• 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 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.

  • Promote the Long-Term Health of Your Dog by Scheduling Annual Checkups

    One of the most important things you can do for the health of your dog is to bring him or her to the veterinarian for regular checkups. During these preventive care appointments, your veterinarian can spot early signs of potential medical problems that could help your dog get treatment he or she needs to stay safe and healthy.

    During an annual checkup, your vet will examine your dog’s coat and skin, check his or her weight, and evaluate his or her teeth for signs of tooth decay and gum disease. Your vet may also perform blood tests to look for indicators of medical problems and provide vaccinations that are right for your dog’s stage of life. These visits to the animal clinic are invaluable in helping pet families understand the best ways to care for their dogs so that they stay happy and healthy for life.

    Whether you need a wellness exam for your dog, dog teeth cleaning, or dog boarding, Chastain Veterinary Medical Group can be your partner in protecting your pup’s good health. 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.

  • Helping a Finicky Feline Fall in Love with Feeding Time

    Dogs may have a reputation for eating anything that they can get, but cats are known for their stubbornness and finicky natures. Some cats love to eat, but if your cat is turning his or her nose up at the food on offer, don’t expect him or her to give in any time soon. Fortunately, there are things you can do to tempt him or her back to the food bowl. The first step is to check with your veterinarian to see if any underlying medical issues could be contributing to your cat’s decision to pass on food. If he or she gets a clean bill of health, these tips could make feeding time easier.

    Give Your Cat a Quiet Place to Eat

    In the wild, cats hunt alone, and they prefer to eat alone. If your cat’s food bowl is in a high-traffic part of the house, he or she may be feel too threatened to eat because of all of the background noise. Make sure your cat’s food bowl is in a location where he or she can eat without any anxiousness caused by the activity going on in the background. If you have multiple cats, each should have his or her own bowl and each bowl may need to be in a separate part of the house.

    Consider Changing Foods

    Both wet and dry foods can be healthy for cats, so consider changing your cat’s food if he or she is resistant to what you’re currently serving. Your veterinarian can help you select a nutritious cat food that is right for your pet. Initially, your cat may be hesitant to try the new food, but if it is a food that he or she will eat, you can expect him or her to dive in within a day or two.

    Ease Up on the Treats

    If your cat is a treat lover, he or she may simply be holding out for something better instead of eating his or her food. Feed fewer treats per day so that your cat starts to eat food. You may need to remove treats entirely until your cat starts eating.

    From behavioral advice to cat teeth cleaning, Chastain Veterinary Medical Group provides comprehensive vet services to keep your cat healthy for life. Contact our AAHA-accredited pet hospitals by dialing (972) 529-5033 for the McKinney facility or by dialing (972)239-1309 for the Dallas facility.

  • Could Your Cat Have a Toothache?

    Cats are notorious for hiding their pain, so how do you know if your feline could be suffering from a toothache? Well, turns out, there are a few signs that might clue you into a problem, so keep an eye out for the symptoms in this video to help determine if you should call the veterinarian.

    Cats aren’t likely to stop eating just because they have a toothache, but you may notice that they seem to be swallowing pieces of food whole rather than chewing them. Cats with toothaches may also sleep more. They may also tend to chew food on just one side of their mouths. If you notice a change in your cat’s behavior, your veterinarian can help you get to the bottom of the cause.

    Chastain Veterinary Medical Group offers pet dental services in the greater north Dallas area to help your pet’s teeth and gums stay healthy and pain-free. 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.

  • Answering Questions About Caring for Older Dogs

    Your dog has given you years of love, and when he or she becomes older, your pup will need some special care in return. Dogs can live long, healthy, happy lives with age-appropriate care and treatments for any medical conditions that they develop. As your dog ages, your veterinarian may recommend more frequent checkups to identify any health problems that do develop in their earliest stages. Here are the answers to questions that dog families frequently have about keeping their beloved pooches happy and healthy during their golden years.

    When is a dog considered to be old?

    Aging varies depending on breed and size, with larger dogs usually aging faster than smaller ones. Small to medium dogs are usually considered to be seniors when they reach age seven. Large dogs are considered to be senior by age six. There is no accurate formula that determines a dog’s age in human years, but when dogs reach age six to seven, they have aged roughly as much as a human in his or her late 40s or early 50s.

    What health problems are common in older pets?

    The common health problems in older dogs are very similar to kinds of health problems that people experience as they age. They include:

    • Arthritis
    • Heart disease
    • Cancer
    • Kidney disease
    • Diabetes
    • Weakness
    • Senility

    Your veterinarian can tell you about any breed-specific health risks that your dog may face that you should be vigilant about spotting.

    How can I help my older dog stay healthy?

    The best thing you can do for your aging dog is see the veterinarian regularly for preventive care and checkups. Health problems are easier to treat when they diagnosed in their early stages, and regular visits to the animal clinic make early diagnosis possible. Maintaining dog dental care as recommended by your vet is helpful, as is keeping your dog active and feeding him or her a healthy diet.

    Chastain Veterinary Medical Group can help your dog stay healthy and happy throughout his or her senior years, thanks to our preventive care, on-site diagnostics, and our Life-Cycle Wellness Program. To make an appointment at our pet hospital in Dallas, please call (972) 239-1309. For the McKinney Office, please call (972) 529-5033.