You may already have made personal resolutions for the new year. Consider making some concerning your pets, as well.
UPDATE INFORMATION: It’s a great time to make sure the pets have current identification tags and that microchip information is up to date. Move last year? Get a new phone number? Pet owners often realize this information is outdated only after a pet goes missing. Keeping contact information current on tags and with the microchip company is the best way to ensure a lost pet finds his way home.
MICROCHIP NOW: If a pet is not already chipped, make it a New Year’s resolution to get that done. Tags can fall off or be removed, but the chip will always be there. It gives a lost pet the best chance of getting back home. It is important to remember that getting the chip implanted is only the first step in the process. It must then be registered in order for it to be fully effective.
PROPER NUTRITION: Are you trying to slim down for the New Year? It’s also a good idea to evaluate what you’re feeding your pets and how much they are eating. Many owners eyeball their pet’s food and pour that into a bowl, or free feed, meaning food is always available, and these feeding habits often result in overfeeding and weight gain. It’s important to feed only the proper amount and type of food. Pick up the food bowl when mealtime is over.
EXERCISE: If a new exercise regiment is one of your goals, consider taking Fido along for the walk. This is a great way to enjoy quality time and get everyone off the couch and outside. Obesity in pets is a problem, and, as we all know, it’s easier to stick to an exercise routine when we have a partner.
FOSTER: Considering a new pet this year but not sure about the commitment? 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 to test the waters of pet ownership.
VOLUNTEER: Shelter and rescues rely on the help of volunteers to keep the animals happy and loved until they find homes. It is a rewarding experience that truly makes a difference in the life of an animal. Most shelters and rescues have volunteer opportunities for high school students needing community services hours, church groups, work groups and more. If you can’t volunteer, consider donating supplies to a local shelter or rescue group.
BE A VOICE: In 2016, speak up for the voiceless. Report neglected or abused pets to the proper authorities.
Saturday: Offsite Pet Adoption, sponsored by the Louisiana SPCA at Jefferson Feed, 309 N. Carrollton Ave., from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Louisiana SPCA adoption counselors and volunteers will be on hand to help you select the right pet for your family. A variety of shapes, colors and sizes of four-legged friends will be available for adoption. Call (504) 368.5191 or visit www.la-spca.org for information.
Saturday: The Intro to Dog Training workshop is open to new adopters, seasoned pet owners and anyone looking to learn a little more about how to effectively communicate with their dog. This workshop covers the basics of how dogs learn and how you can make the most of their training. As an added benefit, anyone who attends this free workshop will receive a discount code for 10 percent off a manners training class. No registration is required; walk-ins welcome. The workshop is from 1:30 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. at the Louisiana SPCA, 1700 Mardi Gras Blvd., New Orleans. Visit www.la-spca.org/trainingworkshops for information.
Saturday: The Dogs and Babies workshop is a training class for expectant parents. This humans-only workshop will give you the tools for a smooth transition for your entire family. The workshop is from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. at the Louisiana SPCA, 1700 Mardi Gras Blvd., New Orleans. Visit www.la-spca.org/trainingworkshops for more info.
LOST OR FOUND PETS: In Orleans Parish, send a photo, description of your pet, date lost/found and your contact info to firstname.lastname@example.org. In Jefferson Parish, email email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org, 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 firstname.lastname@example.org, www.animalrescueneworleans.org or call the recorded information line at (504) 571-1900.