Monday, March 8, 2010

How to Pick the Perfect Name for Your New Pet

By Julia Williams

Adding a new four-legged friend to your family is such a joy. You’ve chosen “the one,” and now it’s time to have some fun naming your new dog or cat. There is no wrong or right way to name your pet, so you needn’t stress out over what to call them. As long as you provide your pet with what they need to be healthy and happy, they’ll love you no matter what name you choose.

If you prefer unique dog names over traditional dog names like Buddy, Rover or Max, that’s your prerogative. If classic cat names like Fluffy, Princess or Tiger seem to suit your new feline friend better than the latest “it” cat names, so be it. There are literally millions of potential names for your dog or cat. Here are some ideas to get you started.

Pet names based on physical characteristics

This is perhaps the easiest way to name your pet. Names like Bear, Bruno, Hercules, Hulk, Samson, Sumo, Tank and Titan are perfect for big dogs. Some good names for small dog breeds are Ant, Baby, Cupcake, Dinky, Midget, Nipper, Pixie, Squirt, and Tiny. Colors are also popular ways to name pets. For black cats, consider Midnight, Onyx, Shadow or Smokey. Pets with white fur could be called Casper, Coconut, Marshmallow, Pearl, Snowball or Snowflake. Calico cats lend themselves to names like Callie, Patches and Rainbow.

Pet names based on personality

Some good names in this category include Bashful, Blossom, Boss, Butch, Fang, Gypsy, Honey, Mischief, Rascal, Rowdy, Snuggles and Wiggles.

Pet names based on plants and flowers
Names in this category are quite popular, and not just with people who love to garden. Some of the more common pet names based on plants and flowers include Buttercup, Daisy, Fern, Flora, Holly, Iris, Ivy, Juniper, Lilac, Lily, Lotus, Petals, Petunia, Poppy, Rose, Sweet Pea, Tulip and Violet.

Pet names based on food

One of my favorite food-related pet names is Pepper. Growing up, my family had a black-and-white cat named Pepper. During dinner, invariably someone would say “Please pass the pepper,” and one of us would say “Pepper? What’s he doing on the table?” or something similar. Amazingly, the joke never got old. However, my older brothers used to annoy me (on purpose) by referring to Pepper as Salt; I was not amused.

If you have a sweet tooth, you could name your pet after your favorite snack, such as: Brownie, Cadbury, Caesar, Cookie, Cupcake, Hershey, Kit Kat, Lollipop, Muffin, Oreo, Skittles, Snickers, Sugar, Taffy and Twinkie. Other popular pet names based on food products include Chiquita, Ginger, Kiwi, Marmalade, Nacho, Olive, Peaches, Peanut, Pickles, Pumpkin, Taco and Tater. Your favorite beverage could also inspire a fun pet name, such as: Bailey, Brandy, Chianti, Cider, Coffee, Corona, Macchiato, Mocha, Pepsi, Sake, Sprite and Soda.

Pet names based on pop culture

TV, movie and cartoon characters always make good names. Consider Bam Bam, Bingo, Bogart, Brinkley, Buffy, Duke, Gidget, Keiko, Mario, Maverick, Miley, Scarlett, Spencer, Tootsie, Xena and Yoda.

Disney fans might want to name their pet Ariel, Baloo, Bambi, Belle, Fantasia, Gepetto, Merlin, Mowgli, Nemo, Piglet, Pluto, Pongo, Tigger, Thumper or Woody. Bonnie and Clyde is cute if you're adopting both a female and a male. If you're into fashion, you might like Armani, Calvin, Coco, Chanel, Juicy or Polo.

Things to consider when naming your pet:

● Don't feel pressured to name your new pet right away. Give them some time to adjust to their new surroundings, so their true personality can shine.
● Names should ideally be no more than two syllables. If you already have other pets, the names shouldn’t be similar, to avoid confusion.
● Choose a name that can’t be confused with commands or words your pet understands, such as Dawn (down), Pete (treat), Kit and Sid (sit).
● You’ve probably heard the classic story about the guy who got into all kinds of trouble because he named his dog “Sex.” Choose a name you’re not embarrassed to call out loud, such as at the dog park, or when you need to look for a lost pet or call your outdoor cat to come in for dinner.
● If several names appeal to you but you can't decide which one you prefer, you can “try them on for size.” Use each for a day or two, then select the one that seems to fit your pet best.
● You will use your pet’s name dozens of times every day, so make sure you can live with your choice.

Remember, there are no hard-and-fast rules to naming your pet. Just enjoy the process, and you’re sure to discover the perfect name for your new best friend!

Read more articles by Julia Williams


  1. Those are some great ideas for names for you pets. I seem to go with the color of the kittens when I first see them which gets a little silly because I have four orange cats. And I didn't realize they probably were all going to stay here. But they don't seem to care.

  2. I like to name my pets based on personality. However, I once had a dog named, simply, "Puppy" because I couldn't figure out a name for him. So he was "Puppy" into his adulthood. :)


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