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How to Treat Lice on Dogs

Though lice infestation is not deadly for dogs, it is important that you treat your dog immediately when you see signs of lice infestations.

Unfortunately, many dog owners are unaware of what they need to do to get rid of the lice infecting their pet’s body. And in this post, we list out things you must keep in mind when treating your lice-infested dog.  If your dog is especially itchy and scratchy, he or she may have an external parasite such as lice.  You can turn to a lice kit to help you remove specific types of lice.

While our blog’s mascot is a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, these tips apply to any breed.

What is Dog Lice?

Dog lice are small, flat, wingless, six-legged insects that live in the hair of animals.   They have strong hook-like claws at the end of each leg that allows them to hang onto the animal’s hair shafts.

Lice are species-specific.  Their claws match the specific size of the host’s hair shaft or feathers.  They can survive on skin debris, sebaceous secretions, feathers, or the blood of the host animal.

There are two types of lice:

Lice that chew survive by eating skin debris.  There are two species of chewing lice that affect dogs.

T. Canis, found worldwide and typically lives on a host for 30 days. H. Spiniger, is found in tropical regions; they have been seen on the coyote, red fox, and gray wolf. R

There are also sucking lice, which need blood to survive.  Linognathus Setosus are lice that stick to dogs. Unlike the chewing lice, they have a sharp pointed mouthpiece.

Signs that a Dog has Lice

If you suspect an infestation of dog lice, you should go over the area with a flea comb and examine the hair.  The lice parasite can be seen by parting a dog’s hair and examining the hair shaft.  Adult lice are large enough to be visible to the naked eye, and about the size of a sesame seed.

Lice are sometimes mistaken for dandruff, and one way to distinguish lice from dandruff is by shaking hair that has been removed from a dog.  If the flakes fall off, it’s usually dandruff. If they cling stubbornly to the hair, it’s usually lice.

Signs of lice infestations on your dog include:

  • Intense scratching/itchiness
  • Rough, dry, or matted coat
  • Hair loss, specifically around ears, neck, shoulders, groin, and rectal regions
  • Small wounds or bacterial infections can be caused by sucking lice
  • Restless behavior
  • Anemia
  • Tapeworms and other bacteria can be spread by lice

How to Get Rid of Lice?

There are various methods of removing lice.  You can also find a lice removal kit to help you remove specific types of lice.

Comb Your Dog

The first thing you must do is comb the dog’s coat thoroughly.  A comb with narrow teeth is one of the best lice removal tools. Wide-tooth combs are not as effective as narrow ones when it comes to removing the lice.

On the downside, you need to spend a lot of time combing the hair to remove the lice from your pet’s body, but on the plus side, no chemicals are used on the dog. As such, this is the best natural way to get rid of the lice.

Make sure to give extra attention to areas like the groin, ears, armpits, etc. since these regions tend to contain the most concentration of the pest.  When lice get caught in the comb, make sure that you immerse them in hot water for a few minutes to kill them off. Only then should you apply the comb on the dog’s coat.

Shave Dog’s Fur

While combing it’s a good way to remove lice, it still does not guarantee 100% lice removal. Some lice can remain stubbornly attached to the hair follicles no matter how well you comb, and if the hair is matted, then it is almost guaranteed that there will be lice in between those hairs.

The best way to deal with the problem is by shaving off the fur of your dog. This will remove all lice that are clinging to the dog’s hair. Plus, it will also expose the maximum skin of your pet, which allows you to use a topical treatment much more effectively.

Topical Treatments for Dog Lice

You can now apply a topical treatment on the skin to completely kill out any of the lice infecting your pet. Your nearby dog store should be able to recommend a good treatment product to use on the dog.

As a rule of thumb, only buy items that contain ingredients like Lime-sulfur, Pyrethroid, and Pyrethrin since these have been observed to be the most effective in removing lice and other harmful pests for your dogs. A few other things that will also be useful in getting rid of lice include Selamectin and Imidacloprid.

Shampoo Your Dog

You must also shampoo the dog properly when bathing it. There are many best dog shampoos available that are specifically aimed at killing off lice and other pests on the dog’s coat.

Make sure that you only buy such products. Plus, when shampooing the dog, lather it up very well and leave it like that for a few minutes before you wash it off. This will provide you the best results when it comes to killing the lice.

Vacuum Cleaning

When your dog is infested with lice, it will shed a lot of hair, which will probably be spread over the floor. And these hairs can still contain some lice on them. As such, you need to vacuum clean your dog’s living area and ensure that all hairs have been removed from the place.

Plus, remember to dispose of the contents of the vacuum bag safely at a faraway spot to avoid any chances of lice infesting your pet again.

Sanitize Utensils

You must also sanitize and disinfect the utensils used by your dog. The lice can get on these things due to the constant contact with the dog. In the same way, the lice that exist on the utensils can also get back on the dog once the animal uses the items.

So, even if you get rid of the lice on the dog’s coat, your pet is still at risk of being infected with lice once more. By cleaning and disinfecting the utensils, you protect your dog from such immediate lice infestations.

Steam Cleaning

Finally, it is also recommended that you steam clean the room where your dog lives. This is because the lice eggs can be scattered throughout the room. And when these eggs hatch, your dog will again be at risk of lice infestation. By steam cleaning the room, you will effectively kill off any lice eggs in the room.

It is recommended that you steam clean the dog’s room once a week for about six weeks.

Originally posted 2021-05-21 18:13:26. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

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