Can Dogs Get Lice?

A white Pomeranian dog is held by a black curly woman.

Lice are tiny, parasitic insects that feed on human blood and occasionally other mammals, such as dogs. If you’re anything like us, your four-legged friends are part of the family. If you’ve experienced a recent lice infestation, you may wonder if Fido is also at risk. 

This article will discuss whether dogs can get lice, how lice are spread, and why lice cannot live on pets.

Can Dogs Get Lice?

It is relatively uncommon, but yes, dogs can get lice. These tiny parasites are species-specific, which means that dog lice only infest dogs, and human lice only infest humans. However, lice can occasionally cross over to other species, such as human lice infesting dogs. This only happens when a dog comes into contact with an infested human or if they share bedding, brushes, or other items with someone with lice.

While lice infestations in dogs are possible, they are relatively rare. Other parasites like fleas or ticks cause most cases of itching and discomfort in dogs. If your dog is experiencing any of these symptoms, you should consult a veterinarian to determine the cause and proper treatment.

Why Lice Can’t Live on Pets

While dogs and pets can contract lice from humans, it’s important to note that lice cannot survive for an extended period on animals. Lice feed on blood, and while they can feed on dogs, they cannot complete their lifecycle on them. This prevents eggs and reproduction, causing the lice to die eventually. 

Dogs have a different skin pH and body temperature than humans, making it difficult for lice to survive. While lice can adapt to different environments and conditions, they must be better suited to stay on animals long-term.

Common Symptoms for Dogs with Lice

There are several symptoms to look for in the rare incidence that a dog becomes infested with lice. If you notice excessive scratching, hair loss, or visible lice or nits in the dog’s fur, along with red or irritated skin, your pup may be experiencing lice. Some dogs may also experience anemia or become lethargic in severe cases. It’s essential to consult with your veterinarian to accurately diagnose and treat a lice infestation.

How to Treat Lice in Dogs

If your dog does have lice, it’s essential to seek treatment promptly to prevent the infestation from spreading. Treatment for dogs typically involves using a topical medication or shampoo approved for your pet.  

Once you have treated your dog, you should also conduct a thorough preventative at-home inspection for lice. If you do find nits or lice, The Ultimate Family Kit is an all-in-one solution for preventing lice. It includes Licefreee Spray, a non-toxic formula that kills head lice and nits. The kit also includes Licefreee Home, which can be used on furniture and other items that won't fit in the washer and dryer. 

You should also take precautions to further protect your home. Be sure to vacuum your house and wash any of your pet’s bedding on a hot cycle and hot dryer setting. 


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This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website.
Claims based on traditional homeopathic practice, medical evidence not accepted. Not evaluated by the FDA.
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