Puppy Resources

Emergency Information


What if I have an emergency?

If it is during normal business hours, call our clinic and we will help you figure out what to do.  If it is after hours, call our clinic and the voicemail system will tell you how to reach the Emergency Clinic, MedVet Toledo at 2921 Douglas Rd, Toledo, OH 43606, (419)-473-0328.  The emergency clinic will help you figure out if they need to see your pet right away for an after-hours examination and start some type of treatment, or if your pet has a condition that can wait until the next business day.

What constitutes an emergency for my dog?

  • Being hit by a car
  • Any eye injury or disease
  • Pregnancy complications
  • Seizures
  • Antifreeze or other toxin ingestion
  • Not able to walk
  • Trouble breathing
  • Combination of vomiting and diarrhea
  • Vomiting with blood in it
  • Difficulty urinating or being unable to urinate
  • Swelling of head/neck/face
  • Possible vaccine reaction
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Profuse bleeding
  • Combination of not eating and not drinking
  • Disorientation and loss of balance
  • Overheating or suspected heat stroke
  • Being attacked by another animal
  • Problems with a surgical incision


Common Toxins to avoid in my dog:  Any type of onion, grapes/raisins, antifreeze (ethylene glycol), rodent poisons, many fertilizers and insecticides, xylitol (an artificial sweetener in some human foods), most OTC pain relievers and many other human medications, illicit drugs, chocolate, macadamia nuts, some newer glues/adhesives, many plants (daffodil, dieffenbachia, holly, honeysuckle, mistletoe, azalea, rhododendron, English ivy, narcissis, yew, and many types of lilies).  Many other things are toxic if your dog gets enough of it, even salt. 

We also recommend not feeding pets any type of animal bones, especially if the bones are small, undercooked, or come from a bird.  This is not an all-inclusive list; it covers the more common toxin/ingestion cases we see or are asked about.

The Blanchard Valley Veterinary Clinic


Puppy Developmental Stages

A puppy needs proper, appropriate and regular socialization in order to grown into a well-adjusted adult dog. This guide explains the different stages puppies go through as they grow.

0–7 Weeks

The developmental tasks of this period all involve learning appropriate social behavior with other dogs. Interactions with mother and siblings teach bite inhibition, appropriate submissive and attention-soliciting behavior, attention-receptive behavior, and general confidence with other dogs.

Orphan puppies and single-pup litters are at a disadvantage when it comes to learning how to be a dog among dogs. Some of these lessons can be learned later (though how late is too late has not been clearly determined) under carefully arranged and supervised conditions. Orphan puppies, especially those bottle-fed from a very early age without mother or siblings, make very problematic pets without knowledgeable remedial behavior shaping.

7–8 Weeks

This is the ideal time for going home. This is the very best age for forming strong bonds with people. Puppies are mentally mature enough to adjust to changes, and to begin their training in manners. Research on this critical period has even pinpointed the 49th day as the ideal day for going into a new home.

8–10 Weeks

Sometimes referred to as the "fear period," the puppy is especially impressionable now. Object-associations formed during this period leave indelible imprints. It's vital that the puppy have as many positive experiences with people, other animals, and novel situations as can be arranged.

It's equally vital to avoid painful or scary experiences until after 11 weeks. Those mildly unpleasant experiences that can't be avoided (like puppy shots) should be turned into positive ones by your reaction. Always "jolly up" a scared puppy by laughing, praising the puppy, and treating the event as a game. Never give the appropriately human empathetic response of soothing reassurance, as this convinces the puppy that it must be really awful since you're upset too.

8–16 Weeks

This is a good time to enroll in puppy training classes. They teach you how to teach your puppy how to learn. Make sure all training sessions are fun and successful. Take advantage of the puppy's dependence on you and strong desire to be near you to teach him to be reliable on "come."

