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Veterinary services.


Spay and Neuter

gray kitten sleeping on gray plaid wool blanket with tassels
Of all the decisions you can make for your pet, choosing to get them spayed or neutered is perhaps the most important. Although owners sometimes question the need for this surgery or worry about changing their pet’s personality, spaying and neutering your pet is highly beneficial to their long-term health. Not only does this procedure reduce your pet’s risk for a number of life-threatening conditions, it also helps millions of cats and dogs find homes across the country.

At Noah’s Ark, we’re advocates for animals, which means that we believe in spaying and neutering. Whether you’re on the fence about having it performed on your pet or simply want to learn more about this subject, here are 7 crucial facts about spaying and neutering to keep in mind.

7 Facts That Will Make You Want to Spay and Neuter

1. Overpopulation is a Problem

According to the Humane Society of the United States, an estimated 6-8 million animals enter shelters every year. Less than half are adopted, while the rest (roughly 2.7 million) are euthanized—because there simply isn’t enough room. Boarding space in shelters and welcoming homes is extremely limited. Because of this, millions of perfectly healthy, innocent, and loving pets never become someone’s companion or enjoy the safety and warmth of a permanent home. By choosing to spay and neuter, you’ll prevent unwanted offspring and help support the adoption of other animals.

2. Spaying/Neutering Your Pet Improves Their Health

The benefits don’t stop there, either. By choosing to spay and neuter your pet, you can significantly reduce their risk of developing certain forms of cancer. Unspayed female cats and dogs, for example, have a greater chance of developing life-threatening breast tumors and uterine infections. Likewise, unneutered male cats and dogs are actually at risk for testicular cancer. Spaying or neutering your pet gives them the best chance at a healthy, happy lifestyle.

3. –And Their Behavior

Spaying and neutering your pet can sometimes improve their general behavior as well.
Some owners worry (unnecessarily) that neutering too soon will cause their male cat or dog to become “less masculine” –but in actuality, neutering male dogs and cats helps prevent certain undesirable behaviors, like urine marking and mounting. By decreasing their level of testosterone, your male cat or dog will also be less likely to roam away from home in search of a mate. Likewise, spaying your female cat or dog will prevent them from going into heat, a period in which they howl and urinate more frequently.

4. It Benefits Your Community

Apart from helping your dog or cat, spaying and neutering your pet often benefits your community as well. When females are in heat, male animals of the species are much more likely to wander away from home. In turn, they may get into neighboring yards, garbage cans, or even roam in the streets and cause car accidents—or get hit! By spaying and neutering your pet, you’ll help to ensure their safety and everyone else’s.

5. It Saves You Money in the Long Run

Think of it this way: you could spay or neuter your pet, or you could feed, vaccinate, and care for a litter of 5-8 pups or kittens. Alternatively, you could spay and neuter, or you could spend thousands of dollars on cancer treatments for your pet. In the long run, choosing the former is the most responsible and cost-effective choice.

6. Many States Offer Low-Cost Programs

If you’re worried about the price of the procedure, there are several options available to help cover the cost. Most shelters, veterinarians, and organizations are truly passionate about overcrowding and overpopulation, and they want to help reduce the numbers of animals without homes. That’s why many clinics and shelters across the country provide low-cost spay and neuter services. To find one near you, visit the Humane Society of the United States’ search engine.

7. You’ll Ensure That Your Pet Lives a Long Life

Finally, spaying and neutering your pet is the best way to ensure that they live a long and happy life. By choosing to spay and neuter, you’ll help your pet avoid harmful medical conditions, life-threatening situations, and stay healthy for years to come.
Your pet is an important part of your family, and you want to do everything you can to keep them at their healthiest and happiest. Contact Us today at Noah’s Ark Veterinary Hospital to learn more about how you can care for your pet and help millions of others in the process.

Pet Microchipping

Purebred Jack Russel Terrier dog outdoors on a sunny summer day.

What is pet microchipping?

A microchip consists of a tiny electronic transponder (about the size of a grain of rice) that stores information. When scanned with a specialized device, the information – including your pet’s name and your contact information – on the chip is can be read.

Pet microchips are a vital measure of protection for your pet.
  • Each microchip contains a unique identification number, which helps identify your pet more quickly.
  • When a lost or injured pet is taken to a veterinary clinic or shelter, they can be scanned for the presence of a microchip.
  • If the pet has a chip, the scanner reads the pet’s ID number.
  • If the chip has been properly registered, the clinic or shelter will give the number to the microchip company.
  • Then the microchip company contacts you, and your pet can come home.
Unlike collars and tags, a microchip is implanted directly into your pet, just under the skin. This means it can’t be lost, damaged, or stolen. So long as the microchip remains, your pet has a way home.

Why should I microchip my pet?

