Can Dogs Get Lice? | How To Treat Lice In Dogs

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There are several diseases and health problems that can affect both us humans and our four-legged friends, such as lice. Although dog lice are not the same as humans, the consequences are similar, so it is a problem to be solved as soon as possible.

It doesn't seem like a serious situation at first, but, it can be complicated and lead to several diseases if we left it untreated. Observing your four-legged friend and always checking that he is well is very important to recognize any diseases and ailments in time.

dog lice life cycle

As we have just seen, dog lice are not the same as people because different types of lice attack specific species. Let's see below what are the types of lice that affect dogs:

  • Heterodoxus spiniger: about 2.5 cm long, and although it almost does not exist in Europe, you must know that it is transmitted like other parasites such as Dipylidum caninum or Dipetalonema reconditum.
  • Linognathus setosus: feeds on the dog's blood and measures from 1.5 to 2.5 mm in length. It mainly attaches to the dog's head, neck, and chest.
  • Trichodectes canis: this louse can measure 1.5 to 2 mm in length. This louse can also transmit Dipylidum caninum, and particularly affects the head, neck, ears, and torso.
Of these three species, two can transmit intestinal parasites (also called helminths), and the more time they spend in the dog's organism, the higher the chances of them being infected by these other parasites.

dog lice symptoms

Having ascertained that dogs can have lice, Described below are the symptoms of a dog that affect the parasite.

  • Uncontrolled itching.
  • Restlessness.
  • Nervousness.
  • Redness and irritation of the skin.
  • Hair loss, especially on the neck, ears, back, groin and rectum.
  • Anemia.
  • Lethargy.
  • Tapeworm of the dog.
This symptomatology is so annoying that it makes the dog irritable and inactive. It is, therefore, necessary to intervene quickly to prevent the dog from suffering more than it should and to avoid further problems caused by this parasite.

how to get rid of lice on dogs

To eliminate lice from the dog, the most used but also the most effective remedy, insecticide products are needed. They are effective because dog lice have not yet developed resistance to these insecticidal substances. What are anti-parasite products for lice and how to use them on dogs? We explain them to you in detail:

  1. Anti-parasitic shampoo: the first thing to do if the dog has lice is to wash it with a special anti-parasitic repellent shampoo with which to remove most of the parasites, intoxicating them.
  2. Flea comb: after bathing, comb the dog with a flea comb or a lice comb. As you remove them, kill them to keep them from infesting your four-legged friend.
  3. Carefully dry the dog with a towel and a hairdryer (suitable for animals or, if not afraid, a normal one but at minimum power).
  4. Collar, pipette, or spray: now that you have washed and dried the dog and removed all the parasites, it is time to apply one of these products to fight any lice left on its coat and avoid new infections. They are all long-lasting remedies.
Get advice from the veterinarian regarding the products to buy and always buy them in the clinic or in a pet store. The veterinary advice is important because to think that a product or the other can bring surprises. Be very careful if a puppy dog has lice because both doses and products will need to be reviewed.

causes of lice in dogs

Poor hygiene is not the only reason that would explain the onset of lice on the dog; other reasons can be ascertained:

  • Contagion due to a dog suffering from this discomfort;
  • Parks for dogs, kennels and wash dogs are an excellent hunting ground for lice;
  • Sharing by your dog of kennels, beds or enclosed spaces where there is a dog affected by the parasite.
In the event that your dog comes into contact with these things, we recommend careful washing as a precaution. In addition, the life cycle of a louse begins with the female laying small yellow or white eggs on the skin of the host subject.
Within about a week, these eggs hatch, releasing the lice puppies; these after a few days become adult lice, thus starting the same infestation process again. Lice have a life of about 30 days in which they continue to spawn uncontrollably.

lice in dogs treatment

The first phase of the treatment consists of washing the dog with shampoo, applying the spray, and other effective powders for the elimination of the parasite. Total dog shearing, however, is always the most effective solution.

It is also possible to remove any lice that are still alive and any carcasses of dead lice through a flea comb. Just for their life cycle, which, as just mentioned, is about 30 days. It is possible to continue the treatment with the products even for 4 weeks.

Particular attention should be paid to pregnant dogs because they are particularly sensitive to anti-lice products and insecticides in general. In any case, the veterinarian can advise you on the most appropriate therapy. It is specially based on your dog's health and clinical condition.

In addition, pets with lice should be quarantined and should not have contact with other dogs at all until therapy is complete. Finally, the veterinarian may decide to replenish the iron, vitamins, and minerals of the dog suffering from the sucking louse. Which could cause iron deficiency anemia in the dog.


To avoid a new lice infestation, it is necessary to thoroughly clean or, even better, throw all the blankets where the dog usually spends his time. Everything else in the house, from the floor to the carpets, to the furniture must be cleaned thoroughly and meticulously. Thorough cleaning of all dog tools such as combs, leashes, dog beds, and we also recommend you dog clothing.
Ultimately if dogs can have lice, the answer is yes! If this parasite affects your dog. We recommend that you visit your veterinarian who will perform the most appropriate therapy.

Can Dog Lice Stick to humans?

One of the biggest concerns, when it turns out that your four-legged friend is hosting parasites, is their transmission. In fact, we spend a lot of time in close contact with them. We give them kisses, caresses and often let them sleep together with us, sharing an intimate and clean space like the bed.

The answer is no. Dog lice do not pass on to people because a particular species of lice corresponds to each animal species. Furthermore, if they are not in contact with the animal's skin, these parasites die. So does this mean that dog lice are completely harmless to people? Not entirely, because it can happen that some survive in the environment outside the guest. It is especially in very dirty or dusty places or rooms. We invite you to pay close attention, especially if there are children or babies in the house or even other animals

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