This dog has more Insta followers than you
IF YOUR pet pooch has an Instagram account, you're not alone - and you're not barking mad, either.
A new study shows that 60 per cent of Aussie pets have their own social media page - some with tens of thousands of followers.
The survey, by pet-sitting network Mad Paws, also found that 50 per cent of pets are being treated to fancy organic meals, and one in five have all the latest fashion and accessories.
People spoiling their pups rotten and treating their dogs like their children may not be a new concept, but now pet owners are using social media to turn their dogs into "fur-mous" celebrities. The trend follows Hollywood A-listers putting their pets in the spotlight - including Kylie Jenner and her dog Blu, Jennifer Lawrence with Pippi and Lady Gaga and her pride and joy, Koji.
"Our research shows nearly 50 per cent of Australian dogs have their own bedroom, one in five pet owners have professional photos taken of their four-legged friends and over 70 per cent of fur-babies get flashy presents on their birthdays," Mad Paws co-founder Alexis Soulopoulos said.
The survey also found that a quarter of pups enjoy extravagant birthday parties and a fifth of pet parents have taken their canine away for relaxing retreats.
Nearly half of Australian dog owners have done yoga with their pets, have hired a pet healer or a fortune-teller for their dog, or have paid for them to enjoy holistic treatments.
Summer Butler owns Mosman doggie boutique hotel and day spa Pitter Patter Paws. And she isn't surprised at all by these statistics.
"Dogs are so spoiled these days," Ms Butler laughed.
"We have a doggie hotel above our doggie daycare where dogs can stay overnight - we are very full but only have about 10 dogs a day so it's boutique, which is lovely and personal.
"Owners are so happy to spend that little bit extra to have the dog in the same comfort and environment as they would be at home - on the couch and in front of a plasma TV."
She said when her clients go on holidays their precious pooches are pampered at the daycare during the day, treated to a spa and then stay upstairs in "luxury" accommodation with a nanny at night.
"It's perfect," she said.
Dog owners also appear to spend big bucks on their pooches, with 60 per cent splashing out more than $150 a month on fancy toys, food and accessories - something Melbourne's Sylvia Fronczak knows all about. Her Newfoundland, Bentley has 48,000 Instagram fans, and counting, and loves being in the spotlight.
Ms Fronczak says Bentley is spoiled - but she tries not to go over the top.
"He has very sensitive skin so we get him groomed every two months for four hours," she told news.com.au
"He was spoonfed by hand when he was younger but we don't do that anymore, but he is a fussy eater so has dried food with fresh meat every day."
Bentley will be meeting fans, posing for photos and walking the red carpet at this weekend's Dog Lover's Show in Melbourne, in the Insta-pooch category.
"He's two-and-a-half now and when I first got him I thought he was pretty cute so I thought I would make an account for him - and then there was one video, of me putting out a dandelion for him to sniff but he eats it - and it went viral," she said.
"It's just bizarre - it's crazy.
"He's just your average dog from the eastern suburbs of Melbourne," she laughed.
"I love him. He is like my best friend.
"And I love that other people love him too - if I don't post for five or six days I get messages asking if Bentley is okay."