What’s in a Name? Tips for choosing your Pet’s Name


17 Nov, 2022

4 minutes

If you’ve just adopted a pet, it’s likely the first thing on your mind is selecting a name for your new furry friend. Will it be a human name, like Max, Charlie or Lucy? Or will you name him or her after a character in your favorite movie, such as Thor or Nemo? Food names have also become more popular, like Waffles, Cinnamon or Oreo. Clearly, the options are endless and choosing a name for your new pet can be a lot of fun for the entire family, but it is good to remember that your pet’s name will last his or her lifetime and that it is perhaps the single most important word they will ever learn.

Your dog’s name

Whatever name you ultimately choose for your precious pup, that name will become the key to his or her understanding of when and how to respond to you. Your dog is capable of understanding a few human sounds and without you speaking his or her name, your dog does not know that you are expecting a response. Essentially, a dog’s name becomes the signal which tells him or her that the next words to come out of your mouth will be a message that will impact his or her life.

Your cat’s name

It turns out that cats can learn their names, according to recent scientific research. Your cat can start to respond to your voice and learn his or her name well enough to come when called, as long as you are consistent with how you call for your feline friend. 

Further research shows that cats respond better to higher and varied pitches, which is helpful in considering how the name sounds when you say it out loud. Cats are also more likely to respond to shorter words because they deliver a simple, clear message. They can easily process this sound and begin to associate it with you trying to get their attention.

Continue reading for more helpful tips for choosing a name for your pet!
  • Many trainers suggest giving dogs names that are two syllables because these are easily spoken by humans and learned by dogs. Even names that are three syllables can be confusing to dogs. Some experts also suggest choosing a name that ends in a long vowel or a short “a.” This is to make the name sound more distinctive to a dog’s ears and easier for him or her to differentiate from other words.
  • Avoid choosing a name that sounds too similar to commands that are given to your pet, which can cause confusion.
  • Family members should agree on the chosen name and not deviate into using their own nicknames for the pet. This will create confusion and disobedience in your furry friend who won’t know to whom to answer.
  • Avoid choosing a name that is phonetically similar as the names of other pets in the home as this will cause confusion in both pets and could result in both of them ignoring you.

Ideas for Pet Names

If you’re struggling for the perfect name for your pet, you can look to current trends in pet-naming for inspiration. Human names have become popular for pets, most likely due to the fact that people tend to view their pets as family members. Pet owners also look to historical figures for inspiration as well as pop culture, favorite movies and video games. Surprisingly, many people choose to name their pets after the villains in their favorite movies. People also like to name their dogs after food (as mentioned above), geographical locations, and alcoholic beverages. 

Whatever name you end up choosing, you will end up loving it the more you say it. In fact, you will most likely love the name as much as you love your pet.



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