• What Are the Dangers of Obesity in Dogs?

    Uncommonly seen white beagle face piebald dachshund.

    Obesity is a serious health crisis not just for humans but for pets as well. For dogs, being obese leads to a long list of health risks that can ultimately lead to pain, digestive problems, and even early death. If you’re concerned about your dog’s weight, talk to your veterinarian. Reduced-calorie foods, exercise plans, and dietary changes can all help your pup get back to a healthy weight. Here is a closer look at some of the potential dangers of obesity in dogs.

    Arthritis

    Being overweight puts excess pressure on your dog’s joints. Over time, this wear and tear can lead to arthritis. When your dog develops arthritis, it becomes harder for him or her to go up and down stairs, jump up on beds, go for walks, and play. Thanks to the limits that joint pain puts on your dog’s ability to exercise, he or she will be prone to even more weight gain. In addition to joint damage, excess weight can also cause damage to the ligaments and muscles that surround the joints.

    Heart Disease

    Excess weight causes your dog’s blood pressure to increase. The increased pressure means that the heart has to work harder to pump blood. As the heart works harder and harder, it may become damaged. Heart disease and congestive heart failure are both common in dogs who are overweight.

    Decreased Stamina

    Even a modest weight gain can significantly tax your dog’s system. With every step, his or her muscles, lungs, and heart have to work harder than they were built to do. As a result, your dog will become sluggish and less interested—and able—to do things he or she once loved, such as going for walks or hitting the dog park. Lower levels of stamina lead to a decreased quality of life for your pup, and the excessive strain on his or her system can lead to a shortened lifespan.

    Help is available for overweight pups at Chastain Veterinary Medical Group. Talk to our veterinarians in Dallas or McKinney about dietary changes for overweight dogs, as well as safe activities for building up your dog’s exercise tolerance again. Make an appointment at one of our AAHA-accredited animal hospitals by calling (972) 239-1309 for Preston Road Animal Hospital in Dallas, or by calling (972) 529-5033 for Meadow Brook Animal Hospital in McKinney.

     

  • A Look at Our PennHIP Services

    Canine hip dysplasia is a serious genetic condition that affects several breeds of dogs. It has spread among breeds thanks to selective breeding by humans. When hip dysplasia is left untreated, it can cause significant problems for the affected dogs, including constant pain, malformed hips, and mobility problems. Identifying hip dysplasia early can allow veterinarians to treat it, preventing the complications associated with the condition.

     

    At Chastain Veterinary Medical Group, we use the renowned PennHIP screening method of determining a dog’s chances of having hip dysplasia. PennHIP dates back to 1983 and has undergone multiple clinical trials that bolstered its efficacy. This multifaceted screening program is the only objective screening tool available for hip dysplasia. It is effective at identifying a risk of hip dysplasia in dogs as young as 16 weeks, which allows veterinarians to create an effective treatment plan before complications begin.

     

    PennHIP is just one of the cutting-edge tools we use at Chastain Veterinary Medical Group to keep our patients healthy for life. Get more information about all of the services at our AAHA-accredited animal hospitals by calling (972) 239-1309 for Preston Road Animal Hospital in Dallas, or by calling (972) 529-5033 for Meadow Brook Animal Hospital in McKinney.

  • What Are Some Common Illnesses in Snakes?


    It’s often not as easy to notice that your pet snake is sick, as compared to seeing signs of illnesses in your pet cats or dogs. If you are worried that your snake might be ill, see your veterinarian as soon as possible to get your pet the treatment he or she needs.

     

    Watch this video to learn about some common illnesses in snakes, such as inclusion body disease. This viral infection is a dangerous condition that can take months to incubate. If you get a new snake, keep it quarantined for several months to ensure that it isn’t infected, or bring infectious diseases into your existing reptile collection.

     

    At Chastain Veterinary Medical Group, our veterinarians provide veterinary medical care in Dallas for many different kinds of pets, including snakes. Make an appointment at one of our AAHA-accredited animal hospitals by calling (972) 239-1309 for Preston Road Animal Hospital in Dallas, or by calling (972) 529-5033 for Meadow Brook Animal Hospital in McKinney.

  • When to Take Your Dog to the Vet for Coughing

    Coughing is not unusual for a dog, and in most cases, it is not a sign of a serious health problem. However, coughing can in some instances indicate an issue that needs treatment. Your veterinarian should evaluate any persistent cough. If your dog’s cough has just started, here are some of the indicators that you should call the animal clinic.

    If your dog’s cough is deep and dry, like hacking cough in humans, he or she may have kennel cough. This condition is extremely contagious, so it’s important to get an accurate diagnosis and to start treatment as soon as possible. A wet cough can be indicative of pneumonia, while a gagging cough may mean that your dog has something in his or her throat.

