Thinking of getting a new furry companion but don’t know where to start? What is it like having pets in Japan and what is the process of adoption? Do you want to get something other than dogs or cats? Then read this article to learn more!
What You Need To Know About Having Pets in Japan
You might not be aware of the fact that there are more pets in Japan than children! According to a report in 2021, there were 17 million children and about 20 million pets including dogs, cats, rodents, and other types of pets combined! With this in mind, it can be a bit surprising especially because a lot of rental apartments do not allow pets in Japan, but if you are interested to know more, then let’s jump right in and learn more on what it entails to keep one as a pet. If you already have a non-human companion that you want to bring to Japan, then check this article for more information.
Consult With Your Real Estate Agent
A lot of rental apartments or homes have a policy of not allowing the tenants to keep pets, or have a certain requirement such as prohibiting dogs or cats only but with some exceptions in mind such as fish, certain types of reptiles, or small rodents like hamsters and degus.
Some apartments allow dogs or cats to be taken as pets as long as the tenant ensures to pay all of the damages that may be caused by the animal before moving out. There is also usually a charge of another month’s rent as a pet deposit. You can ask your agent about this in more detail about the company’s terms and conditions.
Check if there is an Animal Clinic Near You
It is important to check if there are veterinary clinics near your area that cater to the type of pet you have. If you own a dog or a cat, this might not be a problem. If you have more exotic pets such as rabbits, chinchillas, sugar gliders, or turtles, then it is best to check if there is an exotic pet-savvy clinic near you in case of emergencies. Most clinics are only open until 5 PM and have reservation-only policies so make sure to book in advance.
If it is your first time having a pet, please try to have all their necessary vaccinations up to date. Dogs and cats are strongly required to be neutered and spayed as well as microchipped. Almost all dogs in Japan are registered with the government so do your research beforehand if your job or lifestyle allows you to regularly care for one.
Get An Animal Health Insurance
A lot of vet clinics require pets to have private insurance as this can give you a big discount for special cases and emergencies as well as for registration purposes. Anicom is one option you could consider that offers health insurance for pets from dogs to sugar gliders and other animals for less than 5,000 yen a month.
Find a Pet Store Near You
There are a lot of privately owned pet stores across Japan that sell exclusive types of animals to those that sell everything like ferrets and imported birds. Do some research to see if there is a store that sells all the food supplies, toys, vitamins, litter, and more that your pet needs! Kojima is a famous pet franchise store that sells not only the pets themselves but also all of their needs down to collars and heating pads. If you can shop online, you can also have them delivered to you if you shop through Amazon or Rakuten for your regular perishable needs.
Buying a Pet
It is no secret that pet stores in Japan are notorious for selling pets for unbelievably high prices. A certain breed of dog like a Chihuahua can cost up to 500,000 yen in total including vaccinations, toys and supplies, food, and microchip. The same can be said for specific breed of cats that are valued at almost the same price. Most pet stores allow the buyers to pay on a monthly basis provided that you have a credit card with enough credit limit and that the insurance company approves your application.
If you would like a cheaper and fluffy alternative that you can cuddle with, rabbits can cost from 10,000 to 40,000 depending on the breed of rabbit. These types of exotic animals need a lot of care and their diet can be very different from your usual pet so make sure to do enough reading and research before adding a new member to your family. You can usually get all the paperwork done in 2-3 hours and will be out of the shop with your new member of the home. Check out this website if you want to look into their roster of pets available for grabs!
Adopt; Don’t Shop!
The best way to have pets is always to adopt as there are so many wonderful and loving creatures out there just waiting for their forever home and family! Adopting in Japan may take more time than in other countries, as there is a process for adopting. However, it can also be a little more difficult for a lot of foreigners who are trying to adopt a pet.
Many shelters and adoption centers require you to sign up through their website and include a lot of essential information from the years in your visa to your monthly salary and hours you can spend with a pet if given the chance. It could take a week or more to hear back and in many cases, applications can be denied at the discretion of the center. In some cases, the staff of the center will come to your house to evaluate your living situation or allow a trial period of a week to see how fit you are as a pet parent.
Some municipal wards and cities in Japan host a meet and greet for pets and prospective owners who are keen on getting to know more about the pets from their foster parents. If you are successful, however, the good news is that the pets are usually free and you only have to pay around 20,000-50,000 for the adoption fee that includes all the tests and medical procedures. Many of the pets are usually fully examined medically, fixed, and given proper vaccinations as well as their complete medical records. A well-known animal rescue in Tokyo is ARK so check their website out if you live in the area.
Look Into Pet Hotels For Your Vacation Trips
There may be instances that may need you to be away for a few days or even weeks to visit friends and family or go on a business trip in which you cannot bring your pet with you. It is important to shop for good pet boarding centers or pet hotels to see if their facilities, services, and budget align with your expectations. Check out some websites that also do pet sitting or dog walking for you at a specific cost. The usual range for a dog or a cat per night is from 5,000 to 10,000 yen. For other pets, it can be entirely of different pricing. If you want to know more about pet siting or housesitting, this article is a great read!
Visit A Pet Café And Play With The Animals
Japan has all kinds of pet café’s ranging from dogs, cats, and rabbits to owls! If you think you don’t have the means to own a pet just yet or if you are not planning to stay in Japan for too long, it is better to just mingle with the pets without the responsibility of being an owner. You get all the perks without the worries and constraints that a typical owner has. Some cat cafes are also adoption centers and many of the cats are up for adoption and waiting for the right owner to walk through the door. If you would like to get to know a furry friend first without fully committing, try to visit the café and get to know one of the residents that you may fall in love with too much and decide to take home for good.
So that is practically all you need to know if you are ready to have babies, just not little humans of your own. There are so many pets looking for a home in the shelters so please make it a priority if you do decide on getting one as your new best friend.