Dear Heloise: Thought I'd pass this hint on to your readers. With the cold weather comes the danger of pets being left outside. I'm often so busy with my small children that when I let my two dogs out, I worry about leaving them in the cold for too long.
I solved the problem by setting the alarm on my wristwatch for no more than 20 minutes. This way, I know it's time to get them in, and by that time they are waiting by the door. Juliette Schmidt, Denver
This hint works for pets and children alike. Set a kitchen timer or an alarm clock so no one gets cold feet or paws. Heloise
Dear Readers: Marie Martin of Waterville, Maine, sent a photo of her white cat, Hobie, sitting at the computer. He was a stray, and she adopted him about a year ago. He loves the computer and watches every move on the screen. He can't wait to play with the arrow onscreen. Visit my Web site, www.Heloise.com, and click on This Week's Pet to see this computer-savvy kitty. Send your favorite, unusual pet photo to: Heloise/Pet Photo, P.O. Box 795000, San Antonio, TX 78279. Heloise
Dear Readers: Does your pet scratch incessantly? Skin allergies or dry, flaky or irritated skin could be the culprit. Also, according to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, it could be a contagious disease such as sarcoptic mange.
Mange is caused by mites. If you notice that your pet's ears and elbows are scabby or crusty, or it has a loss of hair and sores, they can all be signs that mites might have burrowed beneath the skin. It's advisable that you take your pet to a veterinarian to diagnose its problem. There are dips and medication available for treatment. Heloise
Dear Heloise: I love your column and have gotten numerous helpful hints through the years. We had a problem with a relative overfeeding our fish while on vacation. Now, we pick up extra weekly drug dispensers and put the correct amount of fish food in each day's box. Our helpers don't mind feeding the fish, and the tank is much cleaner when we return home. William F., via e-mail
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