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Fixit: Don't let dog's lips touch these poison foods

Question: I know that I'm not supposed to let a dog eat chocolate, but now I heard he can't eat bananas or raisins, either. What else should I be aware of? I have a toddler, and food on the floor is inevitable, as is Murphy the dog snatching it up. He's an opportunist, and quick at it.

Answer: Carol McConnell, vice president and chief veterinary medical officer for Veterinary Pet Insurance Co., recommends that pets stay away from the following edible items that are toxic to them: chocolate, grapes and raisins, walnuts, onions, mushrooms and macadamia nuts. For a complete list, go to the American Animal Hospital Association Web site,, and search for "prevent poisoning."


Question: I have several cracks in my basement floor. Do I need to do anything about them?

Answer: Maybe. Minor cracks in concrete basement floors are common. Standards of performance can vary, but generally they allow cracks not exceeding 3/16 inches wide or ? inch in vertical displacement. Cracks that exceed these dimensions or leak need to be repaired.

If your home is new, check the warranty. Typically, warranties require builders to repair cracks if the home is less than a year old.

Some cracks, depending on their size and location and whether they are increasing in size, may indicate larger problems. Contact your local building inspector or structural engineer for more information.

Cracks in basement floors can allow radon to enter. Contact your county or state health department for information on radon testing and treatment.

(Send your questions to Fixit in care of the Star Tribune, 425 Portland Ave. S., Minneapolis, Minn. 55488, or call 612-673-7032, or e-mail Sorry, Fixit cannot supply individual replies.)