Do Bed Bugs Bite Dogs? How to Keep Your Pet Safe

dog under a blanket on a bed

Our loyal companions are with us through thick and thin. But could our beloved pups be at risk from an unexpected foe lurking in the shadows? Do bed bugs bite dogs?

In this blog, we’ll learn more about bed bugs and determine whether they’re a threat to our furry friends. So, grab a leash, and let’s sniff out the facts together!

Bed Bug Basics

These tiny, blood-sucking pests have been haunting human homes for centuries, making themselves unwelcome guests in bedrooms around the world. But what exactly are bed bugs, and how do they operate?

Bed bugs are tiny, reddish-brown insects no bigger than an apple seed. These pests lurk in cracks and crevices in your mattress, behind your headboard, under your baseboards, or within your carpet. 

As nocturnal creatures, bed bugs only emerge from their hiding spots to feed under the cover of darkness. Bed bugs lack wings, but that doesn’t stop them from feasting on unsuspecting sleepers. They’re adept climbers, using their six legs to navigate their way to their next meal. 

Their preference for warm-blooded hosts, such as humans and pets, makes them particularly pesky pests to deal with.

Now, you might be wondering – what’s the big deal about bed bugs? Besides being downright creepy, bed bugs pose a range of risks and concerns for humans and pets alike. Their bites can cause itching, redness, and discomfort, leading to sleep disturbances and skin irritation. In severe cases, bed bug infestations can result in anxiety, stress, and even social isolation.

Do Bed Bugs Bite Dogs?

Now that we’ve gained insight into bed bug behavior and the risks they pose to humans let’s tackle the burning question: Do bed bugs bite dogs? 

Bed bugs primarily feed on warm-blooded hosts, such as humans, because their bodies provide the ideal temperature and environment for feeding and reproduction. Because bed bugs are opportunistic feeders, they may bite other mammals, including dogs, if human hosts are unavailable or inaccessible. 

While dogs are not the preferred hosts for bed bugs, they may inadvertently become targets if they share living spaces with infested humans or frequent areas where bed bugs are present. Here are a few examples of why your pooch may have to contend with these nuisance pests:

  • Proximity to Infested Areas: If a dog shares a living space with humans experiencing a bed bug infestation, the dog may be bitten by bed bugs as it comes into contact with infested bedding, furniture, or other areas where bed bugs hide.
  • Sleeping Habits: Dogs that sleep near infested bedding or furniture may be bitten by bed bugs during their nocturnal feeding activities. 
  • Frequent Exposure: Dogs that spend time in areas prone to bed bug infestations, like hotels, motels, public transit, and even animal clinics, may also be at risk of bed bug bites. While bed bugs typically infest lodging, they can crop up anywhere humans and animals congregate.

Signs of Bed Bug Bites on Dogs

Detecting bed bug bites on dogs can be challenging, as dogs may not exhibit the same reactions as humans. However, there are several signs that pet owners can watch for to see if their furry friend is uncomfortable:

Black and white french bulldog on a red pillow
  • Itching and Scratching: If you have an existing bed bug infestation, you may notice your dog scratching at affected areas. Bed bug bites can cause irritation and discomfort, prompting dogs to scratch or chew at their skin to relieve the itching sensation.
  • Redness and Swelling: Bed bug bites on dogs may appear as small, red bumps or welts on the skin. These bites can cause localized redness and swelling, especially in areas where bed bugs have fed multiple times or in clusters.
  • Skin Irritation: Dogs may exhibit signs of skin irritation, such as redness, inflammation, or hot spots, in response to bed bug bites. The affected areas may feel warm to the touch and may be sensitive or painful.
  • Hair Loss or Alopecia: Severe scratching can lead to hair loss or alopecia in dogs. Constant chewing at the skin can damage the hair follicles, resulting in patchy or thinning fur in the affected areas.
  • Secondary Infections: In some cases, bed bug bites on dogs can lead to secondary bacterial or fungal infections if the skin is broken or irritated from scratching. Signs of illness may include pus, discharge, or foul odor from the affected areas.

Remember that other pests, like fleas, ticks, skin conditions, and mites, are more likely to cause skin irritation for your pup. However, if you’ve ruled out other pests, start closely monitoring your pet for unusual signs of irritation or bites. 

If you notice any signs of bed bug bites or skin irritation in your dog, consult your veterinarian for a proper diagnosis and treatment. They can determine the cause of your pet’s malady and point you in the right direction for pest control, too.

Preventing and Managing Bed Bugs

Keeping your canine comfortable and safe from bed bugs requires a bit of vigilance and know-how. Here’s how you can safeguard your home and your furry friend:

  • Regular Inspection: Make snooping for bed bugs a part of your routine. Before you settle down in a new place, check the usual hiding spots, such as mattresses, bedding, and furniture, for signs of these elusive critters, like shed skins and tiny blood stains.
  • Cleanliness is Key: Keep your living spaces clutter-free and squeaky clean. Regular vacuuming and laundering of bedding in hot water are excellent habits to keep bed bugs at bay.
  • Veterinary Guidance: If your dog shows any discomfort or skin irritation, consult your veterinarian. They can provide the necessary guidance and treatment to keep your pet happy and healthy.
  • Call in the Pros: Bed bugs aren’t a DIY pest. If you suspect a bed bug infestation, don’t hesitate to call in professional pest control services. They have the expertise and tools to protect your home from these pesky pests.

Need help against bed bugs? Contact the experts here at Natura!

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