Can People Catch Lice From Pets, and Vice-Versa?


Are dog and human lice the same and do dogs
catch human lice? And can humans catch dog lice?

Braxton County, WV

Lice are parasites that infest birds and mammals. Cats, dogs, and humans are susceptible to various species of lice.

Lice are common disease vectors. In people, they spread typhus.

Although lice are disgusting and potentially dangerous parasites, there is good news for people who live with animals. Lice are extremely species specific. This means that lice do not spread from dogs or cats to humans, or vice-versa. Humans catch lice only from other humans, dogs catch lice only from other dogs, and cats catch lice only from other cats.

If a member of your family has contracted lice, your dog is not to blame. Similarly, if your dog has contracted lice, your child is not to blame.

I have a hunch that you wrote to me because your child was diagnosed with lice (children are frequent victims of lice infestation). If this is the case, he or she probably caught them at school. The dog is not the source of the lice.

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