Although uncommon, dogs can have lice. The usual places that you will find dogs with lice are in the filthy, overcrowded locations you may see on the news. Places like puppy mills or homes that house a multitude of dogs.
Dog lice will not infect humans or cats and cat lice will not infect dogs or humans. Lice are specific as to their destination. They will spend their entire life span on your dog. During that time they will lay eggs and the next generation will continue the process.
Types of lice
There are two different types of dog lice. One sucks blood, the other chews skin. Those that are blood suckers are the ones that will cause the greatest irritation to your dog.
Signs of Dog Lice
There can be a lot of Dog Itching. The coat becomes dry and no longer resembles Dog Shiny Coat, and there will also be bald patches. This is especially true around the head, neck and anus. In severe cases, a puppy can become anemic if the infestation is severe.
How does it spread?
Lice can only be transmitted by direct contact. Lice are six legged wingless insects. They do not jump or move much and once settled on a dog, they will generally stay there. The contact can be from another dog or infected grooming equipment or through the bedding of an infected dog.
Diagnosing lice on your dog is quite simple. You can see them on your dog’s skin and the eggs or nits, look like white flakes on the hair shafts. If you are not sure, your vet can easily diagnose the parasite.
Treatment of lice is relatively easy under normal circumstances. Lice are not resistant to insecticides, so the administration of a pet safe insecticide will usually get rid of them. If the infestation is very severe or the hair is matted, your dog may have to be shaved.
The treatment with the insecticide will continue for several treatments two to four weeks apart. That will kill the eggs that were there initially. If the infestation is too severe, it may have to be done weekly for one or two treatments. This is not usual.
There are spot treatments that can be used, as well as some powders that are deemed to be dog safe. Before administering any of these products to your dog, you should check with your veterinarian. Dog insecticides cannot generally be used on cats and vice versa.
Be sure to clean all of your grooming equipment regularly. This is true of home grooming supplies and especially true of supplies that are used by boarding facilities and rescues.
Remove all bedding. Wash or dispose of it to insure the prevention of re-infestation.
In the event that the infestation is so severe within your dog’s environment, it may be necessary to use a fogger in order to successfully eliminate the lice.
Any changes in your dog’s behavior should be addressed immediately. Whether it is an increase in scratching, Dog Lethargy or Dog Loss of Appetite, it should be noted and treated. Your beloved dog cannot always tell you what is wrong.