Common household pets like dogs and cats have their share of irritating pests – fleas, ticks, and mites.
The itch and the bite of these pests can be a nuisance, and if that’s not enough, there’s always the fear that our beloved pets might carry bed bugs too.
If you’re one of those pet parents wondering and worried if their pets can carry bed bugs into your home, this article will help address your concerns.
Bed bug infestations are becoming an increasingly common problem in households across America. Bed bugs can technically survive on any warm-blooded host, and that includes our beloved pets.
While cats and dogs can carry bed bugs into your home, the good news is that bed bugs won’t live in pets.
They survive from human and animal blood, but they won’t breed and multiply in your pet’s fur. Unlike fleas and ticks that can live in their fur and skin, bed bugs won’t stay around long enough to cause an infestation in pets.
How Do Bed Bugs End Up in Our Pets’ Fur?
Bed bugs rarely travel on their own. Unlike other pests and insects that can fly and travel long distances, bed bugs are poor flyers and mostly hitch a ride on other hosts to get from one place to another.
Despite their slow-moving nature, these pests are still adept hitchhikers and can find their way into our homes, and can multiply and infest a building faster than we think.
This is how some bed bugs end into pets’ coats and furs.
While they don’t technically live and breed there, our pets are excellent carriers of these nasty critters, and if you’re not careful, you could end up with an infestation in your home.
Pets going out for a walk, to a pet park, or even for grooming can pick up bed bugs off the ground, benches, and other surfaces.
Once they make it back home, bed bugs that have been hitchhiking on your pet can detach themselves and make their way into your home, where they can start to breed and cause an infestation.
It won’t take long until they start laying eggs into your furniture, mattress, clothing, and even on your pet’s bedding.
Before you know it, an infestation can occur, and if you don’t take care of it quickly, it will only continue to grow.
How to Check if Your Pet is Carrying Bed Bugs?
Bed bugs are literally found everywhere, and the last thing you want is to bring them into your home.
While pets can pick them up from their surroundings, there are ways you can spot them on your pet and avoid bringing a possible infestation into your home.
The first step is to check for bed bug bites on your pet. Bed bugs secrete anticoagulants that allow them to suck blood more easily and quickly, so if you see any suspicious red bumps or bite marks on your pet, it could be a sign of bed bugs.
Try to eliminate the possibility of these bites being from fleas by using a flea comb. Flea bites will be in clusters while bed bug bites are random and isolated.
Additionally, if you see flea bites, you’d also see ticks and fleas around the affected area, while bed bugs will be nowhere to be seen.
Another way to check for bed bugs is to look for the actual bugs themselves. Bed bugs are small, oval-shaped insects that vary in color from brown to reddish-brown.
As mentioned earlier, there’s a slight possibility of these bed bugs staying in your pet’s fur. Bed bugs prefer living in an undisturbed environment – and with your dog’s or cat’s daily activities, this isn’t the perfect environment for them.
Things to Do When Your Pet Has a Bed Bug Bite
There’s nothing more alarming than seeing a bed bug bite on your pet.
The first step is to not panic and assess the situation – chances are, the infestation hasn’t spread much yet beyond where your pet encountered them.
Bed bug bites are pretty itchy, and your pet will be constantly scratching and biting itself, so it’s important that you give it relief.
You may see your vet to see if he/she can prescribe anything for the itch such as a topical cream. Natural antiseptic remedies like aloe vera and lavender oil may also help.
Are There Preventative Ways to Ensure Pets Don’t Carry Bed Bugs With Them?
When humans stay in a hotel or any other public building, it’s often advised to keep luggage off the ground and inspect beds for bed bugs. Some of the same preventative measures can be done for pets too.
The same goes for your pet when they go outside. While we can’t avoid going to public places, there are ways we can reduce the risk of bringing bed bugs into our home.
For starters, always keep an eye on your pet and make sure they’re not going near beds, furniture, or other places that might be prone to bed bug infestations.
Luckily for you, pets don’t often go to places that aren’t as prone to bed bugs, unlike humans. However, if you’ve recently been on a public transportation with your pet, it’s always a good idea to inspect them for bed bugs before getting inside the house.
It’s inevitable that bed bugs will be present in some public places, but we can still take the necessary steps to prevent them from coming back home with us.
The best thing that you can do to ensure that bed bugs in pets won’t turn into a nightmare of an infestation, always be on the lookout for early signs and warnings of a bed bug infestation, such as:
- Sheddings from the bed bugs
- Small, red bumps on your pet’s skin or fur
- White eggs and exoskeletons around their bedding
- A musty odor in the house that indicates the presence of bed bugs
Most of these signs are clear indicators that bed bugs are present and need to be treated immediately. The sooner you take action, the quicker you can get rid of them and prevent an infestation from occurring.
Bed Bugs in Pets: Final Thoughts
Bed bugs in pets are quite uncommon and shouldn’t be a major cause of health concern for your pets. However, seeing one doesn’t necessarily mean that you should ignore the situation altogether.
While bed bugs won’t likely stay and breed on your pet’s fur and coat, there’s a possibility that they’ll do that somewhere in your home.
If you’re suspecting a bed bug at home, or if you’ve seen one on your pet, perform the necessary steps and get rid of the bed bug problem as early as you can.
Early detection and treatment is far more bearable and easier to tackle than a full-blown infestation.
Additionally, make sure to keep your pets away from places that are prone to bed bug infestations and practice preventative measures so the problem doesn’t repeat itself.