Do dogs get lice? If so, how and from where do they get lice? What about Labradoodles? Can Labradoodles get lice?
Yes, there have been instances reported by Labradoodle owners of infestation of lice. One way to tell is if you notice your pet scratching itself frequently. You, however, need to keep in mind that Labradoodles, if properly groomed like other breeds, will not have lice accumulate on them.
This article will answer those questions and give you further insight into how you can avoid dog lice in your Labradoodle.
Can Labradoodles Get Lice?
There are perhaps many questions running in your mind. If you are rearing a dog for the first time, it is even more important to know about your pets’ lice and how you can manage and eliminate dog lice.
What Does Dog Lice Look Like?
Dog lice are about 2 to 4 millimeters long, roughly the size of a sesame seed. In terms of appearance, they are flat, hence sometimes mistaken as dead skin flakes or dandruff. A typical dog louse is wingless and has six legs.
The colors of dog lice are generally medium brown, tan, and yellow. You can easily distinguish them from ticks. While dog lice are lighter in color, ticks are darker, almost black.
Upon closer observation, you would also notice it has hook-like strong claws at each leg’s end. These claws evolve according to the size of the strand of fur. They are used to cling to the dog fur firmly. As the claws are tailor-made for the fur, dog lice are also species-specific. Dog lice feed on blood, dead skin cells, and sebaceous secretions of the host.
Types of Dog Lice
Based on how they feed, there are two types of dog lice: the chewing lice and the sucking lice.
The chewing lice have a blunt and flathead. They do not pierce the skin but fed on secretions or flakes on the surface of the dog’s skin. There are two types of chewing lice found on dogs and other canine breeds- Trichodectus canis and Heterodoxus Spiniger.
Trichodectus canis is common worldwide and is known to stay on its host for 30 days. Heterodoxus Spiniger is found mostly in the tropical regions though researchers have also found it in Southeastern Mexico dogs.
The sucking lice are known as legnognathus setoesus. Unlike chewing lice, they are characterized by sharp mouth and found mainly in tropical and subtropical regions Asia, Africa, and North and South America.
Sometimes you might mistake the eggs for dry skin flakes. One way to find out is by shaking the hair. If it falls off, it is a flake. If not, they are more likely to be lice.
How do Dogs Get Lice?
Both the chewing and sucking lice movement is limited to simply moving around like ticks or crawling. Unlike ticks, dog lice cannot leap or fly. The transmission of lice from one dog to another occurs when there is direct contact with an infected dog. For example, your dog could get it from playing with another dog at the dog park.
The other way dog lice can spread is to share contaminated dog items like bedding, dog collar, boarding kennels, or parks. It is also advised to keep separate grooming tools for your dog or dogs, and the grooming tools can also act as a medium to transmit lice.
Can Humans Get Dog Lice?
The answer is a no. Remember, dog lice are breed-specific, and the legs are generally tailor-made for their host. Considering this, it is improbable that dogs can transmit lice to humans. The human head is not the ideal environment for it to thrive.
Why is Dog Lice Harmful?
As dogs cannot transmit their lice to humans, they are harmful to themselves and not humans. If you notice your dog has lice, don’t take it lightly. Lice are known to be relentless, and if you do not take timely action, you could risk your dog losing all its fur.
One of the first signs to look out for is frequent scratching due to intense itchiness. This makes the dog restless. This scratching can cause wounds which are again susceptible to bacterial infections caused by sucking lice. You would also notice that their coat is no longer smooth but rough and matted.
The most distressing sign for a pet owner can be hair loss in the rectal and groin areas and even around the shoulders, neck, and ears.
How to Groom Labradoodles?
If you regularly groom your Labradoodle, it is highly unlikely that it would have lice. Stray and sick dogs are more likely to have lice.
There are dog grooming kits that are available in pet stores. You can get hold of one and get a veterinarian to explain to you how to use them and the kind of grooming required to remove lice.
When treating a dog that has lice, the first thing to look out for is matted hair. Clip them as they serve as the perfect breeding ground for eggs, and lice are also likely to attach themselves to the rough hair.
Next, you could try using a flea comb to brush your dog’s hair to remove lice. The flea comb, however, will not suffice to brush off eggs attached to the fur. To avoid spreading the lice to other dogs, you should always dip the comb in dog shampoo or insecticide for at least 10 minutes.
Various insecticides are safe for your dog, and you can use them to remove lice. Some known insecticides are topical permethrin, spinosad, selamectin, imidacloprid, fipronil. However, it is better to seek the help of a veterinarian before using an insecticide as they can be harmful to other pets or even the dog under treatment.
The process of treatment should be continued regularly till the dog is free of lice. Lastly, ensure to wash all the dog belongings in hot water to decontaminate them and prevent re-infestation.
Dogs have lice, but if you know how to groom your dog well, it will stay free of lice!
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