Can pets get bedbug bites?
Bed bugs do not live on your pets, like fleas, ticks, lice and mites are known to do. But, according to the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) they will bite pets for a blood meal. This is why you will always want to check a pet’s bedding and stuffed animal toys, as well as your own bed, when inspecting for bed bugs.
Bed bugs are known to feed on cats, dogs, and other mammalian pets
This is why bedbugs have been known to survive extended periods in unoccupied houses – because they are able to feed on rodents living there. Some bugs demonstrate a preference for certain species of mammals. Bed bugs do not seem to exhibit this preferential behavior. They do require a blood meal in order to progress through their nymph molting stages, or to breed – but it seems that any mammal blood will do.
Human blood is the primary food source for a bed bug – although they will bite other species.
Signs that bedbugs have been biting your pets include:
- Excessive scratching (when fleas have been ruled out and there is no other obvious cause of itchiness)
- Spotting around your pet’s bedding (caused by crushed bugs, bed bug feces, or your pet’s blood from a bite)
- Shed skins or live bedbugs in the pet bedding
- Small red bites, typically in a straight line
Can pets spread bed bugs?
Yes, pets can spread bed bugs. Bed bugs are small, wingless insects that feed on the blood of warm-blooded animals. They are attracted to the warmth and carbon dioxide produced by humans and animals, and can crawl onto clothing or bedding to feed.
Pets, such as dogs and cats, can carry bed bugs from one location to another by crawling on their fur or in their bedding. They can also bring bed bugs into the home by visiting infested areas and then returning home. Additionally, pets can unknowingly transport bed bugs by carrying them on their bodies while they sleep or rest. This is because bed bugs are attracted to warm, dark areas, such as inside pet beds or blankets, and can easily crawl onto a pet’s fur to feed.
Bedbugs do not typically live on pets, but they are known to hitch a ride. A lot of humans report finding one on their clothes after going to work, riding in a taxi, sitting in a movie theater, etc. So it’s not impossible that one would come home hidden in the fur of your dog or cat. That said, bedbug eggs are quite sticky, so it is much more likely that a pet could roll over those and end up tracking some home. Once they hatch, you will have a bedbug infestation.
Luckily, bedbugs are not known to transmit any disease, unlike other insects that bite pets. But, their bites do cause severe itching and skin irritation. And remember, dogs and cats will aggressively scratch the bites, any open scratch or wound is susceptible to infection. So, it’s an issue that you will want to take care of immediately regardless.
How can I protect my pets against bedbugs?
To prevent the spread of bed bugs, it is important to regularly check your pet’s bedding and grooming areas for signs of infestation, and to vacuum and steam clean pet areas regularly. It is also a good idea to check your pet’s fur for any visible bed bugs before allowing them to enter the home.
Here is a step-by-step guide for how to keep bed bugs off of your pets:
- Keep your pets groomed regularly. This includes brushing, bathing, and trimming their fur to reduce the number of hiding places for bed bugs.
- Keep your pets away from areas that are known to have bed bugs. This includes hotels, shelters, and homes where bed bugs have been detected.
- Use bedbug-proof covers on your pet’s bedding and crate. These covers are designed to keep bed bugs out, and can be easily removed and washed when needed.
- Regularly inspect your pets for bed bug bites or evidence of bed bugs. Look for small, red bumps on their skin, as well as any black or reddish-brown spots (which may be bed bug feces).
- Use insecticides specifically designed to kill bed bugs on your pets. Verify that these products are safe for use on animals, and can be applied to their bedding and surrounding areas to prevent infestations.
- Keep your home clean and clutter-free. This can help to prevent bed bugs from finding hiding places and multiplying.
- If you do find bed bugs on your pets, seek professional treatment immediately. This may include treatment from a veterinarian and professional pest control services.
If you have pets, and you are going to hire a professional bed bug exterminator, make sure that you notify them ahead of time. They will give you instructions on what you need to do with your pet before, during, and after the bed bug treatment. If you are going to treat for bedbugs yourself, make sure to launder your pet’s bedding using the hottest temperature settings that your washer has, and dry them on high heat for at least 30 minutes after they are completely dry (assuming they are machine washable). Most of the other instructions in the link above are safe to use around most pets.
If you notice your pet scratching bed bug bites, be sure to thoroughly wash your pet’s paws and cleanse wounds with an antiseptic, to prevent infection. Talk to your veterinarian if you have questions or concerns.
Thank you for reading about killing bedbugs and pets! Please refer to all manufacturer instructions and warnings when using a bed bug control product. This website is an independent resource. This site receives compensation from the Amazon Affiliates program, which allows us to run this site at no cost to you. Your purchase price and this review are NOT affected. This website receives NO compensation directly from the manufacturers of any product. We do not necessarily endorse any bed bug products that may appear on the 3rd party ads on this site, which will be clearly marked as such. We are not responsible for any inaccuracies or omissions, or any new information that has been released since the time of publication, or your actions taken as a result of any of these things. Content is for informational purposes only and does not substitute for consulting with a professional. If you have any doubts about your ability to safely utilize any of these pest control methods, please consult a professional bed bug exterminator before attempting them. You can find a trusted local exterminator online. Read more about us here.