• 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.

     

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • What a Bloated Abdomen Could Mean for Your Dog

    Dogs love their food, and when they overindulge, their stomachs may show the signs. However, abdominal distension in a dog can also be an indicator of an extremely serious medical condition called bloat. If your dog has a bloated abdomen, you may need to seek emergency veterinary treatment in case your pet needs urgent care. Here is a look at some of the most common causes of abdominal bloating in dogs.

    Bloating from Overeating

    If your dog has a bloated abdomen but he or she appears otherwise healthy and happy, then the bloating is likely to be caused by overindulging. One simple way to recognize this kind of bloating is to know that your dog has recently eaten more than usual. For instance, if your dog managed to grab some table scraps and is now full and content, the bloating may not be a cause for concern but rather a side effect of eating too much. Overeating can lead to the more serious form of bloat, however, so it is important to be vigilant about your dog’s symptoms.

    Bloat

    Bloat, also more technically called gastric dilation and volvulus (GDV), is one of the most serious emergencies dogs can face. Without treatment, GDV can be fatal within hours of the onset of symptoms. It occurs when a bloated stomach twists on itself, inside the dog’s abdomen, which traps air and gas in the stomach and prevents blood from reaching the stomach. This condition is painful, so in addition to a distended abdomen, your dog will appear restless and anxious and he or she may pace, drool, and try to vomit unsuccessfully. You may also notice pale gums, shortness of breath, and a rapid heart rate as the condition progresses. It is important to seek immediate veterinarian care if you even suspect that your dog has GDV.

    Other Bloating Causes

    Other conditions can cause bloating as well, including peritonitis, an infection that occurs when the stomach or intestines rupture, and Cushing’s syndrome, in which the body overproduces the hormone cortisol. Both conditions are serious and require immediate treatment at an animal hospital.

    Chastain Veterinary Medical Group offers emergency vet care & advice in the Dallas areas when your dog needs it the most. Find out how to get life-saving care around the clock 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.

  • How to Tell if Your Dog Needs a Dental Checkup

    You’re not the only one who needs regular visits to the dentist. Dog dental cleanings are an essential part of your pup’s overall well-being. Your veterinarian will recommend a schedule for dental checkups that is right for you and your pet, but how you can you tell that your dog needs some dental care between appointments? Keep an eye out for these signs that your dog could benefit from dental care.

    Your dog’s breath is downright offensive.

    Contrary to popular belief, having bad breath is not a normal trait for dogs. If you smell more than your dog’s favorite treats on his or her breath, make an appointment at the veterinary clinic for a checkup. Bad breath that comes on suddenly can indicate that your dog has an infected tooth or gum disease, and the longer it goes untreated, the worse it can become. In fact, your dog could end up needing to have teeth pulled if an infection is allowed to grow untreated, so make sure your vet checks out any unusual breath your dog develops.

    Your hungry pooch is suddenly avoiding the food dish.

    When dogs are having problems with their teeth, their eating habits may sometimes change. Your dog that once couldn’t wait for dinner may now leave the food in the bowl untouched, or you may find that he or she takes longer to eat than normal. Tooth pain can cause these symptoms, as can broken teeth and tooth loss. Take your dog to the veterinarian for an exam to see what could be causing the change in his or her eating habits.

    It’s been too long since your dog’s last checkup.

    In most cases, dog dental cleanings should happen about once a year. If it’s been too long since his or her last checkup, make an appointment. You don’t have to wait for symptoms of a problem to schedule a checkup, and your attentiveness to your dog’s dental health can help him or her avoid serious complications.

    Chastain Veterinary Medical Group provides extensive dog and cat teeth cleaning services, plus oral cancer screenings and periodontal surgery. To schedule an appointment with one of our veterinarians, please phone Preston Road Animal Hospital in north Dallas at (972) 239-1309 or phone Meadow Brook Animal Hospital in the McKinney/Frisco area at (972) 529-5033.

  • Tips for Teaching Your Puppy to Stop Nipping

    Bringing home a new puppy is exciting, but it is also hard work, as you teach your puppy the right way to behave in your home. One common problem new puppy families face is nipping. It’s natural for puppies to nip, since that is how they explore the world, but that behavior quickly becomes problematic if your pup doesn’t learn to stop before he or she becomes a bigger dog. Make sure veterinarian is part of your puppy’s life from the start, as your vet can offer advice about what behaviors are common, or normal, and can make referrals for behavioral training services if necessary. You can work on breaking your puppy’s nipping habit at home with this advice.

