Helpful Hints

Posted: August 23, 2014 at 1:49 a.m.

DEAR READER: Many of you have plants in your home or at work. They look beautiful, plus they freshen the air and provide some green to brighten a day. But if you have pets, some plants can be trouble and even fatal! Here is a very short list of plants that can be toxic to dogs and cats:

• Dieffenbachia -- I have several (also known as dumb cane), and I love the plants because they are easy to care for. But they can cause throwing up and drooling. So if your pet shows some of these signs (and for the following plants), take a good look at the plant to determine if that's the cause.

• Azalea -- Contains grayanotoxins, which can cause upset stomach, drooling, possible coma and even death.

• Lilies -- I have several, and I call my type prayer lily plants, but there are many varieties that are extremely toxic to cats and even cause kidney failure.

• Kalanchoe -- Again, many varieties; I call mine a Christmas cactus. It can cause some tummy problems, and can even affect the heart.

These are just a few of the plants that can be toxic to animals. To see a longer list, visit the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals' website, If you have pets, please take a look around and check out the plants that you have.

If you see your pet ingesting these or any other plants, contact your veterinarian ASAP. Our pets love us and need us to take care of them.

DEAR HELOISE: With a small child, it was hard to keep a tablecloth on our dining-room table. It was constantly being pulled. I used small suspender-like clips under the table to clip the two sides of the tablecloth together. It can't slide (or be pulled) off.

-- Mary M., New Braunfels, Texas

DEAR READERS: When cleaning my pierced earrings or putting them on over the sink, I try to remember to close the drain. Or I just place a tissue over the opening. This hint has kept many items from going down the drain.

Send a money- or time-saving hint to Heloise, P.O. Box 795000, San Antonio, Texas 78279-5000; fax to (210) 435-6473; or email

HomeStyle on 08/23/2014