It’s official: social media users are paw-sitively obsessed with their pups.
A new study released by BarkBox found that dog owners post photos of or talk about their furry friends six times per week on average. Nationwide, 46.3 million households have a dog, so having a canine companion is quite common. However, it may surprise some to know that out of the 1,000 dog parents surveyed, 11% have actually created a social media account specifically for their pooch.
Some have speculated that one of the main reasons dog owners love posting these photos and videos is because we consider our pets to be part of the family. Stacie Grissom, head of content at BarkBox, noted, “In our parents’ generation, a dog may have been kept largely in the yard and you greeted it in the morning and when you came home from work. Now the dog is [on] the Christmas cards.”
In fact, BarkBox’s study found that some pup parents actually go through withdrawal when they’re away from their dogs. And like any true tech-loving millennial, these owners rely on technology to get in touch with their pets.
Around 17% of the dog owners surveyed said they’ve watched their dog on a webcam while they were away from home, and around 14% admitted they’ve Skyped or FaceTimed with their dogs. In addition, millennials are much more likely than non-millennials to engage in these behaviors. They were around 11% more likely to watch their dogs on a webcam and nearly three times as likely to Skype or FaceTime with a pet.
But for some owners, posting about a pet can provide new opportunities and a way to improve their personal branding. David Mitroff, CEO and founder of Piedmont Avenue Consulting, notes that everyone is his or her own brand ambassador on social media. For people looking to increase their popularity, especially on image-heavy platforms like Instagram, it’s common practice to post photos with pups.
Mitroff notes, “If you look at Instagram, most popular accounts have a picture of guy or girl with a cute dog, or for instance, a guy with a shirt off holding a dog.”
Some users even use their dogs to catch the eye of popular brands. Popular Instagram user @Dj4jay, who has 50.6k followers, “dressed up his dog in red and placed him in a Target shopping cart, and tagged Target in the image,” says Mitroff. The user then tagged the dog’s personal account and captioned the image, stating that Target is the dog’s favorite shopping destination.
In certain cases, posts like these are sponsored (sometimes in ways that are less than forthcoming) by the companies themselves, but Mitroff stresses that even if the business doesn’t pay you for posts like these, creating them can be to your benefit.
“It’s in your best interest to do this. You may get the brand to respond or to share. In some cases, they may even send you free products.”
Getting some free swag might serve as motivation for some, but other dog owners simply want to create a stress-free environment that’s focused on man’s best friend.
Communications strategist Elisabeth Rosario says that she created an Instagram account for her dog, Zoe, because she personally enjoys looking at pooch photos during difficult times.
“Before I adopted Zoe from Badass Brooklyn Animal Rescue, I used to follow tons of dog Instagram accounts because it made my day…in times of intense negativity or stress,” she said. “So now, when I post on [my dog’s] account I find that it is kind of a stress reliever for my friends.”
Whatever their reasons may be, one thing’s almost certain: these doggone dog photos are here to stay.