Monday, January 22, 2007

Dog Quarantine at Narita

So prepping our dog to leave Japan was just hard as obtaining my working visa for the US. Ok, maybe not that hard but it sure took a lot of effort.
First of all this is probably useful information if you are plannning on returning to Japan with your dog. Our return date is not set yet but we went ahead and did everything possible to get back into Japan if and when we need to. So here are the things you need. I suggest everyone confirm with the Animal Quarantine Officials way before hand.

1. Rabies shot certificate. You need 2 certificates with at least 2 months intervals from each shot. You can get this from you vet when your dog gets the shots
2. Rabies serum anti-body certificate. You need to have a vet send blood samples to the MAFF testing center. The testing center will send you back the stamped certificate to your home.
3. Application letter signed by owner and vetenarian. There is a MAFF application form. I got mine at the vet.
4. Health check dated within 1 week from the day of your departure. In the middle of shipping your stuff out, saying goodby to friends, co-workers and relatives you have to take your dog to the vet one last time for a check up.
5. Certificate of microchip with ID number and injection date.

I faxed the Narita quarantine office everything about 1 month before my departure date. They will check and tell you if you are missing something or you need to make some changes in the form.

At that time, you will tell them the date and make an appointment about 3 hours before your flight. I went a 2:30pm for my 5pm flight. Everything went pretty smooth because they already had seen my papers and knew I was coming in at that time. They checked my dog with the microchip reader to see if it matches the papers and a simple check up.

They place a "Quarantined" sticker to place on the crate. We were done by 3pm. Then you take your dog out to pee for the last time before checking in.
We were flying ANA and of course you need to tell them you are bringing a dog when you purchase your ticket. You need to tell them the info on the dog, size and weight of the crate.
Dogs are placed in a pressurized compartment with aircondition. You are not allowed to go check up on your dog during the flight. Actually no one is allowed down there during the flight.

Some people drug their dogs to make them groggy but we didn't wanted to take that risk. Our dog is pretty used to staying inside his crate for a long period of time. He would probably prefer to sit underneath our chair but his crate was too big to fit. I think dogs that fit in smaller bags or crates are allowed in the cabin. He would probaby be more comfortable in his crate, although he would probably be a little scared.

So you check in your dog at the counter along with your check in luggage. Just like that. We waited until the last minute, about an hour until departure. We ran inside from the priority check in lane since we were pretty late by that time.

Only to know after we pasted customs that our plane would be delayed for one hour. At this point there is no turning back so you just have to wait and hope.

At LAX about 10 hours later, we were stuck at customs for about an hour. Visitors are stuck in a lane that lasts for ever. When we came to the luggage claim area, the crate with our dog was waiting for us next to all of the other suit cases. He looked happy to see us but we were not allowed to let him out yet. We had to go thru US quarantine.
Which takes about 2 minutes.
At Japanese quarantine, they give you a stamped and signed certificate. US quarantine just takes a copy of it for their records. That's it. Easy as that.

You go thru the lines and get out. We ran to the first grassy area and let him pee. What a relief. Despite our worries Payton took it like a man and was just fine with everything. He didn't dirty his crate in anyway. He jumped up and down just like anyday before going out on a walk. I was very proud of him. Now's he's been to 3 countries. Australia, Japan and the US. What an international dog!

No comments: