Bedbugs continue to infest hotel bedrooms and hostels and their numbers have multiplied in the last few years. It is a good idea to carry out some standard precautions and protect our homes from these critters in order to prevent getting bitten by them. Bedbugs not only bite human beings but also pets. In fact; all warm bodied animals are potential victims of bedbug bites. Bedbugs might not generally inhabit their host’s bodies- they usually only creep out of their hiding places at night to gorge on the blood of the host and return to their nest after a nighttime of feeding. You would rarely find a bedbug crawling over you or your pet’s body but that does not mean you are safe from them.
Bed bugs are not extremely dangerous except in rare cases where the bites can cause anxiety, sleeplessness, skin infections and delirium. Children and senior people (or those with low immunity) are generally adversely affected by bedbug bites. If you are a person with sensitive skin, bedbug bites could cause welts, bumps and other allergic skin reactions that could be distressing. Bedbugs thrive in warm conditions, the exact conditions we like to keep our homes in. It is easy to get rid of bedbugs if you follow certain precautions and eliminate them completely the first time you see them. Bedbugs do not like extreme cold or extreme heat. They are also sensitive to dry cleaning. The chemicals used in dry cleaning help kill all bedbugs and their eggs.
Do dogs carry bedbugs?
The straightforward answer to the question is, “Yes, dogs do carry bedbugs”. Although bedbugs like to crawl back to their hiding places after gorging on human and canine blood, in rare instances, some of them could stay behind. Even if your home is bedbug free, other dogs from infested homes (whom your pet interacts with) could bring these parasites on your pet and its surroundings. And since most dogs are covered with thick fur, it is hard to tell if they carry bedbugs. However, you must always ascertain if your pet is scratching due to ticks, fleas or bedbugs. You might also see bite marks just like those seen on the human body. Bedbug bites look almost like mosquito bites. Often times, it is not too easy identifying whether mosquitoes, fleas, ticks or bedbugs have bitten your pet dog. You can look for exoskeletons of bedbugs on the surface of its body and within folds of the skin as well as on its bedding.
How to prevent bedbugs on pets
Majority of commercial parasite repellent products like sprays, powders and shampoos are anti flea and anti tick products. These will protect your pets from these common pests. Bedbugs however are unharmed by them. If your pets are protected from fleas and ticks but are still anxious and scratching a lot, then the obvious conclusion could be bedbugs. Since bedbugs are not permanently attached to their hosts like fleas are, the use of disinfestations-methods like pest control may help even if the bedbugs have entered your home through other dogs and pets.
Measures to protect your dogs from bedbug infestation
- Check for bed bug infestation when you travel with your pet or check in pet hotels, kennels and dog boarding facilities.
- Check bed, headboards, carpet, walls, wardrobes, sheets and pillows before you settle down in the room.
- While you inspect your hotel or hostel room, keep your pet carriers away from the bed, couch and any other cushioned furniture.
- Once you get home, sanitize all your clothes, the pet carrier, toys, and every article and luggage you have carried with you.
- If you suspect bedbugs, leave all items in the garage or the car for 10 to 15 days. Since bedbugs do not like extreme heat or cold, it is possible they will all be killed.
- Use a dryer or dry clean all clothing and pet bedding.
- Shampoo and bathe your pet thoroughly.
- Use only vet approved shampoos to get rid of bugs. Treat bugs you find on the bathroom floor with heat or pack and freeze them. This should sanitize your dog and kill all the bugs.
- Make sure you don’t use the same shampoo for all your pets. If you have dogs, cats and other pets, get the vet to prescribe specific medicinal shampoos for each animal. Note that dog shampoos are harmful for cats and vice versa.
Although bedbugs bite dogs, the cases of bedbugs hanging on to dogs are rare. If you keep your home free of bedbugs by following the simple measures and methods described above, your dogs won’t carry bedbugs to other people’s homes. In order to prevent the rare incidence of dogs bringing bedbugs into your home, keep your dogs clean and hygienic and inspect it if it scratches itself or appears otherwise uncomfortable.