Highlands & Islands

Pet selfie takers sought for new study

Woman taking selfie with cat Image copyright Getty Images

Pet owners in Scotland are being asked if, and why, they include their cat or dog in selfies posted to social media.

Scientists based in the UK and US are working on the study following similar research done in America.

Dr Lori Kogan, of Colorado State University, said the US study suggested 50% of pet owners had their pet as their feature photo on their devices.

She said this behaviour offered insights into the close bonds between people and cats and dogs.

The researchers have sought feedback from pet owners in Scotland, and more widely across the UK, in a new online survey.

They said there were estimated to be more than nine million dogs and eight million cats owned in the UK.

'Love taking selfies'

Dr Kogan, a professor of clinical sciences who is working on the research along with university colleagues, said: "With the advances in technology and the popularity of smartphones and selfies, we wondered how this plays out with our pets.

"We love taking selfies of ourselves. What about our pets?

Image caption There are estimated to be nine million dogs owned in the UK

"A recent unpublished study in the US found that 50% of pet owners put their pet as their feature photo on either their phone or computer.

"We are looking to see if this trend is similar in the UK to help us better understand the people/pet bond."

James Oxley, the UK-based researcher involved and who has previously examined rabbit owners' relationship with their pets, said: "Given the popularity of social media, mobile devices and pet ownership it is a frequent occurrence for us to share photos of ourselves and our pets through online platforms.

"We would like to explore this relationship between social media and human/pet selfies further.

"To do this we are specifically searching for pet owners in the UK, including Scotland, to complete our online survey."