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Can a dog get lice - lice in dogs and cats

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Pets have a wide variety of parasites, both external and internal. Cats and dogs can also harbor lice, creating discomfort for your pet. The good thing is that lice are strictly species-specific parasites, so lice specific to dogs do not need to be a concern for human health.

Dog lice, such as dog louse and lice lice, can cause dermatitis and severe itching, which requires timely treatment and proactive measures. If parasites are detected in your pet, it is best to contact a veterinarian, who will provide the necessary recommendations and prescribe appropriate treatment. Poor quality products or their improper use can cause an allergic reaction in the animal.

Lice in dogs

The term "lice" is popularly used to refer to any small insects that live in the fur of dogs. Only a veterinary dermatologist or an experienced dog breeder can distinguish a true dog louse from lice-eaters. These are different types of insects, each of which has its own characteristics and feeding methods.

The sucking louse, known as the true louse, penetrates the skin to feed on the host's blood, while the biting louse, or lice eater, feeds on the sloughed particles of the epidermis, causing more severe skin irritation. Lice eaters parasitize the head, neck, tail and around natural openings.

Lice in dogs

Most often, infection with these parasites occurs through close contact with infected animals or through contaminated objects and surfaces. Lice are most common in puppies. Symptoms of infestation include intense itching, papules, hair loss, flaking of the skin, and tangled hair in areas where lice accumulate.

Where do dog lice come from?

By default, dogs are at risk of getting lice, especially with regular walks and contact with other animals. Using special collars as preventive measures helps prevent such infestations. If you notice that your dog is becoming restless, itchy, and nervous, it is recommended that you carefully examine his fur for any blackheads or nits.

Lice are basically small insects with an elongated body and a light yellow hue that cannot be seen with the naked eye. However, the fight against them is carried out using the same means. It is important to note that lice eaters feed on exfoliated epithelial cells, hair and secretions of the sebaceous glands, while common lice feed on blood from scratches, using their mouthparts to puncture the epithelium.

Regular monitoring of your pet is important to prevent stress and maintain a healthy coat. Failure to treat can lead to anemia and exhaustion as dogs may scratch the affected areas vigorously, making it difficult for them to heal.

The danger of lice for dogs

First of all, it is important to calm down, since lice are specific only to certain types of animals and cannot migrate to humans or cats. They reproduce by laying nits, eggs that are closely attached to the fur due to its tough shell. Nits are highly resistant to most insecticides, making treatment with various agents extremely difficult.

Long-haired dog breeds have another problem associated with the formation of mats due to matted fur during intense infestation. If it is impossible to comb the braided areas of the fur, you have to completely cut the dog. In the early stages of infection, the signs may not be noticeable, so it is important to detect the problem early and treat it with milder treatments.

Lice in cats

Lice eaters are the most common in cats. They feed on epidermal particles and hair, while their powerful gnawing apparatus and saliva cause severe skin irritation. Lice eaters most often accumulate on the head and neck of cats, as well as at the base of the tail. Symptoms of trichodectosis, a parasitic disease caused by lice eaters, are similar to those in dogs. Long hair becomes prone to tangles and loss, and the pet suffers from constant severe itching.0

Lice in cats

Diagnosis of lice in cats and dogs

Signs of lice in animals resemble allergic dermatitis caused by fleas, which makes diagnosis difficult since a pet may have both fleas and lice. Sometimes infection is accompanied only by slight peeling. Detection of lice is possible by careful examination of the skin and fur.

Lice appear as dark, oval-shaped objects, and lice eaters move quickly, making them difficult to catch. The body length is from 1 to 1,5 mm. The sucking louse is less mobile and larger, up to 2 mm in size. You may also notice nits - lice eggs attached to the fur.

How not to confuse lice and fleas

It often happens that pets become infected with lice while already having fleas. In the initial stage of infection, changes in the dog’s behavior may not appear, especially if it has thick fur. Gradually, with an increase in the number of insects, the affected area expands, and the animal begins to suffer from continuous itching. If treatment is not started promptly, the hair will quickly begin to fall out, and the pet may remain completely bald.

In addition to dermatitis and anemia, there is another dangerous factor - lice eaters can carry worms. Therefore, after treatment for lice, it is important to make sure that the animal has completed a course of a special anti-worm drug.

The danger of lice and lice for cats and dogs

Lice and lice in themselves do not pose a serious threat, but their parasitism can lead to serious consequences.

One of the consequences is infection with cucumber tapeworm. Like fleas, cat and dog lice eaters are intermediate hosts for tapeworms. Animals become infected by ingesting an infected insect while licking it. Young children who are in close contact with pets can also be infected with cucumber tapeworm.

Other consequences include severe exhaustion, secondary skin problems such as skin inflammation and self-trauma, and the possibility of infectious diseases, including tularemia, although such cases are rare.

Treatment of lice in dogs and cats

Killing lice is usually not difficult, as they are easily susceptible to insecticides. For pets kept in an apartment, it is recommended to use an anti-parasitic shampoo, such as Lugovoy, and then after a few days use a flea and tick drug in the form of drops on the withers or an insectoacaricidal collar. While washing, it is important to keep the foam in contact with the fur and skin for 5-7 minutes.

For kennel dogs or aggressive cats, drugs in the form of spot-on, for example “Bars” or “Bars Forte”, are effective. For a long-term effect, you should choose insectoacaricides that can penetrate the durable shell of eggs (nits).

Treatment of lice in dogs

In the case of small puppies or kittens, pregnant or malnourished animals, it is recommended to use special products prescribed by a veterinarian. During outbreaks of infection in nurseries or shelters, the use of the insectoacaricide “Deltsid” is effective, which can treat not only animals, but also premises.

Remember to consult your veterinarian before using any product.


Regularly scheduled flea and tick treatments protect your pet from lice attacks. However, in winter, lice and lice can still settle on a dog or cat, since insectoacaricidal preparations are usually used only in the warm season. It is also important to remember that the owner himself can be a carrier of parasites, accidentally bringing them into the house from infected animals on clothing.

To prevent infection you must:

- limit your pet’s contact with stray animals, and if this is not possible, use drops or a flea collar;
- Avoid petting street cats or dogs, and if you come into contact with an animal while visiting, it is recommended to wash your hands upon returning home.

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