Can I make money with my dog

The best glowing collars for walking in the dark. The most fun toy for the kitten. And what is actually the best hay feed for the rabbit? Pet owners no longer have to test all of this themselves, as there are countless posts on the Internet. Some people do it so professionally that they can call themselves a "petfluencer". Nicole Lenhardt is one of them. She and her dog Milo now have 54,000 followers on Instagram.

There is nothing better than rice pudding on cold days. Wrapped in a warm blanket, mistress Nicole holds the warm bowl with the advertising message in front of the camera and beams at her more than 54,000 Instagram followers.

Milo, her furry wolfhound, sits ready to cuddle. He's probably already got the grain-free dog food in his bowl that "Nici" advertised on Instagram two days earlier. And soon he can eat his way through the dog advent calendar that is available at the discounter.

With the help of her loyal four-legged friend, with daily photos, films and of course with advertising partners, the 27-year-old from Stuttgart has become so successful on the Internet that she recently gave up her job and started her own business. As “pet fluencers”, cats and dogs like Milo, but also horses, rabbits and even hedgehogs and insects entertain millions of so-called followers worldwide.

Hamburg agency explains the hype about animals on the Internet

Here a terrier with a new worming cure, there a sleeping cat or a pug with a velvet treat bag - “People want their everyday life to be positively charged. They are looking for diversion and a pastime ”, says Jonas Wolf from Pulse, a Hamburg agency for influencer marketing.

However, the photos are not always as appropriate to the species as with Lenhardt and her wolfhound, mostly the animals are staged - much to the annoyance of the animal rights activists: “A limit has been reached when you humanize animals, when you disguise them, and for amusement too makes ”, says veterinarian Moira Gerlach from the Animal Welfare Association.

Torture breeds particularly common pets by petfluencers

In many cases, torture breeding and comparatively ugly animals are successful on Instagram: "These animals suffer from protruding teeth or staring, they have trouble breathing and they cannot chew normally," says Gerlach.

While Lenhardt is already one of the petfluencers with the most followers in Germany, the numbers in the USA are very different. Zwergspitz Jiffpom, for example, with his 9.6 million followers overshadows everything; like some others, he already has his own merchandising collection. The effort pays off: According to estimates, his mistress can convert between 45,000 and 150,000 dollars (41,000 and 135,000 euros) with each Instagram post.

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Financial accountant Lenhardt wants to inform her account about the wolfhound, she says. And she only recommends products that she is convincing. What else should she say? But you can't plan the success as an influencer anyway: "Originally I only opened my own account for Milo so that I don't annoy my circle of friends so much with the dog photos." (Dpa / san)

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