  1. Luckily for all pet parents, pet microchipping is inexpensive. Considering that microchips tend to last about 25 years, the one-time fee is truly an investment in your pet’s health and safety.
  2. It works. A recent study on pet microchipping found that if a cat is microchipped, the return-to-owner rate is 20 times higher than if the cat was not microchipped.
  3. Pet microchipping is a permanent solution. Again, microchips are not exposed to the elements, cannot be damaged or stolen, and don’t have any batteries or moving parts. They never need to be replaced. Even if you change your contact information, all you have to do is contact your microchip company. You do not need to replace the actual microchip.
  4. All veterinary clinics and shelters know to scan for microchips. It’s standard practice when lost pets are brought in. Plus, no matter which microchip company you use, the special scanner will be able to read your pet’s microchip. As long as you register your pet’s ID number, any clinic or shelter will be able to contact you and return your pet.

How does the procedure work?

Because microchips are so tiny, the procedure is quick, simple, and virtually painless. First, each microchip comes pre-loaded in a sterile syringe. To implant the chip, your vet inserts the needle beneath the skin between your pet’s shoulder blades, pushes the plunger, and injects the chip. That’s it! Just like a routine vaccination, the entire process takes only seconds, with no anesthesia required.

Microchips do not need a power source and have no moving parts, so they never wear out. They’re composed of a material that is compatible with body tissues, so rejection and infection at the site are rare. After injection, the microchip becomes encased in tissue at the site, so there’s very little shifting.

After the chip is implanted, all you have to do is register your pet’s ID number. This will not only establish you as your pet’s owner, but it will also add your pet to the national recovery database. That’s what veterinarians use to track down your microchip company and contact information. As long as you register, your pet can be scanned and identified as yours.

Pets with microchips make it home more often than pets without microchips. That’s a proven fact. To learn more about pet microchipping and how you can provide your pet with a lifetime of protection, contact us today! Our dedicated and caring staff at Noah’s Ark is always happy to walk you through the microchipping process and help get your pet registered.

Puppy and Kitten Care

Little puppy with a little tabby kitten
Congratulations on the fluffy new addition to your family! One of the first things you should do when you bring your new puppy or kitten home is schedule an appointment and bring them in to Noah’s Ark for their first wellness visit!

As your local partner in your puppy or kitten’s care, we want to make sure your family’s newest addition is healthy, happy, and flourishing all their life!

During your visit, we’ll perform a full physical examination to assess overall health, look for signs of illness, and determine whether there are any issues that should be addressed. Do you have questions about nutrition, training, vaccinations, grooming, parasite protection, or microchipping? What about tips for introducing your new pet to other animals and family members? We’re ready with the answers.

The First Visit

Once you’ve adopted your new puppy or kitten, one of the first things you should do is introduce them to your local veterinarian by scheduling an appointment. Here at Noah’s Ark, our highly skilled and caring staff will use this time to establish a relationship with your pet and gently inspect them from nose to tail. We will develop a health profile for our records, so we always have your pet’s information at our fingertips.

As you come back for following check-ups, we can gauge how your puppy or kitten is doing over time. We’ll also track growth, weight, and other markers so that we know they’re developing well.

Your pet depends on you for all its needs, both physical and emotional. We’re here to help make sure you’re the most prepared owner that you can be, and that includes giving you the info you need about:
  • When to test for heartworms
  • The best time to spay or neuter your pet
  • What to expect when potty training
  • Breed or genetics-related conditions

The Basics

During the early stages of life, puppies and kittens have specific needs for nourishment, socialization and training, habitat, and health.

Proper nutrition is especially important for young animals, who usually need two to three times as many calories and nutrients as adult animals. Both puppies and kittens should be fed nutritionally complete, from a brand fully tested and approved food by the American Association of Feed Control Officials (AAFCO). Veterinary guidance is especially crucial for any specialty or medical diets.

And it’s never too early to come up with a good training plan. Obedience training helps to establish not only good behavior but also a strong bond with your pet. Always discuss your training plan with your vet to make sure it’s safe and realistic. Socialization is a vital aspect of training, and must be done carefully to avoid injuries, anxiety, or contracting illness and parasites from other animals.

The habitat you provide is also very important to your pet’s development. Make sure all their food and water is easily accessible and they have plenty of bedding and toys to keep them occupied. It can help to baby-proof your home as well until your pet is trained. Just like human babies, puppies and kittens will put anything in their mouths.

Whether you’re a first-time pet parent or an experienced owner, always make sure to talk with your vet at important milestones. Contact our team at Noah’s Ark to book your new pet’s first check-up!

Pet Vaccinations

woman hand petting a cat head
At Noah’s Ark Veterinary Hospital, we prepare you for the treatments your pet will need. Our team of experienced veterinarians and clinic staff are well-versed in providing vaccinations. From administration to scheduling, we’re dedicated to making sure your dog or cat receives the optimal level of care and attention for a successful vaccination.

