What is Dog Lice?

Dog lice is a rare condition in which one of two types of lice latch onto a canine and begin a colony, using your dog's blood or dead skin for nutrition.
They are generally quite small, growing a maximum of one-twelfth of an inch in length. They are flat in shape, and move very slowly. The parasites themselves are grey, and have no wings.

How can I keep my dog from becoming infected?

As mentioned earlier, lice is rare among dogs, and not something that requires constant inspection. However there are a few measures you can take to help prevent the contraction of lice. Try not to share grooming supplies with other dog owners, as this is one of the more common ways lice is contracted. If your dog comes into contact with a strange dog, make sure to give them a visual inspection. If you have to leave your dog at a kennel or at a friend's house, inspect your dog after bringing them home. If you can catch lice early, before they breed, it will save you a lot of trouble.

How can I tell if my dog has been infected?

One external sign of lice on a dog is excessive scratching. If you think your dog may have been infected by lice, take a comb and go through their fur. They will either be attached to the hair follicles, or directly on your dogs skin. You may see eggs as well, which are small, white and usually sticky. Lice are small, but can be seen by the human eye. They look like little black dots with a clear lining over them. They may resemble dirt, since they do not move frequently. If you are in any way unsure about if your dog has lice, take your dog to a professional groomer and they will be able to identify if your dog is infected.

What can I do if my dog has become infected with lice?

If you have confirmed that your dog has indeed contracted lice, you have a couple of treatment options available. There are many over-the-counter lice shampoos available at many stores that will clear up the infestation. Likewise, some professional groomers are able to remove lice for you, if you are unable or unwilling to do so yourself.

Whatever you do, it is important to be consistent and thorough to prevent the chance of lice coming back.

Next article: What Causes Lice On Dogs?