Dog lice treatment 101: Does dog shampoo kill lice?

Dog lice treatment 101 Does dog shampoo kill lice

Human hair and dog hair are different but both can experience lice. A louse ( the singular term for lice) is a tiny parasite that settles on the hair and skin. It is species specific, so the lice in human hair are not the same as the lice that live on a dog’s coat.

What are the symptoms that indicate your dog may have lice? What can be done to treat it? Does a dog shampoo kill lice?

A dog lice infestation is a plague known as canine pediculosis wherein lice feed on the skin of the dog. These parasites eat the dog’s blood, which potentially leads to skin irritation, itch, and anemia.

Dogs experience uneasiness and might be weakened in time if this condition is left untreated. No one wants their dog to suffer from a lice infestation.

We only want the best for our pooches, which is why we search for an effective treatment for dog lice infestation. Veterinarians frequently tell pet owners that the application of medication is the treatment and not just mere washing.  So, what are the medications? Does a dog shampoo kill lice?

Does a dog shampoo kill lice?

There are different treatments for dog lice infestations that are easy and effective. Dog shampoos provide the right level of pH for a dog’s skin, relieve itch and irritation, and detangle and smoothe the hair.

Some dog shampoos available in stores today can kill lice and prevent them from coming back. Search for the active ingredients like lime sulfur, pyrethroid, and pyrethrin listed on the label.

Examples of good dog shampoos are Nootie Medicated Dog Shampoo, 4-Legger Certified Organic Dog Shampoo, DakPets Dog Shampoo and Conditioner, and Nootie Oatmeal Dog Shampoo with Soothing Aloe. Read the labels and user reviews to know more about the effectiveness of each dog shampoo.

There are also lice treatment medications for more serious infestations. These are fripronil, imidacloprid, and selamectin.

Guide to applying treatments for dog lice

To easily apply a treatment for dog lice, you may want to shave your dog’s coat. This way you can directly apply the treatment to the exposed skin.

It is important to consider that topical treatment should be applied more than once. Dog lice have a longer life cycle. The adult female lice have a 4-week lifespan and produce eggs every day. The eggs hatch in 1 to 2 weeks, then become fleas, until they eventually become full-grown adults that lay eggs. This is why it is more effective if you apply dog shampoos and other treatments more than once a day.

You should also treat your dog’s beddings, toys, grooming tools, and other objects that may have been infected with dog lice. Refrain from leaving your dog in pet shelters or a grooming facility as lice may also originate from these places.

Why do dogs experience lice infestations?

Lice get onto a dog’s hair and skin in different ways. They can come from another pet with whom your dog had direct contact. They may also come from objects that are infected with lice.

Lice can come from parks, grooming facilities, and dog shelters. If your dog shares beddings, furniture, or any objects with another pet, your dog has an increased tendency for lice infestation.

One misconception about dog lice is that they also may come from humans. Lice are parasites that are specific to species. Human lice can’t live on dogs, and dog lice can’t live on humans.

Signs of a dog lice infestation

At times, you may notice that your dog scratches often or acts uneasy or worried. Itch and irritation are the number-one sign of a dog lice infestation. When this happens, examine your pet’s fur for any adult louse or eggs.

You may also take your dog to a veterinarian for a diagnosis. A sample of skin or fur will be taken and looked at under a microscope for nits and adult lice. Lice are usually found on the head, shoulders, tail, and groin area because they like moist areas and near the abrasions or the anus.

There two kinds of dog lice: sucking lice and chewing lice. Chewing lice hold onto and chew a dog’s skin using their huge mouths, while sucking lice have claws and narrow mouth parts.


You might well be worried if you find lice in your dog’s fur. A lice infestation is common to dogs, but it is easily treated with dog shampoos and other medications. It is important to get your dog treated to ensure their welfare and give them the comfortable life you want for them.

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