How to Turn My Dog's Paw Print Into a Tattoo

When your dog digs in the trash, you might want to charge him with a misdemeanor, haul him downtown and have him printed and booked, but there may be another reason you'd like his paw print. A tattoo of your dog's paw print can memorialize him forever in ink. Printing the paw is the first step, and from there you can use your imagination to create an adaptation you'll be proud to display forever.

paw print
You can memorialize your dog forever by wearing his paw print as a tattoo.
credit: Bram Janssens/Hemera/Getty Images

Prepare the Paw

Proper printing of your dog's paw isn't just about grabbing an ink pad and a piece of paper. If you're memorializing your dog's paw in the form of a tattoo, you want to afford yourself the best possible result when printing.

Clean his paw well with a washcloth or pet wipe, making sure not to leave any lint behind when you're done. Make sure you clean between his pads to remove any debri.

He'll also need a proper pedicure so his nails don't interfere with printing the pads of his feet. Trim his nails properly prior to printing him or visit your groomer to make sure his paws are in tiptop shape. If your dog has a lot of fur around his pads, a visit to his groomer might be in order, as this fur should be removed so it doesn't interfere with his paw print.

Creating the Print

Once your dog's paw is prepped, it's time to create his print. You can use a nontoxic paint and brush and carefully paint his pads, or you can choose a nontoxic ink pad. If you choose the ink pad, press his paw into the ink or roll the ink onto his pads. You may want to use the buddy system for this step so that someone is holding him, preventing his paw print from smearing if he tries to fidget or pull away. Speak calmly and never scold your dog if he appears frightened or reluctant. Use treats so that he sees this activity as something positive. Once you have the paint or ink on your dog's paw, press it firmly onto a sheet of clean white paper. You may want to make several prints so that you can choose the best print once you review your results.

Designing Your Tattoo

Once you've printed your dog's paw print, you can head off to your favorite tattoo artist, or you may want to add something to the print to finalize your design. The options are unlimited. You may choose to incorporate your dog's name into your tattoo, his date of birth, or perhaps a heart if your dog has already passed. You can visit an online tattoo design website for ideas and tips on designing your own personal dog paw print tattoo.

The Tattoo Process

Choose a reputable tattoo artist to complete your tattoo. Present your design or ask your artist to embellish upon the paw print and create your design for you. The final design is a called a flash. Your artist can use a flash machine to increase or reduce the size of your design. Prior to visiting your tattoo artist, educate yourself on the risks and precautions of tattoo art.