Rascal, pampered pet of Gerry Brooks and Harlen Parsons, bats at his birthday balloons.

Dear Readers: It's time to print important information about pets and the summer heat.

During summer weather, don't leave your pet in the car while you are shopping.

A parked car becomes an oven within minutes — even parked in the shade and with the windows opened a few inches. For example, if it is 85 degrees outside, the inside of your car can reach 102 degrees in less than 10 minutes!

Think how hot it would get even if you left your pet in the car for just a short time. There are too many cases where animals have died after being locked in a car on a hot day. Would you want to sit in a car without ventilation for even a few minutes in stifling heat?

So, please, keep your pet's comfort and well-being in mind. When the temperature soars, leave your pet at home with a supply of fresh drinking water.

This is an important hint to remember when the weather's hot.

—Heloise

Dear Readers: Gerry Brooks and Harlen Parsons of Burnham, Maine, sent a photo of their cat, Rascal, at his 1-year birthday party playing with a balloon. They say: "Rascal had 25 guests at his birthday. I had a cake with his picture on it and made a 'cake' for him using cat food. He enjoyed his party, playing with balloons. He is an inside cat, and when outside, we always have him on a leash."

—Heloise

Dear Heloise: Here is a helpful hint for those who kennel their dogs: I have found that the mats sold in pet stores often do not have any nonslip properties to them. This can be difficult, as the mat will slide and bunch up when the dog is inside. A bath mat works great — it stays in place and is easy to wash!

—Kendra from Omaha, Neb.

Dear Heloise: For years, I have struggled to attach and reattach dog tags. I'd get out the pliers necessary to force the S hook open to exchange new for old tags. The hook never closed all the way, and the tag could sometimes fall off or catch on the sharp edges. Finally, a light bulb went off in my head when I was looking at our key rack on the wall. I bought a small key chain to use for the dog tags, making them easy to replace.

—Raymond Sutyla, Ellington, Conn.


© King Features Syndicate Inc.

Dear Readers: Are you still worried about your pet's food? You can check on the brands that are being recalled by using the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals' Pet Food Recall Resource Center at www.aspca.org/recall. They are constantly updating information. If you suspect that your pet has gotten sick from pet food, contact this center and your vet.

—Heloise


© King Features Syndicate Inc.