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Please bear in mind when reading topics pertaining to health issues, that most of these questions were answered by helpful Maltese owners with no formal education in veterinary medicine. When in doubt seek a professionals advise.
Archived Message
by Mary

tattooing Would like to get my 9 month old maltese tattooed. I travel alot and have started to show her. My problem is I don't want to traumatize her. Can anyone let me know how their dogs reacted to this?
Mary - When my puppies are 5 - 6 months old, I routinely have their remaining puppy teeth pulled. They are anesthtisized for this and I have them tattooed and microchipped at the same time. The first time I tattooed my dogs, we did it without any anesthesia and they didn't like it but it didn't really seem to bother them. Some of the numbers were difficult to read due to their squirming though. Now the identification is real easy.
Good question Mary,this is a subject that I am also interested in. Tattoing vs. MicroChip implants.... I have heard that the chip can "float" and have heard that tattoo's can be altered!
Leslie R.
There are two basic types of tattoo mechanisms - the "ear crimp" and the "tattoo gun". Both sound harsh and unpleasant - but neither is all that bad. The ear crimp is probably easier for a novice to use themselves but generally less legible than the "gun". Also, and I know this sounds horrible, an ear can be surgically removed if someone was intent on eliminating the identification of a dog they "appropriated" - there are documented cases of this. The "gun", with the needle depth set to an appropriate level for the extremely thin sensitive skin of a Maltese. is "our" identification mechanism of choice. We place the tattoo on the underside of the dog - on the side of its belly near the rear legs. This is the same type of device used to administer human tattoos and has all the flexibility for personalized identification. Many use the AKC number, some a kennel ID plus a number, and others use their own social security number. We use a kennel ID system as we want it as short in length as possible and often only put three characters - very tiny ones, on the dogs. While this may not assist someone to locate us if the dog got "loose" - it does positively identify the dog should it become necessary to prove ID or ownership.

The overall experience is not that traumatic on the dog - we administer a topical anestitic in advance and then antibiotic cream afterward to ward off infection. It heals quickly and the dog still loves you after it is over.
Larry Stanberry Divine Maltese

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