Is Your Pet A Social Media Influencer Yet?

On International Dog Day, Zee Zest dives into the growing trend of four-legged influencers on the internet.

Published On Aug 24, 2022 | Updated On Feb 22, 2024

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Pooches are the best thing on social media and there’s no way to deny it. Their funny antics leave us in splits or just make us smile, whether we’re stuck in traffic or just trying to cheer up. 

Watching them being cuddled, pranked, while sporting a range of cute outfits is a part of our daily routine now. There are very few things as adorable as watching them and it’s impossible to scroll past these videos without liking and sharing them with your peeps. But then, what draws us to them?

What is that they do to us to make our world better? When we asked people why they follow dogs on social media, we received a collective response, “They make us feel good and are the ultimate stress busters.” But that isn’t all about it, there’s more to dog videos and influencers with massive following. The world’s most followed dog on social media, Jiffpom has 9.6 million followers, followed by Doug the Pug with 3.7 million and Shinjiro Ono with 2.4 million following respectively. From their drools to their snores, everything they do is adorable and sells on social media.

According to a recent Barkbox study published in Adobe.com, 1 in 10 dog owners has created a separate profile for their dog and some of these draw more traction than their own profiles. To understand the psychology behind, we turned to Mitali Parekh, canine behaviourist, founder of GoodDog! Pet services, who says, “We are wired to respond to cute things like children, and that same applies to when you see a dog or a cat video. The psychology behind this is that you have to understand that dogs and we evolved together 25,000 years ago. Dogs were the first animal we domesticated, so there’s a bond over here which is 25,000 years old and watching them makes you happy. However, the purpose is not just entertainment. It’s good when people use their content to spread awareness about the ethical methods of training involved.”

Another study conducted by the University of Leeds in the United Kingdom, in partnership with Western Australia Tourism, that was published on firststopsingapore.com states watching these videos can help reduce stress levels by up to 50 per cent. It was noted that after watching these funny videos for 30 minutes straight, their blood pressure dropped to the ideal pressure range. A study published in the Journal of Business and Psychology says that being exposed to funny videos

Celebrities might have a massive fan following, but their furry friends are no less - they are the superstars of social media in their own right. From Paris Hilton to Priyanka Chopra, their pets have their own social media accounts, Hilton Pets, Diaries of Diana, and Abraham Bailey are just to name a few. They are well-groomed, accessorised and exceptionally adorable dogs and their day-to-day activities are documented strategically that go phenomenally viral drawing millions of double taps and mushy comments. In fact, even random clips of them lounging have the potential to leave us in complete awe. But why do people want their dogs to be Instagram famous and show how much they love them and make sure it’s well showcased on social media?

“The whole internet is essentially run by cats and dogs much before Instagram. Even on Reddit, the minute it came up in the late ‘90s. The reason why pet parents feel the need to create their dog’s profile is the same reason why parents feel the need to tell everybody about the little things their child has done when nobody is interested. This is much better because you can unfollow or not follow content you are not interested in. While the rest of us have to listen to how cute their children are and how well they click in person. Dogs are a child replacement in many cases, people may not put up their children’s picture because of superstitious reasons but people very much want to share the joy and fun they have with their animals among like-minded people.”

However, on the side note, Parekh stresses that it’s also about sharing happiness and that makes other people happy. “It forms a bond of community and of course, it’s great for business. If you’re running a pet-related business, for instance, animal behaviourist and show many things your dog can do, that way your dog is your resume,” she explains. In fact, it’s perhaps the only content on social media that doesn’t trigger negativity and calms your brain.

Earlier in an interview with Financial Times, Priyanka had shared that it wasn't her, but Diana who chose her. Recalling how she ended up adopting Diana in 2016, she said, “It was four years ago, at a time in my life where I was really low: I had just moved to the States, I was mourning my father’s death, I didn’t know anybody – I was working on Quantico for ABC and going back home on my own. One day, I was doing an interview with BuzzFeed, and they unleashed all these puppies on me and I was supposed to answer questions when I was handling them. Diana kind of hid under my arm. I just fell in love with her and had to take her home. I had somebody to take care of and, in return, she took care of me. I feel that about my pups in such a big way. If you look after them, they really look after you; they heal your heart. They make us more human.”

Similarly, celebs including Madhuri Dixit, Disha Patani, John Abraham, Raveena Tandon and many others share pictures and videos of their dogs’ daily activity with captions such as, “Nothing like a little unconditional love all day every day!”, “If I had to describe what beauty is...this is it” and so on. And these adorable pups filling up our social media feeds have become a major part of our digital regime. According to experts, engaging with them (in this case, virtually) increases serotonin and dopamine in our brain and it makes us feel happy and positive. May we never tire of seeing more of them. We can’t deny that they are a lot more entertaining than humans, can we? 


Photo: Instagram/Priyanka Chopra Jonas

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