Dear Heloise: My veterinarian has diagnosed my dog as overweight. She says, as it is with people, extra pounds usually appear as a result of the animal eating too much food and not getting enough exercise.

There are other con­di­tions that can contribute to your dog being overweight: hor­mone imbalance, the animal’s breed and tem­perament, and diseases.

Being overweight can be a contributing factor for diseases like diabetes, pancreatitis, heart and liver disease, and arthritis.

The cure for overweight? It’s a slow and steady process, according to the doctor, with small portions of a nutritionally sound diet and no snacking. Up the exercise.

She says to make sure the whole family knows the dog is on a diet.

 — Elizabeth A. in Ohio

Great hints to help a com­mon problem. Read­ers, check with your vet­er­inarians for their expertise!

— Heloise

Pet pal

Dear Readers: Doris H., via email, sent a picture of her adorable 6-year-old German shepherd, Ziva, wearing a headband of festive Christmas lights while being silly with her tongue sticking out!

To see silly Ziva and our other Pet Pals, visit www.Heloise.com and click on “Pet of the Week.” Did your pet have a fun holiday? Email a picture to: Heloise@Heloise.com.

— Heloise

Hint from him

Dear Heloise: I use baking soda for underarm deodorant.

 — Donald B., via email

Donald, you are on board with me — baking soda also can keep foot odors at bay, and it’s cheap, safe and readily available!

I’ve compiled a collection of my favorite baking-soda hints, helps and recipes in a handy pamphlet. Would you like to receive one? It’s easy! Visit www.Heloise.com to order, or send a long, stamped (71 cents), self-addressed envelope, along with $5, to: Heloise/Ba­king Soda, P.O. Box 795001, San Antonio, TX 78279-5001. No time to sham­poo? Sprinkle a tiny amount of baking soda down the part in your hair and brush. The baking soda will absorb excess oils.

— Heloise

The air that I breathe

Dear Heloise: Can I store clothes in plastic containers in the attic?

 — Alicia J., via email

Alicia, clothes need to “breathe” and be exposed to circulating air. Storing clothes in plastic bins doesn’t allow for this. Also, mold and mildew can accumulate.

If you live in an area of high humidity, hang clothes, and cover with a cloth garment bag or cotton sheet.

— Heloise

P.S. A cedar chest is OK, too.

Easy weight loss?

Dear Heloise: This is what I did to lose weight: My rule is just to eat one helping of each thing. I rarely eat bread or potatoes. No eating between meals. No counting calories.

When at a buffet or large family meal, I take only one scoop of each item — no second helpings. If I’m hungry for sweets, I eat a small piece of candy (I keep mini candy bars on hand).

I exercise two hours a week at a health club. I’ve painlessly lost 30 pounds, and I look and feel better after doing this for seven months.

 — Annie in Nebraska

Slow and steady — solid advice for the new year!

— Heloise

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