Can Pets Get Lice From Humans?

Can Pets Get Lice From Humans?

Rather curious if you think about it. Can your pets get lice from humans? They look an awful lot like fleas and cause similar symptoms and issues like them as well. The constant itching, scratching, and raised red skin can make you think that they must all be connected right? Not quite. 

See, just because something causes a similar response on your body does not mean that it must be the same one as someone else’s let alone an animal. But it’s understandable why some would think so, and that’s why it’s important to seek information from a reliable and professional source. There’s a wealth of information at our fingertips when it comes to the internet, and sometimes the DIYs and the tips and tricks on all things head lice can seem pretty convincing. Even more so when you have never dealt with head lice before. 

At Fresh Heads Lice Removal in Jacksonville and Orlando Florida, and Savannah, Georgia, we ensure that each client and their families completely understand the complex world of head lice. This includes answering any questions they might have, including whether or not head lice can be spread to their furry friends.

Let’s Get It Out Of The Way: Can Pets Get Head Lice?

Simple answer: No. 

But that doesn’t mean pets are not subject to the pesky parasites. You might be wondering: wait…so pets can’t get head lice from me but they can still get lice?

Simple answer: yes. 

Earlier we talked about how some might equate head lice in humans to fleas, essentially that the flea is the animal-catching version of head lice. But no. Your fur babies can catch lice and they are still completely different from fleas.

What Are Head Lice?

In order to understand why pets cannot get head lice, let’s first understand the basics of what they are

Firstly, head lice are a parasite that solely survives on the blood of the scalp. They have six legs total and at the end of each are these hook-like claws that allow them to grip onto the hair shaft and move around on the scalp. 

They live on the head for about 45 days and a female head louse can lay about 6-10 nits, or eggs, a day. 

What makes head lice tricky to treat with traditional hair and scalp tools is mostly because of their physiology: size, color, and rapid reproduction rates. 

On average, head lice are the size of a sesame seed so trying to identify them in your hair with a naked eye is nearly impossible. Secondly, they tend to match the hair color of the individual they infect. In other words: super camouflage skills. 

Then you have the nits.

Nits are another word for lice eggs and they are about the size of a knot in thread. They reside about ¼ of an inch above the scalp; if you think about it, that’s really close. Trying to comb/wash away the nits is moot without the proper tools and professional advice. Although lice have six legs they cannot jump. Meaning that the most common way another person can get it is from direct head-to-head contact from a person who already has head lice. The reason is that head lice need a constant blood supply in order to survive. So living on hairbrushes, pillowcases, or towels will not provide them with a food source and they’ll eventually die within a few hours. 

So How Can Pets Get Lice From Humans?

Remember we stated earlier that pets cannot get head lice, but we emphasized that they still can get lice in general.

How is that possible? How is that not the same thing?

Because lice are species-specific.

This means that the lice humans get is not the same lice that pets get. 

In sciencey words: Humans get Pediculus humanus capitis, dogs get: Trichodectes canis and Linognathus setosus, and cats get: Felicola subrostratus. 

Think about it like this: remember in previous conversations about head lice we talked about how head lice and body lice in humans are different and therefore one does not affect the other? The same principles apply.

It’s as if each type of lice has a code and goes to that specific part of the body or living thing. 

Treatment: A General Idea

One concept that is parallel between humans and pets is the idea that if one pet has it, every other pet you have (if you have multiple) needs to be treated immediately. 

Even though the species of lice is different, the reproduction rate is still the same: really fast. So treating your pets as soon as possible to limit the severity of the condition is vital.

Initial treatment will include a topical/shampoo product that your veterinarian prescribes. Also, be advised that more than one application will be required in order to completely free your pet from adult lice and nits. It’s always best to seek care from a licensed professional to make sure your pets get the proper care and treatment that they need.

It is important to note that some treatment options for dogs are toxic to cats and they should not be present at the time of application. 

Fresh Heads Lice Removal: The Best In The Southeast

So can pets get head lice? Well, now you know the answer. 

Although we don’t treat animals at our facilities, we do understand all things lice. When we stated earlier that we want all of our clients to feel confident in our services we meant it. 

At Fresh Heads Lice Removal our services go beyond just treatments. We also offer understanding, so our clients can feel confident in not just the treatment service but also the knowledge they receive when we explain why. 

That is the Fresh Heads Lice Removal difference.

We offer an array of treatments, including our signature AirAlle which uses warm heat to kill lice and nits. For further information on additional services, pricing, and to schedule an appointment, please visit our website!

Schools Without Lice.

Schools Without Lice

At Fresh Heads Lice Removal, our mission is to get rid of lice in schools across the United States. We’ve partnered with the Lice Clinics of America to create the Schools Without Lice program. Through this program, we provide school nurses and teachers with free screenings, resources, and treatments. Together, we can have schools without lice!