How to Clean a Dog With Lice

Medium
1 - 2 Hours
1 Day

Introduction

Ragdoll, a Havanese mix, just came back from the groomers a few days ago. Suddenly, she is itching, biting and licking at her fur, and when her owner investigates she notices bumpy, inflamed skin. Ragdoll is whisked off to the vet where a closer examination with a magnifying glass reveals little tan-colored bugs crawling on Ragdoll's skin. Dog lice! No doubt picked up at the grooming salon from another dog or improperly cleaned grooming tools. 

The good news is that lice tend to be species-specific and dog lice do not infest humans, are not dangerous, and are treatable.  The bad news is they are uncomfortable, and getting rid of them requires some serious elbow grease on your part applied to your dog and your home to clean them up.

Dog's Perspective

If your dog has lice, he will be itchy--really itchy. You will notice him scratching at, biting, and licking his fur. If left untreated and lice begin to proliferate, your dog may eventually injure himself by scratching or biting, trying to stop the itching.  Skin around bites can also become red and inflamed, making it more prone to infections and eventually lice infections can cause hair loss, anemia, lethargy and weight loss.

The Natural Approach Method

Effective
0 Votes
Shampoo
Flea Comb
Comb
Step
1
Shampoo with anti-lice shampoo
Wash your dog's hair with a shampoo containing d-Limonene, a non toxic, citrus shampoo. This will kill adult lice.
Step
2
Manually remove nits
Comb your dog thoroughly with a fine tooth comb or lice comb. Part hair down to the skin. Pick out any nits, little white eggs, stuck to the hair shafts with the nit comb or a pair of tweezers and place them in a sealable bag for disposal.
Step
3
Repeat bathing
Repeat bathing for several days. Repeat several days of bathing again when nits hatch 2 to 3 weeks after initial infestation, to kill any lice that hatch from nits not found during the combing process.
Step
4
Clean items and pets
Wash bedding, your dog's collar, and grooming tools by immersing in water and vinegar. Inspect, monitor, and bathe any other pets present in the home who may also require treatment.
Step
5
Apply lemon juice
Boil a lemon slice in water and allow to steep overnight. After bathing, rub the lemon water on your dog to repel lice.
Recommend grooming method?

The This Means War Method

Effective
0 Votes
Flea Comb
Comb
Step
1
Comb to remove lice
Thoroughly comb your dog with a lice comb, removing adult lice and nits. Pay special attention to the neck, collar area, armpits and groin. Immerse lice in hot water to kill them and put dead lice and nits in a resealable bag for disposal.
Step
2
Clip
Shave your dog's hair short to remove hair and nits and make your dog less hospitable to lice.
Step
3
Shampoo
Shampoo with commercially available shampoos containing anti- insecticidal like organophosphates or pyrethroids. Bathing will not kill nits, lice eggs. Bathe every few days for several weeks to make sure any adults that hatch from missed nits are killed.
Step
4
Use topical treatments
Apply anti-lice powders and sprays to prevent re-infestation.
Step
5
Clean house and items
Wash bedding, grooming tools, collars and other pets. Vacuum carpets and furniture thoroughly.
Recommend grooming method?

Caution & Considerations

  • Pregnant dogs and puppies can develop toxicity from certain anti-parasitic chemicals. Consult a veterinarian if your pregnant or lactating dog or young puppies have been infested with lice. Manual and natural methods of lice removal may be necessary.
  • You may need to treat symptoms of itchiness, dry skin, and inflamed skin with anti-itch shampoos and medications, to provide your dog relief. Coconut oil, oatmeal and other natural products may help.
  • Be sure to follow manufacturer's directions on insecticidal shampoos, some require to be left on for a period of time to be effective, and correct dosage is important.
  • Make sure your dog doesn't lick off any residual shampoo. Rinse shampoo well, or if shampoo needs to remain on, use a cone or supervise your dog to prevent licking.
  • Bathing will not kill or remove nits, these need to be manually removed and bathing needs to be repeated in a few weeks when nits hatch and may cause a second infestation.
  • Monitor and treat other pets in the house.
  • Vacuum your home thoroughly and clean bedding, and your dog's items to remove lice.  Although lice usually stay on their host, some can transfer to furniture, grooming tools, and bedding.

Conclusion

Lice may be icky, but take heart, they are not dangerous and can be cleaned up with a little effort and persistence. You may need to use a combination of bathing in natural or commercial antiparasitic shampoos and manual removal of lice eggs to delouse your dog. Regular cleaning of bedding, your house, and your dog's items, will make sure that he is not reinfested. Other pets in the home are susceptible, you will need to monitor and treat them accordingly. Take heart, this too shall pass!

Success Stories and Grooming Questions

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