While it is unlikely that a human pet can contract head lice, it is possible for your pet to be infested. Head lice live on the human body and are highly contagious. Fortunately, human lice are easy to treat with various treatments, and the same precautions should be taken to treat an infestation on a pet. The most important part of treating an infestation is removing the live lice and their eggs.
First, you should thoroughly wash any infested item. This should include clothing, bedding, and pets. Also, wash your child’s comb and hairbrush. Head lice do not survive long on a human head, so be sure to wash them too. It can take weeks before head lice have had a chance to reproduce on a pet. This is why it is important to wash your child’s belongings as soon as possible, even before treating a pet for head lice.
Head lice are not spread by contact with other humans, but they can be spread by human hair. Lice can live up to 24 hours off a human’s head, but they cannot live below the head. If a human is infested with head lice, they may transfer the lice to the animal through hair, so a pet’s hair should not contain any of the infected human hair.
Lice that live on dogs are chewing lice. They are small, flat, and yellow to tan in color. They feed on dead skin cells, dander, and gland secretions. They can also live in the openings of dogs’ body. When the head of a dog is open, you may notice a white speck.