10 photos your dog's Instagram needs to catch the eye of advertisers

How to make money and get free stuff from your pet's Instagram account.


Sarah Jacobsson Purewal

See full bio
1 of 11 Sarah Jacobsson Purewal/CNET

Make your pup's pictures profitable

Wouldn't it be nice if someone paid you to take photos of your adorable puppy and put them on Instagram? If not in cash, maybe in free toys, treats and other dog necessities?

Well, guess what -- there are tons of brands, both dog-oriented and not, that would love to do just that: Give you free stuff in return for a cute, product-centered Instagram post. And why wouldn't they, points out Ninja's owner Cindy. "For the cost of sending over a few items, the brand is seen and liked by thousands of followers -- and targeted, too!"

But there are some things -- aside from thousands of followers -- that make one dog's Instagram more desirable as an advertising platform than another's. Here are 10 types of photos that you might want to think about posting if you're looking for someone to sponsor your dog's account.

(Special thanks to @ninjeeee and @mrbobabear for their pictures and tips.)

2 of 11 Instagram user @ninjeeee

All dressed up

Brands like to see that their product can be presented in a non-traditional way -- dressing up your dog won't just attract pet clothing brands. If you can get your pup to sit still and "wear" human items (especially on their head/face) like headphones, sunglasses, and hats, advertisers will take notice.

3 of 11 Instagram user @mrbobabear

Hold this for me

This one takes a little training, but if your dog is good at holding things in his mouth, he'll be great at holding promoted products in his mouth! Advertisers don't just want to see that your dog can look cute while standing next to something -- they want to see interaction (the more front-and-center, the better).

4 of 11 Instagram user @mrbobabear

Balancing act

Who doesn't like to see a dog balancing something on his nose? (Even though Frenchies' noses are...not all there.) Teach your dog to balance a treat on his head and dog treat brands will come running.

5 of 11 Instagram user @ninjeeee

Balancing act: Expert level

If your dog is willing to let you pile things all over his body, that's even better. You don't need to be promoting a product to take a cute picture like this -- "Ninja loves Sprinkles, so we posted them as he ate them. This caught the attention of the Sprinkles VP of Marketing, so she sent us a gift card to get more," says Cindy.

6 of 11 Instagram user @ninjeeee

I’m adorable

Maybe your dog isn't great at tricks. But he/she can probably sit, right? If you can get your dog to sit and look cute next to an object, you could still have a shot at getting a sponsored post. This picture of Ninja could be an ad for either Nerf or Ezydog harnesses (though it's not an ad at all). If you use any prominently-placed products in a non-sponsored post, add brand hashtags anyway -- you never know when advertisers are looking through their Instagram tags.

7 of 11 Instagram user @ninjeeee


If you're new to the pet Instagram game, a food photo is one of the easiest ad-friendly pictures you can take, assuming your dog likes to eat. For obvious reasons, you'll mostly snag pet food and treat companies with a photo like this, but free food is free food.

8 of 11 Instagram user @mrbobabear

If it fits, I sits

BarkBox, a subscription service that sends a box of toys and treats to your (pet's) doorstep each months, sponsors lots of pets on Instagram (#barkbox). This kind of photo is cute, will work for dogs and cats, and prominently shows the brand.

9 of 11 Instagram user @ninjeeee

Happy Holidays!

Lots of companies ramp up their marketing strategies around holidays (not just the gift-giving holidays), so they're looking for Instagram accounts where owners go all out and dress their dog up like a Mint Mojito Iced Coffee for Halloween, or offer "French Kisses" for Valentine's Day. If you want to appeal to advertisers, make sure you do special photoshoots for the major holidays.

10 of 11 Instagram user @mrbobabear

Just like a human...

Dogs doing human things -- like sitting in a swing or the child seat in a shopping cart -- is viral gold. Naturally, companies gravitate toward accounts with photos that are likely to go viral (in hopes that their products will be featured in posts that go viral).

11 of 11 Instagram user @ninjeeee

...But still a dog

All work and no play makes for a super boring Instagram account. If your pup's photos always look too perfect and posed, brands will shy away because product integration won't look natural. Make sure you post lots of pictures of your dog just being a dog (I'm sure you have plenty) in between those ad-friendly photos.

More Galleries

2022's Best TV Shows You Can't Miss on Netflix, HBO, Disney Plus and More
John Cena attends Warner Bros. premiere of The Suicide Squad, in costume as Peacemaker.

2022's Best TV Shows You Can't Miss on Netflix, HBO, Disney Plus and More

95 Photos
The Best Games on Nintendo Switch in 2022

The Best Games on Nintendo Switch in 2022

36 Photos
The 51 Best VR Games

The 51 Best VR Games

53 Photos
Movies Coming in 2022 From Marvel, Netflix, DC and More

Movies Coming in 2022 From Marvel, Netflix, DC and More

85 Photos
2023 Toyota Highlander Adds Turbo Power to Lower Emissions
2023 Toyota Highlander

2023 Toyota Highlander Adds Turbo Power to Lower Emissions

25 Photos
Hubble and James Webb Space Telescope Images Compared: See the Difference

Hubble and James Webb Space Telescope Images Compared: See the Difference

12 Photos
DIY scratched screen repair: Magic and myths

DIY scratched screen repair: Magic and myths

10 Photos