Sunday, November 29, 2015

A Glimpse at the Dog Run at Wisner Playground

This month at Petit Pet Care we're taking a run at New Orleans' dog parks. The city currently has three officially sanctioned places for pet parents to let their dogs off the leash to run and play. Two are free to use and the third requires the purchase of an annual permit. Over the next several months we'll discuss the features of each.

Prior to 2010 the city had acquired a number of unofficial spaces from levee banks to public playgrounds, and even empty lots, where people had been bringing their dogs and letting them off the leash to get some exercise. Most of these places, with the exception of the playgrounds, were not fenced in and lacked amenities such as fountains, shade areas, or restrooms, and often their use was the source of much controversy within the surrounding neighborhoods.

Even in places that were fenced in, dogs (and some of their owners) were not particularly welcome for a variety of reasons from trampled playing fields to excess pet waste not being picked up by negligent owners. In 2012 the City of New Orleans announced plans to create as many as twenty official dog parks across the area. One year later, that plan was cut back to ten parks. So far, two have been realized: the dog runs at Wisner Playground uptown, and at Crescent Park in the Bywater, It's the former we are focusing on here.

Located at 4876 Laurel St., the Wisner Dog Run opened in December of 2013, and was the first official place in the city where pet parents could legally let dogs of the leash without paying for an annual permit in order to use it. Prior to this time, the park had been one of those unofficial sites that occasionally was the source of controversy. Fortunately, the park was already slated for renovations, and since it was already being used as an unofficial dog park, area residents were able to successfully advocate for a separate area for dogs to be included in the park upgrades.

With the creation of the 8.500 square foot dog run, (technically, since the area is less than an acre, it isn't considered an actual dog park) the park now has a separate area between the playground and sports fields where does can legally be let off the leash to roam and romp and do their business.

Within that space are benches where pet parents can sit, drinking fountains for dogs and humans, and even complimentary pet waste bags.

Unfortunately, there are no separate areas for large and small dogs at the popular Uptown spot, and while there are some trees planted in the area, there is no real shade, as of 2015. The run isn't well maintained and tends to get muddy when it rains. There are also no restrooms, and children under eight years old are prohibited from the run area.

Puppies under six months are also prohibited, and all dogs visiting the park must be spayed or neutered, vaccinated, and wearing collars and tags. There is a limit of three dogs per household visiting the run at one time. No food, (including human) treats or chews allowed, or glass containers, and no smoking, booze, drugs, or firearms as well. Park hours are 6 am to 10 pm. 

UPDATE: Fall 2016
NORDC has stepped up the maintenance of the dog run this year.  Holes have been filled in and crushed rock was added in areas where water pooled, so it doesn't get muddy after it rains. 

Helpful links:

Wisner Dog Park - Facebook

Friends of Wisner Park

NORD/Wisner Playground and Dog Run

More on the Wisner Dog Run:

Uptown Gets First Off-Leash Dog Run

New Orleans' Dog Park Plan

Wisner Dog Run opens signalling new day for dog parks in New Orleans

Important note: Always remember, unless a park is a designated official dog park, leash laws still apply!

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Pet Care 101: Comparing Kitty Litter

This month at Petit Pet Care we're focusing on cat care, specifically the litter box. As you can imagine, we have had some extensive experience with cat litter. While setting up a cat box seems simple enough, there are a few important considerations you should be aware of such as size, placement, and of course the choice of a litter.

In terms of size, you want a box big enough so that kitty isn't cramped; in terms of placement, you want to put the box someplace where kitty has easy access (and even a little privacy if possible) to take care of business. Multiple cats require multiple boxes. Of course, once all that is sorted out, the next and possibly most important step, will be filling the box with your choice of cat litter.

With all the different cat litter varieties available on the market it can be difficult to choose which one to buy. We won't get into an extensive explanation on the subject  here, but all litters are not created equal. There's the cheap stuff you can get at the dollar store, the eco-friendly kind made from recycled materials, the "light" type litter, the fancy pellet variety, clay, low-dust, scented, un-scented...

Cat litter serves a very specific and important purpose. Besides giving your pet a hygienic place indoors to go to the bathroom, its function is to absorb urine as well as to cover feces, while reducing odor causing bacteria. There are two main types: clumping and non-clumping. The difference between them is fairly obvious; when wet, the particles in the clumping type stick together then dry in a clump, which makes for easy scooping. Another advantage of the clumping variety is that it doesn't have to be replaced every week.

So how do you decide which one you should use? And why is cat litter choice such a big deal? Well, for one thing, some cats are very particular, and if the litter box isn't up to their standards, they'll leave you a little present someplace to let you know it's time to clean the box and/or change the litter.

Here are our top three:

In third place is World's Best Cat Litter, a flushable, eco-friendly variety, which believe it or not is made from corn! It clumps upon contact with urine, making for an easy cleanup, and a small bag can last up to 30 days in a single cat household. (Odor control and clumping are better with the top two.)

Our second place choice is Tidy Cat Scoop - though not the light version. While it is a bit on the dusty side, it has pretty good odor control, and obviously the clumping makes for an easy cleanup.

In first place for us is Arm and Hammer Clump and Seal clay-based. Why is it our favorite? It has small particles, low dust, clumps tight and virtually no odor.

Also, Tidy Cat's Breeze Litter Pellets get an honorable mention here; it does the job with no dust, but it requires a specific type of litter box with puppy pads.

As a responsible pet parent, the last thing you want is a strong odor in your home alerting visitors to the presence of your family pet(s) before they ever actually meet them. Hopefully we've given you enough information to help you make the best choice for your family.

For more detailed information on litter box setup and litter choices see the links below:

6 Best Types of Cat Litter

Clumping vs Non-Clumping Litter: The Pros and Cons of Each

How to Select, Set Up, and Maintain the Litter Box

When it Comes to the Litter Box... Keep it Simple