Helping Pets and New Babies Get Along

Having a baby in the house is a big adjustment for pets, who not only have to get used to sharing the attention but also to being poked and prodded by curious little hands. Fortunately, your pet and your baby can become the best of friends with just a little help from you. If you’re worried about how your pet and baby will get along, your veterinarian can give offer some advice. These tips will also help.

Start Early

The earlier you start preparing your pet for your baby’s arrival, the better the outcome is likely to be. You don’t have to wait to bring the baby home but instead can start early in the pregnancy. Take this pre-baby time to make sure your pet understands basic verbal commands that could come in handy when your baby is home. Working on things like not jumping up on people can also be helpful, particularly for dogs, so your pet doesn’t jump on your baby or jump on you when you’re carrying your newborn.

Create a Safe Space

The noise and activity that come with a new baby can be stressful for pets, especially older pets, who may sometimes need to retreat to a quiet space for a time. A laundry room or a crate can work well for this need. Before the baby comes, set the space up with things that your pet needs and enjoys, from a water dish to favorite toys, and encourage your pet to start spending time there. When the baby is home and things get to be too much for your pet, he or she can retreat there.

Practice Prodding

Babies and toddlers have a tendency to poke pets, pull fur, touch paw pads, and otherwise interact with pets in ways the pet make not initially like. Desensitize your pet by practicing this kind of handling in advance, and rewarding him or her with a treat or with praise when touching is tolerated.

Chastain Veterinary Medical Group can help you get your pet ready for a smooth transition as your family grows, plus offer essential pet care, including dog and cat neutering and spaying, pet dental services, and more. Make an appointment with one of our veterinarians in Dallas, today, by calling (972) 239-1309 or for our McKinney location, call (972) 529-5033.

The Health Risks of Obesity in Cats

People aren’t the only ones whose health suffers when the body weight creeps up. Obesity is a serious health concern in cats that can trigger a long list of health problems, some which could be life-threatening. If you are worried that your cat is overweight, make an appointment to discuss this at your animal hospital. Your veterinarian can determine a healthy weight for your cat and recommend a diet plan, if need be. Here are some of the risks of leaving obesity untreated in your cat.

Type 2 Diabetes

As in humans, obesity can change the way your cat’s body uses insulin. He or she may become insulin resistant, which means that his or cells can’t use glucose for energy efficiently, leading to an increase in blood glucose levels. Type 2 diabetes can damage your cat’s heart, kidneys, and eyes and can be life-threatening without proper treatment. Losing weight can make your cat’s type 2 diabetes easier to manage and may allow him or her to stop taking medication for the condition.

Osteoarthritis

Being overweight puts pressure on your cat’s joints, causing them to wear down. This joint wear-and-tear is called osteoarthritis and can significantly impact your cat’s mobility and quality of life. Although osteoarthritis can occur in healthy-weight cats as they age, being overweight causes joint deterioration to happen much earlier in life.

Urinary Tract Infections

Feline interstitial cystitis is a common type of urinary tract infection in cats that causes discomfort and inappropriate urination. Although this disease can happen to any cat, obesity increases the risks. Veterinarians believe that there is a link between stress and feline interstitial cystitis, and the physical stress caused by obesity can trigger an infection.

Don’t let obesity take a toll on your cat’s life. Talk to your regular veterinarian or one of the veterinarians at the Chastain Veterinary Medical Group about making your cat’s diet healthier to help him or her lose the excess weight. Our animal hospitals in Dallas and McKinney also provides cat neutering, cat teeth cleaning, and everything else you need to keep your feline companion happy and healthy. Schedule an appointment today by calling Preston Road Animal Hospital in Dallas at (972) 239-1309 or by calling Meadow Brook Animal Hospital in McKinney at (972) 529-5033.

Can You Really Train Your Cat to Walk on a Leash?

Why should dogs have all the outdoor fun? It is possible to train your cat to walk on a leash, even though you’ll need to be patient as you coax him or her through the process. Stroll into the animal hospital for your next appointment with your cat on a leash beside you by following the tips in this video.

Start slowly to get your cat used to the harness. Put it on them without buckling it, and once he or she is fine with that, start buckling it and leaving it on for a short time. Reward your cat with a treat at each stage of the training process so that it becomes a positive experience.

Whether you need cat neutering, dog boarding, cat teeth cleaning, the Chastain Veterinary Medical Group provides the extensive preventative and emergency vet care you need. Call (972) 529-5033 to make an appointment at Meadow Brook Animal Hospital in McKinney, or call (972) 239-1309 to make an appointment at Preston Road Animal Hospital in north Dallas.

Taking Steps to Stop Puppy Nipping

Much to the chagrin of many new pet parents, puppies love to explore their worlds using their mouths. While your small puppies’ nips may not hurt now, they won’t be so cute later when he or she gets older, so teach your puppy that teeth and human skin don’t mix now. At your next veterinary appointment, ask your veterinarian if he or she has some advice for putting the brakes on puppy nipping. In the meantime, here are some simple steps to try.

