Online pet meds might be risky

Dear Heloise: The Food and Drug Administration is warning people to be very careful about BUYING PET MEDICATION ONLINE due to some of the illegal and dangerous actions the FDA has seen. While some companies are reputable, many others are not. There is a definite risk of dosing your pet with fake or stolen medications that can be unsafe or ineffective. Some medications, such as heartworm medication, can only be dispensed by a licensed professional, so it is unlikely that you could simply buy it online. The best place to buy your pet’s medications is from your vet. — Sandra P., Fairfax, Va.



Dear Heloise: If any of your readers are planning to travel outside of the United States, their first step should be to consult the travel advisory section online at www.travel.state.gov/travelsafely. In every country, travel conditions can change rapidly, so the travel advisories can help you determine where to go and alert you to any civil unrest or problems for travelers. You can see the world at a glance by using the color-coded map the website has provided. — Thomas D. in New York


Dear Readers: We continue to have an amazing response to a Sound Off letter about rising property taxes. One letter in particular spoke volumes about property taxes for the elderly. — Heloise

“Dear Heloise: I read about escalating property taxes in your column. I live in a small town of about 9,000 people with no sewers and no streetlights, and my taxes were $4,000.19. We are seniors, and for us that’s a lot of money, especially on a fixed income. It is extremely hard to come up with the money, and this may result in having to sell our home. I don’t know if there are any options for us, but we are just like many other seniors who struggle to get by each month.” — Joyce R. in California


Dear Heloise: This week there was an article in The Hutchinson (Kansas) News about why you should pick a college based on price:

1. You can avoid high student debt.

2. You can give your parents a break.

3. You’ll get a better return on your investment.

Out of all the jobs I have had, where I went to college was never important. It was what I could do for them now that I had a degree. — Lloyd K., Ellinwood, Kan.


Dear Heloise: I just read the letter from Connie W. of Tucson, Arizona, in the San Angelo (Texas) Standard-Times. She asked what to feed her vegan sister-in-law. When I visit friends or relatives, since I have a special diet, I always take food that I can eat. I take enough for everyone else to enjoy with me if they choose to do so. That way, I don’t put a burden of preparing special food on my hosts, and I don’t have to worry about what I’ll eat. It’s always a good idea to let your hosts know in advance so they don’t have to worry about the menu on your account. — Sylvia P., via email


Dear Heloise: I’m 93 years of age, and I love your column! I take newspapers, towels and cloths to the ANIMAL SHELTER. They also accept unopened foods.

Please print this — many people don’t realize what the shelters need. — Pat S., Whittier, Calif.

Pat, happy to! My wheaten terrier Chammy, a former shelter dog, says, “Woof, woof!”

Call the shelters to see what they need. Here are some more possible items: paper towels, trash bags, plastic grocery bags, supplies for the office (pens, sticky notes, hand sanitizer, copy paper), heating pads, flea treatment, collars, leashes, food bowls, cat litter, laundry detergent, rubber gloves and any cleaning supplies. Monetary donations, too! Thanks for your letter.

This is a wonderful summer project for scouting and church youth groups, too! — Heloise


Dear Readers: Shiner is relaxing, hanging out in the pool! Bianca in Live Oak, Texas, sent a picture of Shiner cooling off in the kiddie pool after running around the backyard. Is he named Shiner because he’s got a black patch over each eye? Perhaps!

To see Shiner and our other Pet Pals, visit www.Heloise.com and click on “Pet of the Week.” Do you have a funny and furry friend? Email a picture and description to Heloise@Heloise.com. — Heloise


Dear Heloise: A fun project for kids: Gather many (up to 20) medium-size flat rocks, scrub and let dry. Divide the rocks into two groups.

Paint one group bright red with black dots and the other bright yellow with black stripes! It’s the ladybugs versus the bumblebees.

Get some long twigs to fashion a tic-tac-toe board on the picnic table, and a tic-tac-toe contest should ensue.

My grandchildren have hours of fun playing with the rocks! — Gennie in Texas


Dear Readers: Let’s get the lawn looking great. Here are some hints:

¯ Mow slow. Let the blades have a chance to cut the grass. Afternoon is better, after the dew has burned off. Wet grass clumps and clogs.

¯ Taller is healthier. Mower blades set at 4 inches will not scalp the lawn. Taller grass typically means stronger and deeper roots.

¯ Water, fertilize and seed regularly. — Heloise


Dear Heloise: I have to carefully read our neighborhood happenings app. If someone posts a headline “Lost Dog,” it can mean the person has found a dog that is lost, or sometimes the person has actually lost his or her dog.

Might I suggest: When posting, write what actually is going on in the headline: “I Found This Dog on My Stoop,” or “I Lost My Dog.”

For both found and missing pets, always include a picture of the animal and any quirky characteristics. Of course, microchipping and a collar with tags are both very necessary for pets. — Mark in South Carolina

EDITOR’S NOTE: Send your great money-saving or timesaving hint to to Heloise at P.O. Box 795000, San Antonio, TX 78279-5000, Fax to 1-210-HELOISE, or email to Heloise@Heloise.com. She can’t answer your letter personally but will use the best hints received in her column.