Cindy Carr of Canton, Ohio, sent a photo of her dog, Micah, up in a hospital bed giving "therapy" to a friend's daughter.

Dear Heloise: Dental cleaning is expensive for a dog but necessary if its teeth have collected plaque. The teeth can become loosened or lost, and gum disease contributes to heart problems. A better idea is prevention. In addition to giving dry food and various hard toys and treats to dogs prone to the problem, the dog's teeth can be cleaned daily.

I have toy poodles whose mouths are very small, so the finger cot brushes available do not fit into their mouths. I decided to try using a child's electric toothbrush with dog dental cream. I won't try to tell you that they love it, but the chicken- or beef-flavored cream makes the process a little less onerous to them.

Oh, and now it is possible to buy an expensive electric toothbrush intended for dogs, but it is identical to the children's, and it costs much more. — Sarah C. Hill, Jacksonville, Fla.

Dear Readers: Cindy Carr of Canton, Ohio, sent a photo of her dog, Micah, up in a hospital bed giving "therapy" to a friend's daughter. Cindy says: "Micah (who was a rescue dog from the pound) is a therapy dog certified by the Delta Society. Robin, a friend, took the picture while we were visiting her daughter. This picture supports the saying, 'A picture is worth a thousand words.' Micah is the best!"

If your newspaper doesn't print the pet photo, be sure to go to my Web site, www.Heloise.com, and click on Pet of the Week — you'll find Micah there. — Heloise

Dear Heloise: My sister-in-law was fostering an injured dog from her local animal shelter. My mother-in-law came up with a great idea for keeping his cast dry when going outside. She used a flat baby-bottle liner and slid it over the cast, then secured it with a rubber band. Later, when the cast was removed and his leg was still bandaged, a pre-formed baby-bottle liner fit perfectly (no rubber band required). The pre-formed liners are smaller but thicker. They are easily wiped off with disinfectant and can be reused several times for this purpose.

The wonderful little dog is now part of our family, and I am praying that he will soon have full use of his leg. I hope veterinarians might pass this along to their patients. It sure beats using a plastic bag. — Beth Baker, Washington, W.Va.

Dear Heloise: I have a new male cat and was searching for a name that would fit him. He is a large black-and-gray, mackerel-striped tabby, but the underneath fur is more of a light brownish tan, sort of the color of a White Russian drink. So, taking that into consideration, I named him Kahlua. — A Reader, via e-mail

Dear Heloise: When a dog gets away from an owner, the last thing a person wants to do is chase it. Chasing creates a game for some dogs. Stop, stand still and call the dog. I had the opportunity to try this. — Ginny Jerome, Hazlet, N.J.


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