The Wet Nose Press Pet Blog


July 27, 2016
by Lynn Merton
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Understanding The Life Cycle Of A Tick

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Summertime is carnival time for blood sucking ticks, and your canine companion is a walking, barking target for these pesky little arachnids. In order to prevent a tick infestation and avoid the diseases they carry, it helps to understand their life cycle.

Ticks are usually classified by their body structure – hard ticks and soft ticks. Ticks that belong to the Ixodidae family tend to have a hard outer shell, which is referred to as scutum. Soft ticks, which belong to the Argasidae family, do not have a scutum. Hard bodied ticks are the ones that usually tend to prey on household pets. Soft ticks are really common in the Southwest and found in the ears of pets, where the skin is much thinner.

Life stages

Most of the hard ticks need three separate hosts to complete their development. When they are developing, they go through four main stages. These are the egg stage, the larval stage, the nymphal stage and the adult stage.

Adult female ticks tend to breed when they are on the host animal and then drop down to the ground to lay their eggs. They lay at least a thousand eggs at a time, which hatch to the larval stage. These are referred to as seed ticks. During this stage, the small ticks tend to have six legs.

Feeding behavior

Ticks cannot jump. So they find a way to attach themselves to the host. They use grass and other vegetation to raise themselves to a height from which they can easily hop on to any passing animal, like birds or small rodents. The biochemical signals, like rising CO2 levels, emitted by warm blooded mammals alert the ticks to hosts nearby.

This phenomenon is referred to as “questing” and ticks tend to use these behaviors to find the first host for a blood meal. After they gorge themselves on the blood of the mammal, the seed ticks fall down to the ground, where they shed away their outer skins and become nymphs with eight legs.

The nymph lies in wait for a second host to attach to. Once they find the second host, they engorge on their blood. Nymphs tend to prefer larger animals like possums and raccoons as hosts. Once they are fully engorged, the nymphs drop down to the ground yet again, molt and become adult ticks. The latter then go to hunt for a larger host, like a dog or deer. Once they latch on to their third and final host, they feed on their blood till they are ready to lay eggs.

Full circle

Depending on the tick species, the life cycle can take anywhere between two months and two years. There are several tick species that need only one host to complete their life cycle. Hard ticks lay eggs in the ground in protected areas during springtime. The brown tick is the only exception as it can lay its eggs indoors. As the moisture levels and the ambient temperature rises, the eggs hatch into larvae. The larvae tend to feed and molt into nymphs during the summer. These nymphs are inactive throughout the winter and start feeding again during the spring. Once they feed and molt into adults during the summer months, they spend the fall season feeding and breeding. The males die off and the females survive through the winter months only to lay their eggs next spring.


July 26, 2016
by Lynn Merton
1 Comment

Understanding the Life Cycle of a Flea

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If you want to eliminate fleas from your home and your pet, there are a few things that you should know. Firstly, you must be familiar with its life cycle when you are trying to eradicate its presence. There are four stages in the life cycle of a flea – egg, larval, pupal and adult. Depending on the environmental humidity and temperature levels, the life cycle will take anywhere from weeks to months. The optimal temperature for fleas is around 70 to 85 degree Fahrenheit and they thrive best when the humidity is around 70 percent.


The life cycle begins when the adult female lays eggs after having a blood meal from the host’s body. An adult flea needs blood to reproduce. The eggs are white in color and smaller than a grain of sand. They are laid in the fur of your pet in batches of 20. One fully grown adult can lay up to 40 eggs in one day.

Eggs take anywhere between 2 days to 2 weeks to develop and they hatch when the environmental conditions are suitable. If the temperature is dry and cold, the eggs will take a lot longer. If it is humid and the temperatures are high, they will hatch faster.

Larval stage

The larvae that emerge out of the eggs are blind and try to avoid the light. They develop by eating flea diet (predigested blood) passed on by the adult fleas, along with any other organic debris that they can find in their environment. The larvae can grow up to a quarter of an inch in length and are legless and white. Larvae constitute about 35 percent of the flea population in a household. Under favorable conditions, they spin cocoons a couple of weeks after they hatch out of their eggs. This leads to the pupal stage.