    Copy Natural Dog Behavior

    When puppies play with each other and with other older dogs, they learn bite inhibition through the reactions of the other dogs they are nipping at. If one dog mouths another too forcefully during play, the other dog will yelp, forcing the first dog to change his or her behavior, otherwise the game is over. You can mirror that behavior at home. When your puppy nips too hard, go limp and let out a loud yelping sound. Don’t play with your puppy for 10 to 15 seconds, and then resume the game. If he or she bites too hard again, repeat the process. This teaches your dog that gentle play is fine but he or she will lose your attention for aggressive nipping.

    Redirect Attention

    You may wish to teach your puppy that his or her teeth never belong on human skin, even during play. In this case, redirect your pup’s attention any time he or she tries to nip at you. Avoid your dog’s mouth and provide a chew toy anytime he or she wants to bite you. The toy gives your dog something to chew instead of your hand. If your pup nips at your ankles, keep a toy in your pocket to redirect biting when you walk.

    Talk to your veterinarian at Chastain Veterinary Medical Group anytime you have questions about your new puppy’s health. We also offer dog spay and neuter services, dental care, and more. Schedule an appointment for your puppy today by dialing (972) 239-1309 for Preston Road Animal Hospital in north Dallas or by dialing (972) 529-5033 for Meadow Brook Animal Hospital in McKinney.

  • What Diet Should You Feed Your Aging Dog?

    Just like humans, dogs have different nutritional needs at every stage of life. When your dog enters his or her senior years, it is time to have a conversation with your veterinarian about your pup’s current food and what changes you should consider. These tips will also help you pick the right diet for your aging dog.

    Consider Cutting Calories

    Older dogs tend to be less active, which means they are also prone to weight gain. Same as with people. You can reduce the risk of obesity in your older pet by cutting his or her calories, under the guidance of your veterinarian. Some dog foods are specifically designed for seniors to provide an adequate amount of protein and carbohydrates with fewer calories, though some families prefer to just cut back on servings of their dogs’ current foods. Talk to your vet about the right way to cut calories without leaving your dog feeling hungry.

    Add Fruits and Veggies

    Constipation can be a problem in older dogs, so adding fruits and vegetables to your dog’s diet can help. Keep in mind that not all fruits and veggies are appropriate for dogs, so talk to the staff at your veterinary clinic to get healthy recommendations. You can add fruits and veggies to your pet’s normal meals or offer them as treats between feedings.

    Adjust for Health Needs

    If your veterinarian has diagnosed your dog with a health problem, such as diabetes or heart disease, you may need to make changes to his or her diet as part of the overall treatment plan. For dogs with joint problems, nutritional supplements can also help to reduce inflammation. If your older dog has dental health problems, switching to wet food from dry kibble can make chewing easier.

    Diet can play a central role in preserving your dog’s health well into his or her senior years, and Chastain Veterinary Medical Group is here to help. We provide dog dental care, extensive preventive care, and emergency vet services to ensure that your pet always has access to the medical treatments he or she needs. To make an appointment at our veterinary hospitals in the north Dallas areas, please call (972) 239-1309 for Preston Road Animal Hospital in Dallas or call (972) 529-5033 for Meadow Brook Animal Hospital in McKinney.

  • How Often Should You Feed Your Dog?

    Dogs have a reputation for always being ready to eat, but how many times per day should you really be filling your pooch’s food bowl? Your veterinarian can offer you some great advice to help you make smart nutritional choices for your pet. This video should also help some.

    Many factors go into determining the right eating plan for your dog. If you have a small puppy, he or she may need to eat as many as four times per day, thanks to his or her small stomach. As dogs age, most of them can settle into a routine of eating twice per day. Eating too much in one sitting can leave your dog hungry later and increase the risk of bloat, which requires emergency veterinary care.

    Get answers to all of your questions about your pet’s health by making an appointment at Chastain Veterinary Medical Group. We offer comprehensive veterinarian care, from cat and dog neutering to pet dental services, in Dallas and McKinney. To make an appointment for your pet, 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.

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