Dear Readers: It's holiday time! Rich, delicious foods abound, but which foods are OK to share with our dogs? Most veterinarians would agree that people foods should not be given to pets. In fact, some foods are absolute no-no's:

* Dark meat turkey, roast beef and ham - Their fat content is too high, and spices and seasonings, including salt, can lead to pancreatitis and gastroenteritis.

* Turkey bones splinter easily, so they are a definite no. One small bite of plain white meat turkey is OK.

* Sweets - Sweets in general are bad, including fruit cake. Raisins are poisonous to dogs and can lead to renal failure. Read labels. NEVER give a dog anything with the artificial sweetener xylitol (a sugar substitute). Chocolate can also be poisonous.

* Fried foods - Digestion is the problem; dogs cannot digest heavy, greasy foods.

Which foods pass muster? In small quantities: cooked sweet potatoes, baked potatoes, pumpkin puree, carrots (steamed or raw), bananas, apples or green beans.

Our dogs will be sharing the holidays with us and will be hoping for a tasty treat, so it's important to monitor what they eat -- only bland, light foods in small quantities. — Heloise

Pet Pal

Dear Heloise: I adopted Chloe Z from Catkins Animal Rescue in Park Falls, Wisconsin, on March 25 and drove two and a half hours to get her. She is truly my pandemic diversion. — Sandy D.B.

Such a beauty! Readers, to see Chloe and our other Pet Pals, visit www.Heloise.com and click on "Pet of the Week."

Do you have a funny and furry pandemic diversion to share? Email a picture and description to: Heloise@Heloise.com. — Heloise

Coffee Culture

Dear Heloise: I love warm, delicious coffee in the cooler temperatures. How can I keep the beans fresh and flavorful? — Gina in Pennsylvania

Gina, a hot cup of coffee on cold winter days is delicious and soothing, and according to the National Coffee Association (www.ncausa.org), the best tasting coffee starts with quality beans that have been stored in an air-tight container in a cool, dark location away from direct light. Air, moisture, heat and light are your coffee beans' worst enemies. For more coffee hints and several homemade, flavorful coffee recipes, such as mocha, Vienna and spice coffee, order my "Heloise's Flavored Coffees and Teas" pamphlet by visiting www.Heloise.com or by sending $3 along with a long, self-addressed, stamped (70 cents) envelope to: Heloise/Coffees and Teas, P.O. Box 795001, San Antonio, TX, 78279-5001. FYI: Although coffee tastes best when it is fresh, if it is frozen or refrigerated, it should be stored in a canister with an air-tight seal to avoid absorbing odors, moisture or tastes that can change the flavor of the coffee. — Heloise

GLUE GUN SAFETY

Dear Heloise: I always have a bowl of water next to me when working with a glue gun. -- Reader, via email

Good idea in case of burned fingers. — Heloise


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