DEAR JOHANNA: I pressure wash my bird bath two or three times a week and add fresh water, but red algae have appeared.
Do I have to clean this up? We have a permanent line of customers for the bird bath and there are no noticeable negative effects. Should I be more diligent in cleaning my bird bath?
John P. Bronson, San Jose
DEAR JOHN: Most algae, including the red variety, are harmless to birds, but can prevent them from using the bath and your bird bath can be a bit on the nerve.
There are a couple of things you can do. Red algae thrive in the sunshine, so you can try moving the bird bath to a more shady spot.
You can also do a more thorough clean with diluted vinegar or diluted bleach. You need to make sure that the bird bath is well flushed. Empty the bath, use your pressure washer, refill the bath as full as possible, then add a cup of vinegar or bleach.
Cover and secure the bathroom with a black plastic trash bag. You don’t want it to come off and risk the birds thinking the bathroom is open for business. Let the solution sit in the sun for at least 15 minutes – the plastic will absorb heat and, together with vinegar or bleach, will help kill any remaining spores.
Remove the plastic and let the water fall onto bare ground or a piece of weed. Then, rinse the basin thoroughly to remove traces of vinegar or bleach. If you’re not sure, do a sniff test. If you smell the cleaner, continue rinsing. Better be sure. Let dry in the sun.
DEAR JOHANNA: My dog is not a breed. He came from the street and is 1 year old.
I just worry because he always sticks out his tongue and then breathes quickly. He also has zoomies when he’s on a leash. I just want to ask if this is completely normal.
Pearl Danielle Acolentaba Contreras, the Phillipines
LOVE PEARL: These are normal behaviors unless they happen at unusual times.
If your dog sits quietly in a cool room and then starts panting, there may be a problem with his breathing. When he’s hot and tired, wheezing would be normal. Dogs cool themselves off with their tongues and foot pads. So if his tongue is hanging out, it is likely that he is hot and is trying to cool off. If it doesn’t, take him to the vet for an exam.
Many dogs get the zoomies often after they’ve relieved themselves or in the evening before bed. They’re just so damn happy that they can’t hold back and zoom around. At other times, if your dog is zooming and on a leash, he could use leash training. It could be that as a street dog he has not yet got the hang of walking on a leash.
Practice with him, reward him for his good behavior, and pause the walk every time he starts to get a little wild. Use a strong, but not harsh voice and do not punish him. I’m sure he is doing the best he can and will eventually get it done with work.
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