2013 Pet Names of the Year

kitten and puppy

Naming a new pet can be bewildering. Sure some animals just seem to scream name me “Blackie” or “Snowball,” and are titled instantly. But others can take a good amount of pondering before landing on just the perfect moniker.

After all, naming a dog is akin to naming a child. One resource for pet names is to choose a name off the top 10 list. According to Vetstreet’s database of 925,000 puppies and 425,000 cats born since January 1, 2013, this is is a list of the most popular puppy and kitten names of the year.



         Males Names Female Names Male Names Female Names
1. Max Bella Oliver Bella
2. Buddy Daisy Max Lucy
3. Charlie Lucy Tiger Kitty
4. Rocky Molly Charlie Luna
5. Cooper Sadie Simba Chloe
6. Duke Sophie Mile Molly
7. Bear Lola Smokey Lily
8. Jack Chloe Leo Sophie
9. Bentley Zoey Jack Nala
10. Toby Maggie Kitty Daisy


Top Ten Puppy Names

The top four female puppy names have held the number 1 through 4 slots for the past 8 years. You have to wonder if the Twilight saga has helped bolster the name Bella for the past few years since it is also the number one name for kittens.

The name Lola has been moving up and down in slots for the past few years, but other dog names haven’t changed much this past year.

Not much is new for the male dog names other than swapping places a bit. In fact, for the past several years, the names Max and Buddy have swapped between the number 1 and 2 slots. Both have been in the top two for over a dozen years now according to Vetstreet.

Puppy Names on the Rise

The hottest name on the female puppy list is Luna. The name has moved from the number 84 position to the number 13 position this year. As for the fastest-moving male dog name, Diesel, has risen three slots just since last year.

A mere 10 years ago, the name Zoey was number 33 on the list, and now it is number 9. That’s also a significant increase in popularity.

Top 10 Kitten Names

While the number 2 female name, Lucy, has been the number two name for six out of the past 11 year, the name Bella has held the number one position for seven straight years now. Prior to Bella, the number one spot went to the name Kitty for several consecutive years.

We do have a new number one male name, Oliver, which dropped the name Max out of its reign of five years. For more than 15 years, Tiger has been in the top three of the list. Now that’s true popularity!

This year’s top list includes the name Nala for the very first time.

Kitten Names on the Rise

While the name Luna didn’t make it into the top 10 dog names, the name has increased in popularity each of the last 10 years. In fact, Luna wasn’t even part of the top 50 list 10 years ago.

Mittens is a name to watch as it pawed its way up 10 slots in a single year (from 28 to 18). And the name Pepper leaped from number 42 to number 21. It will be exciting to see how these two names do in 2014!

Non-Traditional Pet Names

Some pet owners wouldn’t dream of giving their new pet a traditional or popular name. They want a name that is unique.

As a child growing up, our pets always had very unique names. I should preface this with telling you my mother has a sense of humor.

We had a dog named After You, another one named Same As Yours, and a cat named Who. These monikers always got a rise out of the humans who were baffled and confused.

Another option is to create a name out of your own. After dozens of years of humorous pet names, my folks combined their names, Janice and Daniel, into a name and went with Jada.

While naming a new pet can take some time and isn’t always chosen prior to getting said pet, preparing for caring for our four-legged friends begins before bring them home.

A new pet requires a variety of items. At Pet Super Store, we offer the convenience of purchasing a puppy package that contains almost everything you need for a new puppy. We also offer an extensive supply of dog gates and training collars to help you in your new journey.  Also, check out of Learning Center where you can learn about techniques for dog crate-training and much more.

This will most likely be our last blog post for 2013 – we want to take a moment and express our deep gratitude to our readers and customers for a wonderful year. We look forward to bringing you all the best training tips, health tips and general pet news into 2014 and beyond…

Service Dogs Help Children with Disabilities

service dogs

Some of us may still think of service dogs primarily as Seeing Eye dogs for the blind, but over the past fifteen years, service dogs have expanded their work into many different fields. A New York Times Magazine article, “Wonder Dog”, highlights a field where service dogs are really making a big impact: children with disabilities.

The article highlights the work of Karen Shirk and her Xenia, Ohio organization called 4 Paws for Ability. The organization began in 1998 because Shirk, who has a disability herself, was unimpressed with the difficulty people with disabilities, particularly children, had in obtaining a service dog from an agency.

