Can Your Pet Give You Head Lice?

Dogs and Head Lice

Enjoy your pet.. it is not likely that he or she will give you head lice!

It is VERY Unlikely that You will Get Head Lice from Your Pet

One of the most frequently asked questions about head lice is: “Can I get lice from my dog or cat?” The short answer is NO (with a little qualification).  Head lice are hearty, but they are picky. They need two things to survive: the temperature of the human head and human blood for their meals. The temperature of our house pets is not compatible with the needs of the head louse.  Occasionally a bug will crawl off a human head onto an animal but it will not stay there long as the conditions are not conducive to survival. A dog or cat is like a chair or a hat for a louse—it may be a landing platform for a short time but lice can not survive there so generally they do not want to go there. If a louse stays on the pet for a day, it will die.

Pets can be a Vector for Lice but They can not Get a Lice Infestation

While it is a rare occurrence, what this means is the family pet can carry around a bug on its body for some hours and therefore it may contribute to the spread. A blanket that has germs all over it from a sick person is considered a vector; if you pass the blanket to someone he or she may get the germs. The same principle applies to pets and lice; while the pet does not have case of lice, the pet may be a vector, carrying the bug for a few hours. In the case of head lice, about 98% of cases are passed along through direct contact from human head to another; on very rare occasions, a bug may move onto a intermediate object like a dog or cat or sofa or backpack for a few hours hoping to find a human head. Since that is a risk for the louse, usually it will stay on a human head until it finds another human head. Basically, pets offer lice nothing that will contribute to their long term survival so lice don't want to go there. In other words, pets can not get a case of head lice, but they may inadvertently act as a vector to pass it along.

LiceDoctors Long Beach Can Help You Identify and Get Rid of Head Lice

If you think you or a family member may have a case of lice, give us a call in the Long Beach area. We will come to you and check and treat you. Your pet does not need to be checked because we will leave you with a plan that will repel lice so if there is a random bug on your family pet, it will not be able to get into your hair before it dies. (Having said that occasionally a family will ask us to take a look at their pet—the most unusual request was to look at a gerbil—happily it was lice-free!). Call us today at 562-472-2848 and we will ensure that the whole family is lice-free!

Check out another article we wrote in this subject: