Can Pets Get Lice From You?

Dealing with head lice can be the biggest nuisance in your life. Seemingly small, these tiny crawling creatures can cast disastrous effects on your happiness and wellbeing. The one thing you worry about most is—one person in the house contracts lice—if it’s going to spread to everyone else. By everyone some families may be referring to other family members but for others, it includes every living being in the house, including the pets. YES, pets are an important part of the family and their health and wellbeing is of as much importance (if not more) as other members of the house. Here’s all you need to know if you’re concerned about your pets catching lice.

Lice are Species-Specific

You might think you know all there is to know about lice but we bet you didn’t know lice are species-specific. What does this have to do with spreading of this infestation? It means that they can jump from host to host if they don’t belong to the same species. So there is an exclusive population of human lice, dog lice, cat lice, and so on. As the name suggests, lice of each species can only feed on the blood of their specific hosts. If your child catches head lice from someone in school and brings an infested head home, at least your pets won’t be at risk of catching them. And it’s not very often that you’ll find dog or cat lice so you don’t have to worry a lot about them.

Lice in Pets

Lice are not a common occurrence in domestic animals like pet dogs and cats. The chances of contracting lice are higher in animals living in unhygienic conditions. Even though lice infestations are not indicative of poor hygiene in humans, it works differently in the case of animals. Even though a direct correlation between hygiene and lice in animals hasn’t been diagnosed yet, a common consensus is that sanitation has a role to play in this. It could also be because unsanitary conditions mostly exist in areas where a group of stray animals are normally found so the lice could be caught on from other animals.

The Science of It

The biological names of the two types of lice that can be found in dogs are Trichodectes canis and Linognathus setosus. However in cats you only find one kind of species and those are Felicola subrostrata. Lice attack pets in two distinct ways: to feed on their blood or chew their dead skin. Has your pet been scratching too much? That’s probably because of chewing lice because it irritates skin and can also transfer tapeworms and other diseases to them. Blood-sucking lice only do what their name suggests and can also result in immense fur loss. But as for the purposes of this piece, your pet is safe from you even if you have a full-blown infestation. In that case, it’s not your pet that needs help, it’s you. We’re a lice clinic that offers lice removal services at home and in private spaces as well. Consult our lice specialists if you feel you might have head lice.