Never punish a puppy, for any reason, if he has come to your call—or come to you at all! In fact, avoid trainer’s / training techniques which rely on punishment. Get the puppy out into the world and expose him to as many new things and different ages, sexes and races of people as possible. Always make sure you can control the situation so the experiences will be positive. Have the puppy on a leash so that you can intervene if anything threatens or frightens him.



4–6 Months

This pre-adolescent period is characterized by the gradual increase of independence and confidence. The puppy will venture further and further from you side, motivated by his own curiosity and increasing confidence in the world.

Continue training, in a class if possible. Begin incorporating distractions into your practice sessions. Take the puppy with you everywhere! This period is very important in cementing a bond strong enough to withstand the trials of adolescence (right around the corner). Make certain your puppy is spayed or neutered within the recommended age suggested by your veterinarian. There is no reason to allow the disruptive effects of sex hormones to complicate his/your life.

6–12 Months

Even with the best preparation during puppyhood, things will be "hairy" from time to time during this period. The puppy/young dog's needs for stimulation, companionship and activity are very high, and his tolerance for boredom and inactivity are low.

This is the period in which sexual maturity is reached in unaltered animals. Guardians will experience testing behaviors reminiscent of human teenagers. Avoid situations in which the dog's occasional lapses of obedience could have harmful results, such as off-leash work in an unsecured area. Continue to provide safe opportunities for vigorous play and exercise, and safe toys to occupy teeth and mind when he's confined. This is not the time to expect model behavior.

12–18 Months

Somewhere during this period, your dog will reach emotional maturity; sooner, with small breeds, and later for large dogs. At that time, dogs with tendencies toward dominance will begin to assert themselves, hoping to raise their status in the pack (your household). This behavior occurs within a structure of familiar relationships and only when the animal is approaching emotional maturity.

Living with a dominant dog does not mean that the guardian must "conquer" the dog, or give up attempts to control him. But challenges from the dog must be recognized immediately and taken seriously. Punishment is not the appropriate method of dealing with this, and is likely to provoke a dangerous response. Consult a competent behaviorist whenever the first warnings of dominance aggression manifest.



What and how should I feed my dog?

What to Feed

We recommend feeding a high-quality food with a meat protein base (opposed to food based upon plant proteins). Vegetable proteins generally take longer to digest, and since carnivores tend to have shorter intestines than herbivores, they usually do better with animal-based proteins. This is even more important as an animal ages or has liver or kidney disease. Also, foods that are high in fiber or plant protein tend to take longer to digest which can make housetraining your puppy harder. Because plant proteins are not as easily digestible, they tend to make the stools softer, larger, and more often.

Store Bought Food

Premium foods are completely balanced and offer full nutrition to your pet so that extra vitamins and supplements are not necessary unless your pet has a specific disease condition. Spending a little extra money for premium food now can save you money in veterinary bills in the future and help your pet live a long and healthy life.  Premium foods usually follow a fixed formula; this means the ingredients don’t change from month to month. Lower quality foods vary the amount of the ingredients from batch to batch, trying to use whichever product is cheapest. Also, you may need to feed more of a lower quality food to get the same nutrition as in a high-quality diet, so while the cost per bag may be less, the cost per meal may end up not being much less. Some common premium foods we recommend are Purina, Iams, Science Diet, and Royal Canin.  Premium food companies can be trusted to have the contents of the bag match what is on the label, while other brands often do not contain what their label suggests.

It is important to note that pets do not need a daily variation in food to be satisfied; they do better with a consistent diet. Any change in food type may lead to vomiting, soft stool, or diarrhea. In addition, frequent dietary changes may lead to finicky eaters.  Pets should always have access to fresh water.

How Aging Affects Your Pets’ Diet:

As your pet ages, the nutritional requirements will change. Changes in sense of smell and taste also affect the appetite in senior pets. Changes in GI absorption and exercise also affect nutritional recommendations. Puppy foods are often enriched with extra EPA and DHA. Senior pet food is generally restricted in sodium, phosphorus and fat. If your pet has an age-related illness (such as liver or kidney disease), specific prescription products designed to meet special nutritional requirements will be recommended by your veterinarian. Lower fat and fiber levels are generally recommended in senior pets.  If you feed puppy food to a senior pet, they will often become obese and may have other metabolic diseases develop.  We generally change to senior foods between 6-8 years of age.


