If your dog has been scratching up a storm, take a look beneath the surface. Your dog might have a bad case of lice. If you thought dogs couldn't get lice, think again. Dog's don't get the same lice that affect humans, but they do get lice. There are two different types of lice that attack dogs. Those are the Trichodectes canis, or chewing lice, and the Linognathus setosus, or sucking lice. Canine lice look, and act, a lot like human lice – they're small, brown and have six legs. They also attach themselves to the hair shaft. If your dog has lice, here are three steps you can take to get rid of the disgusting pests.
Give Your Dog a Bath
If your dog has lice, you'll need to bathe it with medicated shampoo as soon as possible. Lice-removal shampoo is available at most pet supply stores. Fill a bathtub with warm water and let your dog soak in it for a few minutes. Lather your dog up with the medicated shampoo and allow it to soak in for about 5 minutes. Rinse your dog with clean, warm water and remove it from the tub. Towel dry your pet. Comb your dog's fur using a lice removal comb. Repeat the process about once a week until the lice are completely gone. If you have several dogs, be sure to treat each one with separate baths.
Soothe the Itch
If lice are making your dog scratch till its skin bleeds, you'll need to stop the itch. You can do that by giving your dog a dose of over-the-counter liquid antihistamine. You can use the same medication you give your kids. If the over-the-counter medication doesn't stop the itch, talk to your veterinarian about stronger relief.
Treat the Bedding
Just because you've treated your dog doesn't mean the lice are gone. They could still be hiding in your dog's bedding. If your dog's bedding is small enough, toss it in the washer and wash it on the hottest setting. If washing your dog's bedding is out of the question, you'll need to throw it away and start fresh. If you have pet crates, wash them down with a bleach solution. Fill a spray bottle with water and add about ½ cup of bleach. Spray the crate and wipe it down with a clean cloth.
If your dog has a bad case of lice, you'll need to act fast. Use the tips provided here to get rid of the lousy pests. For more advice, contact an animal hospital like Stewartstown Vet Services.