How to Take a Pet’s Pawprint: 6 Tips for Success

Pawprints taken from our cherished dogs and cats can be used in artistic ways these days, from artwork on holiday cards to 14K gold pawprint keepsake charms. Capturing a pet’s pawprints provides a sweet and memorable way to pay tribute to your dog or cat. In this article, I hope to help you learn how to take a good paw print, that can be used and cherished now, as well and perhaps even moreso after your 4-legged companion has passed away.

The shape, size, and angle of each pets toes or “pads” gives them some of their distinct personality. Interestingly, dogs and cats have different numbers of toes. Dogs have 4 toes on each foot, with a larger pad at the bottom which is called the “heel” pad. Cats have 5 toes on their front paws and 4 on their back, with one larger heel pad on each paw. To begin with, examine your pet’s paws to look for any unique characteristics that you want to be sure to capture when taking the pawprint.

To take the print, first, prepare your workspace, having white or ivory paper available along with a standard ink pad (darker ink colors are best, like black, blue, or purple. You may wish to tape the paper or index card down onto the table or floor, so that it doesn’t slip when you’re making the print.

Second, clean your pet’s paw or paws with a damp cloth. You may wish to have a 2nd damp cloth or paper towels on hand for cleaning your pet’s pads after the session is over.

Third, if there is hair growing up between its toe pads, and if your pet will allow it, trim that hair. It’s important that the hair between the pads isn’t actually covering the pads or you won’t get a clean, clear print!

Fourth, using the ink pad, gently tap the ink pad on to the paw 2 or 3 times, so that the ink is lightly covering the paw’s pads.

Fifth, press your pet’s paw gently on to the paper. You may want to try practicing by making a few prints on a piece of paper or index card. Once you’re happy with the practice prints, re-ink the paw and make fresh prints on clean paper.

Lastly, gently clean the paw pads using a damp towel or cloth.

The variety of ways that paw prints can be used is growing with each passing month. I especially like framed pawprints, silver or gold pawprint charms, pet garden memorial stones, and pet scrapbooks, all widely available on-line.

Having captured your pet’s pawprints truly helps keep their memory alive. Happy printing!

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