    Are you concerned about your pet’s symptoms? Let the team at Chastain Veterinary Medical Group help. Make an appointment at one of our AAHA-accredited animal hospitals by calling (972) 239-1309 for Preston Road Animal Hospital in Dallas, or by calling (972) 529-5033 for Meadow Brook Animal Hospital in McKinney.

  • Safe Strategies for Handling Your Pet Snake

    Having a pet snake can be thrilling for anyone looking for an exotic pet, but it is also a major responsibility. Before you even get your snake, it’s important to make sure you have access to a veterinarian who offers exotic animal care, so you can be sure you can keep your pet healthy. Learning how to handle your snake in a way that is safe for both you and your pet is also important. Keep these strategies in mind as you get used to caring for your snake.

    Allow for an Adjustment Period

    When you get your snake, chances are that you will want to handle it as soon as possible, but that can be stressful for your pet. Instead, give your snake plenty of time and space to get used to its new home before you attempt to handle him or her. Put the cage in a quiet part of your home, and steer clear aside from changing the water daily and spot cleaning any waste. Follow this plan for about five to seven days as your snake adjusts. You should also avoid feeding him or her during this period.

    Let Your Snake Learn Your Scent

    Before you handle your snake, let him or her get to know your scent by putting your hand inside the cage. Your snake may hide at first, but then he or she will start to explore. Getting used to your scent will help your snake associate you with a safe presence. Important: Keep in mind that your snake may also associate your scent with feeding, so if you want to handle your snake regularly, consider feeding it in another container, so that he or she doesn’t strike looking for your food when you are near.

    Handle Gently and Confidently

    When it’s time to pick up your snake, do so slowly but with confidence. Avoid grabbing the head or tail, and instead pick him or her up by the middle of the body. Let your snake wrap around your hand and arm so that he or she feels supported. Handle your snake for short periods of time at first, and then increase your time as you and your snake get used to each other.

    Chastain Veterinary Medical Group is pleased to provide exotic animal care in Dallas for snakes, ferrets, lizards, and much more. Make an appointment at one of our AAHA-accredited animal hospitals by calling (972) 239-1309 for Preston Road Animal Hospital in Dallas, or by calling (972) 529-5033 for Meadow Brook Animal Hospital in McKinney.

     

  • Are You Giving Your Pet Too Many Treats?


    Pets love treats, but just like people who have too many snacks, too many treats can take a toll on your pet’s waistline. Your veterinarian can give you personalized advice about how many treats to feed your pet. This video will also help.

    When you’re picking treats, it is important to be aware of the caloric content and to manage them accordingly. Many pets will respond to a piece of their regular kibble just as enthusiastically as a special treat, which can be a good way to keep serving sizes under control.

    At Chastain Veterinary Medical Group, we’re committed to giving your pets the best veterinarian care for all stages of life, from dietary management to spay and neuter services and pet dental cleanings. Make an appointment at one of our AAHA-accredited animal hospitals by calling (972) 239-1309 for Preston Road Animal Hospital in Dallas, or by calling (972) 529-5033 for Meadow Brook Animal Hospital in McKinney.

  • FAQs About Socializing Your New Dog

    When you get a new dog, socializing him or her is the key to a happy, healthy relationship. Without proper socialization, dogs can be skittish, aggressive, or otherwise mal-adjusted, which puts both your pup and your family at risk. Plus, puppies love to explore and make new friends, so socialization keeps him or her happy. Your veterinarian can answer questions specific to your pup—and a trip to the animal clinic can also be part of the socialization process. Here are answers to some of the questions new dog families often have about socialization.

     

    When should I start socializing my dog?

    Puppy socialization should start right away. In fact, from birth to four months is a critical time for socialization. During this period, it’s important for puppies to spend time with the people and fellow pets that make up his or her family. You should also introduce your puppy to the places he or she will be spending time frequently, so that they are familiar and comfortable as he or she grows. After this time period, socialization should continue throughout your dog’s life.

     

    Can I socialize my dog before he or she is vaccinated?

    Your veterinarian will likely recommend that you avoid dog parks and doggy day cares until your pup has been vaccinated. We certainly say that. However, there are still plenty of ways to socialize your dog in the meantime, through frequent play at home and interaction with visitors to your home.

     

    Does my dog need to go to puppy school for socialization?

    School isn’t required for puppies, but it definitely helps. In puppy school, not only do dogs and their human families learn the tools necessary to relate to each other, but dogs also get a chance to play together. Puppy school is a good place for your dog to practice things like bite inhibition, which is best taught through interactions with other pups. Your veterinarian can help you decide if puppy school is right for your pet.

