Dear Readers: It’s great exercise to walk in cold, crisp wintertime, and your dog would love to go with you. Here’s the deal: You protect your feet; what about protecting the DOG’S FEET? Let’s take a look.
Snow crystals, ice, dirt, salt and chemical-laden de-icing agents all can work to harm your dog’s bare feet. Applying a thin layer of petroleum jelly before heading out can help. Gently wash and pat dry the animal’s feet and belly when you come back home.

Another idea? Get your dog accustomed to wearing booties. This barrier will prevent contact with harmful stuff in the first place. Ease the dog into the booties; wearing them around the house at first will get the dog used to wearing boots. - Heloise


Dear Heloise: I’ve learned a few things about caring for my houseplants that I’d like to share.
First, tap water can have lots of chemicals that can be harmful to some plants, so I let a container of water sit overnight so the chemical gases can escape and the water is at room temperature. 
Dusting the leaves is important; dust can block light from absorption.
And to keep my clay pots looking good, I brush off mineral deposits with steel wool after the pots have soaked in a water/white vinegar bath. - Elizabeth W. in Illinois

Elizabeth, you’re a vinegar vixen, just like me! I can’t get enough of vinegar around the house. Readers, would you like a collection of my favorite vinegar helps and hints? It’s easy! Visit to order, or send a stamped (71 cents), long, self-addressed envelope, together with $5, to: Heloise/Vinegar, P.O. Box 795001, San Antonio, TX 78279-5001. The ratio on the above vinegar bath is 1 cup of white vinegar in 1 gallon of water. Sanitize the pots in another gallon of water with 1 cup of bleach. - Heloise


Dear Heloise: I love stickers for:

• Picking up yucky things off the floor.

• Cleaning crumbs and seasonings from inside kitchen drawers.

• Identifying drinking bottles.

• Writing dates on products.

- Carolyn F., La Verne, Calif.

Limits in flight

Dear Heloise: Which hair products or lotions can I BRING ON BOARD AN AIRPLANE? - Lucy W., Royal Oak, Mich.

Lucy, products that are liquids and gels must be in 3.4-ounce or smaller containers. Toiletries such as shampoo, aftershave, hand or body lotions, liquid makeup or mouthwash fall in this category.
Lip balm, toothpaste, deodorant and lipstick are considered gels and also are included in this size limit. - Heloise


Dear Heloise: The problem with “RSVP” is that it’s French, and many people haven’t a clue what it means. 
Try “Please let me (us) know if you can come as soon as possible so that we will have enough seating, food, favors, prizes, etc., for everyone. We’d hate to have you disappointed.” - Linda J., Martinsburg, W.Va. 

It’s really just a matter of good manners to respond to an invitation before the deadline stated on the card. - Heloise


Dear Heloise: I agree with Gary in Fort Wayne, Ind., about lending things to anyone. One neighbor I have does not know the word “return.” I had to go ask for my cookie sheets back. When I had to go get my folding chairs, she had them in a closet. Now I have a list on my refrigerator of “Borrowed,” and I even put the date on it. That helps me. - A Reader in North Dakota.

Reader in North Dakota: That’s an excellent idea. This way, there is no misunderstanding or lost items. - Heloise


Dear Heloise: Back in the day when cars used carburetors, it might have made sense to warm up the engine on a cold, snowy day, but not with the fuel-injected engines we now use. Just start the car and drive after you’ve cleared each window for better visibility. - John N., Chickasha, Okla.