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If you have been a victim of a bed bug infestation in the past, you would probably never want to go through this experience ever again.
So, it’s completely normal to wonder if you have a dog: “Is it possible for my home to get infested because of my pet?” This question brings many more with it. And in this article, I will try to answer all of them, like if bed bugs can travel by dog, whether the pests are dangerous for their health, and how to manage in the case of infestation.
What are Bed Bugs?
Bed bugs are parasites (also known by their scientific name Cimex lectularius L) that sustain themselves with blood from warm-blooded animals. They prefer humans but if the need presses, they will not hesitate to change their menu and go to your pets.
However, unlike fleas and lice, they attach to their host only to eat and after that, they leave again.
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Adult bed bugs are about 5-7 mm long and flat, visually similar to an apple seed. Their shape and size help them a lot when hiding and in escaping the human eye. They will sneak into every wall crack, inside the memory foam of your pillow, and even behind paintings in your home.
Are Bed Bug Bites Harmful to Human and Dogs?
Even though bed bugs are typically found in proximity to human beds, as they prefer to feed on human blood, they may latch onto other food sources if they are desperate.
However, this is as far as they will go. Bed bugs do not like living in dog fur, so it’s very unlikely that they would travel to turn your furry friend into a permanent home. In summary, bed bugs can and will bite your dog, but they will not live or travel long distances on it.
What Signs Of An Infestation Should I Look Out For?
- Dark red stains from bed bug and blood;
- Skins and exoskeletons from grown bugs;
- Unpleasant smell around the infested items.
What Should I Do If I Find Bed Bugs?
If you have strong evidence that there is indeed a bed bug infestation in your dog’s belongings, check the whole house, as well. 2, 3 specimens are more than enough to cause a full-on infestation, so from now on, proceed with caution.
- Get rid of the infested bed by wrapping it in a plastic bag or sheets, and don’t forget to label it.
- Buy a flea or bed bug dog shampoo and give your dog a nice long bath.
- Deep clean the whole area, best with a steam cleaner.
- Reach out to a professional pest controller.
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Do Bed Bugs Bite Dogs And What Are The Signs To Look For?
As we’ve mentioned before, in times of hunger, bed bugs will not hesitate to feed on something different than a human. If you have doubts, there are certain signs that will tell for sure if your pet is a victim of a bed bug attack.
The symptoms are the same as in humans – red markings on the skin, rashes, and blisters. You will notice your dog scratching, biting and licking itself more than usual.
The irritation is just as painful for them, as it is for us. The bites turn into small red pimples and are usually located in areas where the skin is softer and the bugs’ access to blood is a lot easier.
You should also thoroughly examine your dog’s belongings for the signs we’ve mentioned above, such as dried blood, bugs’ excreta, and carcasses. Sometimes even excessive shedding could occur.
Last but not least, of course, are the actual bed bugs. If you notice a brown apple seed, moving around on a pillow, toy or your dog’s bed, then it’s most certainly an adult bed bug looking for food.
Are Bed Bugs Dangerous For My Pet’s Health?
Bed bugs are not the type of pest that carries any dangerous diseases. Not only for your dog but for humans, as well.
However, there are cases, in which victims of bed bug bites develop an allergic reaction, which on its own can turn into something more dangerous.
How To Prepare For A Professional Bed Bug Treatment?
Now that you know the general signs of a bed bug infestation, you can make an investigation on your own, to make sure that you are not the victim of a pest invasion. However, if you find blood spots, living bed bugs, or their children on any of your dog’s belongings, the most secure.
However, if you don’t want to throw them away, here’s what a bed bug expert from the UK recommended:
- Put all of the infested items in a plastic bag when carrying them around the house, so you don’t spread the bed bugs by accident.
- Wash them with very hot water.
- If some of your dog’s belongings cannot be washed, put them in the dryer instead. Leave the toys and bedding for around 15 minutes, again at the highest temperature.
- If any of the items are damaged, torn with holes in them, washing is not gonna help. The bed bugs have probably already gone deep into the stuffing, so the only thing left to do is to throw them away. Seal the items in plastic bags and label them, so you don’t accidentally transfer the infestation to someone else.
The above steps are a must before you hire a professional exterminator to treat the entire property.
Is The Bed Bug Treatment Dangerous For My Dog?
Depending on the level of infestation and the area infested, there are different types of treatment. However, it doesn’t matter which one you choose, you always need to vacate the property and that includes your pets.
A chemical pest treatment requires that all your family and pets need to evacuate right before the exterminator starts working. When the procedure is over, you need to wait an additional 4 to 6 hours before going back.
A more serious infestation would require fumigation, which means that you need to find a nice hotel that also allow dogs. In order for the treatment to work, no one is allowed inside for at least 3 days.
In any case, always ask for the potential risks when booking a pest control treatment to make sure that it is safe enough for your pets and family.
Bed bugs are hardcore survivors that will do anything and go anywhere just to find food. Without blinking they will attach to the new bed you just bought for your dog, so they can find a way to you.
Fortunately, they will rarely feed on your pet, but if you have any doubts, consider that anything is possible. The fact that bed bugs can last for more than 5 months without eating and the speed, at which they procreate, makes those pesky bloodsuckers even harder to get rid of.
So, always be extremely careful when purchasing second-hand toys and bedding for your dog, and give him a good bath every now and then just to make sure.