Avoiding table scraps is very important to the health of most pets. Avoiding foods high in fat, salt, or simple sugars is important. If you would like to give your pets treats, we recommend using regular dog food, vegetables that are high in fiber or water (such as small carrots), or small pieces of dog treats that amount to no more than 10% of your pet’s total calories for the day. Frozen vegetables not only make great treats, but they also help clean your pet’s teeth.  All food and treats should be monitored so that pets do not become obese.


How to feed:

Nutritional excesses and deficiencies are possible and care should be taken to avoid them as much as possible. The number one excess is caloric intake, which leads to the number one disease we see in pets (and people): obesity.

Transitioning your pet to a new food should be done slowly, over a period of 5-10 days. Gradually mixing larger amounts of the new food with the old food over this time span often prevents your pet from developing vomiting or diarrhea from an abrupt change in diet.

Free choice feeding is discouraged in almost all cases. This promotes obesity in many pets and can be problematic later in life if certain diseases develop or medications need to be given on an empty or full stomach. We recommend feeding all toy breed puppies 3-6 times a day until they are 5 pounds (ask your doctor for specifics in the puppy examination series), and most other puppies 2-3 times daily. Once an adult, we recommend feeding most dogs 2-3 times a day at specific meal times that are convenient for your schedule. Young, small dogs need frequent meals to avoid low blood sugar and large breed adult dogs should not be fed only once a day to help prevent a GDV (bloat).



Obesity in pets is far too common. Obesity can reduce your pet’s lifespan along with increasing the risk of arthritis, diabetes, liver disease, heart problems, cancer, and respiratory problems. The number one cause of obesity in pets is over eating.  This can be prevented by measuring out how much food your pet is supposed to eat in a day and only giving him/her that amount. If treats are a necessary part of your pet’s day, calculate them into the amount of allowed calories for the day. Other causes of obesity include lack of exercise, lowered metabolism, emotional trauma, hormonal imbalances, or other disease.

Treatment of obesity requires cooperation of everyone responsible for feeding the pet.  Make sure that everyone is on the same page and understands how much the pet is allowed to eat in a day and what treats are allowed in the diet.


Thank you for your care and concern about your pet’s diet and feeding recommendations. If you have any questions or concerns about your pet, please feel free to ask any member of the Blanchard Valley Veterinary Clinic staff.  We are happy to be able to help keep your pet happy and healthy.



Canine Vaccine Schedule


Core vaccines - highly recommend for all dogs regardless of circumstances


                DA2PP – Distemper, Adenovirus 2 (hepatitis), Parainfluenza, Parvovirus

  • These are highly contagious diseases with a high rate of mortality (death). Vaccination greatly reduces the risk in your puppy and in the greater dog community.
  • This series should begin between 6 and 8 weeks of age. It should be continued every 3 weeks with the final vaccine being at or after 16 weeks of age. Following this initial series, a booster should be given 12 months later and then every 3 years thereafter.


  • Rabies is a deadly disease with no known treatment in dogs but is also a human disease.
  • Any time after 12 weeks of age rabies vaccine can be given but we typically give around 16 weeks of age. It is then boostered after 12 months and then every 3 years thereafter.


Non-Core vaccines         


Leptospirosis – highly recommended for all dogs regardless of circumstances

  • This is a bacterial disease that attacks the liver and/or kidneys and causes failure of those organs. It is transmitted through the urine of racoons, rats, mice, opossums, and other animals. This is also a human disease.
  • Begins at or after 9 weeks of age, then repeated 3 weeks later. This vaccine is then boostered every 12 months thereafter.

