Dog lice.

As far as parasites go, lice are pretty far up on the scale of repulsiveness. If there is a silver lining to lice, it’s that these bugs are species-specific. Dog lice cannot live on humans and vice-versa. But when dog lice latches on to a family pet, the constant itching, scratching and general misery can easily affect everyone in the house. There are easy ways to prevent dog lice from coming home with you (such as avoiding crowded environments), and treatment is available for infestations.

Close Proximity

Dog lice are transmitted via close contact. While rare, pet owners may come across reports of dog lice at dog parks, shelters, boarding facilities, dog shows, and other crowded environments. 

Whether they bite or suck the blood of their host, lice create intense skin problems like itching, scratching, bleeding, and even pain. Luckily, you can quickly address the effects of dog lice. Very seldom, dog lice caus serious, long-term health issues for pets. 

The More You Know

With strong claws on six legs, lice attach themselves to hair shafts. They can withstand lots of attempts to shake them off, even when dogs are scratching or licking their hair. 

The female lays eggs, also known as “nits,” directly on the host’s hair shafts, ensuring they are firmly attached. Nymphs hatch from the nits. They molt several times before adulthood in a process that can last up to a month. 

Gross Factor

In severe cases (typically affecting younger pets), animals can develop anemia due to blood loss. Dog lice can transmit tapeworms to their hosts adding a secondary issue to treat. 

Evidence of dog lice are tannish, small bugs on the hair. In contrast with fleas, which are dark-colored and hard to catch, lice move very slowly. The presence of nits may be noticeable with a magnifying glass. Run a fine tooth comb through the problem area to see if anything sticks. 

The Short Term

The treatment for dog lice is fairly easy with a simple insecticide. Products containing permethrin can create toxicity in companion animals, most notably cats. 

If your pet is already taking the topical treatment Revolution as a means for preventing parasites like fleas, ticks, and heartworm-carrying mosquitoes, they may not ever experience an infestation. Revolution can also be used to treat lice in a 3-dose schedule separated by 2 weeks. 

Based on your pet’s breed, they may be able to receive an injection administered on the same schedule as Revolution. This injection can prevent dog lice from hatching, but it is not considered safe for every pet. Always contact us first with any questions about treatment products for lice. 

Formulaic shampoos can also be used to target nits and must follow a strict schedule to stop the life cycle of dog lice. 

Stopping Dog Lice

If you want to eradicate dog lice, you should vacuum, launder any pet bedding in high heat, sanitize grooming tools, and maintain high levels of pet hygiene. Due to their life cycle, owners should expect to uphold super-clean standards and medication for about a month. Even if the adult lice are killed by initial treatments, the nits could still release more nymphs.

Separate the affected pet from other household animals until the problem is resolved or treat all pets at the same time whether they are living with lice or not. 

Please call us at (732) 531-1212 with any questions or concerns. Our Oakhurst Team is here for you 7 days a week!