Do you have any pets? Do you have a dog or a cat? A goldfish or a guinea pig? Having a furry (with fur, the coat on an animal) companion in life can be a lot of fun! But how do you talk about your pets in English? This week is all about pet vocabulary in English.

Pets are great, but they can be a lot of work. You have to feed a pet. You have to take dogs outside to use the “bathroom.” And, of course, all pets need some cuddles (hugs and love)! Practice this pet vocabulary to learn to talk about your little friends.

To take on a walk

Just like people, animals need exercise, too! That’s why dog owners (the person of the dog, the master) take their dogs on walks. Going on a walk with your dog can keep both of you (the owner and animal) fit and healthy!

I tried to take my cat on a walk once, but it didn’t work that well. Have you ever tried taking an animal besides a dog on a walk?

Leash (US)- Lead (UK)*/harness

How do you take a dog on a walk? You need to lead (direct) them with a leash or a harness!

leash is a line or a rope that you attach to the dog when you walk it. The leash can attach (connect) to the collar around the neck, or to the harness. A harness goes around a dog’s body, and is what’s usually used to help train puppies to walk on a leash.

*Watch out for this difference in pet vocabulary for American English and United Kingdom English!

To feed

Just like people, pets need to eat, too! So don’t forget to feed, or give food to, your pets.

Be careful not to feed them too much food, or they may gain too much weight (get too fat)  just like my cat did.

To bark/meow/chirp

What do you call the sounds animals make in your language? In English, dogs bark, cats meow, and birds chirp or tweet.

We’d love to hear what you call the sounds that animals make in your native tongue to add to our pet vocabulary!


Do you have a small animal like a hamster, ferret, or bird? Then you probably keep them in a cage. A cage is a wired (thin, metal cables) enclosure (box, something you keep things in) that small animals live in.

If you keep your pets in a cage, do you put toys and fun things in there for them to play with? What kind of toys do they play with?

To be allergic to

Some people can’t have pets because they make them sneeze and cough. If animals make you sneeze, cough, or make your throat itchy, you may be allergic to animals. Some people are allergic to all animals, and some are only allergic to certain kinds.

If you think you’re allergic, talk to a doctor to know for sure. Many people are allergic to cats, for example.


We’re able to keep pets in our homes because they have been domesticated, or turned from wild animals to animals that can live with people. A lot of animals were domesticated thousands of years ago, and now we can’t imagine life without our furry friends!

To train

How do you teach a dog to sit, shake, or play dead? You have to train it!

Training a pet takes a lot of time and effort, but it’s worth it (the end result is better than the time you took). If you’re having trouble training your pet, try taking it to a trainer for some help.

Sit/Stay/Come here/Good boy/Good girl

Animals love encouragement (nice words),  too, and just like small children, they sometimes need some structure (form, routine). To make that structure, you can train your pet with certain words. You can get them to sit (to sit down), to stay (to stay where they are), or get them to come (to come to you). Some people even train their pets to play dead!

If your pet does something well, it’s always good to encourage them with a “good boy” or “good girl.” Maybe even give them a treat (something to eat, a prize)!

To fetch

What’s your favorite game to play with your dog in the park? Do you throw a ball or stick for it to bring back to you? Then you’re playing fetch with your dog.

Do you play any other games with your dog? What are they?

To pet

Petting an animal is extremely relaxing (calming, stress-reducing). When you pet an animal, you’re stroking (rubbing, pushing your hand along) its fur. In my experience, animals like being pet just as much as humans like doing the petting!

What kind of pets do you have? Tell us a little about them with the pet vocabulary you learned above in the comments below!

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Check out these other popular blogs: Taboo words in English7 Synonyms for Being Drunk7 American English Slang Words, or these Sports Idioms used in English!

Erin Duffin lives in Hamburg, is an English teacher, blogger, yoga instructor, and wishes she had a pet! It’s hard to live in the city, work a full time job, plus write fabulous English blogs about pet vocabulary and keep a pet happy!! 

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