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Luna beats out Bella as top pet name, but how about Professor Grover Fluffypants?

Mary Pickels
| Wednesday, Dec. 6, 2017, 9:27 a.m.

From common names like "Rover" for dogs and "Whiskers" for cats, what we call our pets has clearly evolved over the years.

According to PetPlan pet insurance, one year can make a difference in favorites.

The company's database of insured animals shows that a bit of juggling is taking place in naming puppies and kittens.

After holding the top spot since the company began writing policies in 2006, the name Bella (Italian for beautiful) has been toppled by Luna (from the Latin word for moon).

"When Shakespeare wrote, 'What's in a name?' he definitely wasn't thinking in terms of pets. Pet owners take their names very seriously. After all, they often say a lot about a pet parent's personality — or that of the pets themselves," says Natasha Ashton, Petplan co-founder and co-CEO, in a release.

Names like Bella and Luna tend to endure, says Petplan reporting analyst Leo Lanahan in the release.

"Sometimes we'll see a spike in a name's frequency due to a pop culture reference or a celebrity in the news. But usually, people tend to stick with the classics," he says.

Petplan's clients' top 10 pet names for animals under one year in 2017 are:

Luna, Bella, Charlie, Lucy, Max, Cooper, Daisy, Bailey, Molly and Oliver.

Last year's favorites were Bella, Charlie, Luna, Cooper, Daisy, Max, Lucy, Molly, Oliver and Penny.

In addition to Bella's dethroning from top dog (or cat), Bailey is a new addition in 2017, and Penny, who rose from number 28 to number 10 last year, just missed the cut, landing in eleventh place this year.

Broken down by species, 2017's top dog names on Petplan's list are:

Luna, Oliver, Charlie, Lucy, Daisy, Leo, Bella, Jack, Max and Milo.

Favorites for cats (who rarely respond to their names anyway) are:

Luna, Bella, Charlie, Lucy, Cooper, Bailey, Max, Molly and Buddy.

And then there are the imaginative — and sometimes mortifying — names with which some pet parents christen their furbabies.

Happily, only one Petplan pet each must answer to names like Professor Grover Fluffypants, Uma Furman, Charlie Brown McBearface, Bark Twain, Bark Ruffalo and Bark Wahlberg and Brown Puppy.

Nationwide , which also insures pets, keeps track of popular names for dogs and cats as well. Its 2016 survey shows many familiar picks, with Lola, Chloe, Tiger and Shadow added into the mix.

Alas, Nationwide-insured pets are not immune to their masters' and mistresses' questionable senses of humor either. If pets can roll their eyes, these animals likely spend a lot of time glancing heavenward. Sorry, Dunkin Butterbeans, Little Booty Ham Sandwich, et al.

Presidential pets have included everything from parrots to racehorses to tiger and bear cubs, according to the Presidential Pet Museum

And our commanders in chief and their families have had some fun over the past several hundred years coming up with monikers for their (sometimes) domestic animals.

Few "First Pet" names come from any "most popular" lists.

Pet naming trends pop up from many sources, including favorite "Star Wars" characters.

"From the sublime to the ridiculous, it's clear that pet lovers put a lot of time into naming their furry family members," says Petplan's Ashton.

Mary Pickels is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach her at 724-836-5401 or or via Twitter @MaryPickels.

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