Your 2018 pet resolutions – simple tips and pet-care tricks

Hands up who’s shirked their New Year’s Resolutions already!

As we enter February, your plans to learn French or go to the gym every day have probably already been foiled by a sudden lack of motivation and the lure of the latest Netflix box set.

You had the best of intentions but we all know that resolutions exist to be given up – unless they’re simple, practical and manageable.  

That’s why we’ve come up with a few easy tips on caring for your pet in 2018. Stick with them and your best friend will be healthier all year round.

Bring them to us regularly

Whether you own a dachshund or a Shetland pony, regular pet health checks for your pet are vital to ensure they’re fighting fit.

How regularly you’ll need to visit us depends on the type of pet you own, and whether or not they have special health requirements, although six-monthly checks are standard for most animals.

If your pet’s looking peaky before then, get in touch with us straightaway for an appointment.

Check their teeth

You brush your teeth twice daily – why should you treat your pet’s pearly whites differently?

Looking after your pet’s oral health can help combat numerous health difficulties during their life, and will ensure their diet doesn’t suffer from loss of appetite.

While your diet for 2018 might have fallen by the wayside already, feeding your pet sugar-free treats will improve their oral health dramatically, as will dental sticks and regular brushing.

Keep vaccinations up to date

Forgetting regular vaccinations for your pet is easy, and finding the time in your busy schedule to pay us a visit can be incredibly difficult.

But without up-to-date vaccinations, you’re leaving your pet vulnerable to numerous, easily preventable illnesses.

So mark a date on your calendar for your pet’s next series of vaccinations – and don’t forget!

Get grooming

Effective grooming isn’t just a matter of aesthetics. If your dog’s nails are too long, for instance, they could find it difficult to walk.

We can offer you nail clipping and grooming services for your pet, so get in touch to book an appointment.

The start of every year is a chance to improve your habits – so why not follow these tips and make sure your pet’s health improves along with you?

To book an appointment with us, simply call01 2805892 or 085 8595466.

Make sure this Christmas is a cracker for your pets

dog-christmas-xmasHere are some quick tips to keep them safe this festive season:

1. Don’t give them chocolate and keep your choccy advent calendars out of their reach.

Chocolate contains theobromine and is dangerous for dogs and other animals.

2. Keep Christmas plants away from cats and dogs.

Poinsettias, holly and mistletoe look lovely, but are poisonous to cats and dogs.

3. Make your Christmas pet gift a new toy or bowl.

These are better presents than rich food that may make them ill.

4. Buy cable guards for Christmas tree lights cables.

Cats, dogs and rabbits regard cables as a dangerous delicacy.

5. Keep to the same pet routine whenever possible.

Some upheaval is unavoidable, but following the same mealtimes, walks and sleeping times makes them less irritable.

6. Let pets meet your guests when they feel most sociable.

If you impose a meeting as soon as human guests arrive it can make pets feel stressed.

7. Create a Christmas safe space.

Reserve a small room or part of a quieter room as a safe space for pets — fill it with comforting beds and toys.

8. Bring your dog’s favourite bed or toy if you’re spending Christmas away from home.

Having an item that feels and smells like home will help your dog settle down in a friend or family member’s home.

9. Keep small animals away from TVs and speakers.

You might want to crank the volume up a few notches during a party, but small animals are sensitive to high frequency noise.

10. Make sure outdoor pets have fresh water and extra bedding.

Rabbits and other outdoor pets need to be kept cost and hydrated when it’s cold.

Christmas Opening Hours

Yes we really are the Vets that only close Christmas day. All 3 of our Hospitals are open on the 23rd and 24th of December until midday. Our Dun Laoghaire hospital is open 9-4 on Stephens Day and then all our hospitals are back open from 27th-30th. Dun Laoghaire is open all day on New Years Eve and New Years Day. We hope you do not have any emergencies over Christmas but if you do you can rest assured we will be there for you.

