Can Poodles Get Human Head Lice?

If you have a poodle that is scratching a lot and it does not have a skin condition, you might be thinking that it has lice, especially if one of your children has had head lice lately.  It is possible that there is some sort of parasitic infection in the hair of your beloved poodle, but I will explain whether or not it could be human head lice.

Can poodles get human head lice? Poodles can not become infected by human head lice.  The head lice that can live in the human scalp have evolved to survive only in the human scalp.  The level of moisture and warmth is perfect for them and they have not adapted to survive and flourish in the skin of the poodle. 

Human Head Lice Can Only Survive for 24 Hours on the Surface of Your Poodle

Human head lice thrive in the scalp of a human.  The skin temperature for a human is different from that of a poodle. It is not as if lice will be able to cling to the hair of a poodle and climb down the hair to reach the skin.  Once there, they will not feed on the blood that is just below the surface of the skin.  They will sense right away that the environment is not correct for them and leave.

Humans, on average have a temperature of 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit, while the average dog has a temperature of 102.5 degrees.

If human lice were to stay on the relatively hot skin of a poodle, they would die within 24 hours because they would refuse to feed.  That is the average length of time that they can survive without human blood.

Nevertheless, if lice were to land on your poodle, it may cling to a human that is nearby.  In other words, poodles can transfer lice to a human within that 24 hour period.  The chances are low though because lice will not likely stay on your poodle for that full period.  They will crawl off long beforehand.

If your poodle has lice, you need to use a tool that will get deep into the hair of your poodle especially if it is between grooming sessions.  I recommend the Gyj&mmm Electronic Lice Comb that is perfect for dogs. Click here to see the current pricing on Amazon.

If your Poodle has Dog Lice, Can You Become Infected?

You cannot become infected if your dog has dog lice.  Dog lice are species-specific.  They are not able to infect non-dog hosts.  Also, even if they able to infect a human, it would still be rare because dogs are rarely infected with lice.  Fleas on dogs are more prevalent.  Lice on dogs happen in rare cases where the sanitary conditions are bad.

What are the Symptoms of Dog Lice?

If you are worried that your poodle might have lice, there are some signs that you can watch out for.  Even though you can not catch lice from a dog, it is a condition that can affect the health of your poodle and you should be dealing with it as soon as possible. Here are some symptoms that your poodle might be infected:

  1. If you are brushing your poodle and you notice that there are specks of white material that remain in the brush, make sure to hit the comb on the base of your hand to remove the residue.  If the spots remain there, there is a chance that your dog has lice and you should do some further investigation.
  2. If your poodle is scratching a lot and it seems to be itchy quite often, lice may have infested your poodle.  Nevertheless, a trip to the vet is advisable to rid your poodle of its skin condition that is causing your dog to scratch.
  3. If the coat of your poodle is noticeably harder to brush.  There is a slight chance that it has a problem with lice.
  4. If you notice hair loss on your poodle, lice could be a problem.  The areas that are usually infected by lice are around the ears, shoulders, groin, neck and even the rectal areas.
  5. Most poodles will show a reaction to the bite of lice.  Lice have to penetrate the skin in order to feed on the blood.  The skin will mostly become irritated and a rash or redness will develop.
  6. If your vet has determined that your dog is anemic, one cause is an extreme case of lice which will be noticed easily by a professional. A poodle that is anemic will have the following signs: high level of tiredness, refusal to exercise, light-colored gums, or perhaps no symptoms at all.
  7. A bacterial infection that seems to reoccur can be a sign that lice are passing on bacteria to your poodle.  Also, there have been cases where a poodle will have a tapeworm since it can be transmitted by dog lice.
  8. If the coat of your poodle is drier than usual and rough in texture, there is a chance that your poodle has lice. For a dry poodle coat, I recommend the CHI Oatmeal Dog Conditioner that will rehydrate the coat and the skin.  Click here to see the reviews on Amazon.
  9. If your poodle seems to be licking itself more often, lice may be causing the skin to become itchy and your dog is trying to rid itself of the irritation.

Can Dog Lice Be Transferred to Other Pets?

You may be worried if the dog lice that your poodle has can be transferred to your other pets. You only have to worry if you have other dogs, the lice will not survive on your cats or other non-canine species.

If you have numerous dogs that are always around each other, there is a good chance that the dog lice will cling to the fur or hair of another dog or poodle.  You will need to treat your dog as soon as possible so that the contagion will not spread.

Here are some points to consider:

  1. Lice clinging to other dogs happens in crowded situations, such as when dogs share the same dog bed.
  2. Exam closely your poodle after lice treatment so that you can ensure that there are no eggs remaining that will hatch and spread the lice.
  3. A cat cannot get lice from your dog.  If they have lice is the type that survives on cats only.
  4. The nits or cluster of eggs are easy to find in your poodle especially if your poodle has white hair.
  5. Nits can be transferred to other dogs through the use of contaminated grooming items such as combs and brushes.
  6. Lice treatment has to been done three to four times. Each treatment must be done every two weeks.
  7. If you leave your poodle in a boarding kennel, check it for lice once your poodle has returned to your home.

Can Poodle Lice Live in Carpets?

If you have carpeting, you might be wondering if the dog lice can infest your carpet and then spread the lice to your other dogs. There is a chance, but it is small.  Lice can not survive without its host for more than 24 hours.  There is nothing for the lice to feed on in the carpet, they need blood to survive.

In an extreme case, the lice may survive for up to 8 hours underwater. So, if the carpeting is wet, for instance in an entry area, they will survive up to 8 hours.  In other words, there is less chance that they will be transferred to the hair of another poodle unless the poodle was to lay on the wet carpeting.

How to treat carpeting that you feel contains lice?

If you feel that there are lice in carpeting, there are a few things that you can do to prevent the spreading of the lice to your poodle and other breeds:

  1. Isolate the carpeting in an area that your dogs will not have access to.
  2. If the carpeting is too large to move, you should vacuum it thoroughly.
  3. I suggest that you change the vacuum cleaner bag after using it on this lice-infested carpet.  You want to reduce the chance that lice will be able to escape from the vacuum.

How Do Poodles Get Lice?

Learning the different ways that poodles can become infected with lice will provide you with a chance to prevent them. Here are various ways that poodles can become infected:

  1. If your poodle is in direct contact with another dog that has lice, they can be transferred if your poodle’s hair touches the hair or fur of another dog.
  2. Contaminated dog toys, especially ones that have fake or real fur can allow the lice to cling to your poodle’s hair.
  3. Taking your poodle to a kennel that allows dogs to be in the same cages increase greatly the risk of lice contamination.
  4. Allowing your dogs to share the same dog bedding.

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