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Published: Apr 28, 2011

While dogs can and do get lice…it is still an uncommon parasitic issue in dogs. It may be “on the rise” in some areas…but it is still uncommon. Common topical flea/tick products can control lice and I would focus on that. I might revise this to say:

While many pet parents are aware of the pet health risks posed by parasites and pests such as fleas and ringworm, some may not be aware that dogs are also susceptible to lice. Unfortunately, veterinarians are reporting that lice cases are on the rise, according to USA Today.

The news source reports that vets are uncertain what is causing the condition to become more common. Whereas lice were believed to only affect ill dogs living in unsanitary conditions, it seems that more well-groomed and cared for canines are suffering from the pest. According to, lice cannot jump from one dog to another as fleas do. However, the pests can be spread from animal to animal through close contact. Areas that might serve as a source of lice infestation would include breeding and grooming facilities, doggie daycare facilities, dog parks or anywhere there are large numbers of dogs.

When lice infect humans, it can be a huge effort to rid ones self and home of the bugs. The same can be said for animals - the news source reports that one woman had to move her pets out of her home and use hot water and bleach to clean all of the dog beds, bedding, collars, leashes and anything else that had touched the dog. As bedding or any grooming equipment can serve as a source of infection, it is important to clean everything carefully. More good news—lice is species specific—which means that dog lice affects dogs, cat lice affects cats, human lice affects humans. Occasionally a dog louse may show up on a human…but it won’t stay there. If a dog is affected with lice, the people in the home do not need to be treated.

Veterinarians have various techniques of treating canine lice. Some will suggest shearing the animal's fur, bathing with a special shampoo or the use of other medications or solutions. If your dog is on a topical monthly flea and tick preventative a lice infestation will be much less likely.