Before the introduction of pesticides and chemical treatments, bed bug infestations were a real pain. But even now, bed bugs can be found in poorly maintained hotels, cheap lodgings, nursing homes, and even your own home.
Bed bugs burrow into soft dank corners of mattresses, bed frames, sofas, and other furniture. The use of excess insecticides has made these pests somewhat immortal and difficult to combat.
Bed bugs have become a dangerous public health concern because they feed on human blood so have you ever wondered if maybe your dog serves as a secondary option for feeding? The fact that bed bugs can probably feed on any warm-blooded animal scares dog owners the most.
Let’s take a look and answer the question, “do bed bugs bite dogs?”.
What Precisely are Bed Bugs?
Begs bugs, scientifically known as Cimex lectularius L., are parasites the size of apple seeds that use blood as a sole source of nutrition. An adult bed bug ranges in size from 5-7 mm and has a flat brown-red body perfectly made for hiding in furniture and mattress crevices, box springs, and places where people sleep, hence the name bed bugs.
They mostly feed at night by crawling onto the human host and sucking their blood in intervals to avoid detection. Bed bug bites can lead to itchy lesions and people (and pets) end up scratching their way through the night leading to a lack of sleep.
Female bed bugs can lay eggs where they reside. The eggs hatch in seven days, after which the nymph form matures into adults. Adults feed every 8-10 days but if the source of blood is absent, they can survive without feeding for even a year.
While no disease is known to be transmitted through bed bug bites, they can cause itchiness, allergic reactions, anemia, and sleepless nights.
Additionally, bed bugs are difficult to remove completely from your home and will cost you a fortune for a full-blown infestation.
Can Pets and Dogs Carry Bed Bugs?
It’s quite rare for your furry friend to carry bed bugs. Dogs that have a lot of fur make it difficult for bed bugs to crawl through. Bed bugs like to live in their hidden environments, but we cannot completely rule out pets as carriers.
Do Bed Bugs Bite Dogs?
Although bed bugs like to feed on human blood, anything warm-blooded will do. On the occasion it climbs onto your pet it will bite your dog. This doesn’t happen all the time since bed bugs like human blood better though.
Bed bug bites can cause itchy lesions or welts to develop but, unlike ticks, bed bugs do not carry diseases. Many pet owners wrongfully treat their dogs for fleas if itchiness occurs, which is why properly checking your home for bed bugs is important for your pet’s health.
If you see your dog itching a lot you should check their skin for issues. If there are bed bug bites, you’ll see small red lumps on parts of your dog with less fur, like legs and underbelly. These can occur in groups and due to fur may be hard to spot.
In the case of extreme itchiness, your pet could scratch or lick itself to the point of damaging its skin, which can lead to secondary infections.
Examine your pet’s bedding and stuffed toys. You may find skin, blood stains, or fecal spots, which will give a clear indication of a bed bug infestation.
Anti-tick and flea products won’t eliminate bed bugs.
Ways Bed Bugs Can Enter a House
Bed bugs can enter your home with old furniture and mattresses, or a visiting friend may leave them. You can also bring them back in your luggage if you’ve recently traveled.
You won’t know a bed bug has entered your home unless you spot it or it causes problems.
How Do I Know I Have a Bed Bug Infestation?
The best way to know if you have a bed bug infestation is by visually locating a bed bug. Other signs are red blood stains on mattresses or pillows, clear exoskeletons, or black fecal spots. You may also notice bedbug bites on the skin, usually in a straight line.
Itchiness is also a sign of a bed bug infestation. Bed bug bites look like flea bites or itchy lesions that suddenly appear.
If you suspect a bed bug infestation, look in small crevices for evidence. A young bed bug is yellowish and small but an adult bed bug is brown and conical shaped. When fully fed they look maroon and triangular shaped.
You may find signs of infestation in mattress seams, bed frames, inside clothes, or curtains. Also, check your pet’s bedding and stuffed toys.
How to Purge Your House of Bed Bugs?
It is difficult to get rid of bed bugs once they infest your house. Contact pest control companies who can survey your house and confirm an infestation.
Since bed bugs mostly live in beds and mattresses, it’s best to treat those effectively. All bedding should be doused in boiling water and chemicals to get rid of eggs and nymphs.
Fumigating furniture is another process of bed bug control. Fumigation uses pesticides that are directly sprayed onto the furniture. It’s a lengthy process, and residents usually evacuate the house during this time. Sprays containing toxic chemicals should be avoided by people and pets.
So, do bed bugs bite dogs? In general, bed bugs don’t often bite dogs, but they certainly can in some situations. Bed bugs typically inhabit where people sleep. Waking up at night itching and finding a bed bug is a nightmare but finding your pet itching with you is even worse.
If this happens, call a vet to find an early cure and eradicate a full-blown infestation. We hope this article helped inform you about the health of your pet in case a bed bug infestation happens.