When you rescue or adopt a new pet, often one of the first things you might do is start browsing cute names for pets. Choosing the best pet names can be difficult, but it doesn’t have to be.
We’ve compiled a list of guidelines for choosing the best names for pets, so you can choose your pet’s title without future regret. Whether you’re looking for gender neutral names for pets or something unique and creative, we’ll help you settle on the moniker that best suits your pet.
What the best pet names have in common
Humans have been keeping pets for thousands of years, and have chosen some very creative and adorable names for their companions. However, some names are better than others for both your pet’s sake and your own. Here are a few guidelines to help you choose a name that works well for you both:
1. Choose a name with one or two syllables. Your pet will grow to understand several words in your language, including commands, their own name, and maybe the names of other pets and family members. But that doesn’t mean it’s always easy for your pet to distinguish between words and sounds in human languages. Choosing a name that has one or two syllables can help make it easier for your pet to hear and understand their name, as separate from other words. It can also benefit you when you need to quickly give your pet a command.
2. Choose a name that matches your pet’s characteristics. Great pet names match your pet’s personality or appearance in some way, so take your time deciding on a name. It’s both common and acceptable to take a week or two to settle on a good, quality pet name that suits your pet and your family.
3. Choose a name that is unique, especially if you live in a city, or your pet will commonly be with other pets. Trips to the dog park or doggy daycare are much easier for everyone if every pet isn’t named “Spot” or “Fido”. (These names are just examples, and far less common today than they once were, but you get the idea).
4. Don’t choose a name that rhymes with common training commands, like “sit,” “stay,” “heel,” or any other commands you want to use to train your pet. Of course, if you love the name Kit for your pet, you can always change the command for “sit” to something else, like “rest” or “wait”. Consistency is key both with teaching commands and reinforcing your pet’s name as they learn it.
5. Choose a name that will grow with your pet. If your pet’s coat will change as they grow into adulthood, consider that before naming them after a physical attribute. Remember your pet will grow, and they might grow a lot. It would be funny to name your Newfoundland puppy “Tiny,” because they will be far from tiny in adulthood. However, if comedy isn’t what you’re looking for in your pet’s name, consider how your adult pet might grow and change, physically and through their demeanor.
More tips for choosing the best names for pets
There are no hard-and-fast rules for naming your pets, but these tips might be helpful in choosing your pet’s name too:
- Make sure your pet’s name doesn’t rhyme with a family member’s name, because it can be confusing for your pet.
- If you want to name your pet after someone you know, ask permission first. Not everyone will think having a pet named after them is funny or flattering.
- Choose a name you won’t mind yelling out in the neighborhood. Need we say more?
- Think about the connotation of choosing certain names, and how their name will change the way other humans perceive or treat your pet. Choose a name that doesn’t disrespect or demean your pet, whether or not they understand it. Consider that humans tend to anthropomorphize pets, and giving them a name like “Killer” or “Lucifer” could affect the way other people see, or even treat, your pet.
- Remember that your pet’s name is a 10-20 year commitment. Make sure it’s something you like, and will always like. Changing your pet’s name is possible, but difficult (and inconsiderate) for your pet.
- Consider your other pets’ names. Make sure they are different enough that your pets won’t get confused when called.
Other cute pet names
Ready to start looking at names? One good place to start is in the list of popular baby names for this year, or recent years. Pets have been named after humans more and more frequently over the last century, as pets have enjoyed an increase in status that for some, is on par with other members of the family. (As an example, Abraham Lincoln named his dog Fido, but the Obama family dogs were named Bo and Sunny). Here are the 10 most popular baby girl names from last year:
And the most popular boy’s names:
Shortened versions of some of these names would be better for pets, like “Ted” or “Theo” instead of Theodore, or “Bella” instead of Isabella. (“Bella” is currently a very popular name for pets).
Some additional inspiration for popular pet names comes from pop culture. Many pet parents prefer the human names of their favorite actors and actresses, athletes, authors, artists, scientists, and human rights activists. Classic names that never go out of style can be a safe bet. Ancient hero inspirations like Hercules or Zeus can make great pet names too.
If you’re not sure which name will fit your pet best, you can also use a pet name generator like this one, a list of cute pet names like this one, or check back with the Social Security Administration for recent popular names. If you’re naming your pet with the help of your family, consider setting guidelines and creating a game or lottery for choosing your pet’s name.
Good luck choosing the perfect name for your new furry friend! When you’re ready to adopt a new pet, call us for pet sitting and dog walking support. Our pet sitters and dog walkers are experts at caring for your pets!