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How to Get Rid of Dog Lice?

Updated on May 25, 2023 by Patricia Thompson

We all used to have a classmate in school who used to sit in a corner, and whenever you saw her, she scratched her head in annoyance. Everyone used to avoid her.
That poor little girl.
Rude, but it’s easy to avoid someone outdoors.
But what if they stay at your home?
Obviously, kicking your family member out just because of lice might be too much. Well, one can think that they will be a human, not your dog.

When lice or even monsters begin to reside on our dog, getting rid of them becomes challenging. So, you need to look out for other ways. Basically, “How to get rid of lice on dogs?” Read this blog to get your answer.

How to get rid of dog lice?

Can Dogs Get Lice?

Instead of direct jumping for a remedy, many of you must be thinking:

“Can my dog get lice?”

Well, the straightforward answer is yes. Dogs do get lice. You don’t need a microscope to check lice on your dog. Puppy lice are very much visible to the naked eye. Many times bugs are mistaken for lice. Though, lice are petite-sized and brown critters.

It is hard to distinguish between lice vs dandruff. The main difference between both is dandruff falls off by shaking, and lice won’t come quickly.

Lice bite cause itchiness and led to roughness in the coat of your poach. Other than this, you can spot lice on dogs by following signs:

  • Your dog will always feel uneasy and restless.
  • Due to the inhibition of lice for a more extended period, your dog can become anemic.
  • You will find fallen hair strands of your dog all over your house.
  • Minor wounds like markings all over your dog’s body.
  • Your dog will become a house for other infections too.

Where do lice come from?

It is a very obvious query about lice’ origin. Well, just like human lice, Puppy lice come from other infected animals. However, if not from a directly infected animal, it might be a chance that your dog got lice from bedsheets or dog collars, combs, bathing accessories, etc., from an already infected animal. Most dogs get these dog lice from dog parks, dog pools, dog shows, etc., where the chance of dogs gathering is much.

However, lice cannot fly or jump, which is why they have more limited movement.

It’s easy to confuse louse with fleas. When it comes to flea vs lice, look for the primary difference which is speed and color. Lice are lighter than fleas, and when it comes to pace, fleas manage to disappear even before you get their glimpse. On the contrary, lice are sluggish and slow.

What are lice in dogs?

Lice belong to the insect class. They are flat and wingless with three pairs of legs and choose birds and mammals both as their host.

Now here comes the question of how they cling or could be said reside on their host’s body. Thanks to their claws. With the help of long claws at the end of their legs lice, they hang to the hair shafts of dogs. Lice can live on skin debris, the wings of birds, or even the blood of an animal.
There are two types of lice:

Chewing louse:
Chewing lice belong to Trichodectes canis. They reside on dogs’ fur and survive by chewing with their specialized mouth parts.

Sucking Louse:
Linognathus setosus is considered a sucking louse. As the name suggests, they are bloodsuckers and reside on dogs’ fur. Sucking louse is most common in long hair dog breeds and survives even in cold climates.

The louse life cycle consists of the egg, nymph, and adult stages. If a louse egg comes in contact with the dog’s hair, it will take at least three weeks to enter the adult stage and reproduce to form other colonies.

What is the fastest way to get rid of dog lice?

Knowing that your dog is in immense pain, the first thing that comes to mind is to relieve their pain as soon as possible. You have to follow a proper lice removal process.

We will try to break dog lice treatment into three sections:

  • Treatment
  • Decontamination of surrounding
  • Isolation

Let’s discuss these, one by one:


The first thing that comes to anyone’s mind is insecticides; Right?
Well, let’s break the bubble for you. Simple insecticidal application is never enough as:

  • Insecticides are unable to break the eggshell and kill the nymph. That is why insecticides only work for adult lice.
  • Due to the dense coat of dogs, insecticides don’t last for a longer time, so they have limited effect.

Well, with a correct application along with other measures and products, you can get rid of Lice on dogs.

  • Apply insecticidal shampoo at least once a week for one to two months. Always choose pyrethrins or organophosphates containing shampoo and read their directions to use before applying. Leave the product for at least 10 minutes on the coat before washing.
  • You can apply the Advantage/Advantage Multi topical like imidacloprid every two weeks for a straight one and half months while bathing your pup.
  • Selamectin, revolution is antiparasitic. It is not specifically for lice; however, it shows excellent results if applied every two weeks. You can carry a minimum of 3 treatments to see the results.
  • People who want to avoid insecticides can use lime-sulfur dips as a substitute for insecticides. Apply it for at least six weeks for long-lasting results. However, sulfur dips have the disadvantage of foul odor and temporary yellow stains on dogs’ fur.
  • Grooming is the primary part of pet care. A good quality flea comb can help you to remove dead lice after the treatment. Don’t forget to clean the comb after using it. Use flea shampoo or insecticide to disinfect the comb.


  • Don’t use Permethrins products if you have a cat along with your pup in your house. Instead of killing cat lice, permethrin products can be toxic for your cat.
  • Read instructions and ingredients before using any product. Look out for another product in case your puppy is allergic to any ingredient.
  • Consult your dog’s vet before choosing any product.

Decontamination of Surroundings

Wash all the sheets, mattresses, pillows, and your puppy’s clothes with hot water. Disinfecting grooming kit can work; however, it’s better to use a new comb every time you carry out the lice removal process.

You can clean your bedding, sofa, and home furniture wherever your dog primarily resides to avoid a re-infestation


Until you are not entirely convinced that your pup is free from lice, avoid your dog bringing in any gathering where they will contact other puppies. It’s best for your dog and other dogs too.

We understand sitting all day indoors can be a little irritating for your dog. So you can take your dog to early walks when chances of contact are minimum.

Can Humans Get Dog Lice?

No matter how yummy you are, dog lice won’t change their diet preference for you. Jokes apart, the actual dog lice won’t infest you. Lice are species-specific. A human louse is very different from a dog louse. It is a chance that if a dog louse comes in contact with you, it can bite and try to feed on your blood; however, it cannot grow a whole colony on you. So, don’t worry, and stop yelling after seeing a louse on your dog and help your dog get rid of them.


We are not blaming you, but mostly louse infection results from a less cared dog. Even if your dog caught lice, it’s not too late. You can improve the condition of your furry ball by giving them proper nutrition, maintaining hygiene inside the house, and properly following the treatment as mentioned earlier. Lice rarely target a healthy pup, and that’s why aged and ill dogs are easy to attack. We recommend you care extra if you are a sick or aged pup parent.

About the Author

Patricia Thompson
Patricia Thompson
Patricia Thompson is a highly skilled clinical psychologist with over five years of expertise in the field. She possesses extensive knowledge and experience in using clinical guidance and providing recommendations for emotional support animals (ESAs) as a form of treatment for mental illness. Patricia's profound understanding of the therapeutic benefits of ESAs enables her to offer valuable insights and practical advice to individuals seeking emotional support. In addition to her clinical practice, Patricia also writes for Fast ESA Letter, sharing her expertise and advocating for the importance of ESAs in mental health care.

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