Her goal became to pair service dogs with children who have a disability. These disabilities include everything from Down’s syndrome, to seizure disorders, to Autism, to Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder. 4 Paws for Ability, in fact, trained the first known service dog for a child with autism.

Service dogs are able to help children with a wide variety of daily tasks, and each dog is trained specifically to the needs of their future child. Some tasks they may learn include:

  • Turning lights on and off
  • Opening Doors
  • Providing calming “deep pressure” to children with sensory disorders by laying across the child’s lap
  • Alerting, and sometimes even detecting ahead of time, the occurrence of a seizure
  • Warding off unwanted behaviors such as tantrums and hair pulling by redirecting the child.

Shirk notes, though, that sometimes the most moving aspect of the service dog relationship is the unconditional love and sense of companionship that the dog gives to the child. She also notes that children with disabilities often face social anxiety from others who are uncomfortable with their disability. A service dog often makes social situations easier for the child, taking the focus away from his or her disability.

Since its founding in 1998, 4 Paws for Ability has successfully placed over 600 dogs with children across the US and abroad. Four full-time trainers and countless volunteers work with approximately 200 dogs at any given time. The organization has a 90% success rate with placement.

Successful placement may rely on several aspects of the 4 Paws model:

  • A family who is applying for a dog sends 4 Paws extensive video coverage of their child throughout the day. This video footage is used to train a dog to the child’s particular needs.
  • The organization primarily trains breeds who are noted for their service work, specifically golden retrievers and labs.
  • A family spends ten days in Xenia meeting their dog and learning how to work with the dog.

You can learn more about 4 Paws for Ability by visiting their website.

The training of dogs for the service of disabled children is just another example of how amazing our faithful companions truly are. Learn more about how amazing your dog is by visiting our Knowledge Center or stay up to date with the latest pet news on our Smarty Pets Blog.

Where Did Domesticated Dogs Come From? New Research Suggests Europe


Have you ever wondered where and how ancient humans and wolves became acquainted, leading to the most faithful friendship of the ages?

A team of evolutionary biologists and geneticists recently compared the mitochondrial DNA of the modern dog alongside ancient and modern wolf DNA to determine that dog domestication began in Europe around the time that human populations were hunter-gatherers.

In the most recent edition of the journal Science, the researchers hypothesize that perhaps wolf packs initially came in contact with humans by feeding off the leftover carcasses of wooly mammoth and other large animals humans would have hunted.

As time went on and the wolves became tame, the researchers think the relationship morphed into wolves helping humans, perhaps by helping with the hunt or providing protection from dangerous predators.

The researchers took DNA samples from 18 ancient wolf fossils mostly from Europe that are 19,000 to 32,000 years old. They compared these samples to the modern DNA of over 77 breeds of dogs, 49 modern wolves, and four coyotes.

The comparison found that modern day dog DNA most closely resembles that of a now-extinct ancient wolf that resided in Europe. The researchers then concluded that dog domestication began in Europe when humans were hunter-gatherers.

This research goes against earlier studies that suggested wolves and humans began their relationship in Eastern Asia and the Middle East as agriculture developed. Biologists point out that the agricultural theory doesn’t make as much sense, suggesting that wolves would need a more compelling reason than crop farming to come in contact with humans.

The new research suggests that dogs have been our friends well before agriculture was ever established.

Some scientists, though, are dubious of the new findings. That’s because most of the mitochondrial DNA samples were taken from European dog fossils and not fossils of dogs found in other parts of the world, such as the Middle East and East Asia.

But the researchers of the study defend their research choices, noting that there are no known canine fossils in those areas that compare in age to the ones they used from Europe. Most known fossils in these areas are only 10,000 to 12,000 years old, much younger than the 32,000 year old fossils studied from Europe.

The researchers note that the DNA between the modern dog and the ancient wolf species found in Europe are so similar, it leaves little room for considering that dog domestication occurred somewhere else.

Regardless of where dog domestication began, it’s amazing to consider that humans and dogs have been partners for so long.

The Pet Super Store has a wide variety of products to show your appreciation to your partner in crime, including posh dog beds, treats, and agility equipment to inspire the ancient wolf within. And don’t miss our Smarty Pets Knowledge Center where you can learn even more about your faithful companion.

The Colors Your Dog Sees

PSS blog image 11-20-13Just because something is easy for human eyes to see, it doesn’t mean your dog can see it easily!

Humans have three cones and light catching cells, which are responsible for our ability to see the full spectrum of colors. When a person has only two of these cones, colorblindness is a result.