Bordetella (Kennel Cough) – recommended for dogs that are boarded, groomed, go to doggie day care, or travel with their owner

  • Oral – Single dose as soon as 3 weeks, but usually at 8 weeks of age and then boostered every 12 months.
  • Injectable – Begins at or after 8 weeks of age with a booster 3 weeks later. This vaccine is then boostered every 12 months thereafter.
  • If the dog is in a situation with other dogs on a frequent basis such as doggie day care, boostering the vaccine every 6 months is recommended.

Lyme – recommended for dogs that are outdoors a lot especially hiking or camping; also for dogs that travel to high Lyme disease areas such as northern Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota, or the northeast.

  • This is a bacterial infection transmitted by ticks.
  • We highly recommend year-round tick prevention for all dogs regardless of exposure risk.
  • This series starts at or after 9 weeks of age and is repeated after 3 weeks. The vaccine is then boostered every 12 months thereafter.

Influenza (H3N2 and H3N8) - recommended for dogs that are boarded, groomed, go to doggie day care, or travel with their owner

  • There have been many outbreaks of influenza especially in larger cities so if your dog travels with you at all, this vaccine is highly recommended.
  • Some boarding and grooming facilities local to Findlay also require the vaccine.
  • This series starts at or after 8 weeks of age and repeated 3 weeks later. The vaccine is then boostered every 12 months thereafter.



All vaccines are given after a risk assessment by the doctor.  Vaccines stimulate the immune system to develop protective mechanisms for your pet.  It may take 3 days to 3 weeks for vaccines to produce any effective results for your pet.  All pets should be monitored after receiving vaccinations for adverse reactions, but thankfully these are rare. If a vaccine reaction has occurred, the doctor will discuss with you the risk of the disease to your pet verses the risk of vaccine reactions.


The above schedule is a general guideline and may be affected by many variables.  Always follow the recommendations given by your current veterinarian.  If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to ask us about how to best care for your pet.

Why We Spay and Neuter



An ovariohysterectomy is the complete removal of both ovaries, and all uterine tissue to the level of the cervix.  Our dog spays include opening the abdomen aseptically, removing the proper tissues, ligating all tissues properly with the correct sutures, and then closing each layer in separate suture patterns.

The reasons for performing a spay are numerous. Firstly, your female dog will not have the annoying signs attributed to heat such as behavioral changes, vocalization, or vaginal bleeding.  Most importantly, properly spaying a female dog eliminates the risk of uterine infections and reduces the risk of reproductive cancers.  Finally, spaying will help reduce the unwanted pet population.


Castration is the complete removal of the testicle, and distal portions of the spermatic cord (artery/vein, nerves, and vas deferens).  Our dog neuters include opening the skin aseptically (the abdomen is not opened like in females), removing the proper tissues, ligating all tissues properly using the correct suture, and then closing each layer in separate suture patterns.

The reasons for performing a castration are also numerous.  Firstly, it will make housebreaking and behavior training easier.  It will also reduce the tendency for dogs to develop many stereotypic behaviors (such as territorial aggression or marking all over the house/yard).  Neutering your dog will also reduce the risk of prostate disease and help reduce the unwanted pet population. 

More About the Procedure

We are aware that spaying/neutering your pet can be expensive.  We keep the prices for all of our spays/neuters as low as possible to encourage all clients to sterilize their pets because we believe it is so important.  We are also aware that there are several choices in the Findlay area for this surgery.  We offer several other services at the time of sterilization such as complimentary nail trim. We use preanesthetic blood testing to make sure there are no unknown diseases which may be affecting your pet, and microchipping with HomeAgain products.  Keep in mind that this surgery is a once in a lifetime surgery which is elective, and we want to ensure that it is done correctly.


We encourage discussing with your veterinarian to determine when spaying and neutering would be best based off of individual recommendation for your pet. We want your pet to be old enough to handle the anesthetics well, be fully vaccinated and immune to common pathogens, and yet have the surgery prior to two years of age.  It is certainly never too late to spay or neuter a dog, but some of the benefits (like cancer prevention) are not as great after several years of being intact.