Pet Vaccination Services

At Noah’s Ark Veterinary Hospital, we prepare you for the treatmentsyour pet will need. Our team of experienced veterinarians and clinic staff are well-versed in providing vaccinations. That includes:
  • Parvovirus
  • Bordetella and parainfluenza (bacteria that causes kennel cough)
  • Rabies
  • Feline Viral Rhinotracheitis

From administration to scheduling, we’re dedicated to making sure your dog or cat receives the optimal level of care and attention for a successful vaccination.

Schedule an appointment with us today to get a wellness exam for your pet and to learn which vaccinations we recommend to help them live longer and healthier.

Behavioral Medicine for Pets

Rottweiler puppy playing with a sneaker
When pets exhibit behavioral problems, they can lead to serious consequences, including damage to the healthy, loving relationship between you and your pet—and in extreme situations, may also lead to euthanasia or surrendering your dog or cat pet to a shelter.

The Noah’s Ark veterinary team has years of experience in diagnosing and addressing behavioral issues, including:
  • Human-directed aggression
  • Inter-pet aggression
  • Separation anxiety
  • Housetraining
  • Fears and phobias
  • Compulsive behaviors
  • Cognitive dysfunction
We work closely with you and your pet, using a proven approach that combines veterinary clinical medicine, behavioral medicine, and pet training. Our goal is to help you and your pet live together comfortably, safely, and happily while restoring and strengthening the bond you share.

Below are some of the physical and emotional conditions we address at Noah’s Ark.

Basic Manners

We’ll help you improve the pet-human bond through mastery of obedience skills, like leash walking, basic commands, appropriate playtime, housetraining, and more.

Fears, Phobias, and Anxiety

Sometimes behaviors like aggression and housetraining difficulties are symptoms of something larger. We’ll cover issues such as separation anxiety, fear of noises, people, or other animals, and various phobias as cause.


Get assessment of your pet’s temperament and professional guidance in creating a plan for healthy, positive socialization with humans or other animals. We’ll adapt your plan to your pet’s individual needs, for a more effective (and less stressful) process.


Unless properly examined and socialized to curb aggression, some pets can exhibit hostility toward humans and other animals, alongside territorial issues, hoarding, and turf-guarding.


Housetraining can be frustrating, even when it goes off without a hitch. But when a pet constantly relieves themselves inside the house or otherwise in the wrong place, we may need to look for a physical, medical, or emotional source of the difficulty.

Compulsive Behaviors

Over-grooming, licking surfaces, self-biting, and other compulsions can be alarming for a pet owner to witness and ultimately harmful to the pet’s own health. We’ll work to determine the cause of these behaviors and provide recommendations and treatment to curb them.

Cognitive Dysfunction

Behavioral problems can be caused or even worsened by age or disease-related memory loss, disorientation, confusion, waking and sleeping problems, separation anxiety, excessive panting, and more. We’ll help treat these issues, and provide advice on what to expect and how to adapt.

When you book an appointment at Noah’s Ark, you are guaranteed a refined, individualized treatment plan based on careful observations of you and your pet—plus their medical history, socialization skills, living situation, and all other relevant information. Behavioral problems don’t have to damage your relationship with your pet. We’ll work with you to give them a life that is healthy, happy, and well-adjusted.

Dental Care

domestic cat teeth close-up
Love your best friend, but can’t stand their bad breath? Despite what many pet owners may believe, “dog breath” is not just a nuisance— it can also be a sign of an unhealthy mouth. Dental hygiene is an important part of your pet’s health because dental disease can also lead to other serious health problems, like heart disease and kidney disease. But how do you know if your pet has a healthy mouth? We’ll examine your pet’s teeth and gums to help determine if there are any dental issues that need treatment

Pet Dental Problems: Common and Preventable

Pets aren’t always known for having the freshest breath. While every pet can occasionally get bad breath, it isn’t normally a cause for concern. Particularly bad breath, however, should never be ignored. It can often be a symptom of other issues, like halitosis, or a sign of periodontal (gum) disease, which is the most common health problem in cats and dogs. In fact, without regular upkeep of their oral health, many dogs and cats will develop periodontal disease by the age of three. Not only can this cause pain for your pets, it can also lead to serious, life-threatening complications down the line.

Luckily, the causes, symptoms, and treatments of periodontal disease in pets are well understood. With a few simple habits to maintain your pet’s oral health, you can save on both discomfort and dental care bills.

