Change in weather may bite pets

Dear Readers: With the weather cool and crisp, what’s better than some time outside with your pet? However, there are some safety hints to think about:

Other animals are on the move. Snakes are getting ready to hibernate; be able to identify poisonous snakes, and know where they might be located. Avoid these areas.

Small rodents may be looking for a warm place to settle in for the winter. Seal up areas they might get into, including the eaves and fascia board on your home. Traps and poisons are used more frequently for rodent control, exposing your pet to possible danger.

Ground cover can be toxic to pets. Grasses, twigs and even mushrooms should never be chewed on by pets. The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (www. has a Poison Control Center. If you observe your pet ingesting anything that you aren’t sure of, call the Poison Control Center at 888-426-4435, or call your veterinarian.

These hints should serve to make the outdoors more enjoyable for you and your pets. — Heloise

Dear Heloise: Crushed eggshells are a great fertilizer for houseplants. I save them up until I have about two dozen. I don’t rinse them, for fear of washing away wonderful nutrients, but I let them dry completely, and crush them into fine pieces in a zippered bag.

I dig a shallow ditch under the plant, sprinkle in the shells, then re-cover and water as usual. Oh my. The plants nearly double in size, and they are covered in blooms.

I love your column in the San Antonio Express-News. — B.J., via email

Dear Readers: If you have a dog who needs to wear a diaper, whether the dog is in season or has incontinence problems, buying regular baby diapers may work better for you. They are a lot cheaper; all you’d need to do is snip a hole for the tail.

Watch your dog at first, and make adjustments if needed. — Heloise