Lice are some sort of parasites that reside on the skin of an infected animal. Actually, they are a small insect that feeds by engulfing the blood, of the host. If you won a dog, it is paramount to known whether your dog can get this parasite for early prevention. In this article, we shall answer the major questions that every dog owner would wish to know.
Can dogs get lice?
The truth is, yes, dogs can get lice. While fleas are the common parasite for dogs, dogs can also get lice. This is mostly in a circumstance where hygienic practices are inadequate. Usually, we associate lice with human children with low hygienic standards. However, the chances that your dog gets lice in the normal situations are quite minimal.
Like stated before, lice is the most uncommon type of parasites in dogs. This is true as compared to other canine parasites like ticks and fleas. The lice infecting dogs are categorized as ectoparasites. This implies that it lives outside the body of the dog, unlike tapeworms and heartworms.
Where do lice come from?
While many dogs’ parasites have complicated life cycles, lice can undergo the whole generation on one dog. Whereas ticks and fleas can travel for long distances, lice do not. Consequently, their, major form of transmission is via physical association with other dogs. Another way may be through shared beddings or grooming accessories, mostly in multi-dog homes. Furthermore, sanitation, as well as the quality of life, plays a major role as well. Preventing dog lice is simple having in mind the situations that lead to their infestations. These include ensuring your dog avoids abnormally filthy places and that it stays away from close quarters.
Types of lice
The two dominant groups of lice that bother dogs are colloquially called “sucking lice,” and “chewing lice”. These terms describe their main feeding techniques. The chewing lice have wide heads and feed on the skin of the dog. On the other hand, sucking lice are characterized by narrow heads and feed on the lifeblood of the dog.
The lice reproduction
The female lice drop and append their eggs (also called nits) to the hair of your dog. Here, the egg will stick to the hair with the aid of a strong adhesive. After hatching, the feet of the lice are powerful enough to endure the dog’s scratching and biting. The whole life cycle of the louse starting from egg to adult takes approximately a month.
Dog lice treatment
There are various prescribed treatments for Lice possible. Some can be from your vet or the over-the-counter. The major treatments are Advantage, Revolution or Frontline.
Prior to using any kind of lice treatment, there are some things you need to do. First, bath the dog using quality canine shampoo. More so, always consult your vet before giving the dog any kind of medication. Normally, the first treatment is known to kill the adults. However, you will have to redo it after some weeks to eliminate any hatched lice. This is because the treatment does not harm the eggs.
Ensure that you wash and dehydrate everything that your dog uses. These include the dog's bedding, toys, brushes and any clothing as you treat your dog. You may need to apply a flea comb to eliminate live lice, eggs and dead lice. Additionally, any tangled hair should be trimmed. Certainly, it may take many treatments to totally eliminate the lice.
This technique mainly applied when you have more than one dog. It involved secluding the infested dog from others until it gets proper treatment. In case your dog is suffering from sucking lice, your vet may prescribe some supplement. Usually, the supplement has vitamins, iron and minerals to fight any danger of anemia.
How to get rid of dog lice
Luckily, it only takes a month to prevent lice. More so, lice are mostly present on animals that are old, ill or feral. Various insecticides are effective in getting rid of them. These are:
Nevertheless, if you own cats, be keen when using the above insecticides. The reason for this is that these insecticides are very toxic to cats. Usually, insecticides will just kill adults and nymphs. With that in mind, you will have to apply the insecticides for a month. Moreover, you should treat all dogs in the residence. This should be done regardless of the fact that they may not be showing any symptoms. Again, ensure you thoroughly wash the beddings and clean the house to stop any re-infestation.
In case you are worried, your family is definitely not at risk from the dog lice. The good news is, lice are species-specific, and thus not zoonotic. This implies that neither your kids, you, nor your cat can get lice from an infected dog. Also, your dog will never get lice from your kids. That said, keeping your dog free from lice should be quite simple. Just follow the basics in this article and your dog will be safe all the time.