Instagram has been a very popular place with pet lovers the past few years! I have met many friends through their dog’s Instagram account first and then in-person at local San Diego dog events, which is an interesting phenomenon that I hope you’ll be able to replicate if you want to join in the fun and create or improve an Instagram account for your dog. I asked some of my local Instagram friends about their #1 tip to creating a great Instagram account for your pet, and to name their favorite thing about having an Instagram for their dog. I also reached out to a few very popular local dog Instagram accounts who I have not yet had the pleasure of meeting offline.
This article focuses on dog Instagram accounts, because even though there are some amazing Instagram cat accounts such as @coleandmarmalade, cats don’t usually go to events or visit other places around town, so the in-person connection and the opportunity for their Instagram followers to take photos of themselves or their pet with that popular Instagram pet isn’t quite the same for cats. [Instagram is shortened to IG for the rest of the article, and human last names omitted for privacy, it’s all about the dogs on IG!]
Tips for making a great dog Instagram account:
Post quality photos
You don’t have to be a professional photographer or use anything other than your phone, iPhone photos in real “instant” time are what Instagram was made for! Avoid posting blurry photos, photos that are too dark (use the IG brightening adjustments), and keep the photos interesting and varied. Vanessa, mom of @weimaraner_nala, and Leila, mom of @earhart_nikkibaby, both listed quality photos as their #1 tip. You may need to take 10-20 photos of one situation and sort through them to find the best one to post.
Laura, mom of @williecute, has some expert tips for taking and choosing good quality photos: “For me personally, I tend to like a simple and clean look. A plain white wall with good natural light is my favorite location to take photos of my dog. Plenty of treats on hand is helpful and makes it fun. too,” she says. Laura also adds, “I try to have my camera easily accessible in case Willie is doing something super cute so I can capture those special moments. We enjoy sharing her photos on IG and our hope is that they bring a smile to your face.”
Post regularly and at popular times of day
Sara, mom of @darlingbailey, said her number one tip was to “Post regularly!!!! Seriously. We haven’t been doing this and it totally shows.” Most social media gurus say that posting once every day or two is a good number to strive for. But be careful. “Don’t overpost, if I see an account that posts too much on a daily basis, I won’t follow [them] because it clusters my feed.” says Leila, mom of @earhart_nikkibaby. Posting lots of photos within a few minutes is also bad IG etiquette.
Pick a time of day to post when people are most likely to be looking at Instagram. “The day and time of day can really affect how many people see your posts. I like to post in the morning before people go to work and in the evening when they’ve come home for the day. I found that if I posted in the middle of the night or midday, it got buried.” – Natalie, mom of @leonardo.da.frenchie.
“My number one tip for making a great IG account for your dog is: be authentic! If something’s goofy, make fun of yourselves. If there’s a health scare, share it. Be real. Perfect is no fun,” says Margaret, mom of @thetuckerdoodle.
Similarly, Ada, mom of @oso_7pups suggests having a clear voice for your dog, “People who have a good idea of what their dog would sound like is the best IG.”
Natalie, @leonardo.da.frenchie‘s mom, has a tip about tone of voice as well, “Be positive! I like to post all about Leo’s adventures and how he goes to a lot of fundraising events that give back to the animal community.”
Engage with other accounts
@leonardo.da.frenchie‘s mom Natalie says, “Engage! If people check out your account and like your photos, show them the same courtesy.”
@earhart_nikkibaby‘s mom Leila agreed on this tip, saying, “Make sure to follow similar accounts, like and comment on theirs when you see something cute.”
Accounts quoted here than would be happy to engage with you: @fetchlightphoto (me), @thetuckerdoodle, @darlingbailey, @williecute, @weimaraner_nala, @leonardo.da.frenchie, @earhart_nikkibaby, @oso_7pups
A few other popular San Diego dog accounts you may want to follow: @speedyboyboy, @supercorgi_jojo, @3blondedogs, @thestylishbisou, @hellokingston, @henrilefrenchie, @nelson_wallace …and so many more!