     

    For all of your new dog’s firsts, from spay and neuter services to vaccinations, choose Chastain Veterinary Medical Group. We’re here to keep your pup healthy from their first day at home to their senior years. Make an appointment at one of our AAHA-accredited animal hospitals by calling (972) 239-1309 for Preston Road Animal Hospital in Dallas, or by calling (972) 529-5033 for Meadow Brook Animal Hospital in McKinney.

  • Does Your Dog Really Understand You?

    All dog families know that humans and their canine counterparts communicate extensively. However, while most people do speak to their dogs, the question remains: do their dogs really understand what they are saying? For instance, if you tell your dog that it is time to go to the veterinarian, will he or she really picture a trip to the animal clinic?

    Watch this video for some insight into the communication that exists between humans and dogs. Dogs may not get the meaning of every word, but they are extremely resourceful when it comes to responding to nonverbal cues.

    For all of your questions about your pup’s behavior and health needs, Chastain Veterinary Medical Group is here to help with preventive care, pet grooming, and much more. To make an appointment at our McKinney/Frisco animal hospital, please call (972) 529-5033, or to make an appointment at our north Dallas animal hospital, please call (972) 239-1309.

  • Spotting the Signs of Tummy Troubles in Your Dog

    With the way most dogs eat anything they can get their hands on, it’s no surprise that they frequently experience stomach upset. Although tummy troubles may be relatively common in dogs, it’s a good idea to be able to spot the signs, so that you can take action to make your pup feel better and so that you know when to seek emergency vet care. Here are some indicators that your dog is experiencing tummy problems and what you can do to help.

    Eating Grass
    If you notice that your dog has taken to dining on grass, then he or she is likely to have an upset stomach. Dogs gravitate towards grass when they are feeling unwell. Eating grass tends to quell digestive problems, although some dogs may vomit after eating it. Occasionally, dogs eat grass for other reasons, such as boredom, but keep an eye out for other signs of stomach issues if you see your dog eating grass, and consult with your veterinarian if he or she is persistently eating it.

    Vomiting
    Vomiting is an obvious sign of stomach problems in dogs. In some cases, vomiting is not a reason for concern. However, if your dog has a sudden onset of severe vomiting, or if the vomit contains blood or looks like it has coffee grounds in it, seek emergency vet care. This kind of vomiting can indicate a serious underlying issue or that your dog has ingested something dangerous.

    Disinterest in Activities
    If your dog becomes disinterested in food and his or her usual activities, an upset tummy could be to blame. Just as people become tired and lethargic when they’re unwell, your dog will want to rest and withdrawal if he or she is feeling sick. If this symptom persists, call your veterinarian.

    If your dog is feeling under the weather, let Chastain Veterinary Medical Group get him or her back to good health. Both of our animal hospitals are accredited by the American Animal Hospital Association. We offer sick pet care and emergency vet visits in Dallas, with in-house diagnostics to make sure your pup get the best and fastest care possible. To make an appointment at our McKinney/Frisco animal hospital, please call (972) 529-5033, or to make an appointment at our north Dallas animal hospital, please call (972) 239-1309.

  • Signs That Your Dog Needs Immediate Veterinary Care

    No dog family wants to think about their pup suffering a medical crisis, but these things do happen and knowing when to visit the emergency vet could save your pet’s life. If you notice these symptoms in your dog, go to the emergency vet clinic to get a fast diagnosis and urgent treatment for your pet.

    Change in Gum Color
    Your dog’s gums can tell you a lot about his or her health. Generally, your dog’s gums should look pink. When you press on the gums, they should temporarily turn white in the area in which you applied pressure and then quickly recolor to their pink state. Gums that are blue, gray, deep red or very pale can indicate an issue with oxygenation or that your dog could be hemorrhaging. If you notice this symptom, it’s best to seek emergency vet care as soon as possible.

    Abdominal Distention
    Abdominal distention is a potential indicator of one of the most serious emergencies dogs can face—gastric volvulus, also called bloat. With bloat, your dog’s stomach becomes overinflated and twisted, this creating a dangerous blockage. In addition to a distended abdomen, dogs who are suffering from bloat may also pant and become restless, struggling to find a comfortable position to lay down. They may also dry heave. If you notice any of these symptoms, seek immediate vet care for your pet.

    Exposure to Poison
    If you know your dog has been exposed to a poison, such as rodent bait or a toxic food, it’s important to get emergency vet care. Many items in your home can be potentially toxic to your pet, including medications, chocolate, raisins, and grapes, so be mindful about the access your dog could have to potentially harmful things.

    At Chastain Veterinary Medical Group, we know how scary it can be to see your pet have a medical emergency. We’re here to help you get the emergency vet care in Dallas you need, and we are also affiliated with emergency vet clinics across the area. To learn more about our vet services in the McKinney / Frisco area of Texas, please call (972) 529-5033, or to make an appointment at our north Dallas animal hospital, please call (972) 239-1309.

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