How Periodontal Disease Develops

The bacteria in a pet’s mouth usually maintains a certain balance to remain healthy. But sometimes new bacteria can be introduced into your pet’s mouth – through eating, sickness, or other dental issues – and disturb that balance. Leaving any of the following conditions untreated can begin a cycle that leads to gum disease:

Plaque Formation
Through daily eating, drinking, grooming, and bacterial growth, a clear-colored film called plaque forms on the teeth.

Tartar Buildup
If left to build up, plaque hardens into a yellow or brown substance called tartar.

Gum Irritation
Tartar can irritate the surrounding gums, making them tender, red, and swollen. This allows bacteria to thrive, progressing the disease further.

Advanced Periodontal Disease
The gums eventually pull away from the teeth and bleed. This creates pockets that trap food and allow for even more bacteria to settle in. The roots of the teeth can become exposed, teeth can come loose, and your pet may experience pain that keeps them from eating, drinking, grooming, or resting comfortably.

Other Health Complications
If the gums are bleeding, it means there is an opportunity for oral bacteria to enter the bloodstream and potentially threaten your pet’s heart, liver, lungs, or kidneys.

Pet Dental Problems: Common and Preventable

Pets aren’t always known for having the freshest breath. While every pet can occasionally get bad breath, it isn’t normally a cause for concern. Particularly bad breath, however, should never be ignored. It can often be a symptom of other issues, like halitosis, or a sign of periodontal (gum) disease, which is the most common health problem in cats and dogs. In fact, without regular upkeep of their oral health, many dogs and cats will develop periodontal disease by the age of three. Not only can this cause pain for your pets, it can also lead to serious, life-threatening complications down the line.

Emergency and Critical Care

Puppy of American Pitbull posing to first photo session.
It’s one of the scariest possibilities you face as a pet owner: one minute, your dog or cat is fine, and the next, you’re searching frantically for a nearby vet. Emergencies, accidents, and illnesses can strike at any moment. When the time comes, do you have a plan for getting your pet medical attention as soon as possible?

If your pet falls sick or injured unexpectedly, your first step should be getting them to a Williamsburg VA emergency vet you can trust to provide state-of-the-art emergency and critical care.

On-Premise Expertise

We know how upsetting it is when your pet needs swift medical attention. At Noah’s Ark Veterinary Hospital, our first priority is thorough, efficient, and compassionate service. We pride ourselves on offering life-saving care to local pets. Our team is staffed with knowledgeable, compassionate, highly-skilled professionals dedicated to pet health in every circumstance.

If you’ve been to our office before, we will already have your pet’s medical history on file and can check it at a moment’s notice—that way you don’t have to worry about it in the middle of a crisis, and we can all stay focused on helping your pet get the treatment they need.

If you haven’t been in to see us before, download our Client Information Sheet to fill out, so you have it ready ahead of time.

Care You Can Rely On

The most important value we offer at Noah’s Ark is trust. You can trust us to always provide the best quality veterinary care for your dog, cat, rabbit, ferret, or lizard. You can trust us to respond to emergency calls. You can trust that if you do call, you’ll be speaking with a trained and experienced team member whose primary concern is your pet’s wellbeing. And you can trust that we will do everything in our power to keep your companion healthy, happy, and thriving.

So if your pet ingests something they shouldn’t have, if they are injured in an accident, or if they’re exhibiting a sudden change in behavior or any other unusual symptoms, we’ve got you covered. Even if you’re looking for a Williamsburg VA emergency vet just in case, we’d love to set up an appointment to meet. Our veterinarians, assistants, and support staff work together to respond to emergency calls and critical care situations, and we will always be there when you need us—though we hope you never do.

Keep our phone number with your other priority contacts. If you ever have a veterinary emergency involving your pet, help is only a phone call away.

Wellness Examinations

Blue eyed Cat
A wellness examination includes an evaluation of all of your pet’s major organ systems. During the wellness visit, we’ll ask you questions about your pet’s behavior, appetite, exercise habits, and regular activities at home. This is also an excellent time for us to establish a good relationship with your pet and discuss your routine going forward.

Regular Checkups for Healthier Pets

Routine wellness exams are key to early detection and keeping your pets as healthy as possible for as long as possible. Even before your pet shows any signs of discomfort at home, a wellness exam can reveal many issues at their initial stages, so your veterinarian can begin treatment sooner.

All pets should be examined at least once a year. For senior pets and pets with chronic conditions, that number may be more frequent, to allow for closer monitoring.

What to Expect

Before performing any of the standard tests, most veterinarians will ask you to complete a checklist to indicate any changes you may have noticed in your pet’s health. Since you spend the most time with your pet, this provides an opportunity for your veterinarian to learn from your observations and help direct the focus of the appointment. Based on the information provided, your veterinarian may want to run additional tests.

During a typical pet wellness exam, your veterinarian will perform a complete physical examination, followed by blood tests, urinalysis, and a parasite screening if necessary.

