Social Media Mogul Mutts

Written by: Sydney Wilburn

My “Following” count on Instagram has gone up, but the number of humans on my feed has gone down– and I like it that way. I’ve recently been following more and more animal accounts on Instagram (and Facebook, though there seem to be more options on Insta). Lua the Pup and Patches the Blue Heeler pup are Blue Heeler mixes (like my dog) that have their own accounts; Lua and Patches are often featured on each others’ accounts when they get together to hang out and go hiking. Charlie Brown Golden Retriever’s photos often feature him on adventures or just hanging around the house with his fashionista (human) mom. And who can forget Marnie, the social media sensation with a tongue that can never quite stay in her mouth–or Doug the Pug, the relatable celebrity pug whose feed includes photos of him shopping, chillin at home, taking baths, or hanging with celebrities. Doug (AKA the “King of Pop Culture”) even has his own line of merchandise and is a NYT Bestseller.

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Some of my favorite Insta dog accounts:

  • Marnie (@marniethedog) 2 million followers
  • Doug the Pug (@itsdougthepug) 2.4 million followers
  • Charlie Brown (@charliebrowngoldenretriever) 245,000 followers
  • Lua (@luathepup) 32,000 followers

It seems like nowadays, anyone with a pet could set up an Instagram account and post photos of their daily life, adventures, etc. “Why would anyone do this,” some might ask. “Don’t they have a life?” To answer that question, yes, they do– who doesn’t want to post cute pictures of their dog all day and get paid for it? Yes, that’s right– these dogs’ social media managers (usually their humans) can get paid hundreds or thousands of dollars per post, if they’re sponsored by the right people and have a certain amount of followers. So, honestly, this sounds like a good enough reason to start my own dog social media account– the adventures of Petey and his two chihuahua siblings!

Petey waiting patiently to see if Puppy (yes, that’s her real name) will share her treat while Buddy expresses his frustration with not being given attention. Are we Insta-famous yet?

The reason behind this trend of dog “fashion bloggers” and “pet influencers” is the increase in the humanization of pets. Players in the pet care market (like Petco) and even in the human market saw this trend and began to take advantage of it. According to the American Pet association, pet owners spent $62.75 billion in 2016– triple the amount they were paying 20 years ago. A dog with 20,000 followers could get paid around $200 a post; 150-250,000 followers could yield about $3,000 a post, and for the true social media icons with 1 million followers could get paid $10,000 per post. PER. POST. A PHOTO OF YOUR DOG. Like I said, sounds like a pretty sweet gig– I only hope these hard-working puppers are getting a cut of that dough!

Even human brands like The Today Show and Best Western have featured animals on their social media content because they know people like to see cute little fluffs on their feed and will connect more with a company that seems approachable and lovable– just like that the little dog in the photo they just posted. The more likes, the more engagement, the more Google juice– more $$$$. It’s a smart social media tactic!



Published by

UNT Eagle Strategies

Class members of the social media class in the Mayborn School of Journalism