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.

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.

Why Carrying Extra Pounds Is Dangerous for Your Pet

Just as with people, our pet population is facing an obesity crisis. Being overweight can have serious consequences for your pet, so it’s important to consult with your veterinarian if you suspect your animal needs to lose weight. He or she can help you create a plan for helping your pet reach a healthy weight.

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Watch this video to learn about some of the impacts of extra pounds on your pet. Joint disease, heart disease, respiratory problems, and diabetes are just a few of the issues that can plague overweight pets.

At Chastain Veterinary Medical Group, our AAHA-certified veterinary clinics offer care for all aspects of your pet’s well-being, from spay and neuter services to nutritional management. Make an appointment at our pet hospital today by calling (972) 239-1309 for Preston Road Animal Hospital in north Dallas or by calling (972) 529-5033 for Meadow Brook Animal Hospital in McKinney.

Your To-Do List for Your New Dog’s First Month

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What could be more exciting than welcoming a new puppy or adult dog into your home? Of course, once the initial excitement wears off, it’s time to focus on the responsibility of helping your new pup adjust to his or her new home. A trip to the veterinarian for a checkup should be one of the first items on your to-do list. Once your dog gets a clean bill of health, tackle these steps to make life less stressful for your family and your new pet.

Create a Schedule
Like new babies, puppies and new dogs benefit from having a schedule. Decide when you’ll feed your pup, when you’ll play with him or her, when you’ll go for walks, and when bedtime is, and try to stick to that schedule each day. Your puppy will soon adjust to the routine, which will make him or her feel more comfortable and confident. Sticking to a schedule will also help with potty training, as your dog will become accustomed to when he or she should—and shouldn’t—go to the bathroom.

Start Training
The earlier you start training your dog, the easier it will be to get the results you want. Every interaction with your puppy is an opportunity to practice commands, such as sit, stay, and come. Reward your pup for good behavior by showering him or her with attention and by providing treats. When your veterinarian says it is OK, consider enrolling your puppy in training classes and take him or her to the dog park, so that he or she can become socialized.

Get to Know His or Her Personality
Puppies and new dogs may be shy when they enter a new home, so be patient while your new pup reveals his or her personality. When your puppy starts showing his likes and dislikes, pay attention. For instance, your puppy may not respond to food rewards but may love walks, so you can tailor your training approaches to incorporate that preference.

Chastain Veterinary Medical Group is here to support you as you welcome a new puppy to the family, with puppy checkups, spay and neuter services, and dog dental cleanings. Contact Meadow Brook Animal Hospital in McKinney at (972) 529-5033 or contact Preston Road Animal Hospital in Dallas at (972) 239-1309.

Could My Puppy Have Hip Dysplasia?

When you bring home a new puppy, the last thing you are likely to be thinking about is joint health. However, hip dysplasia is a common occurrence and can affect dogs as young as five months old, so every puppy parent needs to know the signs. Could hip dysplasia be impacting your pup? Here is what you need to know.

What is hip dysplasia?

Hip dysplasia is a condition that occurs when the hip joints don’t form properly. Because the joints are improperly formed, the hind legs aren’t stable, and they can wobble around in the joint sockets. As a result, abnormal, painful wear and tear can occur. Although the cause is unknown, there appears to be a genetic component. Weight gain caused by high calorie diets and overly enthusiastic exercise before the joints are fully formed can also apparently contribute to dysplasia. Early treatment can improve the symptoms and reduce the risk of further joint damage.

What are the symptoms?

Puppies who have hip dysplasia may limp or appear unsteady when they walk. They may move their hind legs together when they run, instead of moving each leg independently. You may notice that your puppy’s hips swivel when you walk behind him or her or that you hear a clicking sound when he or she moves. As the condition progresses, your active puppy may become more lethargic or may have more difficulty going up and down stairs or finding a comfortable position when lying down.

How can we know for sure?

If hip dysplasia is suspected – at any age – your veterinarian will recommend x-rays of the dog’s hips and rear legs. This usually provides the answer.

Some veterinarians (including those at the Chastain Veterinary Medical Group) have been trained & certified in a special x-ray technique called PennHIP. PennHIP is accurate and reliable in puppies as young as four (4) months of age. The x-rays are read by specialists and the report provides an objective, mathematical estimate of the risk of the puppy developing hip dysplasia later in life. With this information, prevention and treatment protocols can be developed by the PennHIP-trained veterinarian.

What treatments are available?

There is no cure for hip dysplasia, but there are several treatments to reduce your puppy’s discomfort and control the progression of the disease. Anti-inflammatory medications and cold laser treatments can reduce the pain. Some dogs benefit from surgery. Managing your puppy’s weight will also help. Typically, your vet will perform period X-rays of the hip joint to track the progression of the dysplasia.

