Dog or cat on tap?

Susan K. in Rochester, N.H., sent this picture of her two Oriental shorthair cats, Chloe and Dora, who appear to have merged into one. They always sleep together, Susan says, but not quite like this! — Heloise

Dog or cat on tap?

Dear Readers: Does your dog or cat drink tap water? This could possibly lead to medical problems for the animal. Tap water can contain high amounts of calcium and magnesium, which can contribute to crystals forming in the urine, urinary tract infections and incontinence, among other issues.

Veterinarians can’t say for certain that straight tap water (also called hard water) causes disease, but many recommend giving your pet filtered or bottled water. It’s something to discuss with your veterinarian.

— Heloise

Keep rice from drains

DEAR HELOISE: Please remind readers that rice can clog drainpipes. Also, a safe way to clear many clogs is the combination of baking soda (2 cups or more) with vinegar (enough to wash all the baking soda through the clog). Keep a gallon of vinegar on hand with the largest box of baking soda.

— Terry, Orange, Calif.

Terry, how right you are! Rice, when it gets wet, of course expands, which can spell trouble for your pipes. As for the baking soda and vinegar, this delightful duo may not clear a tough clog, but it can help drains to run smoother and smell fresh. Heat your vinegar to heighten its cleaning power!

— Heloise

.

Sent hints to Heloise, P.O. Box 795001, San Antonio, TX 78279-5001 or email Heloise@Heloise.com.