If you have any questions or concerns about your pet, please feel free to ask any member of the Blanchard Valley Veterinary Clinic staff!  We are happy to be able to help keep your pet happy and healthy!


Body Condition Score of 1/9: Ribs, lumbar vertebrae, pelvic bones and all bony prominences are noticeable from a distance. There is no discernable body fat and an obvious loss of muscle mass. 




Body Condition Score of 3/9: Ribs are easily palpated and may be visible with no palpable fat. The tops of lumbar vertebrae are visible and pelvic bones are becoming prominent. There is an obvious waist. 




Body Condition Score of 5/9: Ribs are palpable without excess fat covering. The waist is observed behind the ribs when viewed from above. The abdomen is tucked up with viewed. 




Body Condition Score of 7/9: Ribs are palpable with difficulty and there is a heavy fat covering. There are noticeable fat deposits over the lumbar area and the base of the tail. The waist is absent or barely visible. An abdominal tuck may be present. 




Body Condition Score of 9/9: Massive fat deposits over thorax, spine and base of tail. The waist and abdominal tuck are absent. There are fat deposits on neck and limbs. There is obvious abdominal distention. 








Citation: 2010 AAHA Nutritional Assessment Guidelines for Dogs and Cats. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.aaha.org/professio...

Dental Care


Periodontal disease is an infection resulting from build-up of soft dental plaque on the surfaces of the teeth around the gums. The bacteria in dental plaque irritate the gum tissue if plaque accumulates, leading to bleeding and oral pain. This may result in loss of appetite or dropping food from mouth while eating.

Dental plaque can lead to infection in the bone surrounding the teeth resulting in teeth becoming loose and falling out.

Bacteria surrounding the roots gain access to the blood stream ("bacteremia"). Studies have shown that dogs with severe periodontal disease have more severe microscopic damage in their kidneys, heart muscle and liver than do dogs with less severe periodontal disease. 


Excellent oral health is maintained by daily oral hygiene. The gold standard is daily brushing. Daily chewing activities can also be effective in maintaining oral health.  


Daily use of products that have been awarded the Veterinary Oral Health Council Seal (VOHC – www.vohc.org) will help to keep your pet’s teeth clean and the gum tissues and bone around the roots healthy. 

The VOHC recommends periodic veterinary examination of the mouth and teeth of your dog or cat. Many pets, particularly middle-aged and older cats and dogs, require teeth cleaning consisting of periodic scaling in addition to on-going plaque control.

Teeth cleaning consists of ultrasonic scaling and polishing of all the teeth. We also perform dental radiographs which show us the roots, which are the two-thirds of the tooth below the gums. During the teeth cleaning, the health of all of the teeth in the mouth will be checked. Any infected or compromised teeth will be removed to relieve potential pain in the pet, as well as prevent the spread of infection.


Ear Care

Ear care is very important for the health of your pet.  For some pets, routine cleaning of the ear canal is needed to maintain a healthy ear.  Cat ears should not be over-cleaned as this can lead to infection.  Try to get your pets accustom to having their ears touched when they are young because if the first time you try to clean your pet’s ears is when they are painful, the process will be very challenging.


Ear Cleaning

  1. Fill the ear canal to the top with the ear cleaning solution. 
  2. Massage the ear for several moments with the ear cleaning solution in it to help break up the debris in the ear.
  3. Holding the ear tip upright, wipe out any debris and fluid with cotton.  This may be done several times with fresh cotton.  DO NOT USE COTTON SWABS.  Cotton swabs can push debris further down the ear canal and can cause more problems, or cause pain. 
  4. If medication is needed, wait 10 minutes after cleaning the ears to apply.  This ensures that the cleaning solution won’t interfere with the medication’s action. 

Ear Infections

Ear infections can be caused by underlying allergies, moisture in the ear (such as bathing or from swimming), or even conformation of the ear. Every infection is unique for the pet, and even for each ear. For this reason, we highly recommend an ear swab and cytology before prescribing medication. The common culprits for infections are yeast and bacteria, either cocci or rods, and each infection might need to be treated differently.


