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Can Your Pet Get Bed Bugs?

2014 Update – While media hype has died down in recent months, bed bugs (and more importantly the impact of bed bugs on your pets) still appear to be a very common issue. One report from the National Pest Management Association found “99.6 percent of respondents encountered bed bug infestations in the past year and that infestations have increased in the majority of locations in which pest professionals typically treat for bed bugs.”

According to the report, private residential settings, hotels and motels continue to lead the way in bed bug infestations. The good news is that our advice and recommendations to keep your dogs and pets safe still hold true today. When staying in a pet friendly hotel double check the mattress, the box spring, and your bags and luggage for bed bugs. If you notice your pets scratching or you see bed bug bites, it is time for a massive cleaning and a long tumble in the clothes dryer. Twenty to thirty minutes should kill any bugs and the eggs they lay.

For more information, continue reading our Q and A on how your dogs can get bed bugs and how to get rid of those pesky parasites.

Recently we spent the weekend in New York City and learned about the serious concerns over bed bugs. So, last week when we read this post on TPPC.tv‘s blog we wanted to share it with you. Your pet’s welfare is your biggest concern, and we want to help you keep them safe. Thanks to Robin and Joseph for allowing us to re-blog the article here!

With major chains of clothing stores closing in NYC due to bed bug infestations, we started thinking about how and if bed bugs can affect pets.  Here is a Q and A of the basics.

Q: I found bed bugs in my bed, and my dog and cat sleep on the bed.  Do I need to be concerned that they could be bitten?

A: Bed bugs are looking for food, whether it’s you or your pets, it doesn’t matter to them.  Humans are easy targets because they are not covered in fur, but pets can be bitten too –  including dogs, cats, mice, birds, and rats.

Q: What do I need to do for my pet if I find bed bugs on him?

A: Contact your veterinarian to find out what shampoo you should use to kill the bed bugs on your pet. A dog shampoo for bed bugs may be harmful if used on a cat.  Most likely, your pet will be bitten at night, and then the bed bugs will go and hide during the day while they digest the blood. So during the day, you may not clearly see the bugs, but you will see the bite marks and your pet will be scratching the bites.

Q: What else should I do if I find bed bugs on my pet or in his bedding?

A: Wash your pet’s bedding, toys and anything plush he comes in contact with.  Look for tell tale signs of the bugs, such as blood spots and casings to determine if the area is infested.

Q: What kills bed bugs?

A: Bed bugs will die in heat of 120 degrees Fahrenheit if they are exposed for 10-20 minutes.  The dryer is a good source of this heat.  Items that can’t be laundered can be wrapped in plastic and placed outside all day on a sunny day.  Cold will also kill bed bugs, but a temperature below 32 degrees must be maintained for several days.  Some pest control services use steam or freezing followed by immediate vacuuming, however if the bugs are hiding deep in crevasses they may be missed.

Q: Can my dog catch bed bugs from other dogs that are playing in the dog park?

A: Since bugs feed at night and hide during the day, you would likely not be able to tell if a dog is infested simply by looking at them. However, bed bugs could be hiding in a dog’s fur and fall onto another dog during play.

Q: I use topical flea and tick treatments such as Frontline on my pet.  Does this help prevent my pet from getting bed bugs?

A: Unfortunately, no.  Bed bugs are not affected by topical monthly flea and tick applications.

Laundering all people and pet clothing and bedding that has been used on a trip or is newly purchased prior to putting it away will decrease your chances of bringing unwanted critters into your home.

Here is some detailed information about bed bugs from the University of Kentucky.  Warning … these pictures may give you the creepy-crawlies.

Planning a pet friendly trip of your own? We’ll make it easy:
Pet Friendly Hotels | Pet Friendly Destinations | Pet Friendly Activities

Comments

Comment Archive

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[...] lady that is depicted in the Simpsons. Not just that but it’s neglectful when you consider that bed bugs will bite any source, though they prefer humans because there isn’t as much fur,.... Considering that Cathryn and her ex, Alanna, didn’t give enough of a shit when they were [...]
Amy@GoPetFriendly Oct 2, 2011 at 4:40 pm
Hi Alan, It's hard to say if your dog might have bed bugs. Are the bumps in one spot or spread out over his body? Have you been anywhere recently where he might have been bitten? Every dog is different, but our dog, Buster is on medication for seizures. After he started scratching recently, the vet suggested we put him on Benadryl. So far, he's been fine and much less itchy. I hope your dog is feeling better soon!
Usmc106 Sep 29, 2011 at 1:47 am
My dog is scratching, He is on front Line, and heartguard. Both protect him from Fleas, ticks and heart worm. Yet I notice he scratches and there are bumps and scabs only.No sign of what the heck is causing the bumps and itching. Could this be bedbugs, I see no bugs,fleas,ticks......Nothing except him scratching and biting. Im afraid to give him benedrly, because he had a seizure and my vet said use caution in giving him antihistimine. Semper FI Alan
Fortis888 Sep 15, 2011 at 5:50 am
Move asap. What is your sanity worth?  I just found out a neighbor down the hall has them and my dog has been scratching...I have wood floors. They are bringing in ironically a beagle to check out bed bugs in our apartments. But, i will move and let everything burn or walk away to keep me and my dog drama free.
Amy@GoPetFriendly Aug 15, 2011 at 4:27 am
It's going to be important to wash and dry your dogs bedding, toys and any other fabrics he's come into contact with. Also, talk to your vet about what type of shampoo will kill the bugs on your dog. Good luck!
sam Aug 14, 2011 at 4:37 am
my dog has bed bugs what should i do????????
Amy@GoPetFriendly Jul 11, 2011 at 2:39 am
It sounds like you're doing everything you can to get rid of them. The only thing I can think to add is to to throw all the sheets, toys, jackets - anything fabric - in the dryer. The heat kills the bugs.
DCHCA2011 Jul 10, 2011 at 3:23 pm
 Well it happened to me....I moved into an apartment that had carpets, and right away my dog was scratching alot and i had asked them to remove the carpets as my dog was perhaps allergic to the carpets, etc.  They refused, until someone on my floor  had bed bugs, and must of had them for a WHILE as her box spring she threw out was infested big time, so in other words when i moved it, she gave them to me.  I went to tribunal and they HAD to take them out, and that's when i noticed the problem even more as they were attacking my dog at night and leaving her with bites.  They have now sprayed TWICE and almost a week later, i woke up to my dog having something on her head either it be poop matter, or a bite and it's FREAKING me out and i'm still living in bags for all clothing, and vacuuming EVERY day, and bathing dog and really don't know what to do anymore.....any advice?
Kampell May 16, 2011 at 9:00 pm
bed bugs make my skin crawl 
Admin Jan 6, 2011 at 8:35 pm
Great post. Those are very common questions! Thanks for sharing this. Also anyone who read that article and who needs more information about bed bugs check out my informational website about bed bugs. http://bedbugtalk.com
Currentinstincts Oct 26, 2010 at 2:52 am
Thanks for posting! Never would've thought of this. And I live in New York, the bed bugs are near!
Michele C. Hollow Oct 26, 2010 at 12:14 am
Thanks for the informative post. It's a problem--especially in NYC.
Amy@GoPetFriendly Oct 25, 2010 at 11:54 pm
LOL! Yes - you, and your luggage, and your dogs! Thank you guys so much for allowing us to share the post. I agree - the more information we have the better. For now, we'll be sticking to the Winnebago!
LookieLouDog TPPC.tv Oct 25, 2010 at 11:47 pm
Thanks for sharing this info Amy and Rod. The more people that know about bedbugs, the better. By the way, we are wrapping ourselves in plastic wrap next time we have to travel. ;) Have a woofy woo day!
Amy@GoPetFriendly Oct 25, 2010 at 6:55 pm
Yes it is, Debbie! Hotels should consider putting a bed bug sniffing beagle on staff to check out the guests before they check in. It could be like passing through security at the airport. If the beagle howls, you have to find a different place to say! =)
Amy@GoPetFriendly Oct 25, 2010 at 6:52 pm
I know it's a little disconcerting, but neither our hotel, nor the one my sister stayed in had bed bugs. I think the important thing is to check the room before you settle in.
debbie jacobs Oct 25, 2010 at 2:25 pm
I found myself recently making the decision to camp instead of staying at a hotel because I started worrying about bedbugs! This is bad news for someone who also travels for a living.
Roxanne Hawn Oct 25, 2010 at 2:21 pm
I'll be speaking in NYC next spring, and I'm completely skeeved out by bed bugs. Ick.
Amy@GoPetFriendly Oct 25, 2010 at 2:04 pm
Until I read the post at TPPC.tv, I hadn't thought about how bed bugs would affect pets either! After I read it, it occurred to me that Buster had some itchy bites that I couldn't figure out where he'd got. It was right at the end of our road trip when we'd stayed in a couple of hotels. Luckily - if they were bed bug bites - it seems we managed to escape without bringing them home. With all the people that will be traveling with their pets during the next couple months for the holidays, I really wanted to share it.
Maggie Oct 25, 2010 at 12:48 pm
Woah. Thanks for sharing this information. I hadn't thought about pets and bed bugs, though I probably should have! We live in a college town, and it's been reported that the dorms are infested. Even though we never, ever, ever step foot in the dorms, I was worried about how they might spread onto public transportation or whatever then onto us. This was a really helpful, informative (though gross!) post. Thank you!