Do Bed Bugs Bite Dogs and Cats?
Our fully inclusive guide on dealing with bed bugs when you have pets in the home, and whether or not they’re likely to bite dogs and cats.
Bed bugs are an unwanted presence in the domestic home, regardless, right? No one likes the idea of these miniature, vamp – like pests coming into their intimate space at night and sucking on their blood. Yuck.
Now, we know that bed bugs can be a nuisance to us as people, but we have mentioned in the past that they are also attracted to other warm blooded creatures. So where does this leave us with furry friends, such as dogs and cats, in the house? Do bed bugs bite dogs and cats?
Read on for our fully inclusive guide on dealing with bed bugs when you have pets in the home, and whether or not they’re likely to bite your cats and dogs.
Let’s Get Straight to it. Do Bed Bugs Even Bite Dogs and Cats?
Today, we’re going to start off by diving right into the big question. Do bed bugs bite dogs and cats, or do they pose no risk whatsoever to our furry little friends?
The answer is very simply, yes, bed bugs can feed on dogs and cats. However, it is worth noting that they will only do this when there are no human victims in the vicinity for them to feed off. Think of them as a second choice, or a last resort.
The reason for this? It’s literally about preference. Bed bugs very simply just prefer to feed on human blood compared to that of animals. It’s all about the fact that they find the carbon dioxide released by humans more attractive than their furry friends.
Another reason why bed bugs would rather feed on a human than on a dog or a cat, is because of the fur situation. The fur on your pets acts as a barrier between the bed bug and their skin, which ultimately makes crawling and feeding a lot harder. Just like the vast majority of beings, they opt for convenience!
So, say for example, the humans are away from home – at work, the shops, whatever – and their pets are in the house still. If the bed bug needs to feed, then it will very simply look for the nearest pet to them in order to suck their blood.
Humans are considered as the easier pickings for the bed bug because their skin isn’t entirely covered with fur or hair like cats and dogs are. We mentioned this earlier, also.
The vast majority of the time, bed bugs biting pets becomes an issue after you have attempted to eradicate them from the home. It’s difficult to get rid of bed bugs from the home once and for all, and in many cases, some bed bugs will survive the extermination process.
The bed bugs which survive the extermination process tend to be hidden away in cracks and crevices, and in those hard to reach places. When they do show up, they’re understandably very hungry, and therefore will reach for whatever is closest – which usually tends to be your pet.
How Do Dogs and Cats Even Pick Up Bed Bugs?
When it comes to contracting bed bugs, many of us bring them in from outside sources. So when it comes to your pets, how do they end up picking up the bed bugs along the way?
There are actually a multitude of ways in which your pet could have picked bed bugs up along the way. For example, if you are someone who travels with your pet in tow frequently, then it’s likely they could have picked up the bed bugs from any of the places you’ve taken them to.
A prime case of this, would be if you sleep in a hotel with your pet. Did you know that the vast majority of hotel rooms are actually likely to have some sort of bed bug infestation? It doesn’t bare thinking about.
Another interesting way that your pet may have picked up bed bugs, is from the house of another person, if they are infested. Pets can also pick up bed bugs from other pets if they are infested with, or come from a home which is infested with them. Even if it’s just other dogs or cats they interact with on passing, it’s so easy for a bed bug to fall from the coat of one creature, and crawl into another. Unfortunately, it really is that easy for them.
Many of us think of our pets as furry children, don’t we? And therefore, we let them sleep in our beds. If they’ve picked up bed bugs from any of the places we’ve listed above, it’s likely your bed and mattress is going to become infested with them.
Maybe skip out on bed time snuggles with your pet next time if they’ve been out and about quite a bit.
Is it Possible for Dogs and Cats to be the Carriers of Bed Bugs?
Okay, so given everything that you’ve read above, you might be left worrying whether your fur baby is actually putting you at risk of having bed bugs in the home by carrying them in from elsewhere.
For many people, pets carrying bed bugs into the house is a simple – and even desirable – reason for why you might have them in the home. The truth of this, however, is that the vast majority of the time this isn’t even the case. As we mentioned a little earlier on, bed bugs actually prefer a fur – free environment to live around and feed on.
The vast majority of dog and cat breeds are covered in fur, too. Bed bugs actually find manoeuvring through fur incredibly difficult, and prefer to keep their lives easier, as we all do! After feeding on your pet, it’s unlikely that the bed bug will stay on them any longer than they have to. This is because of their fur not being preferable to habituating on, and therefore they’ll have their meal then make a swift exit.
There is a rare occasion, however, when a bed bug could be carried into your home on the fur of your pet. The vast majority of the time, when this happens, it’s because the pet has come into the home while the bed bug is actually still feeding.
Because of this, you can’t one hundred percent rule out the possibility of your pet bringing bed bugs into the home. It’s just less likely than other ways of it happening.
How Can I Get Rid Of and / or Prevent my Pet from Bringing Bed Bugs into the Home?
After reading this, despite the fact the chances are small, it’s likely you’ll want to eliminate the risk of your pet bringing bed bugs into your home to the best of your ability. But how can you go about doing this?
Below, we’re listing our three step process to ridding your pet’s fur of bed bugs.
STEP ONE: Clean Your Pet
This might seem a little obvious, but the first step to get rid of bed bugs from your pet, is to clean them.
The vast majority of the time, as we have already mentioned, bed bugs will only stay on your pet long enough to feed, and then they’ll retreat back to their hiding space. Bed bugs are highly unlikely to be hiding in the fur of your pet, remember that. They like to be in a place that is secure and doesn’t move, and no one moves more than your waggy – tail dog, or your flighty cat!
In order to clean your pet, we’d recommend taking them away from the home. We would also advise cutting away any excess fur that could be a temporary hiding place for bed bugs. This part of the cleaning process is really about gently brushing all of their fur, and getting rid of excess.
STEP TWO: It’s Bath Time!
Some dogs love it, all cats hate it, and unfortunately, it’s a necessity here. It’s bath time!
After the cleaning – or grooming, if you like – you’ve completed in step one, you’ll have to bathe them. In doing this, you’ll want to be sure you use an anti – parasitic shampoo for the best effects. This is because these types of shampoos are literally designed to rid your pet of pests.
We would advise doing this in an open space, in a large basin. Be sure you reach the tricky eye / ear area of your pet too!
STEP THREE: Clean Your Pet’s Belongings
Last of all, but by no means least, if there were bed bugs on your pets, it’s likely you’ll find them on their belongings too.
You should be sure to thoroughly clean all beds and toys relating to your pet, as well as any human furniture that they frequently sit on. It’s better to be safe than sorry!
Thanks for reading!
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