One of the first things we think about, often in the planning stage of finding a new pet, is what will be a fitting name for this new family member. Besides just a fondness for a particular name, people choose a name for all sorts of reasons— it may remind them of something, somewhere, someone, or just seem fitting or amusing. A question I frequently ask people that visit the clinic is how they chose the name for their pet. While many pets keep the name they had from the shelter or a pet parent “just liked the name”, I find that there is an interesting story behind many names.
Often, a name will come from a popular movie or television show, book, beverage, or celebrity. My time in veterinary medicine has taken me from Belle of The Little Mermaid to Bella of the Twilight series. For every animated children’s movie released, there will be a group of pets bearing the name of the lead characters.
Many people choose a classic “people” name for their pet. A pair of floppy Basset Hounds named Fred and Gertrude come to mind. Others pick the “people” name they did not use as they named their children. Some breeds truly lend themselves to a “people” name.
Humor is the goal for others. Some of my favorites for creativity include the mix breed terrier named Casserole, the rough and tumble lab named Deogee (hint: spell D-O-G), and the pretty calico feline named Eeko (the last 2 syllables of “calico” instead of the more typical Cali).
I have had many kittens come in for their first exam with a given name, only to find out that the gender was not correctly identified, starting the arduous task of finding a suitable name all over again.
According to Vetstreet.com, in 2014, the most popular dog names were Max, Charlie, Rocky, Buddy and Cooper for males, and Bella, Daisy, Lucy, Sadie, and Molly for females. The most popular cat names were Oliver, Milo, Leo, Charlie, and Max for males. Bella, Luna, Lucy, Kitty, and, not surprisingly, Elsa topped the list for females.
It is a heartbreaking event for any pet parent to have to endure. Even with our best intentions, pets seem to find a way to slip out and away. Their natural curiosity can get them into trouble. Have you taken the proper steps to assure your pet is identified?
The first step is to keep a collar with a tag on your pet. The tag should have your pets name, your name and current contact information. A current rabies tag should also be on the collar. If your pet has any special medical needs, you may document that on a tag as well.
The second step is to have your pet microchipped. Studies have shown that pets with microchips are significantly more likely to be reunited with their owners. A microchip is a small enveloped electronic chip that is about the size of a grain of rice. They do not have a battery, but rather, are activated by the scanner as it passes over them. A microchip is not a GPS tracking device. When a lost pet is found, they are frequently taken to a shelter or veterinary clinic. Staff will scan the pet for a microchip. Provided the pet's microchip number was properly registered by the owner, the chip number can be traced to the owner.
Having a microchip implanted is a safe, quick, and a well-tolerated procedure. It can be performed in most patients during a routine wellness visit, but is also commonly performed while a pet is under anesthesia for their spay or neuter. Microchips are safe. A British Small Animal Veterinary Association database review indicates that only 0.01% adverse issues rate in 4 million microchips implanted. The most common problem reported was movement of the chip from the original implant site over time.
Regular scanning of the microchip during wellness visits will reassure you that your pets chip scans correctly, is in the correct location, and serves as a reminder to keep your owner contact information up to date.