Japanese Scientists Develop Quick and Painless Tattoos for Pet Identification

13 January 2024

Microneedle patches offer a simpler and less invasive alternative to traditional pet identification methods.

Losing a beloved pet can be a heart-wrenching experience for any owner. While tags and microchips are commonly used for pet identification, they are not foolproof. Tags can fall off, and microchips can migrate out of place. In a bid to improve pet identification methods, Japanese scientists from The University of Tokyo have developed a novel approach using quick and painless tattoos.

Microneedle patches revolutionize pet tattooing

Traditional pet tattoos are time-consuming, invasive, and require general anesthesia for the animal. To simplify the process, researchers turned to microneedle patches. These patches consist of a small, flat piece of material with tiny, sharp, medication-filled studs on the underside. The main patch is made of a nontoxic polymer, while the needles are made of a substance that harmlessly dissolves within the body.

Hyaluronic acid and tattoo ink for pet identification

The scientists at The University of Tokyo developed microneedles less than 1 mm in length made of hyaluronic acid, a naturally occurring substance in the body. These microneedles were loaded with nontoxic black tattoo ink. The needles were arranged on each patch in a dot-matrix pattern, forming alphanumeric characters.

Successful tattooing on rats

In tests performed on rats, the microneedle patches were used to tattoo alphanumeric characters onto bare skin. After a month, the characters remained clearly visible to the naked eye. This promising result suggests that the technology could be effective for long-term pet identification.

See also  Microneedling Before And After Pictures

Potential applications beyond pets

While the focus of this research is on pets, the technology has broader implications. It could be used for identifying livestock and tracking wildlife. The quick and painless nature of these tattoos makes them a viable option for various animal species.

Further research and future possibilities

Although the initial results are promising, further research is needed to assess the long-term durability and safety of these microneedle tattoos. If successful, this technology could revolutionize the way pet identification is conducted. Additionally, scientists at Georgia Tech are already exploring the possibility of using microneedle patches to tattoo humans.


Japanese scientists from The University of Tokyo have developed a groundbreaking method for pet identification using quick and painless tattoos. By utilizing microneedle patches loaded with nontoxic tattoo ink, they have successfully tattooed alphanumeric characters onto the skin of rats. This technology has the potential to improve pet identification methods, as well as aid in identifying livestock and tracking wildlife. Further research is required, but the future looks promising for this innovative approach to pet identification.

See Your Business Here!

Add Your Local Med Spa Business Listing Today!