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Be sure to watch dogs for heatstroke

Dear Readers: It’s the end of August, and the heat is on! HEATSTROKE can develop in a dog when its body temperature reaches over 104 degrees, and it can permanently damage body organs.

Can you recognize the signs of heatstroke in your dog? Here are some:

* frantic panting

* a bright-red or dark tongue and gums

* inability to stand upright

* seizing

* diarrhea and/or vomiting

* coma

Suspect heatstroke? Get to the veterinarian immediately. On the way, use cool — NOT cold — water to cool the animal, and have the dog lick ice cubes. Rubbing alcohol on the footpads can help.

Do you know which breeds of dog are most susceptible to heatstroke? Bulldogs and pugs (short-nose breeds) and dogs with heavy and dark coats, as well as dogs that already have breathing and heart problems, can be the most likely to get heatstroke, although no breed is immune.

In fact, according to the Humane Society (www.humanesociety.org), high-energy dogs (for example, Jack Russells) may not know when to stop running in hot weather. Watch them carefully outside. And of course, heatstroke is the main cause of death with a dog in a hot car.

Keeping your cool, and your dogs cool, is critical during hot weather. — Heloise

BUY IT NOW

Dear Readers: This may sound wild, but how about starting your Christmas shopping now? Look around for big sales this time of year for back to school — there can be some great gift ideas lurking around in there too!

Create a gift drawer or closet. And if you have a surprise guest this fall, you’ll even have a gift for him or her! — Heloise

LOCK IT UP

Dear Heloise: Please let homeowners know to keep their home LOCKED during a garage sale.

Thieves can take advantage of the busy homeowner and walk into the home and help themselves to items in the home. The thieves can even work in pairs or teams to make sure you are distracted. — Diane M., via email

TOWELS AND BLANKETS

Dear Heloise: I read your hints in The Bakersfield Californian. You suggested a list of items to give to the animal shelter, but you left off the most important ones: towels and blankets. My shelter cuts up blankets for the cages, and they use towels until they are rags!

In summer, the temperature gets over 100 degrees, and in winter, it is below freezing. The concrete gets really hot and really cold. — Kathy A., Bakersfield, Calif.

Kathy, thanks for the hint. Bedsheets would be appreciated, too! — Heloise

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Dear Heloise: I’ve done a lot of TRAVELING, and I’d like to share a few things that I’ve learned:

A cabdriver claims the meter is broken but tells you he’ll give you a flat rate at a discount. Get out and find another cabbie. It’s a scam. A cabdriver tells you your hotel is closed or overbooked but wants to take you to the hotel of a friend. Get out of the cab and find another cabbie or you’ll be the victim of a scam.

Stay away from currency exchange booths. You may well be given counterfeit money. Always do a currency exchange at a bank. Familiarize yourself with the rate of exchange in any foreign country, and check the amount you were given against the receipt.

If at all possible, use a credit card or prepaid currency card for purchasing items. If the front desk calls and says your credit card was rejected and asks you to read the numbers to them over the phone, don’t do it. It’s a scam.

Be careful and cautious while traveling. — Faith G., Mesa, Ariz.

HOME SECURITY

Dear Heloise: I’ve been in home security for several years now, and I have a few hints to protect your home and yourself:

1. When you move into a home that was previously owned, change the locks first.

2. Never leave notes on the front door for anyone. Burglars love an empty house.

3. Make sure ALL door hinges are on the inside of the house.

4. Sliding glass doors should have an adjustable bar or broom handle along the sliding track to keep people from opening your sliding door.

5. Buy garage doors and house doors that do not have windows so thieves can’t look inside.

— Steven J., Santa Fe, N.M.

Steven, thanks for these great hints for protecting your home. — Heloise

DIETING HINTS

Dear Heloise: My doctor gave me some hints for losing weight that helped me drop two dress sizes:

* Eat slowly, chew your food thoroughly and put your fork down between each bite.

* Eat three small meals a day, with NO snacking in between.

* Ask yourself if you’re really hungry or are you eating out of social habits. So many of our holidays revolve around food, and we eat when we aren’t hungry.

* Stay busy and keep your mind off food. Stay out of the kitchen.

— Loni R., Ogden, Utah

SHOWER CADDY

Dear Heloise: When I want to avoid a mess in the car but my kids need to eat, I place their food in a shower caddy. It’s easy to clean and avoids spills in the car. — Anne P., Lynbrook, N.Y.

MUSICAL CHAIRS?

Dear Heloise: In regard to a recent letter, someone told me restaurants play loud music so people won’t sit around and talk. It keeps the tables turning over. — A Reader in Charlotte, N.C.

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.