Physical Exam

A physical exam is a comprehensive inspection of your pet’s entire body, during which your veterinarian will do the following:
  • Feel your pet’s body for lumps and irregularities
  • Check vital signs, including temperature, pulse, and respiration
  • Record your pet’s weight
  • Inspect the nose and mouth for abnormalities
  • Listen to the heart and lungs with a stethoscope
  • Look inside the ears with an otoscope
  • Examine the eyes with an opthalmoscope
  • These simple steps will alert your veterinarian to any diseases or conditions with outwardly visible symptoms.

Blood Test

A pet wellness exam will often include blood tests, since not all health issues can be detected or diagnosed through a physical exam alone. The tests will include:
  • Blood cell count (CBC), which can diagnose a range of disorders including anemia
  • Chemistry panel, a series of tests to assess levels of minerals and other compounds present in the blood
The combination of these tests gives your veterinarian insight into what’s happening inside your pet’s body at the chemical level. Because of the data they provide, blood tests are invaluable in diagnosing specific conditions.

Depending on your responses to the preliminary checklist and the results of the physical exam, your veterinarian may recommend further blood tests to check for specific health issues.


Testing pets’ urine can provide valuable information about their overall health. Your veterinarian will collect the sample and send it to a lab so that the color, concentration, pH, and cells and sediment can be tested. The presence of bacteria or blood, for example, can indicate a problem.

Some of the functions of urinalysis are to:
  • Test kidney function
  • Diagnose diabetes
  • Diagnose a urinary tract infection
  • Reveal signs of other health issues
  • Parasite Screening
Your veterinarian may ask you to bring a fresh sample of your pet’s stool to the wellness exam appointment or have one collected at the clinic. This is to check for evidence of parasites. Not all parasites can be detected through a stool check, however, so a heartworm blood test may also be recommended.

For every step of your pet’s health, Noah’s Ark Veterinary Hospital offers experienced, knowledgeable, and compassionate care. Set up your next (or first) appointment with our team and help your companions live healthier, happier lives.


Dog breed Jack Russell Terrier walking in the forest
The prospect of surgery can make even the most calm and collected pet owner anxious. When it comes to the health of your furry, finned, or feathered friend, it’s important that you have a team you can trust even with the most delicate surgical procedures.

If you live in the Williamsburg, VA area, Noah’s Ark Veterinary Hospital is your best option for high-quality treatment and surgical expertise. Alongside our full-service primary care hospital, we also offer a modern, state-of-the-art suite equipped for most major pet services, including:


Our veterinarians offer a wealth of hands-on experience with routine procedures, like spaying and neutering, to complicated soft tissue surgery. Every operation we perform is a coordinated effort by a team of assistants, technicians, and skilled veterinary surgeons who are focused solely on achieving the best outcome possible.


Many people dread undergoing anesthesia, so it’s understandable to be nervous about your pet being anesthetized. Rest assured, anesthesia for animals is safer than ever before, and a well-trained surgical team further reduces the risk to your pet. While under anesthesia at Noah’s Ark, they’ll be safe and comfortable. They’ll receive constant monitoring and care in the operating room and during recovery before being released back to you.

Digital Radiology

Sometimes it’s difficult to identify a health problem without taking a closer look. Our hospital is equipped to administer digital radiology (X-ray technology) exams to your pet. X-rays can help us to identify any internal issues, broken bones, blockages, and growths that can put your pet’s health and wellbeing at risk. Your veterinarian can then use the X-rays to better explain any areas of concern, so that you can decide on the best course of treatment together.

Euthanasia Services

In some cases, euthanasia is the kindest, most humane choice for a very old or sick pet. We know it’s one of the most heartbreaking decisions a pet owner will ever have to face, and are here to support you during this difficult time. Our staff can walk you through the process and prepare you for what to expect. We can also offer advice on keeping your companion as happy and comfortable as possible until the last moment. Our job isn’t only making sure your pet lives a healthy life, but making sure they receive care and compassion to the very end.

Laboratory Analysis

Proper diagnosis is essential when it comes to treating your pet. That’s why we offer a full in-house veterinary laboratory, including:
  • Hematology
  • Endocrinology
  • Virology
  • Parasite diagnostics, and
  • Cytology
Advanced diagnostic equipment, including X-rays, electrocardiograms, and digital otoscopy also give our vets a powerful set of tools for finding and solving your pet’s health care problems fast.


Ultrasound allows us to examine your pet’s body internally in order to assess their state of health and identify any issues. It’s like an X-ray for organs rather than skeletal structures. If your pet is scheduled for a surgery, has become pregnant, or is experiencing other health issues, we’ll use ultrasound to help diagnose them and monitor their progress.

