How to Make Your Dog an Instagram Rock Star

Make your dog an Instagram rock star

Do you like taking photos of your dog and wish you could share them with the whole world beyond Facebook where your circle of friends can see them? You are in luck: Get yourself to Instagram and open up a whole new world of canine connections. It’s easy, fun, networking at its finest, and with about 10 minutes of your time a day, your dog can be the next social media superstar (or at least be on his or her way). Here’s the scoop on how to make your dog an Instagram rock star…or at least get a pretty darned good jump start:

Breathe In and Out

Before you blurt out, “the last thing I need is another social media network to crowd my already busy day,” let me tell you I felt the same way. Though I like Pinterest, I am not as addicted to it as some. Instagram, however, is another story.

Make your dog an Instagram rock star

What Instagram Is

Instagram is an online photo sharing service that allows you to upload photos, apply effects or filters, then share them to a variety of other places. It’s easy, it’s fun, and I’ve been playing around with it for a several months now. I am gaining new followers and fans to my magazine dog blog. Plus, I’ve connected with a whole slew of dog parents who are just as into their dog as I am. Are your ears perked now?

What Instagram Isn’t

Instagram is not Pinterest. You don’t have to separate your pictures into “boards,” and there are no categories to build. Instagram is not something you have to worry about building and following and gaining new followers unless that’s your thing. If you love your dog, want to show the world, and see pictures of other people who love their dogs (amongst other things), Instagram is all that and then some.

Make your dog an Instagram rock star

Snap and Go

Once you take a photo with your camera phone, uploading a picture is easy. You can actually use the camera or video feature right through Instagram or take a photo and then add some fun effects to your photo, as I like to sometimes do. Determine if your phone is Instagram (IG) compatible. I have an iPhone 5, so it worked for me.

Make your dog Instagram rock star


I added hearts to this photo of my dog, Dexter, and then hashtagged it appropriately (more about that in a few seconds). If you are familiar with apps, then you can try this app that has become a go-to resource for me when filters are needed. It is called Picfx; there is a free version and a paid version. You can play around with it, but this particular features is under the “Lights” feature. Pretty fun, right? If you really like a photo you add a filter to, why not go all old school and print it and frame it? I have done that on more than one occasion.

Make your dog an Instagram rock star


Once you’ve uploaded a photo in IG, you want to hashtag it appropriately. Hashtags on IG are similar to but work a bit differently than hashtags on Twitter. Any word that is preceded by a hashtag will be searchable in IG.

When Bruno Mars performed at this year’s halftime show, I decided to do a split screen of my dog wearing sunglasses just like Bruno. The app I used for this, which is free at last check, is DipTic. You can do a variety of collages in a bunch of different styles with this app.

Make your dog an Instagram rock star

Okay so what the heck does all of that mean and why so many hashtags? When each of those hashtags are clicked, it will take the user to a screen full of pictures with that same hashtag.

So, for example, if the user clicked on the #cockersofinstagram hashtag, he or she would find plenty of Cocker Spaniel pictures. There, I can follow other users, since I know we have things in common: Well, Cockers at least! Then those followers can reciprocate and follow me back. Much like Twitter, you gain followers. You will see some photos with a boatload of hashtags and more power to you. In fact, experiment and hashtag away. It’s sort of the world’s universal shared photo album on Instagram.

Ideas for Photos and Video

Be different, be original, and be real. Think of what photos you enjoy seeing. Start following some folks who have similar interests and take note as to what you like about their images. Mix your mediums and occasionally shoot a video, which is a feature included in Instagram. You can shoot up to 15-seconds of video, so it’s fun and easy to do. Try experimenting with filters and even quotes, text, and frames. DeluxeFX is a fun and functional app for frames and filters. Oooh and that made for good alliteration, too.

You can’t edit a photo once you post it, but there are a variety of things you can do with it, as indicated by this screen shot:

Make your dog an Instagram rock star

Instagram Etiquette

Like any social media network, the first word is “social,” so be that but be mindful and respectful. You don’t have to follow everyone back who follows you, but this is a good practice in general.

Most folks will choose to LIKE your photo, much like Facebook. So I return in kind, generally follow folks back (who appear legit) and start perusing their photos and LIKE them back. It’s a fun, reciprocating relationship that involves photos, fun, learning, and networking.

You’ll want to fill out a profile and I include my blog URL in it for easy click-through. Here’s my profile. However, gobs and gobs of Instagrammers have a dog account. You won’t get banned or removed from Instagram for having a pet account the way you would on Facebook.

Instagram tips

Popular Hashtags

* There are a variety of fun and engaging hashtags folks use. Much like #FF (Follow Friday) on Twitter, here are a few to get you started on Instagram:

#100likes, #200likes or #300likes.
Add these tags to your pictures when they reach 100, 200, 300 or more likes. This will make it easier for users to find pictures that have reached these numbers.

#flashbackfriday: Use this tag on Friday’s when you want to post pictures of your past,  of your family, or when you where young.

#tbt or #throwbackthursday: A photo of you or your dog or whomever from years ago.

#tot for Tongue Out Tuesday where folks share a photo of their dog with their tongue showing (the dog, that is)

Looking for More Hashtags?

I recently discovered a free app for the iPhone called Grama: It is fantastic for finding hashtags related to your topic so you can easily copy and paste them into your Instagram post!

If you want some more basics or need some intermediate to advanced ways to use Instagram, I’ve found to be a good resource, chockful of tutorials, too.

Hungry for more? Click the Instagram tips below to learn, grow, and help make your dog a rock star!

