also, they are WAY cheaper than any kennel in the USA. WAY cheaper. If you have 2 dogs, and have them in the same kennel, you get a discount on the 2nd dog. I don’t have cats, but I’ve seen the cat section at the kennel and they are also well-cared for. For my 2nd tour in Okinawa, I had Midori at Karing Kennel and then stayed at the Shogun to be near her. I played with her 5-6 days a week, and when her quarantine was over I took her off base to swim in the Ocean, then hosed her off at Karing Kennel before dropping her off for the night. We did this for 6wks until my apartment was ready (I rented a new one waiting for inspection). Midori also stayed at Karing Kennel when I went home to the states for 2mos. Again, they treated her well and she loved going there (except she missed me). It’s a good sign when your dog wags when you pull up.

    If you stay off-base in a hotel temporarily, the Hamagawa allows pets. I know it was nasty 2yrs ago with linoleum dating in the 80’s, but they were renovating, so I’m sure it’s nice now. The only problem with that is they’re over $100/day and you have to front the money before being reimbursed.

  127. When you get to the “port of entry” (first place you land in Japan, usually Tokyo Narita or Osaka Kansai) the dog/cat & you will be checked by the quarantine people — all the paperwork, etc. They will determine at that time how much time you have left. Then after your next flight down to Okinawa you just walk out of the airport with your dog and take them to the kennel on base (or wherever you’ve made arrangements). As mentioned, you have to check in with the vet in the next 24 hours or so and they give you the “they can’t go outside except to go to the bathroom” speech and then you’re basically free to go. You check in with them once a month and then have to go to be “released” from quarantine. But the dog/cats/parakeets are with you at your home the whole time (or at the kennel if you are still in TLA or whatever.)

    But I would highly suggest getting the Japanese “approval” paper ahead of time. That just took a LOAD off my mind — I worried they’d make us fly back home or whatever. I faxed them the paperwork with the FAVN titer results and they emailed me back the approval form so that I KNEW we were ok before we even landed in Japan. Their info at the Osaka airport is:

    Animal Qurantine Service  (Akiko FUKUSHIMA)
    Kansai airport branch
    TEL : +81-72-455-1956
    FAX : +81-72-455-1957
    E-mail :
    website :

    BTW, I would suggest flying into Osaka Kansai airport if you can cuz then you don’t have to change airports with the animal (when you fly into Tokyo Narita you often have to change to Tokyo Haneda which is an hour away and I’ve heard that the bus doesn’t allow dogs?? Can anybody comment on this??). We had a TERRIBLE time getting SATO to book us through Osaka — in the end they would only do it for my husband, so he flew with the dog and I flew with the kids into different airports! (We also were bringing a very large dog so maybe that made a difference.)

  128. Yes, don’t worry, as long as you have all your paperwork ready, they will release your dogs to you! Then you need to take them to the Vet on base within 2-3 days. They will ask you if you have a place on base to quarantine them, if you say “yes”, they don’t ask any further questions. I was really nervous about this whole process, but it is much easier than it sounds and the quarantine facility at Narita Airport is very helpful and will answer any questions you have via email in advance.

  129. We are leaning towards living off base, and having our dogs stay with my parent for the majority of their “quarantine” period back in the states. Like Mereditz, my dogs will have approx 1 month left of quarantine time when they arrive in Japan.

    How does the customs process work? I always assumed that after customs, they were sent by “official” means to a kennel to ride out the rest of their quarantine. Is that incorrect? Are they released directly to you and “assumed” that you’ll take them to a kennel facility?

    Man, if we could get around that extra month of quarantine, that would be awesome. I’m going to miss my pups enough already. πŸ™

  130. The fences aren’t mandatory to install, but I felt so bad having my dog on a cable, plus it was a pain to put him on it every time he wanted to go out. I wanted him to be able to run around and relax while he was outside. I have heard that if you find housing with a fence already installed, you might be able to get the people to leave it up for you. Our house had a fence installed, but they were told to remove it before leaving – too bad, would have saved us a huge headache! I haven’t seen any housing with built in fences…all yards are completely open. What base will your husband work on? That determines which bases they will more than likely offer you housing on.

  131. I am coming with a husband, 2 kids, a dog (45 lbs) and a rat…going to Kinser so already at a disadvantage regarding housing…Harry Dog had his FAVN done 2 mths ago so that should be good, but what a parlavor! I just hope I can find something that doesn’t require me having to put a fence up! We are coming in January.

  132. We had our dog at Karing Kennels for 3 weeks when we got here and I have a friend who housed a cat and dog there while they stayed at the WestPac for 3 weeks, waiting for housing. We were all very happy with it and also visited daily. They ended up getting a house off-base, and did the quarintine from home with no problems and no one ever found out. Their cat is also indoors only and their dog is a German Shepherd, not an easy one to hide. But, like I said, they had no problems and no one ever found out. Also, your dogs will more than likely share a kennel, so that will be nice for them.

    My biggest suggestion – start the vaccination process now! It’s not that difficult once it’s all said and done, but it is time consuming (especially if you’re dealing with a civilian vet, like we did). Military vets know the process, civilian vets don’t, so you have to make sure and know the process inside-out to make sure it’s all done properly.

    Housing can be tricky. It took us 3 weeks to get housing, and we got here in March, during non-PCS season. We have a big dog, and were lucky to get a house rather than a town-house unit. Either way, you have to install your own chain-link fence with a permit from the base or the dogs must be tied up and supervised at all times when outside, and fencing here is not cheap (we got our used). We just finished our fence, it was a pain since we installed it ourselves and it was the first time we ever attempted to do so, but you can pay people to do it for a hefty price if you like. Like I said before, we have friends who chose to live off-base with their animals, and from what I hear they are very pet-friendly in town, so you shouldn’t worry about that.

    Good luck!

  133. Wow, I’m really happy to hear that Karing Kennels has a list of pet foster parents. Has anybody actually used KK for their cat?? They talk about their set-up, but there are no pictures, and no testimonials. The only sort of interaction/activity they mention at all is for dogs.

    My cat, Brago, is spoiled and a bit needy (emotionally, not medically), so I’m hesitant to put him in a kennel without knowing more about it, even if I visit often. I most likely won’t be living on base, so I can’t do home quarantine myself (I don’t want to risk someone finding out, even if he is indoor-only).

  134. I second all the paperwork hoopla — I did it 3 times with my gorgeous girl — Hawaii, England and here. The only mistake (after getting pretty good at the nonsense) that I made was that I had been late on one of her rabies vaccines in the last several years (there is no rabies in Hawaii or England so it rather slipped my mind). Because of that, even though she should have had only 3 months of quarantine to do based on the date of her titer test, her time had to “start over” when we arrived.

    But as Mereditz already stated, it is assumed you will “home quarantine” your dogs when you get on base. But she did have to stay in the kennels during the 3 weeks we were waiting for housing. The kennels are brand new and not horrific. I visited everyday (except Wed. when they close) and you can take them into a “run” area when you visit.