None - Giving your pet the wrong name can result in learning difficulties, behavioral issues and problems with recognition. According to Veterinary Pet Insurance, owners may want to think twice before naming your new four-legged friend.
"There is an art behind picking the perfect pet name," says Dr. Peter Weinstein, VPI medical director and immediate past-president, California Veterinary Medical Association. VPI offers the following tips for choosing the most appropriate name for your new dog, cat, bird or reptile.
• One-syllable names, like Max and Sam, make learning and recognition easier for your pet. Two-syllable names also work well because animals listen for the first syllable sound.
• Be aware of choosing names (such as Joe, Neil) that are similar to voice commands used for obedience: no, sit, come, heel, down, talk, etc.
• Don't give your pets and your children similar names or neither will know who you're calling.
• Choose a name that is easy to call out and won't embarrass you (as you shout it through your neighborhood at 7:00am); consider choosing Happy over Stinky.
• Consider choosing a name based on breed lineage. For example, pick a name like Murphy or Riley for an Irish Setter or Kerry Blue Terrier.
• Name your pet based upon behavioral aspects noted in the first week or so. Examples: Lovey, Hoppy or Crazy.
• Plan for growth - a puppy will no longer be a puppy after a year, so consider that Tiny may not be the best choice for larger breeds.
Dr. Weinstein's guidelines may help explain why, for the second year in a row, "Max" Has taken top honors as the nation's most popular name, according to VPI research. A survey of VPI's 300,000-plus policyholders showed that Bailey, Buddy, Molly, Maggie, Lucy, Jake, Daisy, Rocky and Sadie rounded out the top ten rankings for 2004.
Dr. Aine McCarthy, VPI Director of Veterinary Marketing, believes that this year's top pet names speak to a promising trend in the pet world. "Human names for pets are very common these days, because more and more people consider their pets as family members," she explained. "This is a wonderful indication that the human/animal bond is stronger than ever."