Despite the best efforts of a handler to keep his or her protection dog clean, infestations of fleas, ticks or lice are sometimes inevitable. Luckily, lice is fairly uncommon among dogs in North America. However, the possibility of infestation still exists, and it is important to know what to look for, and what steps to take in the event that your dog does get lice.
While lice is commonly known as a human affliction, the type of lice that affect dogs is different, and cannot live off of humans. Just like fleas and ticks, dog lice can cause intense skin irritation and often carry serious diseases. However, unlike energetic fleas, dog lice move slowly and cannot jump or fly. While dog lice is different from the lice that affects humans, the symptoms and methods of treatment are largely the same. A dog with lice will scratch noticeably often, and will often be distracted by the irritation of its skin. Upon parting the dog’s fur, you may find small white particles attached to the strands. These particles are eggs, and are the tell-tale sign of a lice infestation.
Luckily, lice in dogs is fairly easy to treat. An insecticide spray or bath is often enough to rid your protection dog or guard dog of the infestation, although your veterinarian may recommend that you dog have its fur shaved. If you have a German Shepherd puppy, or Belgian Malinois puppy, you should consult your veterinarian for treatment advice before using insecticide sprays or baths. Finally, your dogs bedding and brushes should be replaced in order to prevent risk of reinfection.