See you on IG! Oh, and I’m @FidoseofReality. Are you on Instagram? Put your IG name in the comments below and if you follow us, we will follow back!

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  1. We’ve had an IG account for awhile, but really just started getting into it when we did that southernwag challenge last month. Going to try and keep it up so thanks for some of these hints – they are helpful…the hashtag thing kind of throws me – there are so many…trying to find the right combinations for my photos.

    1. I also sometimes use one or two hashtags only. It can be overwhelming. I set time aside at night when relaxing for the most part, to catch up on IG. It is now highly addictive for me: All these amazing pets and cute photos. I learn a lot, too.

  2. Finally someone explains to me what this whole instagram madness is! I have wondered and been afraid EXACTLY LIKE YOU MENTIONED to join yet another social media site. Appreciate the detailed explanation and choices more helpful than you can imagine. THANK YOU!


    1. You are so welcome. I was hesitant, but it is easy, fun, and a great way to connect. I have found some new blog followers there, too. I like that many pets are there with accounts. I get great ideas for blog posts and photo ops, too. Be sure to let me know when you are on IG, Piranha Banana!

    1. Yes indeed, Pawesome Cats. We go to all the BlogPaws Conferences as a family. I have been to every single BlogPaws Conference (5 to date) with my family, Dexter included. Can’t wait to meet you!

  3. I wish Henrietta loved the camera. There are times I swear she must be in the Witness Protection Program because once I pick up the camera/phone to capture something adorable she’s doing she runs away!

    1. You have to get slick about it and not let her know the camera is around. Dex now stops and strikes a pose for me; I kid you not!

  4. WOW!! I soooooooooo think you are psychic!!!!!!! This is BEYOND timely and OH SO HELPFUL! I am working with a brand this year and I HAVE to use Instagram (You know I wasn’t a big fan), I had joined MONTHS ago but never used it. Last night, after I was watching Jimmy Fallon, I started playing with it. (I am @catchatcaren on Instagram………I am still confused about it……….but your EXCELLENT tutorial helped a lot!!! THANK YOU!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    1. Well welcome aboard. I see you are following me, and I am so addicted to IG. It is like puppy crack for me, Caren. LOL If there is anything I can do to help, let me know.

  5. We do love IG mainly for the ease of posting directly to Twitter & FB. Mom has yet to try any fancy stuff though or apps but now she just might so thanks very much for the tips. Love Dolly

    1. Glad to help, Dolly. We are fans of yours. For the flashback days, I take a photo of the photo itself with my camera and upload it then from my camera files on the iphone to PicFx. From there, you can crop it, clean it up, and “send” it to Instagram for posting. Make sense?

  6. I am now following you and downloaded the Picfx while reading the rest of your post! Haha! I use Instagram and like others photos but never reach very many likes. Sigh…I’m going to dress my up with rock star effects! Thanks for the great info.

  7. This is a great write up Carol…it will help a lot of people feel comfortable diving in and giving Instagram a try! As a photographer I wasn’t sure how I would feel about it, but I quickly got addicted to Instagram and it’s been one of my most popular social media outlets driving traffic to my blog. It’s been a great storytelling outlet for my brand too. And of course we love us some Dexter on IG…adorbs!

  8. I’ve been considering joining Instagram, but I wasn’t sure why I should. Thanks for the insight and the explanation. I love the idea of hashtags and because I use Twitter, this makes even more sense. I didn’t know about the filters, I am going to check that out, too. I’ve always loved your pictures you share on Facebook and your website. I appreciate you sharing what you do to make the pictures so much fun and exciting.

  9. I just made an account for my (somewhat) newly adopted baby (@peebsnthings) 5 days ago and have been struggling to increase my following!! These tips are really helpful, and I will definitely be checking your instagram frequently so I can get some tips! 🙂

    Thanks for this great post!!

  10. Great tips!! I just started an IG page for my puppy, babyblueskidoo, I’m trying to figure my way around all this. Thanks for the help!

  11. Awesome tips! Hope my pug babies get to #100likes one day! Just made 100followers and were pretty happy with that!
    Please follow us back! 🙂
    Love @adventuresoffrankieandatticus

  12. I blog quite often and I genuinely appreciate your information.
    This article has really peaked my interest. I will take
    a note of your blog and keep checking for new information about once a week.

    I opted in for your RSS feed too.

  13. Wow, thanks for the tips! These are so helpful!

    Follow me @beasttheyorkie! I’m just getting started, but would love to see these Instagram hints in action! Thanks!

  14. Loved these tips! They were very helpful… If you are legit I like, comment, and follow back 🙂

  15. I doubled my Instagram followers with Emma Marketing agency. They respond really quickly and do all the work for me !

  16. Thank you for the advice! Just started a Insta for my little puppy Finn, loving it so far. So excited to see all the photos other dog lovers post! IG Finn_the_furry_friend

  17. Thanks for your tips. My puppy’s IG account us hungryjackbostonterrier!! Would love for you to follow!! ?

  18. Thank you so much for the great tips … We love Instagram, but do have our moments of grrrrrrrr, lol. Would love it if you followed @Diorabelle on IG Just followed, commented and liked photos on your page. Thanks so much.

  19. But what about using special services to find new followers? It’s faster and find real followers that like the same things as you

  20. Great article for helping those of us getting started. Thanks for sharing! 🙂 @offical_leonidas_the_pitbull

  21. Thanks for the great tips! Helpful now that my dog has a new IG account! @RooktheHavanese ✌️

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