Though some colors are discernible, others colors are not. Similarly, Dogs have only two cones, and so they are also able to distinguish certain colors but not others.

It was widely accepted that dogs could only see in black and white, but a couple of studies conducted in the past five years have shown dogs see far more than just black and white.

The most recent study comes from the Institute for Information Transmission Problems of the Russia Academy of Sciences. The Russian scientists believed dogs were not really distinguishing colors, and the earlier studies only verified dogs responded to differences in brightness but not to color.

Psychology Today published Can Dogs See Colors  in 2008 highlighting the results of a study by Jay Neitz. Conducted at the University of California, Santa Barbara, dogs were tested for their ability to distinguish between colors. Continue reading to learn the methods and findings of each experiment.


The Russian Experiment

Using the light and dark shades of both yellow and blue, the scientists paired four feed boxes with the four different colored pieces of paper. The object was to train the dogs that certain colors meant a treat.

Once the dogs learned to associate a specific color with a meat treat, the researchers tested to see if a change in brightness or in color influenced their ability to find the treat. For example, would a dog trained to respond to light yellow associate light blue or dark yellow?

Do dogs see in actual color, or just shades of light and dark? The Russian experiment proved dogs could distinguish color, and were not just responding to brightness differences.

The California Experiment

Neitz conducted an experiment testing dogs for color vision. Three panels, two of the same color and one of a different color, were set next to each other. The panel with the different color was electronically programmed to dispense a treat when the dog pushed it.

Neitz did indeed prove dogs see colors. However, the spectrum of colors a dog sees is not as diverse as that of humans. Mostly, dogs see in shades of blue, yellow and gray.

The study also verified dogs see colors such as green, yellow and orange as yellowish. Violet colors are interpreted as blue, and gray is what they see when an item is blue-green.

A Fun Fact

I find it baffling that so many pet product manufacturers use red or orange for dog toys. Hopefully, this new research will encourage these companies to use colors that appeal to our dogs’ eyes rather than to humans’ eyes.

Since dogs actually see the world in shades of blue, yellow and gray, maybe your next dog toy should be in that color range.

Do You Love Your Pet More Than Your Partner?

Zen moment for dogWhile gentlemen may prefer blondes, women these days may prefer their pet over their partner.  A recent poll of 2,000 British women revealed one in ten claimed to love her pet more than her husband or boyfriend.

Treating pets as family members is certainly not uncommon. But some people might find it shocking that some women love their animal more than their partner. And, 41% these women not only don’t feel guilty about it, half of them indicated if their partner didn’t get along with their pet, it would be a deal-breaker!

The poll, which was taken by Brooke, an animal welfare organization, also showed almost one-third of pet owners love their pets as much as their partner. Pets don’t talk back or complain about a messy house, so it isn’t surprising that 40% feel their pet is never annoying.

One of the reasons we love our pets is because of the attention we receive from them. Roughly 39% of these women acknowledge their affection for their pet increases when their partner’s affection decreases.

The survey is one indicator of the amazing depths of feelings pet owners have for their pets. We buy our pets toys and special treats and do our best to shower them with love and playtime.

According to American Pet Products Association statistics, Americans spent 53.33 billion dollars on their pets in 2012, and that number is not expected to decrease.

A total of 68% of American households have pets, which is a 12% increase since 1988, the first year the statistic was tracked.

While more households own a dog (56.7 million), the number of cats owned is 95.6 million, which is 12.3 million more than the number of dogs owned as pets. It would seem that many cat owners have more than one cat.

So how exactly did Americans spend over 53 million dollars on their pets last year? Continue reading for a breakdown…

  • $20.64 billion – Food & Treats
  • $13.67 billion – Vet Care (non-surgical)
  • $12.65 billion – OTC Supplies & Care
  • $4.16 billion – Grooming & Boarding
  • $2.21 billion – Live Animals

The number of households owning a pet has doubled in the last 15 years. It’s obvious: people love their pets and spend an increasing amount on them.

The increase in awareness of rescue pets and the value of adoption may be influencing the remarkable increase in American pet households. But the reason for the increase is far less important than the fact more and more people are becoming pet owners.

Pet Super Store is dedicated to providing pet owners with exceptional products for their furry friends, including dog gates, dog beds and much more.

We want to know what you think. Is it okay to love your pet more than your partner? Do you? If so, would you admit it to your partner?

Let us know and we’ll post your responses!