Brightwood Animal Hospital

9640 Old Johnnycake Ridge Rd
Mentor, OH 44060


Puppy Wellness Guide

The Life of Your Dog:

The staff at Brightwood Animal Hospital wants your dog to live a long and healthy life. All you need to do is follow a few easy steps each year of your dog's life and you will have a happy and healthy pet for many years to come!

Yearly Check-up:

Bring your dog in once a year for a Comprehensive Physical Examination. A vaccination schedule will be selected for your pet which includes Distemper, Hepatitis, Leptospirosis, Parainfluenza, Parvovirus, Bordetella, and Rabies vaccines. We will also perform a heartworm test and fecal (stool) examination to check for intestinal parasites.


Your dog should be kept on heartworm preventative all year long.  It is best to keep your pet on flea and tick preventative during the spring, summer, and fall months.

Special Needs:

Keeping your dog healthy includes providing proper nutrition, maintaining regular grooming (including dental care), and obedience training. Please ask any questions you have regarding your pet's needs to ensure a lifetime of wellness.

  • Show your puppy you love it. Keep it healthy!

Puppy Vaccination Schedule

Vaccinations (including a full physical examination each visit):

DHPP/L protects against:

  • Distemper - a widespread, often fatal, viral neurological disease.
  • Hepatitis - a serious viral infection of the liver and kidneys.
  • Parainfluenza - a highly infectious respiratory virus.
  • Parvovirus - a viral cause of severe vomiting and diarrhea, most serious in pups.
  • Leptospirosis – a bacterial infection of the kidneys and liver that is easily spread to other pets and humans.

Your puppy will need the first vaccine at approximately 2 months of age and will need additional booster shots approximately every 3 weeks. A vaccine schedule thereafter will then be tailored for your pet as an adult.

1st ____ (2 months)      2nd ____ (3 months)     3rd ____ (4 months)

Bordetella: This is a type of bacteria that commonly contributes to bronchitis/tracheitis (kennel cough). Your puppy will need one or two vaccines at approximately 2 and/or 3 months of age and will need to be boostered each year thereafter.

1st _______ (2 months)  +/-   2nd _______ (3 months)

Rabies: This is a fatal viral disease of the central nervous system. Since rabies poses a serious public health threat- (transmissible to humans)- it is essential that your dog be vaccinated.  Your puppy will need one vaccine at 4 months of age and will be current for one year. Rabies is boostered every 3 years thereafter (in Ohio).

1st_______ (4 months)


Intestinal Worms

Intestinal parasites are common in puppies. Puppies can become infected with parasites before they are born, or after they are born through their mother’s milk. A microscopic examination of your pet’s stool sample (fecal) will help to determine if any intestinal parasites are present. Your puppy may receive deworming medication, depending on the results of a fecal, whether there is a history of deworming, or if the pup’s previous environment lends suspicion to infection with worms. Ideally, we like to observe two consecutive negative fecal examinations before declaring that a pet is free of parasites. Please plan to bring your pet’s stool sample to each puppy appointment so that we can keep your puppy healthy.

Spaying Females and Neutering Males


If your pet is not going to be used for breeding purposes or show, we recommend sterilization surgery for many reasons, both behavioral and medical.

A spayed or neutered pet:

  • is less likely to mark territory indoors and outdoors with urine.
  • is easier to train and will have a better temperament.
  • is less likely to run away or roam in search of a mate (resulting in loss of pet, hit by car, etc.).
  • prevents unwanted pregnancies.
  • is healthier because he or she will be less likely to develop mammary and testicular cancers and infectious conditions of the uterus and prostate gland, which may also be life threatening.

There are no negative side effects associated with spaying and neutering. Your pet will develop normally and experience a long, healthy life. Surgery itself will not cause your pet to gain weight, but your pet's metabolic needs will decrease up to 30% due to the removal of hormones. So, feed your pet accordingly.


Spaying and neutering has traditionally been done at 6 months of age, but may be performed earlier (i.e. 4 months of age). The sooner you have your pet's surgery, the more benefits they will receive.

Crate Training

By nature, dogs are pack animals that live in dens. Having their own secure area comforts them. Providing a crate for your puppy meets the instinctive needs of your pet, assists in housebreaking, and keeps them out of mischief. In general, the relationship between you and your pet will be filled with fewer frustrations and problems.

The crate should be just large enough for your puppy to stand up, turn around and lie down. Giving your pet too much space destroys the den concept by allowing the option of soiling in half of the crate and still having an unsoiled area in which to rest. A crate big enough to accommodate an adult dog can be partitioned off, increasing available sleeping room as the puppy grows. You can use either a plastic airline crate or a wire crate.

Begin training as soon as possible. You will want to introduce your puppy slowly to the crate. For example, coax your puppy into the crate with a treat and close the door. Once the puppy is calm, praise him and let him out of the crate. Repeat this process, increasing the amount of time spent in the crate each time. Keep the crate in an area close to the family. Always give your puppy a treat when he enters the crate, and reward him with verbal praise as well. You may put a blanket and a few safe toys (no bones or plastic vinyl toys) in the crate to make it more comfortable. Do not place food or water in the crate. Never never never use the crate as punishment for any reason! Your pup will learn to dislike the crate if you do. Use the crate whenever the pup is not actively under your supervision. This includes bedtime, when you're away, when household chores prevent you from keeping an eye on him, when you shower, and during mealtime. Following these guidelines keeps the puppy safe and out of trouble and decreases the possibility of an accident occurring indoors. Many puppies can usually "hold it" through the night

when they are 8-10 weeks old; however, you should not expect your pup to wait more than 3-5 hours (less, for younger puppies) between outings. If your puppy whines when in the crate, do not reward that behavior by letting the pup out. Instead, try to ignore the behavior. You may place a towel over the crate door to try to quiet the pup.

