What’s In a Name? Tips for Naming Your Pet

Frodo, our pet naming example, named for a Lord of the Rings character.
Frodo, who was named after a character in Lord of the Rings.

Adopting a new pet can be a very exciting time. You do all the research into your chosen pet and start to visit rehoming centres or contacting breeders. Preparation begins as you buy all the starter supplies they’re going to need. You register with a vet. Then, once everything is ready for your new arrival, it’s time to think of a name. Naming a pet can be one of the most fun parts of bringing home a new pet. But it’s important that you think it through before making your final choice. Here are just a few things that you might want to consider when choosing a name.

Easy to understand

The most important thing to consider when choosing a name is how the actual owner of the name will respond to it. A pet can become confused, for example, if given a name that sounds too much like a common command. This can make training much more difficult. Naming a dog ‘Kit’, for example, could cause a lot of issues when teaching it to sit on command. It can also be difficult for a pet to respond well to a long name, as it can seem unclear and not is not easily defined from normal speech. To this end, a pet name should probably be no longer than 2-3 syllables.

Suitable for all ages?

It is worth remembering that your pet will not always be a puppy or kitten. Just because your kitten is small now, it doesn’t mean that ‘Tiny’ will still be relevant by the time it is 6 months or a year old. Likewise, an adult dog called ‘Puppy’ might seem a little odd. On the other hand, some people love an ironic name, such as ‘Titch’, for a large breed dog like a Great Dane! Provided you are happy that you will still like the name as your pet grows, then there’s no problem.

Public name calling

Another thing to remember is that, with a dog or a cat, you are likely to have to use your pet’s name in public. This might be calling for it in the park, or hunting for it on the streets if it goes missing. If using your pet’s name in public might be embarrassing, choose something more suitable. Your will also need to register your pet with a vet, or use services such as kennels or groomers throughout their life. If telling your pet’s name to a stranger is embarrassing, it might not be the best choice. Owners that are embarrassed by their pet’s name are far more common than you might imagine!

How do you spell that?

This is an issue somewhat related to the last one. It’s also an issue that is only really relevant to pet service providers, such as ourselves. Unusual names can be great fun, and we love meeting pets with uncommon names. But uncommon spellings can be a real problem. When looking for a patient file, it can be very difficult to find pets with unusually spelt names. Choosing to spell the name ‘Jackson’ as ‘Jaxon’, for example, can be problematic. If you do decide to spell your pet’s name in an uncommon way, please remember that you will probably need to spell it out every time you want to make an appointment.

Naming Ideas

If you are looking for interesting or unusual names, it can be a good idea to look to your favourite books, films or TV shows for inspiration. We have a family of patients that are all named after science fiction characters, for example (Chewbacca, Ripley and Zaphod). We also have multiple ‘The Big Bang Theory’ families (Bernie, Penny, Leonard, Sheldon etc).

Another idea is to name your pet after a celebrity that shares your surname. It’s always funny seeing people’s faces when a pet such as Morgan Freeman, Bruce Willis or Boris Johnson (all genuine patients here at Yorkshire Vets) is called in by the vet!

If there’s an interesting story behind your pet’s name or other pet naming tips, why not share them with us in the comments?

Yorkshire Vets Heart

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