Q&A: Finding a Vet and Pet-sitters in Japan

I'm looking to all of you experienced pet owners living in Japan for some help with this one. We don't have any pets and I know some of you do and probably have some good advice or suggestions. What do you know about going to the vet here in Japan (anywhere in the country), and where do you take your pets when you go on vacation or need someone to watch them for a little while?

Q: For us folks in the 'burbs (we're about two hours northwest of Tokyo via train/subway or car), can you assist with recommendations about pets??

We drove our two 50 lb dogs into Tokyo to the Japan Veterinary Medical Group and had a great experience with a (very fluent) English-speaking vet last Saturday -- basically just a meet-greet to develop a relationship should we need one in a hurry. Sano-Sensei was great - I would certainly recommend. That said... it sure would be nice to not have to drive them two hours to the vet, AND both of us go so one could literally drive around in circles due to parking shortage. Any knowledge of vets in the rest of the country?

On a related note... pet sitters? We'll go back to the States every year for a few weeks. Most of the 'home centers' (Cainz, Super Viva) have 'pet hotels' here (as best we can tell, no one here knows what a 'kennel' is), but for pups over 20kg, it's prohibitively expensive (like, well over US$130/day for them both -- over twice what we paid for a great kennel in the US -- and they're not 'big' dogs). Finding someone we'd trust to enter our home (or just stay here) two to three times a day and feed, water, potty the pups. Have you by chance run across any of those types of services, or folks looking to just make extra money doing that occasionally - in the outlying areas?

(That said, is anyone remotely near Ashikaga who might want to earn some extra money looking after a couple of larger playful dogs around the last two weeks of November??)


A: Over to you. What do you know and/or suggest? I'll add your answers below. Thanks! -Ashley

TokyoVeggie said:

Finding a (GOOD!) vet is incredibly difficult. In the Kanagawa area, for example, there are a lot of pet clinics, but we immediately ruled out 4 due to how dirty the offices were. Also, you have to make sure that the vet actually knows about your type of animal. In this case, it would be best to ask Sano-sensei if he/she knows anyone in your area. Another idea is to Google Ashikaga, Japan, and then visit each vet one by one until you find one that you like/can communicate with.
For pet sitters, we always use www.petsitter.co.jp. I just looked it up and they do have a certified pet sitter in Askikaga! Unfortunately, the website is only in Japanese, but we have had excellent experiences with using the sitters on that site, so I really recommend it over letting someone with no certification watch your pets, especially if you will be out of the country. When I return to the States, it is nice to know that my pets will be taken care of even in case of a disaster or an emergency. And the sitters we have found on that site emailed us updates every day.
Hope that helps!

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