Dear Readers: Happy new year! The first of the year is a good time to schedule an annual exam for your pets. Regular preventive medicine can enrich the life of your pet, and catching something before it gets worse is better for the pet, and your pocketbook.
What does an annual exam cover? Here’s some of what to expect. The doctor will look at, among other things:
● Teeth: signs of decay and pain.
● Coat and skin: lumps, bumps, hair loss, itchiness, etc.
● Ears and eyes: discharge, redness.
● Feet and legs: toenail trouble, limping, etc.
● Breathing and heart: coughing, runny nose, shortness of breath.
The doctor typically will ask you about the animal’s diet, how much exercise the animal gets, any tummy trouble (vomiting, diarrhea, constipation) and any changes in temperament and behavior. The doctor will want the animal updated on vaccinations, flea and heartworm prevention, and blood tests, especially for older animals.
Be prepared: Keep a journal of your animal’s health, and ask lots of questions — your animal’s well-being depends on it!
Dear Readers: Carl K. in McPherson, Kan., sent a picture of his granddog, Dexter, a Yorkshire terrier, whose parents are Dennis K. and his wife, Cindy. Dexter is showing off his fall colors, posing with pretty oranges and browns and hay bales, and the cutest head tilt and tongue, ready to give kisses!
To see Dexter and our other Pet Pals, visit Heloise.com and click on “Pet of the Week.”
Dear Heloise: Winter is here, and it is time for hot drinks. My favorite is your cocoa recipe. To it, I add 1 tablespoon of my homemade vanilla, and a large dollop of real cream of coconut (not coconut milk). Delicious!
Rachel B., Springdale, Ark.
Rachel B.: Wonderful! Readers, my cocoa mix is pretty easy:
Blend 2 cups of powdered milk, a dash of salt, 1/4 cup cocoa and 1 cup powdered sugar. For a richer taste, add 1/3 cup powdered nondairy creamer and/or a tablespoon of malted-milk powder.
Mix 4 tablespoons in a cup and fill with boiling water. Enjoy!
I’ve compiled a collection of my favorite flavored coffee and tea recipes in a handy pamphlet. If you’d like to receive one, send a self-addressed, stamped (68 cents), business-size envelope, along with $3, to: Heloise/ Coffee and Teas, P.O. Box 795001, San Antonio, TX 78279-5001. Mix the drink with a leftover candy cane.
Dear Heloise: To keep clay flowerpots upright outside, use an old piece of silverware or other metal dowel piece.
Insert it into the ground through the drain hole in the pot. Use metal; wood will break down over time.
Peggy B., Bellbrook, Ohio
Dear Heloise: My dachshund just got spayed. She needed to wear the “cone of shame” the first day (so she wouldn’t lick her sutures).
After that, we switched her over to a baby onesie, which does the trick and is cute, besides.
Pat B., via email
Heloise’s column appears six days a week at washingtonpost.com/advice. Send a hint to Heloise, P.O. Box 795000, San Antonio, Tex. 78279-5000, or email it to Heloise@Heloise.com.