Open Day for The Irish Guide Dogs


Ark Vetcare Open Day May 2017 in aid of the Irish Guide Dogs

We had a great turnout for our open day on the 20th May. Thankfully the rain stayed away and we were able to get a big crowd. The Nomad Mobile Cafe was on duty to supply delicious coffee courtesy of Arkvet.

Nomad coffee


We had many different attractions on the day. Tom our Vet had an ‘Ask The Vet’ session. Paul did guided tours of the hospital. Our Groomer Gwen did a live grooming demo which everyone really enjoyed. There were plenty of cakes and treats supplied. The Volunteers for Irish Guide Dogs held a raffle.

Gwen the groomer18620119_1528059573902284_4508634605473319139_n

Graham from the Irish Guide Dogs was on hand to educate us on Guide Dog Puppy Walking.  Hopefully they were able to recruit some new volunteers from those who attended the event!

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All the volunteers put in so much hard work and effort. Thank you to all our clients who came along. We managed to raise €1055 in aid of the Irish Guide Dogs so a big thank you to everyone for their generosity.

Open Day

Getting a new puppy!


Getting a new puppy is an extremely exciting time however it can also be overwhelming. It is difficult to remember all the little things we need to do to keep our new family member in good health. We will go through some of the main things to remember.

1. Vaccinations

Vaccinations protect your puppy against many infectious diseases that can be fatal. These diseases include

  • Parvovirus

  • Distemper

  • Adenovirus
  • Leptospirosis
  • Kennel cough.

Puppy vaccinations start at 8 weeks of age and are repeated at 10 weeks of age. Boosters are then done yearly to keep your dog up to date.

(Vaccinations against rabies is necessary when traveling abroad)

2. Anti-parasitic Treatment

flea and tick

Dogs of any age can be prone to picking up different types of parasites. From worms to fleas it is important that we treat them correctly to rid them of these unpleasant mini monsters.

  • Worms can make your puppy very sick. Most of the time you may not know your dog has worms. Signs such as a bloated tummy, diarrhoea, and vomiting may be seen. Certain worms can also affect humans giving us another reason to stay on top of them! Up until 3 months of age they need to be wormed every 2 weeks. They then need to be wormed regularly throughout their life (every 3-5months). You can pick up worming tablets at reception.

  • Fleas are a nuisance to your pet. They make them very itchy but can also cause allergic reactions due to chemicals in the flea saliva. Treat your pet every month to prevent an infestation occurring. If you notice fleas on your pet it is essential to treat the household also as eggs can fall off your pets coat and become embedded in carpets, floorboards and your pets bedding. These eggs eventually hatch and can reinfect your dog.
  • Other parasites include ticks and mites which can both be treated for also



3. Neutering

Neutering your dog occurs at approximately 6 months of age. Considered a routine surgery neutering radically reduces the chances of ovarian cancer and mammary tumours in females and testicular cancer in males among others. It can also protect your animal against life-threatening reproductive infections. Along with preventing undesirable behaviour (including roaming for males) it also prevents unwanted pregnancy. Neutering is done under general anaesthetic and the majority of animals go home the same day.

4. Insurance

Accidents and illnesses can happen so Insurance is necessary to ensure you are prepared financially. Always shop around for the best quote and cover. Different breeds of dogs, their age and any pre-existing illnesses can affect the price of your premium. At Ark Vetcare we take care of any claims that need to be made so you can focus on the well-being of your furry friend

puppy one ear

To all our new puppies we offer a free puppy consult where you can ask the vet any questions or clear up any worries you may have. Along with a free puppy party and six month developmental check-up we will be with you the whole way through puppyhood and long after!

Lost and found Pets May1st-May 8th

 Can you help us reunite these pets with theirs owners?



  1. Diego has been missing since 7th April from Dalkey and is a 3 year old neutered male cat. Please contact Jasmine on 0863075680 if you have any details.


2. Small white female chihuahua missing from Clonkeen Deansgrange area since May 2nd. Please phone 0862634088. There is a reward for her safe return as the owner is very anxious to be reunited.


