Pet tattoos—airbrushed designs most commonly created with a stencil and non-toxic dye especially made for animals—are a growing trend, according to the National Association of Professional Creative Groomers (NAPCG). The practice is an off-shoot of specialty or creative grooming, such as transforming a pet into a panda or other exotic creature, that emerged about three years ago, says the organization's president, Amy Brown. Creative groomers, the NAPCG has offered certification for about a year, know that specific dyes safe for pets must be used, Brown told USA Today.
A typical “tattoo” starts at $10 and can go as high as $20 or more depending on design intricacy and colors. An online store, pet-ink.com, offers do-it-yourself kits, including Hello Kitty, John Deere tractor and Rolling Stones mouth-type logos starting at $6.99. The technique works best on animals with white or light-colored fur, and designs gradually wash out over time. According to USA Today, tattoos are part of a growing pet grooming industry where a standard cut, wash and nail trim no longer will do. Groomers routinely offer teeth cleaning, mouthwash and spa treatments complete with blueberry facials and pedicures as services, part of an estimated $52 billion Americans will spend on their pets this year, according to the American Pet Products Association.
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