When you take the puppy out of the crate, immediately take him outside to the potty area. If your pup is poky on the way to the door, it is best to carry him from the crate outside so that there is no chance of an accident occurring. Do this every time, even if the puppy was only in the crate for 15 minutes. Always praise your puppy for eliminating outdoors. Verbal praise and treats work well. Only discipline your pup if you catch him in the act of breaking his housebreaking indoors. Yelling, hitting, or sticking your pup's nose in a mess after an accident is useless and may actually confuse or frighten your puppy. Remember that most puppies usually eliminate within a few minutes after eating or drinking and, again, approximately 20-30 minutes later.

Although crate training requires a lot of time and energy, success of housebreaking depends on you. The fewer accidents your puppy has inside, the faster he learns what he is supposed to do (and what not to do) and where. The success of housebreaking is strongly influenced by a consistent approach. Try to be consistent about feeding times, elimination phrases  ("go potty", "go pee-pee", etc.), elimination places, and schedules for going outside. Your kind and consistent training will help your canine friend become a devoted lifetime companion.

Heartworm Disease

What is it ?

  • Heartworms are parasites that live in your dog's heart.
  • They are transmitted by the bite of an infected mosquito.
  • Symptoms of the disease include coughing and fatigue, but many dogs are asymptomatic.
  • The disease may result in permanent heart damage or failure.
  • Heartworms can be detected by a blood test.

What Should You Do ?

        Start your puppy on a monthly heartworm preventative and maintain administration year round.
        Have a heartworm test performed regularly on your dog.

What Products Are Available at Brightwood?

  • Interceptor - A once a month flavored tablet that protects your pet against heartworm infection and infection from many of the common intestinal parasites. This product is safe for puppies as young as 4 weeks of age and weighing at least 2 pounds.
  • Revolution – A once a month topical product that prevents heartworm infection and treats fleas, ear mites, sarcoptic mange, and one type of tick (American Dog Tick). This product is safe for puppies and kittens as young as 6 weeks of age.

Fleas !

Puppies may acquire fleas from their mother, other animals, or the environment. A puppy infested with fleas will scratch and bite himself frequently. He may develop hair loss or a secondary skin infection. As few as seven fleas on a young puppy can cause anemia and a very sick pup! Additionally, the ingestion of a flea while the pet bites the skin can result in a tapeworm infection. These parasites may be observed in your pet's hair coat.  Flea "dirt", or feces, may be noticed on the skin. While treating fleas is very easy, it is best for your pet to prevent fleas before they become a problem.

What Products are Available at Brightwood?

  • Vectra  3D– A once a month topical product that kills and repels fleas, ticks, mosquitoes, sand flies, lice, and one type of mite. This product is safe for puppies as young as 7 weeks of age.
  • Revolution – A once a month topical product that prevents heartworms, fleas, ear mites, mange and the American Dog Tick.


What is AVID ?

  • AVID stands for American Veterinary Identification Devices.
  • AVID is a tiny microchip (computer chip) that is injected under the skin of your pet.
  • Each chip is marked with a personal identification code that can be read with a hand-held scanner.
  • Should your pet ever become lost, animal shelters and veterinary hospitals all over the country are equipped with scanners to detect microchips.
  • Once injected, the chip remains there for the life of your pet and poses no health risks.
  • The chip can be administered at any time, but the ideal time is during your pet's surgery (spay or neuter) while under anesthesia (though anesthesia is not required for placement).
  • For a small, one-time fee, you register your pet and identification number with a national database.

Dental Care

A puppy is born without teeth. Primary (“baby” or deciduous) canine dentition consists of 28 teeth. In most breeds, all primary teeth should be lost or very loose by 6-7 months of age and the secondary or adult teeth should then be present. The adult dog has 42 permanent teeth. The most common cause of adult tooth loss is periodontal disease, which is an inflammation and infection of the tissues surrounding the tooth. Advanced periodontal disease not only affects the oral cavity, but it can also lead to infection of the heart, kidneys, and liver. Dental disease can be very painful as well.

Good dental care is essential to extend your pet’s life span and assure a good quality life. Just like us, our pets need regular dental care at home. It is best to begin home care when your puppy is between 8 and 12 weeks old, however, it is never too late to start. Here are a few tips to help you get started:

  • Regular brushing of the teeth. Gradually introduce the toothbrush or finger toothbrush to your puppy a few minutes each day to the outer surface of the teeth. Gently roll the lips back to expose the teeth rather than forcing the jaw open. Use toothpaste made especially for pets. Never use human toothpaste as this can be toxic to your pet. As your pup becomes an adult you can then brush the teeth weekly or whatever your schedule will allow. Greater frequency will yield the best results.
  • There are also special oral sprays to decrease the bacterial count in the mouth as well as products that can be placed in the drinking water to help control dental disease.


  • Annual examination by a veterinarian of your pet’s oral cavity will allow us to make additional recommendations as your pet ages.

Obedience Training

We strongly recommend that you enroll your puppy in obedience or training classes. These classes are very helpful in teaching your puppy to obey basic commands. We tend to have a more enhanced relationship with our dogs when we take the time to train them in the basics. Further, we are giving our dogs the skills they will need in order to live harmoniously with us.

Questions? Problems? Concerns?

Please give us a call if you need help with your new puppy. Our staff is well trained and qualified to answer your questions and address your concerns. Let us help you raise a happy and healthy puppy!

by William M. Fraser, D.V.M.

Brightwood Animal Hospital serves Mentor, Concord, Painesville and the surrounding communities.

petEncephlopedia | Contact Us