YES, dogs get lice. It is a different kind of lice than humans get, and much easier to treat, and, It is not transferable to humans or cats. Dog lice are species specific, so you, your kids, and your cats cannot get lice from your dog
Dog lice infestation is not a common thing with dogs in this country, especially those that live in a clean environment and get proper care and attention. Although rarely discovered on healthy animals, poorly nourished dogs are more often to get lice.
There are two species of canine lice:
1. Biting (Mallophaga),: trichodectus canus & Heterodoxus spiniger. (feed on skin flakes, and skin)
2. Sucking linognathus piliferus setosus (feed on dogs blood, and are more irritating)
Cats have one biting louse and that is Felicola subrostratus.
Lice lay eggs (termed nits) on the hair shafts. The life cycle takes about 21 days to complete.
Females lay up to 100 eggs or nits. The nits of the canine biting louse are protected by an operculum and are cemented to the base of the dog's hairs.
Of all parasites, lice are by far the easiest to treat because they are not active in our environment, like fleas and ticks.
They are flat, gray, wingless parasites
that are about a twelfth of an inch long. Dog lice are very slow movers. In
fact, they hardly move at all. They do not jump from dog to dog like fleas, but
dog lice are still spread through dog-to-dog contact, so if your dog interacts
with other dogs on the trail, at the dog park, at your friendís house or in
doggie day care, your dog may be exposed. If your dog shares a bed, or crate,
they can be infected. Grooming instruments may
serve as a source of transmission.
Picture of a Maltese which came in for grooming
If your dog has been scratching himself more than normal, it could be due to lice. Lice are very small, but can usually be seen by the human eye. They look like little black dots and have a clear lining around them. They do not really look like bugs, but more like dirt. It is very easy to see the lice if your dog is infested, but many pet owners miss them especially in cases where dogs only have a few lice on them and they can be very hard to find. They attach themselves to the skin, so you have to push the fur around to look for them. Groomers are often the ones to discover the lice when using a high-powered blow dryer!
Have your dog professionally groomed regularly. Itís always good to have another set of eyes check over your dog. If your groomers find anything unusual, they will notify you. You can also talk to your vet about preventive treatments such as Frontline or K9 Advantage. It is recommended that you put your dog on one of these preventive regimens if you are bringing your dog to a doggy-day care, grooming salon or regularly off-leash. There are some natural alternatives such as supplementing with garlic , but the stronger treatments, such as the K9 Advantage and Frontline, are best.
If you suspect your dog has lice, call your VET not your GROOMER. We cannot sell Advantage or Frontline you can ONLY get them at your Vet.
If you bring your dog into the salon with lice, you are putting at risk every other dog than comes in for grooming that day!
A Royal Touch will not be liable for contracture of Canine Lice. Be responsible and use prevention. Our salon is COMPLETELY disinfected DAILY in our grooming area and if we see a pet with lice it is sent home IMMEDIATELY. Everyone that was in the salon that day will receive a courtesy call from our staff with full disclosure and a recommendation to check your pet. We understand this is not convenient however we have no control over pet owners who don't know/care that their dog is infested.