One of my favorite things to do in the veterinary exam room is ask my clients how they came up with their pets’ names. Here are some tips I shared with a reader on selecting one for a new pet.
dogI love coming up with pet names and hearing the names people come up with for their animals. Some choose one name and stick with it for each succeeding pet, such as Bingos I through IV. Themes are popular. Think chocolate Labs named Godiva, Chip, Fudge or Mocha.
Lots of pets are named after comic strip or cartoon animals, actors and pop stars, or movie characters. Snoopy is a classic; lots of dogs are named Elvis after the hip-swiveling rocker; and Taylor Swift named one of her pets Benjamin Button.
One trend I love is giving “people” names to pets. I can’t tell you how many dogs and cats I know named Max, Jack, Bella, Chloe, Zoe, Charlie, Sam, Maggie and so on. I think that’s a good thing: It marks our animals’ roles as full-fledged members of the family.
Choose a name with positive associations. Names define animals to others. Think about it: The pet named Outlaw or Trouble comes loaded with baggage, even if he is sweet and snuggly.
Choose a name that’s easy to say. Usually that’s a one- or two-syllable name, often ending with an “a” or “e” sound. Think Stella, Buddy, Sophie.
Avoid choosing a name that rhymes with no. Names like Beau, Joe, Coco and Cosmo are cute and popular, but it can be easy for a dog to mishear them as “no” and come to dislike his name.
In the end, though, after being a veterinarian for 40 years and a pet lover my entire life, I can tell you this: Pets don’t really care what you call them, as long as you call them for dinner.
There’s more in Pet Connection, the weekly nationally syndicated pet feature I co-write with Kim Campbell Thornton and my daughter, trainer Mikkel Becker.