Pupal stage

The cocoon they spin protects them for days or weeks before they metamorphose into the adult flea. If the surrounding environmental conditions are not right, the cocoon can protect the flea for months, and sometimes, even years. Since the cocoons have a sticky coating, they can hide deep in your carpeting and cannot be removed by sweeping or light vacuuming. The adult flea won’t emerge until they are sure of the presence of a host – by rising CO2 levels, vibrations and body heat.

Adult fleas

Once a flea emerges from the cocoon, it will start to feed off the host within hours. Once they are done with their first meal, they will start to lay eggs within a few days. Female fleas cannot lay eggs till they get a blood meal. Newly hatched adult fleas are flat bodied and dark in color. Once they feed off your dog or cat, they will become larger and lighter, taking on a more recognizable shape. Adult fleas make up less than five percent of the flea population in an average home.


July 25, 2016
by Lynn Merton
1 Comment

What Are the Possible Causes Of Diarrhea In Your Dog?

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Diarrhea is a prevalent problem in most of the dog breeds. It can lead to dehydration which can turn quite serious. If you are a pet owner, you need to know how to treat cases of diarrhea in your dog. Let us look into some of the most common causes of diarrhea and how to treat them.

What causes it?

The most common causes of diarrhea are intestinal parasites (hookworms, roundworms, Giardia), bacterial overgrowth or infections, inflammatory diseases (allergies or diet intolerances), and dietary indiscretion (abrupt diet changes and garbage ingestion).
Diarrhea can also be a side effect of certain pet medications, including NSAIDs, antibiotics and heart medications. A lot of dogs tend to have episodes of diarrhea when they are stressed out or when their diet is altered.

How is it diagnosed?

Identifying the exact cause of diarrhea tends to vary in difficulty. To diagnose the cause of prolonged or severe diarrhea, your veterinarian will perform a thorough physical exam and take a detailed history. In some cases, they will also need the results of blood work, fecal examinations, urinalysis, abdominal ultrasounds, X-rays, specialized lab tests and endoscopy or exploratory surgery with tissue biopsies. In a lot of the cases, the cause is something as simple as your dog eating something undesirable from the trash. Whatever the cause is, it is important that you treat it accordingly.

How to treat it?

As mentioned above, the treatment for diarrhea depends on the cause. So, you need to consult the vet if you notice an issue with the health of your pet. If some underlying condition is causing the diarrhea, your vet will take steps to control that, while prescribing the most effective form of treatment to control the symptoms. This might include using anti-diarrhea medication containing pectin and kaoilin.

Most of the diseases that cause diarrhea can be diagnosed and treated easily. However, there are certain disorders that are not instantly curable and have to be managed with medication and dietary modification.

Diet plays a very important role in managing cases of chronic diarrhea in dogs. For instance, symptoms of allergy or food intolerance might resolve completely if you put your dog on a novel protein or a hypoallergenic diet. You need to talk to your vet to figure out which food is best for your dog. He/she might prescribe medication to alleviate the nausea, excess production of gastric acids or inflammation of the G.I. tract.

When should you visit the vet?

If the diarrhea lasts for more than a day, it is an indicator of something more serious than a simple stomach bug. If you leave it unchecked, it could lead to dehydration. If the stool of your pet is dark, bloody or tarry, or if he seems to have lost his appetite and is vomiting as well, do not wait a whole day. In such cases, you must visit the vet as soon as possible.


July 22, 2016
by Lynn Merton

Demodectic Mange in Dogs

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Demodex is common infestation of canine skin with small, eight-legged, cigar-shaped mites. The mites feed off the oil glands and hair follicles in the skin. It is usually less severe than scabies and your dog will most likely be able to arrest the reproduction of the mites and repair the damage. Once they are eliminated, your dog is not likely to be afflicted with another infestation. The immune defenses will eliminate any new mites. But there are certain dogs that do not produce the immune factors that will target the destruction of the mites. Many vets believe that all dogs have a small number of demodex mites residing in their skin. It is only when the nutritional, immune or environmental stress impact the dog that the skin lesions become visible.

