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What is the word to describe bringing up your pet?

  • Raise sounds odd.
  • Breed sounds weird.
  • Rear seems to be more for farm animals.
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up vote 3 down vote accepted

Breed seems inappropriate because OP refers to pet in the singular. If you breed [some type of animal], this implies producing significant numbers, often on a commercial basis and/or with the intention of improving the genetic stock over generations.

I don't think that keeping a dog/cat, for example, necessarily implies you've had the animal since it was a puppy/kitten.

Google Books says "reared kittens" is three times more common than "raised kittens". But scanning the results, my impression is that in the vast majority of cases, rear is used in clinical/research contexts (lab-bred kittens reared in the dark, without social/maternal contact, etc., which aren't connotations OP would want). Many of the rest involve hand-reared - again, a specialised context implying weaning without the aid of the natural mother.

Faute de mieux, OP's best choice is raise (here are many instances of "raised puppies").

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+1. I agree that raise is the preferable word. That is what we use in our veterinary publications. Keeping pets means caring for them all their lives, not just from birth to adulthood. Rear in Saunders vet dictionary is: "feeding of a sucking animal that is not able to survive without milk or milk replacer." – JLG May 29 '12 at 13:59

"Keeping pets" is commonly used to refer to bringing up pets.

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