When your puppy nips you, yelp in the same way a dog yelps after a nip. Your reaction may tell your puppy that he or she has taken the game too far. Every time your pup nips, replace your hand with an appropriate toy and then offer praise when he or she chews that. You can also withdrawal your attention for 10 or 20 seconds when a nip happens to teach your dog that nipping ends the social interaction.

Chastain Veterinary Medical Group has everything you need to give your puppy the right start in life, including spay and neuter services and dog dental cleanings. To bring your new puppy to one of our animal hospitals, set up an appointment by calling Meadow Brook Animal Hospital in McKinney at (972) 529-5033 or by calling Preston Road Animal Hospital in Dallas at (972) 239-1309.

Tips for Coping with a Pet Health Emergency

No one likes to think about his or her beloved pet experiencing a medical emergency, but these things do happen and when they occur, staying calm and taking the right steps can help make a bad situation as manageable as possible. Start – now – by finding out where the emergency vet(s) and emergency clinics in your area are located, so you don’t lose precious time trying to find an emergency animal hospital when your pet is in crisis. You might even want to enter this info in your smart phone contact page. Then, later if you think your pet is suffering from a medical emergency, keep this advice in mind:

Don’t Second-Guess Yourself

In a health crisis, getting treatment as soon as possible can be lifesaving. If you are concerned about your pet’s symptoms, go to the emergency vet right away instead of trying to wait out the symptoms or questioning your reaction. It’s better to err on the side of the caution and find out your pet’s issue isn’t urgent than to delay the care he or she needs. Some medical emergencies, like seizures, excessive bleeding, swollen abdomens, and poisoning, are obvious, but health crises can also have more subtle symptoms. Always seek treatment when you have a concern.

Stay Calm

It’s natural to feel anxious or even overwhelmed when your pet is facing a medical emergency, but your anxiety can be contagious and make your pet feel even worse. Stay as calm and methodical as possible as you call your vet or make your way to the emergency animal clinic. Be strong for your pet. Soothe your pet as much as you can so that he or she relaxes as much as possible. An agitated pet can make treatments more difficult.

Come Prepared

You’ll get faster care from your emergency vet if you bring along any information that could be relevant to your pet’s care. For instance, you may need vaccination records, a list of your pet’s medications, and if your pet ate something that was dangerous, the packaging, if possible. All of this information could help your emergency vet make important decisions about your animal’s care.

Chastain Veterinary Medical Group knows how stressful a medical crisis is for pet families, and our emergency vets in McKinney and Dallas are dedicated to providing compassionate care when your animal needs it most. Find out more about our emergency care and other services by calling Meadow Brook Animal Hospital in McKinney at (972) 529-5033 or by calling Preston Road Animal Hospital in north Dallas at (972) 239-1309.

How Your Dog Reads Your Emotions

Have you ever wondered if your dog knows how you’re feeling? Research indicates that dogs really are able to tell if the humans around them are happy or sad, which is one of reasons that keeping a positive attitude when you take your dog to the veterinarian helps him or her feel calmer. Watch this video to learn more about your dog’s ability to read your emotions.

Dogs and humans process emotions using very similar brain processes, making reading each other much easier. Though dogs respond to emotional cues from other dogs more quickly than cues from humans, they are adept at determining how humans are feeling, especially their owners.

At Chastain Veterinary Medical Group, our comprehensive pet care means we’re your one-stop-shop for dog and cat neutering, preventative veterinarian care, emergency animal hospital services, and much more. Schedule a visit with one of our veterinarians by calling Meadow Brook Animal Hospital in McKinney at (972) 529-5033 or by calling Preston Road Animal Hospital in north Dallas at (972) 239-1309.

Thyroid Disease Symptoms in Cats

Hyperthyroidism, in which the thyroid gland produces an excess amount of the hormone thyroxine, is the most common endocrine disorder in cats. When left untreated, this form of thyroid disease can cause serious complications for the kitty, so make an appointment with your veterinarian if you notice any of these odd signs. Your veterinarian can perform a physical exam and a blood test to make a diagnosis.

Hyperthyroidism causes the metabolism to speed up. This leads to weight loss, increased appetite and thirst, rapid breathing, and hyperactivity. You may be able to feel an enlarged thyroid gland in your cat’s neck and a rapid heart beat. Cats with hyperthyroidism may develop thickened nails and can even become aggressive.

Visit a veterinarian at the Chastain Veterinary Medical Group if your cat is exhibiting symptoms of hyperthyroidism for a fast diagnosis and effective treatment plan. Our pet hospitals in Dallas and McKinney each provide a comprehensive range of preventative and emergency vet services for cats, dogs, and exotic animals. To schedule an appointment, please phone Meadow Brook Animal Hospital in McKinney at (972) 529-5033 or phone Preston Road Animal Hospital in Dallas at (972) 239-1309.

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