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Bed Bugs and Dogs: All You Need to Know

Nicole Cosgrove

Unfortunately, bed bugs can come from various sources, and dealing with these persistent critters when you have dogs can be difficult because you won’t want to use harmful chemicals. It’s also common to wonder if they will bite your dogs like they do humans and if they will live on them like fleas and ticks. The good news is that bed bugs don’t like your pets as much as humans, but keep reading while we discuss how to tell if your dog is getting bit, as well as what you can do to eliminate the bed bugs without harming your dog.

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What Are the Signs I Have Bed Bugs in My Home?

bed bug_Jay Ondreicka_Shutterstock
Image Credit: Jay Ondreicka, Shutterstock

You will usually see signs of bed bugs before you see the bugs themselves. Clear exoskeletons are one of the first signs, and you will usually find these on the mattress before you make the bed. You may also see black spots, which are bug droppings, and red spots, which are drops of blood resulting from bites. Live bugs will be a reddish color and tend to hide when the lights come on in box springs, bed frames, curtain rods, and wallpaper.

How Do I Know If Bed Bugs Are Biting My Dogs?

Bed bugs prefer to bite humans, but if the population grows large enough, they will begin feeding on dogs and other animals, including cats, rabbits, and birds. When a bed bug bites a human, it leaves a red bump, and the bumps often form a straight line. You will see very similar marks on your dog if you move the fur out of the way so you can see the skin. The good news is that the fleas will not live on your pet like fleas and will quickly leave after they feed.

bulldog lying on the carp_heathergunn, Pixabaye
Image Credit: heathergunn, Pixabay

How Can I Get Rid of Bed Bugs?

A bed bug infestation can be extremely difficult to get rid of and will take some time. We recommend calling a professional exterminator, but there are some steps you can take to keep the population under control while you are waiting for your appointment.

1. Close Off the Room

While bed bugs can and will spread throughout your home, 70% of the population will remain close to the bed. Close the door to the bedrooms, and don’t let your pets inside.

laundry_Steve Buissinne_Pixabay
Image Credit: Steve Buissinne, Pixabay

2. Put The Bedding In The Laundry

Bed bugs die quickly in hot temperatures, so running a cycle in the wash is effective in reducing the population in your home. Many people try to turn up the heat in their home, but you won’t reach high enough temperatures and only waste heating fuel. Washing the clothes and sheets in hot water and drying them in a dryer can be an effective way to kill the bugs.

Home dryers often reach 120 degrees Fahrenheit, which will kill the bugs but not the eggs—this is why we recommend an exterminator. Otherwise, you will need to rewash the clothes every day until the eggs hatch and are killed with hot water. If the clothes are not machine washable, you can put them in the dryer for several minutes to get them hot enough to kill the bugs.


3. Food-Grade Diatomaceous Earth

Food-grade diatomaceous earth is a powdery substance that is extremely absorbent. It’s made up of fossilized algae, and it will slice into the bed bug and dehydrate it. We recommend sprinkling it around your bed and leaving it for several hours or even days before vacuuming it up. The downside to using diatomaceous earth is that the dust can cause respiratory issues for you and your dog, so make sure you wear a mask while spreading it and keep your dog out of the area.


4. Chemical Spray

There are chemical sprays available, but you will need to read the label carefully before using it around your dog to make sure it is safe. Follow the instructions so your dog doesn’t ingest harmful chemicals and poisons. Many brands may require your family and pets to leave the house for several days, so you may need to find a dog sitter if you choose this option.

chemical spray_Squirrel_photos_Pixabay
Image Credit: Squirrel_photos, Pixabay

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Summary

If you have bed bugs, the good news is that they won’t live on your pet like fleas. If you can eliminate them from your home, they will be gone from your pet too. Unfortunately, getting rid of bed bugs can be extremely difficult, and we recommend calling a professional. The steps we have listed here may reduce the population significantly, but it will be a huge undertaking to eliminate them yourself.

We hope you have enjoyed reading over this guide and found the answers you needed. If we have helped you improve your situation, please share this guide to bed bugs and dogs on Facebook and Twitter.


Featured Image Credit: Zivica Kerkez, Shutterstock

Nicole Cosgrove

Nicole is the proud mom of Baby, a Burmese cat and Rosa, a New Zealand Huntaway. A Canadian expat, Nicole now lives on a lush forest property with her Kiwi husband in New Zealand. She has a strong love for all animals of all shapes and sizes (and particularly loves a good interspecies friendship) and wants to share her animal knowledge and other experts' knowledge with pet lovers across the globe.