Ear Mites

An ear mite infestation can cause your pet to scratch at its ears and shake its head.  We recommend application of Milbemite into both ears after a thorough cleaning.  Alternatively, Revolution Plus, will kill the ear mites as well as fleas, prevent your pet from contracting heartworm disease and some major intestinal parasites.  All pets in contact with the affected pet should also be treated for ear mites.  Ear mites are not contagious from pets to humans. 


Average Cost Per Year of Our Pets

Pet care costs are rising quickly, just like many other costs in the past few years.  There is quite a large variation in cost of care for pets depending on which species or breed of animal, what level of care owners wish to provide, and overall health of the pet.  In general, the best way to reduce costs for the long term care of your pet is to buy a high quality food and feed appropriate amounts, pick the right type of pet (species and breed) for your family, provide preventive care as recommended by your veterinarian, spay/neuter your pet, attend training classes, save for senior care expenses, and consider pet health insurance for emergency situations.

Estimated yearly costs for 2010 are (see Consumer Reports, USA Today, and ASPCA):

  • Medium size healthy dog:  $1700 annually, additional $900 for a new puppy in 1st year
  • Healthy cat:  $1000 annually, additional $630 for a new kitten in 1st year

These costs assume no health conditions are present and include food, bedding, collars, leashes, licenses, identification tags, food dishes, routine veterinary vaccines, preventive medications, and spay/neuter surgery at puberty.

This is quite a large expense to incur, but pets are a great addition to most families.  Owners need to have enough discretional income to cover the cost of pet ownership before acquiring one.  We usually recommend adopting a pet from a local humane society or rescue organization. There are many other places to obtain pets from, but many unwanted, yet highly adoptable animals are euthanized each year at animal shelters and veterinarians do all we can to reduce this unfortunate reality. Another plus is that these animals have often been health-screened, spayed or neutered, and are current on vaccinations.

To help make emergency care more affordable, we recommend pet health insurance. There are many options for pet health insurance currently, but numerous pet health insurance companies have gone bankrupt and owners have lost their coverage as well as the premiums they paid.  For this reason, we recommend Veterinary Pet Insurance (VPI).  If you choose another company, please research its background and history carefully.

VPI has many plans available, and they have a record of consistent customer service and financial stability.  One of their brochures is included in your puppy or kitten pack.  The pet health insurance is a shared indemnity plan; this means you pay your bill in full at the time services are provided by the veterinarian, you then submit a claim and copy of the receipt to the VPI, and VPI repays you a percentage of the cost based upon the type of policy you purchased from VPI.  Because insurance can be complicated, make sure you read the fine print on all policy information and call VPI if you have any specific questions.  Don’t hesitate to ask us about pet insurance if you have any general questions.

Additionally, CareCredit is a healthcare credit card. It's a way to pay for the costs of many treatments and procedures and allows you to make convenient monthly payments.  Invoice balances over $200 offers 6 months interest free payment.  Apply at http://www.CareCredit.com or Call  800-365-8295




Your Dog and the Law

Licensing Your Dog


When should you license your dog?

All dogs over 3 months of age must be licensed each year before the 31st of January. If you bring your dog into the state of Ohio after that date you are required to purchase the license immediately.

Where may you purchase the license?

Licenses may be purchased at the County Auditor’s office, Monday through Friday, or at the Humane Society of Hancock County.

Why does your dog need a license?

Licensing is a requirement of Ohio state law. The license attached to your dog’s collar will identify you as the owner, should the dog be lost. If your licensed dog is found running loose by the Hancock County Dog Warden, you will be contacted by phone and informed that your dog has been impounded and where you may retrieve him.

With a license your dog can be kept for up to 14 days. Without a license your dog can be held for no more than 3 days according to law.

If you have any questions concerning licensing your dog please contact:

Hancock County Auditor

Courthouse- 300 S. Main St.

Findlay, OH 45840-3345

(419) 424-7821

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