Seeing your dog scratch himself you can’t stop wondering whether he has lice, and can they get transferred to you. Your first reaction will probably be to get your dog cleaned and goomed, so that you don’t expose yourself to risk.
Can dogs really transfer lice to us and are there any differences between dog and human lice? We will explain it to you in this article.
What are Lice?
Lice are parasites that live on human heads or that infect our hair. They are actually insects with 6 legs and their eggs have usually one or two claws on them. This way they can cling to your hair.
They are caused by transfer from one human to another, and they procreate by eggs or nits, that we can see on our head or scalp. They live about one month on human head and they can spread easily to other people.
Usual symptoms are itching, tickling feeling and they don’t cause any medical conditions like body lice do. Determining head lice infection is best by that itching sensation. Since eggs are hardly visible, so you can use magnifying glass or bright light to detect them.
Treatment of lice usually requires using special shampoos and conditioners. Also washing your hair regularly and even cutting it shorter to ease the treatment. To prevent lice infection from occurring again, you should avoid using combs and everything else that you used on your hair to groom it.
You should also disinfect your home and your bedding to protect yourself from possible lice eggs that fell from your hair. Medical help is also necessary because doctors will prescribe you the right treatment so you can get rid of these pests fast.
Transfer of lice from dogs to humans
Human and dog lice are not the same. Every animal has its own lice sort and they can’t get transferred from one to another. This is why human lice infection is only connected to humans. Lice found on dogs mate only between themselves and this can’t be performed with human lice. Therefore, they can’t lay eggs and reproduce on humans.
This is why you shouldn’t be afraid of lice on your dog. The only problem is that your dog might be suffering and that he needs a good treatment.
There is no threat to your home or to your children from dog lice, only for your dog so make sure to get him cleaned as soon as possible.
Noticing that your dog might have lice, is easy from your dog’s scratching. Just like human lice, dog lice cause itching and your canine friend will be scratching himself excessively if the infection is present. Other symptoms might be dry scalp, fur loss or anemia especially in smaller dogs. Tapeworms might also become a problem because this parasite is also transferred by lice.
There are two versions of dog lice. They are trichodectes canis and lingnathus setosus. They are transferred by contact from one dog to another and can’t be transferred to humans or other animals. Lice can’t fly and their mobility is restricted. They can crawl, and they usually die after few days.
This is why transfer is only possible by other infected animal. In other ways, infection is almost impossible.
Treatment of dog lice is similar to human treatment. When you suspect that your dog has lice, you should take him to the vet and he will prescribe proper treatment for your dog. You probably shouldn’t do this by yourself, because professional advice is always something you should look for first.
Treatment usually consists from sprays and shampoos. Following the treatment prescribed by your veterinarian is important because, in that case, your canine friend will get well soon.
Prevention consists from avoiding outdoors and keeping your dog away from other infected dogs. This is not always possible but try your best to achieve it. After your dog has had lice, change all of his bedding and his combs and other grooming things, because some eggs might remain.
Dogs and humans can’t transfer lice to each other. Your home and your family are safe from dog lice, and if they do get to your furniture and home, they will probably die fast. Adult lice live only few days, and after that it will die.
When your dog has lice, make sure to get proper advice from your vet and treatment. And also clean his bedding and his surroundings. His grooming tools and other things should be either replaced or cleaned thoroughly because eggs can survive longer than adult lice. They can then get transferred to your dog again, and cause another infection.
Even though lice aren’t dangerous for you and your family, make sure to help your dog because lice can cause serious dermatological conditions and also pain for your canine friend.