Does Dog Shampoo Kill Lice?

Both humans and dogs can experience lice. Lice are exclusive to each species so your dog could never ‘infect’ you with lice and vice versa.

Lice are more common in places with a lower hygiene level. They also tend to appear in the colder months instead of during the hotter times of the year.

If your dog is scratching himself more often than he used to, or he is doing it more aggressively than before, he might have lice. There are several ways to get rid of dog lice and we are going to take a look at one of them. Does dog shampoo kill lice?

This site is reader-supported and we earn commissions if you purchase products from retailers after clicking on a link from our site. As an Amazon Associate, we earn from qualifying purchases. We thank you for your support.
dog shampoo for lice

What Are Lice and Why Are They a Problem For Dogs

What are Lice?

Lice are a species of parasites that live on the hair of animals and feed on their blood. Female lice can lay six eggs per day. These eggs take about a week to hatch. Baby lice are called nymphs and they take another week to mature into adult lice.

Male adult lice feed on blood through the skin a few times a day, while female adult lice feed more rarely, but they produce eggs on a daily basis.

Types of lice

There are two major types of lice. They are chewing lice and sucking lice.

Chewing lice do exactly that. They chew. You can find them around the head and tail area of your dog. They like to hang around moist places.

Sucking lice are less painful for your dog and their favorite area is the neck. They prefer hiding under your dogs’ collar, but it’s not uncommon for them to start roaming around their whole body if left unchecked.

Signs of Lice Infestation in Dogs

Our beloved pups will experience a lot of suffering and uneasiness if they get lice and aren’t treated immediately. In addition to irritated scratching all of the time, which may cause them to damage their skin, they will also act anxious, worried, or sometimes even aggressive.

If you notice any of the unusual behavior described above you should check your pup for black and brown dots. If you find those, it’s quite possible that they are lice eggs. Don’t try to remove them because they are literally ‘glued’ to the hair until they hatch. Instead, take your dog to a veterinarian who will diagnose them and prescribe a treatment.

If you just ignore the symptoms, your dog could get seriously hurt. A lice infestation seems like a small problem but it can exponentially grow and start doing some serious damage.

Anemia, lethargy, weight loss, poor vital signs are some of the conditions that may develop if the infestation becomes severe. For that reason, you should treat your puppy as soon as you notice any worrisome symptoms.

Does Dog Shampoo Kill Lice?

Yes! Your veterinarian is most likely going to tell you which type of shampoo you should buy, but if you can’t visit a vet right now let’s take a look at what you can do to help your dog.

Dog shampoos are can make your dog’s skin less itchy, make their hair really soft, and help with unpleasant odors on your pup.

Dog shampoos specially designed to kill lice, fleas, and other similar parasites are professionally called ‘Topical Treatments’. It is the most effective way of removing this type of health hazard.

Step By Step Guide to Treating Your Dog For Lice

Step 1

Get a proper dog shampoo for lice. You should look for products that contain powerful ingredients like imidacloprid, and selamectin. Pyrethroid and lime sulfur are also some of the things that you’re looking for when reading the ingredient list.

Our recommendation is the Adams Flea and Tick Cleansing Shampoo. It is specifically formulated to kill lice, fleas, and ticks. It will clean and deodorize your pup all while killing those nasty lice. A few years ago my pooch had a lice problem and we used this to help him get rid of the infestation. It worked quickly and left our boy smelling clean and fresh.

Another superb product is the Arava Natural Medicated Shampoo. It is manufactured with Dead Sea materials that treat skin problems and irritations including hot spots, infections, and inflammation caused by lice. Despite its antibacterial components, it is still mild and moisturizing on your dog’s skin.


Some of the shampoos on the market aren’t safe for pregnant dogs, young dogs & specific dog breeds. Make sure to consult your veterinarian if you’re planning to buy a strong brand of shampoo.

Step 2

Shave off their fur. Don’t worry, it will grow back and your dog won’t feel naked in front of you, those types of problems are reserved for humans only. Shaving them will help you reach the skin easier when applying the shampoo. Also, it will remove any lice and eggs that aren’t attached to the skin but the hairs only.

Step 3

Make sure to give your dog a bath every day. After their fur has been shaved off, the remainder of lice will be living on their skin.

Make it a sponge bathe and use the shampoo you have bought. First, wash your dog with lukewarm water and then apply the shampoo. Gently rub his skin with your sponge and make sure not to apply too much shampoo.

After 10 minutes have passed you can wash off the shampoo and help your dog out of the bath.

Make sure to repeat this process for approximately three weeks, or read the product instructions after you buy the shampoo.

Say Goodbye to Dog Lice!

Lice in dogs are easy to treat unless you ignore them and let the infestation become severe. If you notice your dog displaying some of the symptoms we mentioned, take him to a veterinarian for a check-up.

There are some great dog shampoos which can kill lice and they are one of the preferred methods for dealing with this problem, meaning your vet will also prescribe you a similar treatment.

It is easier if you shave your dog first and then wash him regularly until the lice are gone. If you’re using the right product, the lice will be gone in less than a month.

For more on how to keep your pup clean, see our article on a Homemade Dog Shampoo for Odor.