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Naming a pet can be one of the many fun aspects of adopting a new furry friend into your life. Having worked in the veterinary field for several years, I have come across quite a variety of pet names.  Some have been of the more common variety, such as Max or Bailey.  Others have ranged from celebrity names to foods to colors of the rainbow.  Because pet names allow for a lot of flexibility, the naming process can be a fun and creative process.

There are several things to keep in mind when choosing a name.  For starters, make sure it is a name that you like the sound of and don’t mind using often.  If you will feel embarrassed calling out the name in public, it is probably not a good choice.  For a dog, it is also a good idea to avoid names that sound like commands.  For instance teaching a dog to “stay” may be confusing to a dog named “Ray”.  Choosing a name that is too long may become tiresome to say over time or difficult for your pet to learn.  If you chose a long or complicated name for your pet, it would be a good idea to figure out a nickname that is short and sweet.

Choosing a human name such as Jack or Molly is always a popular option.  However, keep in mind that if it is a popular name you may find yourself often encountering other pets with the same name.  This can lead to some confusion at a dog park or vet’s office.  Here is a list that VPI Pet insurance compiled of the most common names from their database of 485,000 pets for 2011:



Birds and Exotics

1. Bella

1. Bella

1. Charlie

2. Bailey

2. Max

2. Max

3. Max

3. Chloe

3. Baby

4. Lucy

4. Oliver

4. Sunny

5. Molly

5. Lucy

5. Buddy

6. Buddy

6. Shadow

6. Jack

7. Daisy

7. Smokey

7. Angel

8. Maggie

8. Tiger

8. Daisy

9. Charlie

9. Charlie

9. Bella

10. Sophie

10. Tigger

10. Coco


If a traditional pet name is not what you have in mind, there are several other options to consider.  You can start by studying your pet’s physical traits or behaviors.  You may have a cat with a marking that resembles a crescent moon (“Luna”), a dog that runs in circles (“Dizzy”), or a guinea pig that reminds you of your high school math teacher (“Mr. Smith”).

Another option to consider is naming your pet after a famous person, historical figure, or fictional character.  Some pet owners choose duos like “Bonnie” & “Clyde” or a theme such as types of gemstones.

If you are looking for a truly unique name, you can consider naming after your favorite food or a household object.


For some of the wackiest pet names and the stories behind them, follow this link: http://www.petinsurance.com/healthzone/pet-articles/new-pets/top-50-wackiest-pet-names.aspx


These are all suggestions.  In the end, the decision of what to name your pet is up to you.  All in all, the pet-naming process should be an enjoyable one and reflect your personal preferences and feelings towards your new friend.


-Jennifer LaDouceur

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