If you’re starting to live in Japan and getting settled, some of you may want to start owning a pet as the next step. Of course, pet animals are life-changing creatures. Having one can actually make a difference in your life wherever you are in the world. However, you may worry about some of the rules getting a pet may entail. Like every other country, having a pet is no easy feat. It requires diligence, responsibility and most of all – commitment.
Questions like which pet shop should I go to? How about the pet insurance? The budget and expenses for pet food? Can I raise a pet in all apartments and mansion here in Japan? Does the size of the pet matter? These are just some of the most frequently asked questions by some potential pet owners.
Having a pet can make a drastic change in your life. They become your family and irreplaceable for you. But before anything else, here are 5 steps you should know before getting a pet in Japan. After you learn these certain rules, you might just be ready to have your own adorable pet after answering these simple questions.
What kind of pet can I raise in Japan?
If you’re still thinking about what kind of pet you will get, the most common kind that comes to your mind first might be cats or dogs. But there are many other popular animals you can raise here in Japan and it’s totally legal and acceptable. This are to name a few:
Shiba dogs, Toy poodle, etc.
Dogs are very popular in Japan. If you choose medium breeds, you can raise them quite easier than giant breeds. Also, most dogs in Japan are not that noisy so make sure that you also train your dog to behave well.
American Short-hair, Russian Blue, etc.
There are many exotic beautiful and adorable cats you can get as pets.
Golden Hamster, Dzungarian Hamster, etc.
They are tiny and cute with their facial expressions and they are not a high-maintenance kind of pet. They also will not take up big spaces in your apartment and will not need maximum attention all the time. Just as long as you feed them daily and give them water to hydrate.
Parrot, Owl, Lovebirds etc.
Birds are very genius that they can remember what you say. You can also enjoy them singing. They are also easier to take care of and minimal hassle as you raise them.
Two-headed bearded dragon, Sudan plated lizard, etc.
Isn’t this amazing? You can raise them as a pet here in Japan. Lizards are tough and live quite long lives for 10-30 years depending on what kind of breed you get.
If you have your own house, you can have any kinds of pet above 1-5, however,
if you’re living in Japan with rental apartments, mansions or condo, dogs or cats are much easier to keep.
Ok, Where can I get a pet?
If you have decided which kind of pet you’re getting then you are ready to take the next step which is where to get them. Here are 4 ways to get one:
You can find many pet shops in Japan. There you can find dogs, cats, hamsters, birds, lizards, fish, etc. Visit several different pet shops and you may find the one you love. You can check pet shops in Shinjuku and Shibuya area.
There are dog breeders in Japan, but not so easy to find them everywhere. If you’re looking for a dog, you first need to check the internet and try to search what specific dog you want to have. Dog breeders are specialists when it comes to certain dogs so you need to find breeder you want to consult with. You can try finding one in this list.
In the middle of conversation with your friends, maybe you’ll find out that one of your friends are looking for someone who can raise their puppies or kittens. People normally can’t keep 3 or 5
more pets so they would ask other people if they need one.
Recruit as foster parent
Mainly for dogs and cats but you can find this offering on the internet. People who can’t raise their own pets for any reason (Ex/ transfer abroad, pet owner got old and don’t have enough energy to raise pets, etc.), they ask people to adopt their own pets.
What are the pet rules at apartments or mansions?
If you’re renting an apartment, mansion or condo in Japan especially in the vicinity of Tokyo, first you need to check the rental agreement before you get a pet. Normally landlords accept only small dog or cat. Check the contract since you may need to inform the landlord what kind of pet you’re going to have and need permission. According to the contract, there may be an extra fee you must cover in case of any scratch or damage on the floor and wall. Additionally, barking rules and sanitary conditions to keep pets are also observed around the neighbourhood.
Is pet insurance required?
There are 3 different types of pet insurance such as follows:
- ☆Health Insurance
- ☆Life Insurance
- ☆Damage Insurance.
It depends on the landlord, you may need to pay extra fee for pet insurance fee every month if you get a pet. The major insurance type the landlord requires from you for payment is the Damage insurance. Pets have the possibilities of scratching the wall, bite or lick the furniture, or make a mess in the house, etc.In case of extensive damage your pets may cause, you need to take advantage of the damage insurance. The average payment for pet insurance is 460 yen～1,000 yen.
Can I travel together with my pet?
Sometimes you want to go out travelling for vacation like a plan for few days in an onsen trip at Nagano or few weeks in Hawaii. What are you going to do with your pets at home? Is there any way you can have a pet-sitter? Here are 3 ways as an option:
Take your pet with you
If you have a dog or cat and planning to go out for camping by car, you can take them with you personally. However, if you need to go by plane, then you need to check with the airline if your pet can fly with you. Some airlines don’t accept pets depending on the animal or breed of dogs.
Leave your pet at the pet hotel
There are many pet hotels in Japan and the price is different depending on size. The price is also different for each pet hotel so you need to search first.
- ☆Small Breeds: 3,000 yen
- ☆Medium Breeds: 4,000 yen
- ☆Large Breeds: 5,000yen
You must be careful when the price goes up especially for peak seasons like Golden Week, Obon holiday and New Year holidays.
Ask your friends to take care of them
If you have a friend who also have pets and are willing to take care of your pet, you’re really lucky. It’s not very easy to watch after your pets all the time while you’re away. So make sure to compensate them when you get back, either through gifts or souvenirs as a sign of your gratefulness.