Can they be inherited?

The mites are not present on the fetus while it is developing from an embryo. But, if the mother has mites on her skin, they can invade the skin of the fetus after birth. Since a lot of dogs have demodex mites on the skin, and do not develop noticeable lesions, the mother might transmit the mites to the newborn pup without showing any visible signs.

Can you breed a dog that has demodex?

If the dog, female or male, has a protracted and difficult to treat demodex case, then that dog should not be used for breeding. If your dog has a localized and brief episode of demodex and has recovered, then you can consider breeding. But there are some vets who believe that if a dog displays demodectic mange, they must be removed from breeding programs.

Can you spay or neuter a young dog with demodex before the infestation clears?

Most of the dermatologists will not treat dogs with generalized demodicosis unless they have been neutered or spayed. This is so that the affected dog’s offspring does not develop demodicosis. There is no benefit to not neutering or spaying a dog that is undergoing treatment. Moreover, the reproductive hormones in female dogs that are in heat or pregnant can worsen the mites and make it much more difficult to control them. However, the presence of male hormones does not make any difference in the dog’s ability to control the demodex mites. A lot of vets do not treat dogs with localized demodicosis as they tend to resolve on their own. If you treat the dog, you will never get to find out whether it was a generalized case or not.

Is it transmissible between dogs?

Healthy dogs are resistant to infestations and might have mites harmlessly residing in their skin. However, it is advisable not to allow your dog to have direct physical contact with an infested dog, just to be on the safer side.


July 21, 2016
by Lynn Merton
1 Comment

What Should Dog Poop Look Like?

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Vets spend a lot of time with dog poop – talking about it, looking at it and thinking about it – with the aim of assessing the health of the pet. Poop provides a lot of information, which is why vets ask you a lot about your pet’s poop and request for samples almost every time you visit the clinic. Certain cases of abnormal stools are indicate an emergency; others just seem like one, particularly if you are the one who has to clean up the carpet afterwards.

The Four Cs

  • Color – A healthy, happy body produces stool that is chocolate brown in color. This color comes from bile, which is a fluid that is released by the gallbladder to digest the food, and bilirubin, which is a pigment in the bile. Although some variation from the expected color is normal, there are certain changes that you need to look out for. If there are bright red streaks in the poop, it is a sign that there is a bleed in the lower G.I. tract. Maroon or tarry black stools can be caused due to a bleed in the small intestines or the stomach. Pale yellow or clay-colored stools might be the outcome of problems with the gallbladder, liver or pancreas. The only exception for sudden color change is if there is change in the diet of your pet, like kibble with food coloring which will lead to unexpected flecks of color.
  • Consistency – Vets use a numerical system to score the consistency of pet stool. They have a scoring system that ranges from 1 to 7. 1 represents hard pellets, whereas 7 is a puddle. The ideal number is 2 – a firm and segmented piece that is shaped like a caterpillar and feels like Play-Doh when you press it. Some pets will have stool that is squishier, but essentially the stool should be able to hold its form. If formless stools last for more than a day, you should visit the vet immediately.
  • Coating – The stool of your pet must not have any coating. When you pick up the poop, it mustn’t leave behind any residue. If there is a mucous coating, it is a sign of colon disorder. There might also be bright red blood in your pet’s stool. Although it does sound alarming, a single streak of blood might happen due to a variety of reasons and is not really a cause for concern. However, if the bleeding persists for more than one stool, it is a clear red flag.
  • Contents – If there are rice-shaped flecks or spaghetti-shaped strands, it is a sign that your pet has worms. If your pet munches on grass excessively, it can lead to a G.I. upset. If there are hair clumps in the stool, it is a sign that your pet is over-grooming. He might be doing that for a variety of reasons, from allergies to stress to a whole host of other medical conditions. If you are not interested in playing CSI with the poop of your pet, take him to the vet to enquire about his health.

A lot of cases of intestinal or stomach upset resolve automatically, but if the changes persist for more than a day, or if there are any changes in the eating behavior of your pet, contact the vet immediately.