Our veterinarians and veterinary staff will always take the utmost care with your pet and work tirelessly toward keeping them healthy. Our mission is to offer specialized, individualized treatment for every animal who visits our clinic. If you’ve been in to see us before, we’ll have your pet’s medical history on hand, so we can refer to any past issues when encountering new problems.

Hospice Care

Old Boxer Dog on the couch
Seeing your pet’s health decline, especially when there’s little more that can be done, is a difficult experience for any owner. Our staff of trained and compassionate veterinary professionals have years of experience in treating pets at every stage of life. We can help you through the process of caring for an elderly, terminally ill, or dying pet.

Through our pet hospice services, we’ll work closely with you to make sure you understand what to expect. We can also help you create an end-of-life plan that fulfills your pet’s needs—while always prioritizing comfort, dignity, and quality of life—and your family’s wishes.

Our goal is simple: making your dog or cat’s final weeks, days, and hours as peaceful and happy as possible with the proper care strategies, medication, and plenty of loving human interaction. Our pet hospice services include, but are not limited to:
  • Pain management
  • Supplementary nutrition
  • Administration of medications
  • Bandage and wound care
  • Education about the end-stage disease process
  • Oxygen therapy
  • Management of incontinence
  • Emotional and physical comfort for your pet
We are always available to address your concerns about hospice care, euthanasia, special requests or questions about your pet’s remains, and more. The Noah’s Ark team will make every effort to accommodate your wishes while adhering to the high standard of care you know to expect from us.

Give your dog or cat the best care every step of the way. Contact us to set up an appointment or schedule a tour of our facilities.

Canine Nutrition

Labrador Eating from Dog Bowl
Your pet’s nutritional needs change with age and activity level. As they get older, their nutrition plays an even larger role in their overall wellness. Did you know that specially formulated diets can assist in the management of various medical conditions, including kidney disease, diabetes, arthritis, and heart disease? Do you know how many calories your pet should have each day and whether you are overfeeding or underfeeding? Are you comfortable reading and interpreting pet food labels?
  • A proper diet is necessary to ensure the health and longevity of your dog.
  • Dogs are omnivores, meaning that they can eat meat and plants as their primary food sources.
  • Look for a statement on the food’s label that says the food underwent AAFCO (Association of American Feed Control Officials) feeding trials.
  • If you prefer to feed a homemade or raw diet, it’s best to do it under the guidance of a veterinary nutritionist.
  • Table scraps and treats should be kept to a minimum to ensure that your dog receives balanced nutrition and does not become overweight or develop a problem (such as itchy, infected ears or a skin infection) due to a food allergy.
How Do I Choose a Dog Food?
A high-quality, complete and balanced diet is important for the health and longevity of your dog. Among other benefits, a proper diet helps build strong bones, promotes healthy gums and teeth, protects immune function, and results in a lustrous haircoat. Unlike cats, which are carnivores (meaning that they must eat meat), dogs are omnivores, meaning that they can eat meat and plants as their primary food sources.

A large number of dog foods are available at pet supply stores, so selecting a dog food can be daunting. How do you find a food that’s right for your dog? Start by asking your veterinarian the following: “Which food will meet the particular needs of my pet?” and “Which brand(s) do you recommend?”

Most pet foods are created for different life stages, including puppy, maintenance, or senior diets. Within these life stages are even more specific categories. For example, if you own a Saint Bernard puppy, you’ll need to feed a puppy food for large-breed dogs. Large-breed puppy foods are specially formulated to meet the special requirements of large-breed puppies (for example, these foods have higher amounts of calcium and phosphorus because large-breed puppies grow faster than small-breed puppies). As another example, an adult dog that is used for hunting or breeding will most likely require a maintenance diet with higher energy content.

Before purchasing a dog food, look for a statement on the label that verifies that the food underwent AAFCO feeding trials. This means that the food was tested on animals according to guidelines from the Association of American Feed Control Officials. A label that says the food meets AAFCO standards simply means that a chemical analysis of the food appears to be complete and balanced, but the food has not been tested on animals. Because some nutrients may not be digestible when fed to animals, the feeding trial statement is a better indication of the nutritional adequacy of the food.

With a complete and balanced commercial diet, vitamin supplements are usually not necessary; in fact, supplying too many nutrients can be dangerous. Consult your veterinarian before giving your pet any supplements.

Do Certain Diseases Require Special Foods?
Nutrition can help slow the progression, or manage the signs, of many diseases. For dogs with kidney disease, for example, diets lower in protein have been shown to help slow disease progression. Foods with limited or hydrolyzed proteins can help reduce the itching and scratching in many allergic dogs. For dogs with osteoarthritis, many diets now contain higher levels of glucosamine and antioxidants to help reduce pain and inflammation.

Most diets that are designed for a specific disease are prescription diets and are only available through veterinarians. If your pet has a disease or condition, consult your veterinarian for nutritional advice.

