Birds flying into windows, vitamins for dogs

Daisy is a 3-year-old yellow Labrador. (May 5, Daisy is a 3-year-old yellow Labrador. (May 5, 2012) Photo Credit: Brittany Wait

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Marc Morrone Newsday columnist Marc Morrone

Marc Morrone was born in 1960 in the Bronx and, when he was 2, his family moved to ...

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I have a question about birds that have just recently been attracted to a river birch just outside our bedroom window. As soon as the sun rises, the birds fly to the tree and then seem to be attracted to my bedroom windows. They fly from the birch tree right into the windows, smashing into them and acting like an early morning alarm clock. Do you have any suggestions on how we can alter this behavior?  --Arlene Kay, Bellmore

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Tree branches are reflected in the glass of your bedroom windows and the birds -- most likely starlings -- are flying into the glass to land on the branches they see in it. They do not actually see into your bedroom and, if they could, there is absolutely nothing in it to attract them.

The only way to prevent this is to put paper on the outside of the window so the birds do not see the reflections of the branches anymore. Putting the paper on the inside of the glass will not eliminate the reflections. Starlings will roost in large flocks at night in the winter. Your birch tree must have just recently attracted them so they are still figuring out their favorite roosting spots in it. After a few weeks of the paper being on the window, they will all have found their favorite spots and will become less likely to be lured by reflections.

Birds in the springtime like to fight with their reflections in windows, but this situation is different because they are only looking to perch in the branches they are seeing.

We just got a Labrador puppy from a breeder here on Long Island. We are feeding her the same brand of food she was eating at the breeder's. I would like to know if I need to add any vitamin supplements. The breeder said supplements were not needed, but it seems the pet stores have lots of dog vitamin and mineral supplements. My family and I take multivitamins every day, so does it not make sense that our dog would need them, too?  --Richard Andrews, Lake Grove

Human food is not always balanced or supplemented, with the possible exception of breakfast cereals. That's why many people take supplements. However, just about all brands of formulated and prepared pet foods have all the vitamins and minerals the average dog needs -- especially when you realize the average dog spends most of its day sleeping. So supplementation is not usually needed unless you are creating a homemade diet for your dog or feeding your dog so much table food that it is not eating its formulated food.

Some pet keepers brag to me that they feed their dogs the finest steak, but steak has just about no calcium or other minerals in it, and a dog on such a diet will surely suffer some deficiencies. On the other hand, I have met pet keepers who really go overboard with the supplements for pets that are on formulated diets. Too much supplementation is just as bad.

Your vet is the best guide. A growing puppy will be taken to see a vet several times in its first year. If the vet thinks supplements are needed for that particular dog, then he or she will tell you.

My own dogs that are young and healthy eat a commercial brand of dog food with some vegetables and fruits that we give them as treats. I never found the need to supplement their diets with anything other then some flaxseed oil to help prevent their coats from shedding too much. My older dogs get supplements that my vets recommend, based on how their age has compromised them.

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