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Introduction to Lice

What are lice?

Lice are highly contagious parasites that are particularly common on dogs during the cooler months in Canada. Dogs are at risk from lice when they come into direct contact with an infected animal or hair from an infected animal. This can happen in dog parks, grooming and boarding facilities, doggie daycare or even a casual interaction on the street.

Can dog lice affect my family, too?

Fortunately dog lice are fussy and only live and feed on dogs. There is no risk to the rest of the family from dog lice.

How can I tell if my dog has lice?

Dogs infested with lice may be itchy or restless, and may have a rough or matted coat. Severe infestations can lead to intense scratching and hair loss from self-trauma. The nits (eggs) may be visible in the hair coat.

What should I do if I think my dog has lice?

Your veterinarian can recommend an approved veterinary product that will kill lice through contact. All dogs in the home should be treated together. Avoid using flea and tick shampoos, unless directed by your veterinarian, since these may affect the efficacy of veterinary treatments. Dogs undergoing treatment for lice should avoid contact with untreated pets until their treatment is complete since lice are highly contagious to other dogs.