Is a Homemade or Raw Diet Okay to Feed?
The advantage of homemade diets is that they can be tailored to the specific needs of your dog. However, most homemade diets found in books or on the Internet can be too vague or too complex, and ingredient substitutions or alterations may result in a diet that is nutritionally deficient or unbalanced or is even toxic. If you really want to provide your dog with a homemade diet, it’s best to work under the guidance of a veterinary nutritionist to ensure that the diet you prepare is complete and balanced for your dog.

While the proponents of raw diets claim that meat and bones more closely resemble the diet that dogs would eat in the wild, there is a lack of scientific evidence to support this idea. Raw diets have the same potential drawbacks of homemade diets: raw diets can also be nutritionally deficient and unbalanced. What’s more, raw diets carry the risk of contamination with bacteria such as Salmonella, and bits of bone can break teeth and perforate the digestive tract. If you want to feed your dog a raw diet, consult your veterinarian for advice, and make sure to handle all the food and your dog’s feces with care to avoid transmitting bacteria to people in your household.

What Do I Need to Know About Table Scraps and Treats?
The biggest problem with table scraps and treats is that they add unnecessary calories that can make your pet overweight. Pet obesity often leads to diabetes, increased blood pressure, and orthopedic problems, all of which can reduce your dog’s life span. If your dog is overweight, consult your veterinarian about a diet and exercise plan to get your dog back to a healthy weight. In addition, many dogs are allergic to common foods, such as wheat and chicken, resulting in problems such as itchy, infected ears and skin infections.

Table scraps and treats can also upset the bacterial balance in the digestive tract, resulting in vomiting and diarrhea. Fatty treats, especially, can lead to pancreatitis (inflammation of the pancreas), which can require hospitalization. Even if your dog is fed a balanced diet, additional treats can result in unbalanced nutrition. If you can’t refuse your dog’s begging, consider giving your dog healthy treats such as raw carrots and green beans.

Pain Management for Pets

Old dog with sad expression in white face
Prolonged or chronic pain can drastically reduce the quality of your pet’s life, leaving them irritable, reclusive, and even uncharacteristically aggressive as they attempt to deal with their discomfort. You don’t want to see them suffer another day longer. Neither do we.

We offer a range of options to help treat, alleviate, and manage your pet’s pain from illness, routine procedures, more advanced medical treatments, and chronically painful conditions. We are dedicated to providing safe and effective pain management to each and every patient. We will also help you recognize signs of pain in your pet so that you know when to bring them in.

Parasite Prevention and Control

Stray flea itch cute cat use paw scratch its body on wooden table.
Parasites, like fleas, ticks, and worms, aren’t simply annoying — they can cause serious illness and can even be fatal for your pet. At Noah’s Ark Veterinary Hospital, our experienced team can quickly recognize the signs of a parasite infestation or parasite-related sickness, offer treatment options, and get your pet back to good health.

In our fully-stocked pharmacy, we carry medications and topical treatments to help control fleas, ticks, heartworms, and gastrointestinal parasites. Keeping your pet parasite-free isn’t just vital to their health, but it also helps to protect children and other family members in your home.

Common parasites include but are not limited to:
  • Fleas
  • Ticks
  • Heartworms
  • Gastrointestinal parasites (tapeworms, roundworms, hookworms, pinworms)*
  • Ear mites
  • Mange (fur) mites,
  • and more
*While most of these parasites primarily affect dogs and cats, intestinal parasites are also very common in reptiles.

How do pets contract parasites?

In most cases, parasites are transferred to your pet through contact with other pets and wildlife. For example, fleas can be transferred through contact between animals, whether your pet plays with another pet who has fleas or the fleas are simply brought into your yard by animals such as raccoons, opossums, and small rodents. Fleas can also transmit tapeworms to your pet, as they are known to carry tapeworm larvae. Gastrointestinal parasites can be transmitted through contact with fecal matter, soil, water, or plants that have been contaminated with animal feces.

How do I prevent parasites?

There are many things you can do to help protect your pet from parasites year-round, including:
  • Routine check-ups and parasite screenings at your local veterinary office
  • Monthly parasite prevention medication
  • Regular bathing and grooming
  • Picking up after your pet and keeping your yard free of droppings
  • Encouraging children to wash their hands after playing outside and before eating, to avoid spreading any germs
  • And if possible, preventing your pet from killing and eating rodents and other small animals
Ultimately, the two most important things you can do to protect your pet are regular checkups and preventative medication, both of which we provide at Noah’s Ark.

What do I do if my pet has parasites?