Use specific hashtags consistently
Vanessa, mom of @weimaraner_nala, mentioned that hashtags are equally as important as good photos. It’s a good idea to create a unique hashtag for your dog, like #weimaranernala, and possibly a hashtag for humans or other pets that may regularly appear on your dog’s account. I have one for my dog #tawnyfoxdog since her photos are probably half of my account.
# [your dog’s breed or mix, such as #corgi, #corgis, start typing the breed/mix and other suggestions will pop up as well]
#[your dog’s breed or mix]ofinstagram such as #corgisofinstagram
#sandiegodog, #sandiegodogs, #dogsofsandiego, #sdhappydogs, #sandiego, #[yourneighborhood] #dogsof[yourneighborhood], #balboapark, #dogpark, #dogbeach, #beachdogs, #socalbeachdogs, #sandiegodood, #weimsofsd, #socalpawscheck, #sandiegofrenchie
#rescuedog, #rescuedogsofinstragram, #adoptdontshop
#weareIGfamily, #dogsofinstagram, #dogsofig, #dogstagram, #petsofinstagram, #instadog
#tongueouttuesday (#tot), #throwbackthursday (#tbt), #artsyfartsyfriday, #fluffybuttfriday, #sundayfunday
A few more hashtag tips:
- Search the hashtags you use, in order to find other accounts to like and follow.
- You can save your list of hashtags in an app like the notepad or Evernote and then copy and paste the hashtag list into each post.
- You can put the hashtags in the first comment if you don’t like the look of them in your caption.
- Related: A great way to find local dogs is to add a location to your photos when you’re in popular places, then search through the other photos taken in that location, liking and following the other dog photos in that same location.
Favorite reasons to have an IG account for your dog:
“#weareIGfamily. A community that connects and unites through love and compassion is one of the best things about having an IG doggy account. Getting to meet and become fast friends with so many people through IG is a little odd to some people but so normal for this community. I love it!” – Sara, mom of @darlingbailey
“My favorite thing about having an IG account for my dog: the huge, very real, community of friends I’ve made both online and locally. They get my relationship with my dog is of stratospheric importance to my life because they feel the same about theirs.” – Margaret, mom of @thetuckerdoodle. Tucker and Margaret have visited IG dogs across the country on their travels, and other IG dogs and their humans have visited Tucker here in San Diego as well! It’s pretty amazing!
“The best thing that has come from my dogs’ IG account is all of the amazing pups and people my girls and I have met through IG, at events, meetups, or birthday parties. Some of these pet owners have become good friends of mine, we would have never met it wasn’t for my pups’ IG.” – Leila, mom of @earhart_nikkibaby
“And as far as what I like most about I having a pet IG account- this has got to be the most supportive online community there is! There are rarely haters in the pet world.” – Natalie, @leonardo.da.frenchie‘s mom
“I love how it creates a sense of community. Having commonalities among the dog IG community in your area and beyond is the good service [of] what social media is all about.” – Ada, mom of @oso_7pups
“My favorite thing about having an IG pet account is being part of a community that has the same love and appreciation for animals as I do. We all love our furrbabies!” – Vanessa, mom of @weimaraner_nala
I have found the IG dog community to be incredibly generous and supportive for things like rescue fundraising, sharing adoptable dog photos to help them find forever homes, sharing dog photos to help missing dogs be found, sending happy thoughts with special hashtags for dogs having medical problems, creating hashtags for remembrance of a life lost, creating special hashtags to celebrate birthdays, and very positive overall. #weareIGfamily indeed!
Thanks to everyone who contributed to to this article!
If you want to meet some local IG dogs in person, a good bet is attending Doggies on the Deck at Landini’s Pizzeria, which is hosted by a different IG dog every month. Also check each IG dog’s account for local fundraisers, events and meetups they’ll attend.
Do you have an IG account for your dog? Comment below and I look forward to following you!