It’s a new year, and with that come resolutions to establish new habits for better living. Many people resolve to exercise more, lose weight or get financially fit, but this also is a good time for resolutions that will help keep pets happy, healthy and safe. The following are pet-friendly resolutions for 2015:
Exercise: Those who are making a new exercise regimen part of this year’s goals should consider taking their dogs along for the walk. The dog will provide good companionship, and will enjoy the sights and sounds of the great outdoors and the quality time with its owner. Obesity in pets is a problem, and this resolution might be just what the vet ordered to get pets fit and trim.
Proper nutrition: Along the lines of more exercise, proper nutrition should also be a pet health goal this year. Many owners “eyeball” their pet’s food and pour that into a bowl, or free feed, meaning food is always available; these feeding habits often result in overfeeding and weight gain. It’s important to feed only the proper amount and type of food. Talk to a vet about what type of food is best, and measure every time. Finally, pick up the food bowl when mealtime is over.
Update information: The new year is a great time to make sure each pet’s identification tag and microchip information are up-to-date. People who moved in the past year or changed their phone number may not realize the information is outdated until after a pet is lost. Keeping this information current is the best way to ensure a lost pet gets home.
Foster: People who are considering a new pet this year, but are not sure whether they are ready for the commitment, should try fostering. Animal shelters and rescues need loving homes to provide safe and temporary living arrangements for pets. It’s a great opportunity for a shelter animal to get used to a home environment, and it’s the perfect way for you to test the waters of pet ownership. It’s a win-win situation, and a foster pet may just end up becoming a permanent family member.
Volunteer: Shelters and rescues right here in New Orleans rely on volunteers to keep the animals happy and loved until they find a home. It is a rewarding experience, and volunteers can truly make a difference in the life of an animal. Those who cannot donate time might consider donating supplies to a shelter or rescue group. Most shelters and rescues have volunteer opportunities for high school students needing community-service hours, church groups, work groups and more.
Be a voice: This year, speak up for the voiceless. People who notice neglected or abused pets should contact the proper authorities. Helping even one animal makes a huge difference.
KING CAKE BENEFIT: Sales of king cakes from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 3, at Cottage Catering and Bakery, 1536 River Oaks Road W., Harahan, will benefit Animal Rescue New Orleans, Susan G. Komen New Orleans and the Parkinson’s Action Network. King cakes are $16.95 and will be medium traditional. Caluda’s King Cake Festival also will feature food, games, live music and adoptable ARNO dogs. For information, call (504) 343-5706 or visit www.caludaskingcake.com.
LOST OR FOUND PETS: In Orleans Parish, you can send a photo, description of your pet, date lost/found and your contact information to email@example.com. In Jefferson Parish, email firstname.lastname@example.org and bbourgeois @jeffparish.net, and in St. Bernard Parish, email email@example.com.
Traci D. Howerton is social media editor of Animal Rescue New Orleans, a nonprofit, volunteer-based, no-kill shelter. Contact ARNO at animal firstname.lastname@example.org, www.animalrescueneworleans.org or call its recorded information line at (504) 571-1900.