Where does come from?
Depicting two five-padded dog or cat footprints, the paw prints emoji was approved in 2010 under Unicode 6.0.
On many platforms, the paw prints are dark gray or brown, but some, such as Google and Facebook, color them red, as if "after wandering through paint," as Emojipedia puts it.
The emoji spikes in usage on social media on pet-themed days, such as National Pet Day or National Puppy Day because who isn't celebrating that holiday?
— 🇺🇸 The Closer 🇮🇹 (@CodeOfPatriots) April 11, 2018
Who uses ?
While the emoji shows paw prints, the paw prints emoji usually marks content dealing with our pet dogs and cats in general, whether affectionate or informative.
— abigail (@abigailmmariee) December 29, 2017
The emoji extends to other cute critters as well, especially those mischievous raccoons.
primarily utilizing this platform to bless your eyes with the critters I see daily 🐾 pic.twitter.com/AiUbHGm4Ln
— emily kammerer (@emmielouuuuu) May 13, 2018
Of course, the emoji is still literally used for when pets make prints on the ground.
— Birgit Lissowsky (@birgitlissowsky) December 29, 2017
Or their paws, er, cosplay paws.
— ToothyBoy (@Mintysaber) December 29, 2017
Or ... when they have gotten all muddy.
Caked in mud 🐾🐕❤️🌈 pic.twitter.com/GhAEGxTrWe
— Thai-Huy Nguyen (@thaihuypnguyen) May 12, 2018
Pet paw prints are so associated with mud that people associate the paw prints emoji with dirt in general.
Messy fun at the pond this morning! 😊 Making flower soup, looking for minnows, writing words in the mud, etc. We never run out of ways to learn/have fun with/in nature! ☺️🌿🐾🌳🐢 @OutdoorClassDay @chikdrummer #EnviroEd pic.twitter.com/jIjAqzmRgt
— Nevella S. (@KinderKids123) May 9, 2018
— Ryan Hodgson (@Ryanintheus) May 6, 2018
And, sports teams with dog or cat-themed mascots also like to use the paw prints emoji to express team spirit and pride. Plus, the paw prints emoji is occasionally used to express athletic footwork, like dribbling in soccer.
Raising an ear to the weekend 😄🐶🐾🍾🍸
@Archiethestaffy May, 2018
I’m sorry but your life truly stinks if you don’t like Pitbulls. 🐾🐾❤
@abstickley, May, 2018
Your Wolfpack boys win the final in Golden Goal Overtime! 1-0 Goal by: Kevyn Lopez (1)⚽🐾
@_CHSsoccer December, 2017