Stubborn and annoying lice on your dog can be worrisome. If you have school-age children, you might hear about lice each school year. Thankfully, those lice cannot thrive on your dog, but she is vulnerable to her own variety of skin-plaguing lice. They are just as annoying for you and for your dog, making her incredibly uncomfortable and itchy. Lice can leave your dog's skin dry. And lice can reproduce rather quickly, infesting your dog in no time.
Though lice are not typically common with household dogs, your dog could contract lice by contact through other dogs who are infested or simply by playing outside in public areas such as dog parks. If your dog is in a doggie daycare or if you take your dog hiking through nature, there's always a chance your dog could bring home lice. However, you can prevent lice by caring for your dog and paying a little extra attention to his skin and coat.
Causes and Prevention of Lice in Dogs
Because lice are not typically found on household animals who are kept well-groomed and clean, if your dog has had lice before you might worry about the stubborn critters returning. The best way you can prevent a parasite such as lice is to keep your dog as healthy as possible.
Diet and Immune Support
Starting with a healthy, high protein, high-quality diet, your dog’s immune system will be stronger, and their overall health will be better at keeping infestation such as lice down to a minimum. With a strong immune system and a healthy diet, your dog's skin will be healthier, their coat will be softer and smoother, and it will be more difficult for something like lice to cause huge problems for your dog.
Be sure to keep your dog's fur well-maintained and groomed. A professionally trained groomer will notice skin issues on your dog and be able to advise on products such as shampoos and detergents to use on your dog. Maintaining a clean and well-groomed coat will help prevent lice on your dog. If you are paying close attention to your dog’s skin and coat, you will be able to see any lice and comb them out before the infestation begins.
Keep your dog away from unsanitary places and animals. If your dog spends a lot of time outdoors, be sure to stay with him and know where he is and what he may be getting into. Check your dog parks for cleanliness. If the park is unsanitary, owners are not picking up after their dogs, the grass is not maintained, or if the park is not kept clean, you might want to find a different place for your dog to socialize. Lice will thrive on dogs who live and play in unsanitary places. Avoid dogs who appear unkempt and unclean. If you send your dog to a doggie daycare, ensure it is clean and sanitary for your dog. Keeping your dog away from areas and other dogs which may harbor lice is the best preventive measure you can take in preventing lice. Though your dog can pick up parasites on a hiking trail or even in your backyard, it is more likely he will get lice from another dog who is extremely dirty and carrying lice. Leash walking your dog is a great form of exercise for you and your dog, so do take your dogs out. Just steer clear of areas that are dirty or where stray animals congregate while with your dog.
At home, be sure to keep your dog’s bedding clean. Vacuum and clean carpets and fabrics within your home. And wash and sanitize your dog’s brushes and grooming tools to ensure their personal areas are clean and free of lice.
Finally, you can talk to your veterinarian about preventive medicines for lice. Your veterinarian can offer a topical preventive medication if you suspect your dog may come into contact with other dogs who have lice. Many flea and tick control and preventive medicines can also prevent lice. You can also purchase shampoos for treating lice. Some of these shampoos, if used on a regular basis, can also prevent lice from infesting your dog. Because keeping your dog in a clean environment and well-maintained and groomed is your best preventive measure against your dog contracting lice, talk to your veterinarian about shampoos and grooming materials you can use to prevent lice on your dog.
Importance of Prevention
If you can prevent lice from finding a happy home on your dog, you can certainly prevent discomfort, itching, scratching, and dry, scaly skin on your dog. Your dog will be happier and you will have to worry less about washing your dog’s bedding, sanitizing grooming tools and brushes, and having the lice spread to other dogs in your home.
Prevention Through Good Care
Though lice are not always preventable, you can do things to ensure that lice, which are attracted to dirty, unsanitary conditions, are not something that will be attracted to your dog. Keep your dog healthy in clean and safe environments and well-groomed, and the problem of lice should not be one that you and your dog have to face.
Remember, lice are not typically found on well-groomed dogs who live in clean environments. Though your dog may come in contact with lice and you may have to provide treatment, it is unlikely, if your dog is cared for and loved and living in a clean home away from stray dogs, he will come in contact with lice. Most of the preventive measures for lice, such as flea and tick control, brushing your dog, keeping your dog well-groomed, along with washing their bedding, vacuuming your floors, and cleaning your home are all things that responsible pet owners do anyway.