Treatment begins with your vet. Because parasites can be so dangerous—heartworms and gastrointestinal worms in particular can be fatal—it’s always best to take your pet to the vet ASAP if you notice any signs of an infestation. After performing a screening, your veterinarian can determine the severity and recommend the best treatment plan to ensure your pet’s (and your family’s) health and safety. For most parasites, the treatment will usually be a combination of prescription medications to get rid of the infestation and soothe any painful symptoms.

If you think your pet might have contracted parasites—or if you would like to take the first steps to keeping your pet healthy and happy all year round—contact our office today to set up an appointment.

Fully-Stocked Pet Pharmacy

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When your pet needs medication, our fully-stocked pharmacy adds convenience and peace of mind to your visits. We maintain a large inventory of veterinary pharmaceutical products and treatments, including flea, tick, and heartworm preventive products. You can rely on us whether your pet requires medication for a chronic condition, or needs short-term medication while recovering from an illness, injury, or surgery.

Refilling Medications

  • Remembering to refill prescriptions on time helps protect your pet’s safety and health.
  • Some veterinarians require 24 hours’ notice for prescription refills, so be sure to allow enough time for your request to be processed.
  • The best way to avoid running out of medication is to plan ahead and order refills on time.
  • Despite our best efforts as pet owners, we sometimes forget to do things. However, whether you make a note on a calendar or arrange another reminder for yourself, it is important to make sure you remember to refill your pet’s medications on time. Your pet’s health and safety may depend on it!

Why Do Pets Need Long-Term Medications?
Many illnesses in pets can require long-term administration of medication, including some very common medical conditions:
  • Seizure disorders (such as epilepsy)
  • Heart disease
  • Diabetes
  • Thyroid disease
  • Arthritis
In most cases, long-term medication does not cure the disease, but it controls the clinical signs or has other effects that make the disease more manageable. In some cases, medications can control the signs of chronic illnesses so completely that pet owners sometimes mistakenly believe their pet has been cured and discontinue the medication, only to have the clinical signs reappear. If your pet is having problems or side effects from a medication, notify your veterinarian right away. But in general, you should always give medications as directed by your veterinarian and should not discontinue a medication unless advised to do so.

Long-term medications are not always used to treat illnesses; sometimes, they are given to prevent problems. For example, many veterinarians recommend year-round administration of heartworm preventive medication and products that control fleas, ticks, and intestinal parasites.

What Should I Do If I Run Out of Medication?
If you run out of medication, call your veterinarian right away. In some cases, your pet may be okay if a few doses of the medication are missed; your veterinarian can advise you about what steps to take in the meantime. However, missing even a few doses of insulin, for example, can cause serious problems for your pet. Similarly, certain medications (such as steroids) cannot be discontinued abruptly without causing illness.

How Can I Avoid Running Out of Medication?
The best way to avoid running out of medication is to plan ahead and order refills on time!

Every person’s life is different, so what works as a reminder for one family may not work for another. Here are some tips:
  • Ask your veterinarian if their office can send you reminders. Many veterinarians have computer systems that can let them (and, more importantly, you) know when your pet’s medications need to be refilled. Ask your veterinarian if their reminder system may work for you. In some cases, a phone call, e-mail, or postcard can serve as a reminder.
  • Find a creative way to remind yourself. This may involve marking your calendar or sending yourself an e-mail reminder when it is time for a medication refill. Some pet owners link medication refills to another regular event; for example, if there is a household duty that you perform monthly, use that event to remind yourself to also check your pet’s medication or order a refill.
  • Plan ahead if you are going to be traveling. Before you leave, check to be sure that you have enough of your pet’s medication to last for the duration of your trip. If you will run out, leave plenty of time to pick up a refill from your veterinarian before you leave—don’t just drop by on the way to the airport. If you are planning an extended trip with your pet, you may need to have his or her medical records forwarded to a veterinarian at your new location so that medications can be dispensed when needed.
  • Allow enough time for your veterinarian to refill your medication. Some veterinarians require 24 hours’ notice to process prescription refills. Also, some medications must be specially formulated or ordered from an outside pharmacy. Make sure you know your practice’s refill policy, and allow enough time for prescription refills to be processed.

Rabbits, Small Mammals, & Reptiles

Lizard on black background
Rabbits, guinea pigs, ferrets, and other small mammals make for curious and charismatic pets, but many new owners still aren’t sure how to take care of them properly. Their needs are often very different from those of cats and dogs. If you have questions about nutrition, cage cleaning, grooming, or any other aspects of care, come see us. Our staff of skilled professionals is well trained in the care and assessment of small mammals and “exotics,” and can give you the information you need to keep your pet safe.

Snakes, iguanas, turtles, frogs, and other reptiles have also become popular companions. Reptiles and amphibians can live long, happy lives as pets, but owners need the most accurate and reliable information available to help ensure their well-being. We’ll make sure you have the knowledge you need to keep your scaly friend healthy.