Everyone likes to share pictures of their pets on social media sites.
But even though heartwarming photos of puppies and kittens can be delightful, I think you’ll agree that some pet posts shouldn’t be shared. Whether the pictures verge on inappropriate or the captions are rude, too many people cross the line when they share them.
Here are 3 types of posts you need to stop sharing right now.
1. Frightened Pets
How many pictures have you seen that feature a child hugging a cat or dog? Too many to count, probably. They’re passed around Instagram with tags like #puppylove and added to collections on Pinterest with titles like “Adorable.”
What viewers tend to overlook are the obvious signs of distress in the animals:
- Ears back
- Eyes wide, with whites visible
- Tail tucked
- Bodies tense and crouched
There is nothing adorable about a pet who is terrified. And there is certainly nothing cute about a child who is potentially in danger of being bitten or scratched out of fear.
2. Bragging About Being a Bad Pet Person
In most cases, people don’t even realize they’re showing off their neglect, but it happens. I see status updates that are basically a glimpse into the lives of mistreated pets.
Recently a post in an online pet group depicted 4 photos of the same scruffy cat. The caption, from the cat’s caretaker, stated that:
- Mojo was 19 years old and sick.
- He hadn’t seen a vet in 17 years.
- She wouldn’t take him to the veterinarian (for fear of a bad prognosis).
She didn’t seem to be asking for advice or help to pay the vet bill. She just seemed to be broadcasting her intent to allow Mojo to suffer. Posts that depict animal cruelty could land you in legal trouble. Refusing your pet necessary medical attention is a form of neglect.
Here’s another bad boast:
The update above came from someone who complained that his cat was in heat and had run away. Taking his pet’s disappearance as a personal slight, he threatened to kick her out permanently as punishment if she ever returned.
A cat in heat will try to find a mate. That is instinct and is not done out of spite. A cat will also not recognize being abandoned as vengeance. She will just be another confused homeless cat.
Want some more examples of social media updates not worth bragging about?
- Don’t complain about your dog barking outside. Instead, think about what your dog would be yelling if she could speak: “I’m lonely!” “Are you there?” “Can I come in?”
- Don’t caption pictures of your cat’s 8th litter with anything other than “irresponsible pet care.” Kittens are cute. But when millions of them are euthanized in shelters because there aren’t enough homes for them, allowing your cat to continue breeding is heartless.
3. Over-Posting: Too Many Photos and Too Blurry
When your collection of unfocused photos of Panda Bear have dominated my news feed, I’m probably going to discreetly stop following you. Or, if the photos are particularly abysmal and plentiful, I may banish you from my friend list.
Honestly, I like well-composed daily pictures of my friends’ whiskered family members, but moderation and quality are key.
Make sure you’re posting the best picture you can so that your entire audience can enjoy it as much as you do. Take the pet photo quality test:
- Is the photo too unfocused to identify the pet?
- Is there an action blur so that the viewer gets dizzy just looking at it?
- Does the pet take up less than 1/10 of the entire photo?
- Is the pet indistinguishable from the shag rug he’s sleeping on?
If you answered “yes” to any of those questions, delete that photo and try again.
Unless you’re taking a snapshot of Bigfoot disappearing into the woods, there’s no reason not to try multiple times to get the best picture before sharing it with your followers.
Also, pare down the number of pictures you share daily. Everyone loves Mr. Magnificent, but they don’t want to see 57 identical pictures of him sitting in his new bed. Choose 1 favorite per day — that’s sufficient.
A well-timed post sharing a loving, funny or serene picture of a furry companion can be enjoyed by hundreds to thousands of friends, family and followers on social media. But beware what you choose to share. Not every picture or update is as harmless as it may seem.
Pop Quiz: Knowing what you know now, would you share this photo?