Do's and Don'ts for Picking a Pet Name

With so many dog and cat names to pick from, how can you choose the perfect one for your new puppy, kitten or adult rescue cat or dog? After all, your animal will have to respond to this title for the next decade or so. And just because you like the name Rainbow Sparkle Cotton Candy, remember you may get some strange lookswhen calling your pooch at the dog park.

To help you pick the ideal name for your new family member, we've come up with a list of naming do’s and don’ts. Just remember: Your pet doesn’t really care what you call him, as long as you love him and give him the veterinary care he needs.

Choosing a Name for Your Four-Legged Friend

Boxer puppy


Do Choose a Name That’s Easy to Say

One- or two-syllable names that end with “a” or “e” sounds usually roll off the tongue. Think Stella, Zoe, Buddy, Lucy and Rocky. If you want to go for a longer name, consider using a nickname. For instance, Tomeranian is a cute play on the word “Pomeranian,” but you may want to call him Tommy for short.


Don’t Pick a Name That Rhymes With “No”

You don’t want your dog or cat to think he’s in trouble every time you say his name. Bo, Joe and Coco are trendy monikers, but as Dr. Marty Becker explains, a pet could hear those names as “no” and form a negative association with his own name.

Mixed breed dog in yard


Don’t Choose a Name That Comes With Negative Associations

Speaking of forming negative associations, names like Trouble and Killer might sound great to you, but other people may assume that your pet must be truly difficult or dangerous to get a name like that. In other words, a negative name may lead to negative reactions from people, which could have a negative effect on your dog or cat. So don’t risk it; pick a positive, happy name.

Orange cat portrait


Do Consider the Trends and Popularity of Names

Some people like pet names that are popular and trendy, some want to pick one that’s truly unique and others may want to pick a name that used to be popular, but isn’t anymore. If you don’t mind running into three different Bellas at the dog park, go for one of these popular puppy or kitten names. If you like to keep it classic, by all means name him Rusty, Shadow, Rascal or one of these monikers that used to be trendy for dogs and cats. It’s really your preference.

Chihuahua on path


Do Find Inspiration in Your Favorite Celebrities, Books, Food, Etc.

As with human baby names, pet names are often inspired by pop culture. Can’t stop listening to that Sia song that’s always on the radio? Sia would be a great name for a dog or cat. Are you fan of Cubist artwork? Can’t go wrong with Pawcasso. We have a feeling Star Wars names are going to be big this year and wouldn’t be surprised if the new Harry Potter play inspires more Harrys, Hermiones and Rons. As long as the name is positive and you’re happy with it, anything goes!

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