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Tattoo Ideas for Pet Portraits

Tattoo Ideas for Pet Portraits

The popularity of pet portrait tattoos is on the rise. After all, our fur babies are family and we often want a way to memorialize the love we have for them. Celebrities such as Miley Cyrus, Rihanna, and Justin Bieber have all gone under the needle to honour their beloved pets. So it’s not altogether surprising that people are more likely to get a picture of their pet tattooed on their skin as opposed to getting the name or face of a significant other. Who can blame them? Unlike your ex, a pet is forever loyal, faithful, and loves you for who you are no matter what. They look past your imperfections and love you unconditionally. That being said, there are some things to consider before getting Fido or Fluffy permanently placed on your body. This guide will walk you through the ins and outs of pet portraits and what to expect. As always, if you happen to be in the greater Toronto, Markham, Mississauga or Kitsilano area and are interested in learning more about getting your own pet portrait inked, give us a call, drop us a line or drop by one of our conveniently located shops.

What The Experts Say About Pet Tattoos

So you have decided to honour your pet with their likeness in a tattoo. That’s lovely and a great way to always remember them. But before running into your local tattoo shop and jumping into the chair, you should know what some of the experts advise on the matter. At Chronic Ink and Tattoo, our team of highly trained, skilled and dedicated tattoo artists have worked on countless portraits over the course of their career. This experience has provided them with unique insight into what does (and does not) work well when inking pets. For example, intricate single-needle techniques involve extensive and precise handwork, but results can be absolutely stunning, revealing an ultra-realistic likeness of your pet. The first step once you’ve found the right artist, is to provide a clear picture of your pet. Multiple pictures can be helpful for better understanding proportions and sizing as well as shading. Many artists suggest a minimum of three images taken from differing angles is ideal. This better enables the artist to create a true to life rendering that most accurately reflects the real thing. Be sure the tattoo artist you use has a lot of experience and is skilled enough to capture your pet’s semblance accurately. Don’t be afraid to ask to see samples of past work. Any respectable artist will have a portfolio of past work you can view. Other tattoo artists advise that you try to come up with a unique design for your pet tattoo. It can look a little funny if you have only the head of your pet inked on your arm. The image can look out of place and draw attention away from the actual art. Some experts advise taking the time to come up with a background, or design, that will help adequately display your pet.

How to Come up with a Design

It’s okay to admit that you may not be the most creative when it comes to conceptualizing different designs for your pet tattoo. Don’t worry, this is a task often best carried out in tandem with your tattoo artist. Even if you have a rough idea in mind your artist can help you figure out shading, style, type, placement and more. Any good artist is going to sit down a sketch a few rough options for you so that you can get a better idea of what to expect before anything permanent is set in store (or skin as it were). Many common designs include full busts of the pet, while others are “headshots”. Maybe instead of getting just your cat’s head, have a portrait done of them laying on their back drinking your favourite beer. Feel free to get creative and break the mould of the regular “portrait”. Perhaps capture them in their favourite pose or with their favourite chew toy. A tattoo design is only limited by your imagination. Having your pet portrayed in clothing or as part of a famous work of art is another great way to remember them. Just because your artist recommends something doesn’t mean you have to go with their idea. At the same time, at least try to be open to their suggestions. A good tattoo artist is going to want you to be happy with their work. After all, their reputation is going to be on the line.

Things to Consider Before Immortalizing Your Pet

Design is one aspect of planning before getting your pet inked on you. Style, colour and placement are other key elements, which if not considered as part of the design process (either on your own or with your artist), that you’ll want to figure out.


Where you get your tattoo matters. Do you want to enjoy seeing it regularly? What size tattoo will fit in the area you’re thinking? Is the design/shape appropriate for those places? Do you anticipate that area stretching over time with weight fluctuations? Do you need to hide the tattoo when at work? Although less thought about with regards to placement, different areas of your body will hurt more, or less, when tattooed. Everyone’s pain tolerance is different, but understand that it may take hours of work to finish your design and certain places on your body, such as your ribcage, are dense with nerves and pain receptors, making them much more unpleasant to have tattooed. It is also essential to consider the placement when it comes to the aftercare of your tattoo. Having it somewhere on your body where you can keep it clean and moisturized is vital.


Before getting your tattoo, you will need to decide if you want any colours thrown in. Black and white isn’t a poor choice, but most pets have a distinct colouring that makes them unique. A pet bird, for example, is likely going to have more vibrant colours than a black cat. While still in the designing phase of your ink, consider the different options you have for colouring and shading. Artists are not limited to simple filler colours anymore. There are watercolour techniques and subtle shading that can help define your artwork and turn it into a truly unique masterpiece.

Final Thoughts

It’s amazing how attached we become to our pets. What better way to remember our creature companions than by immortalizing them on our skin. Keep in mind you should: Use an artist you trust who has experience Have lots of pictures of your pet Get creative with your design Be open to your artists creative genius And know where you want your ink Aftercare is also an important factor when getting a tattoo. Follow your artist’s aftercare instructions to assure your tattoo will heal properly. If you have a pet that has touched your life, and you are looking for a way to keep them with you forever, a pet portrait tattoo is the best way to do just that. If you happen to be in the greater Toronto, Markham, Mississauga or Kitsilano area and are interested in learning more about getting your own pet portrait inked, give us a call, drop us a line or drop by one of our conveniently located shops.

Ready to Explore Your Own Pet Tattoo?

At Chronic Ink Tattoo, our talented artists are ready to help you explore Pet and other tattoos to make sure you find something you’ll want to show off for decades to come. If you’re in the Toronto, Markham, Mississauga, Kitsilano Vancouver area drop by our shop and check us out for yourself.

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Tattoo Studio Locations

Downtown Toronto

378 Yonge Street, 2nd Floor, Toronto, Ontario M5B 1S6 Directions

Midtown Toronto

252 Eglinton Ave East, 2nd Floor, Toronto, Ontario M4P 1K2 Directions


7381 Kennedy Road, Unit #105, Markham, Ontario L3R 5B5 Directions


100 City Centre Dr., Unit #2-311, Mississauga, Ontario L5N 2C9 Directions


1804 W 4th Ave, Vancouver, British Columbia V6J 1M3 Directions

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