Dear Heloise: I have a self-watering dog bowl that uses a plastic bottle to fill the bowl. As a result, the water stands for several days. When I clean and refill the drinking bowl, there are hard-water deposits in it. I would like to clean them out, but I don't want to use chemicals since the bowl is plastic. I'm afraid the chemicals might hurt my dog, and vinegar might affect the taste and discourage him from using it. Is it OK to use vinegar, or is there a better way short of scraping the bowl or buying a new one every month? Connie Dye, Houston
Vinegar will work perfectly for removing that hard-water buildup! It also helps kill germs and certain bacteria.
Just warm some household white vinegar -- don't boil -- and pour enough into the water dish so that it covers all the hard-water buildup. Let sit for about an hour, and use a nylon-net scrubbie to remove the loosened buildup. Follow by washing well with soap and water. The water dish should be squeaky-clean and odor-free. Also, vinegar is a great deodorizer to help get rid of doggy odors in the home, freshen drains, and clean shower heads and even clay planters -- all these and more uses can be found in my six-page pamphlet Heloise's Fantabulous Vinegar Hints and More! To receive a copy, send $4 and a self-addressed, stamped (60 cents), long envelope to: Heloise/Vinegar, P.O. Box 795001, San Antonio, TX 78279-5001. FYI: Most vinegar, especially white, will last indefinitely on the pantry shelf under normal conditions. Heloise
Dear Readers: Mary Ann Thomas of Trinity, Ala., sent in a picture of her cat, Indiana, sitting up and looking out the window. Her husband was working in southern Indiana when a tiny kitten showed up on the doorstep -- they were hooked, and they adopted her not knowing if she was a boy or girl. Appropriately, the name Indiana covered all the bases, including her birthplace.
Go to Heloise.com and click on This Week's Pet to see this adorable picture! Send your favorite or unusual pet photo to: Heloise/Pet Photo, P.O. Box 795000, San Antonio, TX 78279. Heloise
Dear Heloise: I grew up reading your mother's column and now read yours. I always enjoy it and have learned and used a lot of helpful household hints. That said, please, please, please don't encourage your readers to try to raise baby birds or baby mammals. Those of us who are licensed to do this by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service have had years of training and experience in teaching them to correctly hunt for food and recognize their own species in the wild. Very few of the "critters" brought in for rehabilitation are actually orphaned and can usually be returned to the parents. Instead, suggest strongly to your readers that they call the nearest wildlife officer, who can direct them to a licensed wildlife rehabilitator. Shirley Needham, Rochester, Ind.
XSend a money-saving or timesaving hint to Heloise, P.O. Box 795000, San Antonio, TX 78279-5000, or you can fax it to (210) HELOISE or e-mail it to Heloise@Heloise.com.
King Features Syndicate