Pediculosis or lice are small, visible, flat, wingless and host-specific external parasitic insects that live on the skin of the dog. These tiny insects are visible by naked eyes. There are two types of lice. The first is biting lice of the Anoplura group which chew on and feed on the skin. The second is sucking lice of the Mallophaga group which feed on the blood of the dog.
Lice infestation is not as common in dogs as tick or flea infestation. These insects are very host-specific and tend to spend their entire lifecycle on the host. Transmission of lice is by direct contact with an infested pet. Unlike fleas and ticks, lice do not persist or travel in the environment. Grooming instruments may, however, serve as a source of transmission. Lice are uncommon in dogs and are usually a result of poor sanitary practices. If left unchecked, they can grow to be an infestation on the dog's body.
The most noted sign of a louse infestation is a scruffy, dry hair coat while other common signs include hair loss (specially around ears, neck, shoulders, groin, and rectal area), excessive scratching and itchiness and anemia, specially in puppies and small dogs with severe lice infestation.