Can pets get lice? Pets do not carry head lice as what others believe. Lice are a species-specific parasite and only feed off their chosen species. So, while a human’s head lice may pass to you, your pet will not be infected.
Lice have an incomplete life cycle. The eggs hatch into nymphs, which then go through several molts to become adults. The complete cycle is approximately 3 to 4 weeks depending on the environment.
Can Kids and Pets Give Each Other Head Lice?
“Can pets get lice?” “Can you kids and your pets give each other head lice?” Some people believe that pets can transfer lice to kids and vice versa. Human lice only feed on the blood of humans, and animal lice feed on animal blood for the lice to survive. Kids could only get head lice from school or other places where they interact with other kids, and your pets could only get from their environment and other animals—so no need to separate your kids from your pets.
What are the Signs that the Pets have Lice?
We have to be aware all the time of the health of our pets. We should be very attentive, so we will know if our pets are already infested with lice. Following are the signs that our pet has lice:
- Scratching and itchiness
- Rough, dry, or matted coat
- Hair loss, specifically around ears, neck, shoulders, groin, and rectal regions
- Small wounds or infections from bites by sucking lice
- Anemia, in extreme cases
If we see some of the above signs, we should consult a vet for proper treatment.
Can Lice Live on Dogs and Cats?
Aside from your question, “Can pets get lice?” I know you would also like to ask if lice can live on your dogs and cats. Human lice can’t live on dogs and cats, but their specific lice can. Lice are species-specific, which means there are different types of lice for different kinds of animals.
For example, your child comes home from playing, and now itching and scratching his/her head non-stop, it only means another kid transmitted lice on your child, but your child’s lice will not transmit on your pet, and vice versa. It means human-to-human and animals-to-animals.
Dog lice affect dogs. Cat lice affect cats. Rarely, a dog or cat louse might end up on a human, but it doesn’t stay there.
What Causes Lice?
Lice are transmitted when two animals are close enough for the parasites to get onto another host. Sharing grooming kits is also another way of transferring the lice to another pet. Transmission may occur in but not limited to, the following:
- Pet stores
- Pet adoption centers
- Pet daycares
- Pet shows
- Dog parks
How to Get Rid of Lice?
I already answered your question, “Can pets get lice?” It is now time to get rid of lice. If we notice that our pet is scratching and we suspect lice causes the itching, we need to bring our pet immediately to the veterinarian because it may be serious. Lice like fleas make our pet feel itchy; however, they require slightly different treatment.
There are medications available in the pharmacy, but it would be better to get the expert’s advice to ensure safety and avoid further complications.
There are at-home treatments that are safe and non-toxic and work quite well, like the lime-sulfur dip. It may also be helpful to use practice the following:
- Use a mild shampoo and a fine-toothed comb
- Sanitized comb after each use
- Dispose of any bedding, brushes, and other things that a pet infected with lice had used
- Keep the infected pet with other pets while on treatment
Now that we answered your question, “Can pets get lice?” It is now time to take care of our pets. It is like taking care of ourselves. We should always look after their safety, health, and needs. Keeping your pets sanitized would not just make them smell good and beautiful but will spare you from unnecessary expenses due to sickness. Lice can be easily transmitted from animal to animal, which can affect our pets seriously. To prevent this from happening, here are some tips to remember:
- Keep your pets in clean locations
- Make sure that bedding is washed/changed regularly
- Avoid allowing close contact with scratching pets
- If you take your pet for grooming, ask how the grooming equipment is cleaned/sanitized in between clients.