Chastain Veterinary Medical Group offers a comprehensive range of diagnostic and surgical services, including PennHIP x-rays , at our pet hospitals in Dallas and McKinney. Set up an exam with a veterinarian for your puppy 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.

Build a Better First-Aid Kit for Small Pets

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First-aid kits aren’t just for the two-legged members of your family. Pets need their own kits, so you have everything on hand that you will need if your pet becomes injured. For serious injuries or illnesses, your pet should visit the emergency veterinarian right away, but the tools in your first-aid kit will help you take care of minor issues at home or provide some initial care so that you can safely get your pet to the animal hospital.

For your small animals, like dogs and cats, your pet-friendly first-aid kit should include cloth and paper towels, 2-3 slip leashes, cotton swabs, cotton balls, and bandaging materials. You should also have lubricant, such as petroleum jelly, nail clippers, tweezers, and medications, including eye wash solution, probiotic gels, antibiotic ointments, and wound disinfectants. Keep your veterinarian’s number and the number for the poison control center in the kit as well.

When your pet has a medical emergency, Chastain Veterinary Medical Group is available to help with emergency vet care in both Dallas and McKinney. Find out how to get urgent vet care for your pet 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.

The Hows and Whys of Food Aggression Avoidance in Dogs

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Food aggression is a relatively common but potentially dangerous habit for dogs. If your dog exhibits signs of food aggression, it’s important to consult with your veterinarian for advice. Avoiding food aggression helps to reduce your dog’s anxiety and to protect your family. Here is what you need to know about food aggression and steps you can take to avoid it.

What exactly is food aggression?

Food aggression occurs when a dog acts out when a person or other animal approaches his or her food or treats. It can range from mild aggression, in which the dog growls when approached while eating or while near food, to severe aggression, in which the dog bites to protect his or her food from perceived threats. Aggression typically gets worse with foods the dog prizes the most, such as canned dog food or treats. Food aggression is in part instinct with dogs. They also may learn aggression if they have to compete with other members of their litter for food or if they share a bowl with other dogs.

Why is food aggression dangerous?

Food aggression can be dangerous for the humans in the household who approach the dog while he or she is eating, especially children who may not understand how to carefully interact with the dog. Aggression can be dangerous for your dog if you have more than one pet in your household, as it can lead to fights between the animals.

What should you do if your dog shows food-related aggression?

Stopping food aggression before it starts is the best strategy. You can do this by feeding your puppy treats out of your hand while petting him or her. You can also hold your puppy’s food while he or she eats. If your dog aggressively defends food, talk to your veterinarian about a referral to a behaviorist.

Don’t let behavioral issues interfere with your enjoyment of your pup or his or her safety. The veterinarians at Chastain Veterinary Medical Group can assist with behavioral advice and referrals to specialists when necessary. Make an appointment to talk to a vet at our one of north Texas 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 the McKinney/Frisco area.

Common Reasons for Vomiting in Dogs

There are a number of reasons dogs may vomit, and many of them are completely benign. However, it’s always important to pay attention to your dog’s symptoms when he or she vomits, as it could indicate a need for emergency vet care. Here is a closer look at some of the reasons dogs vomit and what you should do if it happens to your dog.

Dietary Causes

Often, vomiting is simply an indication that your dog has eaten the wrong thing. For instance, your dog may vomit if you change his or her food or because of an intolerance to something he or she ate. Your dog may also have gotten into the trash and eaten something that didn’t agree with his or her stomach. Typically, these vomiting episodes are over quickly, and your dog will return to normal almost immediately. However, if you think your dog got into the trash, monitor his or her symptoms closely in case of exposure to something toxic, like chocolate or food containing xylitol. If you suspect your dog could have consumed something toxic, contact your veterinarian or an animal emergency clinic right away.

Bloat

Bloat is one of the most serious conditions that can happen to dogs. It occurs when the stomach fills with gas, enlarges and presses on other organs. The stomach may also twist, cutting off its own blood supply. Dogs with bloat may vomit, or they may try to vomit without actually throwing up. If your dog vomits or retches and has shallow breathing and appears restless, seek emergency vet care right away. Time is of the essence in handling bloat.

Infections

Just like people, dogs can pick up various bacterial, viral, or fungal infections. When this happens, your dog may vomit, depending on the kind of infection he or she has. Although some infections are transient and simply need to run their course, see your veterinarian for a definitive diagnosis if your dog is vomiting.

Don’t let potentially serious symptoms go untreated in your dog. Help is available at Chastain Veterinary Medical Group. We provide emergency vet care with two locations in the north Dallas area, whenever your pet needs urgent attention. For emergency care or more information about our pet hospitals, call (972) 239-1309 for Preston Road Animal Hospital in north Dallas or call (972) 529-5033 for Meadow Brook Animal Hospital in the McKinney/Frisco area of Texas.

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