3. Male cat, Monsty is missing from the Roundwood Annamoe area since early Sunday morning 23rd April. He is nearly six and microchipped.
Montsy’s owners are worried he may have tried to make it back to Booterstown where he used to live so if you have any information please call 0876898052.

montsy pets

4. Bella is missing from Dun Laoghaire since last Sunday. Please contact 012809537 if you have seen her.

bella pet

5. A male black cat has been missing since last Tuesday night/Wednesday morning from Dalkey. He is neutered and micro chipped. Unfortunately we don’t have a photo but he may have travelled along the Metals towards Dun Laoghaire. Call 087 2611070 if he is found.


  1. Male bichon frise found along Alma Road Monkstown. He isn’t neutered and appears to be blind or have poor vision in remaining eye. This dog is currently with his finder Nigel who you can contact on 0862575851. UPDATE REUNITED WITH OWNER


A lucky haircut and the benefits of monitoring blood tests

Paul McCarthy

A lucky haircut and the benefits of monitoring blood tests

A few weeks ago my dog Kia came in for her spring haircut. Gwen our groomer did a great job. She had been in top form but as she was in the clinic anyway I decided to do a blood test as a precaution as she is 11 years old. The results showed an unexpected minor change in her liver enzymes. She immediately had an abdominal ultrasound where I found a concerning lesion on the spleen.

What could this lesion mean?

The lesion could have been a sign of an aggressive cancer, a weakening of the wall of the spleen (potentially fatal) or could have been something insignificant to her health. The statistics made it an easy decision although I must admit trying to think with clarity was difficult given the emotional attachment.

kia after surgery

What started out as a haircut on Monday turned into a splenectomy (removal of the spleen) on Friday. It was a stressful surgery but being a springer Kia came through the operation very well. I am most grateful to my colleagues for their excellent care. The picture above is her out for her walk the morning after the op- she refused to be left behind!

The results

We took biopsies from the spleen to be sent off to the lab. A very worrisome few days followed before we got the report. The spleen was clear of any cancer but it did show changes that had weakened her splenic wall which made her a likely candidate for internal bleeding. Thankfully we caught it before this happened!

It brought home to me the importance of monitoring blood tests in senior pets. It is something pets over 8 years old should ideally have done annually.


Luckily this story has a happy ending because we decided to do routine bloods and she is back to herself as you can see from her playing in the river with the kids.

kia recovered

*If you would like your pet to have a checkup please don’t hesitate to call*

Overweight Pets

Overweight Pets

Problems caused by obesity

Excess weight can have a huge impact on your pets health. Obesity increases their chances of developing many health problems including arthritis, diabetes, high blood pressure and heart and respiratory disease. These diseases can cause severe pain and even shorten their lifespan.

How do you prevent your pet from becoming overweight?

An animal gains weight when the energy they take in is greater than the energy they use. To ensure they are getting the correct balance it is important to feed them the correct amount of food based on their size and age. Most bags of food will have a feeding guide on the back to tell you how much your pet needs. Avoid treats, particularly ‘people’ food as they are extremely fattening. Low calorie treats are available, if necessary. Having a routine of when you feed your pet helps you remember when they are fed and also regulate the amount they get. Ensure everyone in the family understands the importance of keeping your furry companion at a healthy weight. Call into us for advice on the correct amount of food you should be giving your dog or cat if you are unsure.



How do we know when a pet is overweight?

By using what is known as a body condition score we are able to see if your pet is at or above its ideal weight. Multiple measurements can also be taken to get an extremely accurate target weight and to see how much body fat your animal is carrying.


We have to reduce the amount of food we give our pets and cut out treats. Food designed specifically for weight-loss is available in our clinic. This food is highly palatable and helps your pet feel full while also containing less calories and fat. Knowing that you are giving them the correct amount that is nutritionally balanced can help when you are struggling to fight those begging eyes! Exercise is essential for weight-loss also. Bringing them for regular walks/encouraging them to play will help speed up the process. Our nurses and vets are well equipped to guide your pet down the right path to a healthy weight. We will make a personalised plan, decide on the correct target weight for your animal and support you through their weight loss journey. We will keep you motivated by recording progress every month along with nurse clinics and answering any questions/worries you may have.