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Should You Get Your Dog Tattooed?

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The controversy rages on whether it is ethical to have your pet tattooed as a fashion statement. Over the past few years "regular" people and "celebrities" have been called out on social media and blasted for having their pets tattooed. Who can forget the case of the stunning blonde fitness fanatic and aspiring Ukrainian Instagram star Elena Ivanickaya when she decided to make her pet Sphinx cat become even more "glamorous" by having the image of a Winged Anubis – an Egyptian God – inked onto its chest.


And then there was the Brooklyn tattoo artist that tattooed his sedated dog with his wife’s name. Again, when he posted it up on social media he was hit with a firestorm of hate! Soon after the pic went viral, dog lovers frothed at the mouth.

“That is disgusting. how could you do that to a poor dog?” Twitter user @JordanBurmeis raged.

User @arodomus added: “Unfortunate the dog can’t talk. He’d have a few choice words!”

Others fired off slams such as “You make me absolutely sick” and “I hope you rot in jail!”


Okay, so why would anyone in their animal loving mind get their pet tattooed? Here are the reasons why advocates are pushing for your animal to get inked.


The Collar.

The general consensus is dogs should wear collars and tags whenever they are outside of the house or kennel and can be considered the first line of defense. Should the public encounter a dog wearing a collar, they are conditioned to look for a collar tag and the tag is an easy, concise place to record important information. However, tattoo advocates believe tags should be used in addition to another form of identification. The collar has its obvious limitations. It can come off or if the dog is stolen by someone, it will obviously be removed before the animal is sold off or dumped.


The Chip

The chip although a good way to identify your dog, however despite popular belief the chip is not a tracking device. In addition, there are up to 13 different coded chips that can only be read by that configured style of scanner. If your animal winds up in a shelter and they do no not have the corresponding scanner, your animal will not be able to be identified. A disturbing note is that some chips have been linked to cancer. . There are an alarming number of microchip-linked cancers, for example, to the point that Merck (maker of the Home Again brand chip) was sued over the potential link.

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Animal tattooing is not new, in fact it has been around since the mid-1960s within the I. D. Pet and National Dog Registry, have both been in operation since the mid-1960's while Tattoo-A-Pet joined them in 1972. The AKC, CAR (Companion Animal Registry) began in the 1990s. ID Pet sold their company to NDR in 2006.

Betty Lewis, a former animal tattooist explained that, “Tattoos are painless to apply, cosmetically acceptable when done in the groin by a skilled tattoo artist, instantly traceable, and, when an individual number is used on each dog, satisfies the AKC's requirements.”


Lewis explains further how in some cases it may be best to tattooed the dog while it is still a puppy. “Litters should be tattooed prior to sale. This protects the dogs as early as possible. It gives the breeder peace-of-mind by not having to rely on a new owner to protect the puppy. It also protects the breeder so a dog not bred by him/her cannot be returned by an unscrupulous person. Because Danes are routinely cropped, this is an excellent time to tattoo, however, anesthesia is not needed for tattooing.

“Skin varies according to the individual dog. With a dog the size a Great Dane will become, it is necessary to consider that possible stretching of the tattoo may occur with growth. Therefore, it is advisable to make the tattoo on a 7 week old puppy as small as possible. Some tattoos stretch minimally, some a little more.”


Here are some facts to take into consideration.

More than 1,000,000 pets are lost or stolen each year. Some are even sold into research firms where they are literally slowly poisoned to death.
Overcrowded animal shelters and humane societies are often forced to destroy lost pets unless they can be returned to their owners in a very short time.
Dog nappers usually release an animal they find is permanently identified but this may be miles from home.
Even though many people are willing to take a dog in before it gets to a shelter, unless they are very fortunate and the pet has a collar on, most times the pet cannot be returned to its owners.
In all of these situations, tattooing and registration protection will greatly increase your dog or cat's chances of returning home safely.


Betty answers these questions…

Does it hurt or require anesthesia?
No. The tattoo process is safe and virtually painless. It requires no anesthesia except in very special circumstances.

Is it permanent and easy to do?
Yes. The tattoo is permanent for the life of the animal. It generally takes about five minutes to apply.

Does it discourage theft?
Yes, in several ways. The tattoo, collar tag, and warning decals all tell a potential thief that what he is about to steal can be positively identified. Few wish to run the risk of being caught with readily identifiable property.

What does it cost?
The fee has two parts: application of the tattoo, and registration.
The fee for applying the tattoo varies by area of the country and the number of animals being done at one time. Inquire about the fees for your particular needs.

Here’s where to get it done...
6571 S.W. 20th Ct. Ft. Lauderdale FL 33317
Telephone: (954) 581-5834 or (800) TATTOOS (828-8667)
Fax: (954) 581-0056

AKC Companion Animal Recovery (CAR) accepts all pets that are identified with a microchip, tattoo, or the new AKC CAR collar tag. You can enroll your pet today by simply choosing to enroll online, or call 1-800-252-7894 to request an enrollment form.

NDR (National Dog Registry)
POB 51105
Mesa, AZ 85208