Dear Readers: Summer boating season is in full swing. Let’s look at possibly the most important piece of equipment you and your kids need in the boat: a Coast Guard-approved LIFE JACKET.
You may think you don’t need a life jacket; you are a good swimmer, and the jackets are bulky, ugly and unflattering. Think again. 
Today’s life jackets are lightweight and accommodating; they form to your body. And you can’t count on your swimming skills in an emergency.
A life jacket should keep your head above water so you can breathe. Each person on the boat must have a life jacket.
An adult life jacket cannot work on a child. The child needs his or her own - a child’s chin and ears must not slip through the life jacket.
Each state has regulations on life jackets. Make sure you know yours. You may need a throwable device, too.
Safety is always the most important element when it comes to a day of boating. Make sure you are prepared. - Heloise


Dear Heloise: I have been noticing my dishes are coming out of the dishwasher with stains on them. 
Anything I can add to take care of this problem? Should I try vinegar in the dishwasher? Love your column in The Villages Daily Sun in Florida. - M.B., via email
Hello to my friends in The Villages! White vinegar makes a marvelous rinse aid if you have hard water. 
Fill a cup with white vinegar and place it in the top rack of the dishwasher. Load the dishwasher and add your regular detergent as always, then run the machine.
Vinegar is a workhorse around the home, and it’s cheap, environmentally friendly and readily available. I’ve compiled my favorite vinegar hints into a handy pamphlet. Would you like to receive one? It’s easy. Visit to order, or send a stamped (70 cents), self-addressed, long envelope, along with $5, to: Heloise/Vinegar, P.O. Box 795001, San Antonio, TX 78279-5001. Periodically clean your dishwasher, too. Use 2 cups of vinegar, with NO detergent, and run a hot water cycle. This will help clean out the hard-water deposits. - Heloise


Dear Heloise: You advised people to microchip their pets. I agree. However, the chip must be registered in the owner’s name -- usually on the chip company’s website. Your vet should give you a paper explaining how to register. -- Shelley P., via email
Thanks, Shelley! Ask your veterinarian. Many will register the chip for you. But if you move or change your phone number, call the chip company to update the information. - Heloise.

How to handle a heated situation

Dear Heloise: It’s hot in most parts of the country now, and the temperature inside a car is much hotter than that - it’s deadly. What should you do if you come across a DOG IN A HOT CAR when out and about?

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals ( has these hints:

1. Snap a picture or write down the license plate and make of the vehicle.

2. Tell the manager of the store or property. Have him page the owner.

3. Wait by the car and check on the dog.

4. When the owner comes out, politely but firmly tell the person about the dangers of leaving a dog in a hot car.

5. If the owner is a no-show, call 911. Let the police assist the dog.

- Mary R. in Indiana

Thanks, Mary. Don’t be fooled by a car parked in the shade or with the windows cracked open. Those measures do little to lower the temperature inside the car. - Heloise


Dear Heloise: I don’t know why it took me so long to come up with the idea to determine if a clothing item is navy or black. Once identified, I pin a safety pin on the label of the navy item. Now I never have to guess!
I read your column every day in The (Fort Wayne, Ind.) Journal Gazette. - Dar R., via email


Dear Heloise: My dog’s nose is dry. What can I do? - Emily J. in Utah

Emily, dogs need a wet and soft nose; it helps them breathe and pick up scents more easily. Look online for any product labeled as “nose butter,” or a balm with “snout” in the name. Coconut oil is safe for a dog’s nose, but don’t use baby oil or medicated ointments.
Dry nose can arise from allergens, sunburn or dehydration. Or when the dog first wakes up, the nose could be dry.
If you observe these symptoms: fever, no energy, vomiting and dry eyes, along with the dry nose, get the dog to the veterinarian ASAP. - Heloise


Dear Heloise: I fill balloons with water to a tennis ball size, freeze them and fill a kiddie pool with them. Then, in go the drinks: bottles of beer, cans of pop and water bottles. This works well at a barbecue. 
When they melt completely, water-balloon fight!
We recycle all bottles and cans, and we dispose of the balloons safely, too: We cut the balloons into small pieces and put them in a bag that is sealed shut. Then we place the bag in the trash. - Edward. L. in Illinois