Dear Readers: Most of us have a first-aid kit handy in case of an emergency, but what about a PET FIRST-AID KIT? Here are some things to have on hand for your pet:

* Dishwashing detergent for bathing.

* Artificial tears to use after flushing eyes.

* Hydrogen peroxide to induce vomiting.

* A syringe or turkey baster for the hydrogen peroxide.

* A can of wet food or tuna.

* Rubber or latex gloves.

* Triple antibiotic ointment.

Always keep your veterinarian’s or an emergency pet clinic’s phone number handy, and contact one of them before administering any medication yourself. If your pet has a wound, bandage as best you can to protect it, and seek medical attention. -- Heloise


Dear Readers: Suzie O’Donnell of San Antonio sent a picture of her tortoiseshell kitten, Penelope Mae, lying in the bathroom sink. Suzie says that Penelope Mae was a rescue and is about a year old. To see Penelope Mae’s picture, go to my Web site,, and click on “Pets.” -- Heloise


Dear Heloise: Do you have a hint for cleaning bathroom vents and exhaust fans? -- Julie L. in Oregon

I do, and because these often-neglected places can get dust buildup that (in extreme cases) can cause fires, you definitely want to keep them clean! Start by turning off the electricity to the bathroom vent/exhaust fan that you plan on cleaning. After removing the cover, soak it in a sink filled with warm water and dish detergent.

While the vent soaks, take your vacuum (with attachment) and clean inside the vent. If it is an exhaust fan, wipe the blades with a damp cloth. Clean the motor and anything else up in the ceiling space using an old toothbrush or paintbrush. Don’t forget to dust the inside walls, too.

Scrub the vent cover, and dry completely, before hanging it up again. -- Heloise


Dear Heloise: Along with living life efficiently comes living life safely. Scarves are the rage now, not only among women, but also little girls. My granddaughters, ages 5, 6 and 10, are wearing scarves. They look so cute, but something didn’t sit right with me, and then I remembered little kids getting hung up on playground equipment with the ties on their sweatshirts and jackets. Please think about this when your little girls are playing outside. Our fashion is fun, but it needs to be safe, too! -- Donna in Indiana

Donna, how right you are! There is a time and a place for everything. Scarves are cute, but if you know that your little one will be playing outside, remove them. Better be safe than sorry. -- Heloise


Dear Heloise: My husband sold electric blankets. He put failed blankets in our car trunk. During travel trips, we would encounter wrecks. We would leave a blanket to help the injured person. -- L.M., Fort Wayne, Ind.

Heloise’s column appears six days a week at Send a hint to Heloise, P.O. Box 795000, San Antonio, Tex. 78279-5000, or e-mail it to

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