Every pet parent knows how important it is to find a great veterinarian. Not only for everyday care, but in case your beloved feline or canine becomes ill or injured. That means finding a new vet becomes a top priority if you’re moving, whether you’re going a hundred miles across the state or thousands of miles overseas. For example, what if you and your furry companion are relocating to Japan?
The Japanese adore dogs and cats, especially small dogs, and the country is replete with veterinarians. In fact, the Japan Times ran an article last year suggesting that there are too many vets in the small country. With 16 veterinary schools already operating, the article questioned plans to open yet another one. While there are vet shortages in some rural agricultural areas, you’ll find plenty in more urbanized areas.
So how can you locate a vet?
You may want to start this process before you even head to Japan. Identifying specific options now will give you greater peace of mind. Any of these sources can help:
- Ask your current vet if he or she has a recommendation. Vets network internationally, just like other business people, and you never who might have gone to school or attended an international conference with your vet.
- Ask pet owners who live in Japan for references. If you’re moving as a company transfer, talk to co-workers who have pets.
- Search for online expat forums. These groups can provide a wealth of information to help smooth your move – not only when it comes to recommendations about vets and where to purchase pet supplies. Expats know what it’s like to move to Japan as a foreigner, so they can give you relevant, useful “insider” tips and advice. (You can also search online to find vets in the town where you’ll be living. However, chances are very good that you’ll have to translate their website.)
- The Japanese Animal Hospital Association has an online membership directory which allows you to search by prefecture or by municipality.
Will my vet speak English?
Not necessarily. Tokyo does have a few animal hospital with English-speaking staff, including:
- Daktari, in Shirokanedai, which is a sister facility to Angell Animal Medical Center in Boston
- West Cross Veterinary Hospital, in Meguro Ward
- Small Animal Hospital, in Roppongi
You’re more likely to find an English-speaking vet in Tokyo because the city is a major international business hub. English is the language used by many foreign expats, not only those from North America or the UK.
Prepare your pet for a healthy, safe move
Aside from obtaining all the required health documents and certifications your pet will need to move to Japan, there are two other important steps you can take to ensure her health and safety:
- Register her microchip number and your contact information with Global Pet Register. Pets traveling internationally must have a microchip, but GPR is the only registry that functions worldwide. The registry directly associated with your pet’s microchip only works at home. In the event she would become separated from you wile in Japan, the additional GPR registration is your best chance for a happy reunion.
- Take some time to learn about your new environment in Japan – things that could be harmful to cats or dogs, such as dangerous wildlife and poisonous plants. While you’ll find the plant palette surprisingly familiar in Japan, there are definitely native flora that pets should avoid.
Let us handle the details
Moving internationally with pets is not simple or easy. Teaming up with experienced pet transport experts ensures every “I” is dotted and every “T” is crossed. You’ll get maximum peace of mind knowing your dear pup or kitty will have the safest, smoothest, most comfortable journey possible. And you can concentrate on finding that new vet.