If you’ve ever had the displeasure of getting bed bugs in your home, you’ll know what it’s like to be bitten by these nasty little insects. But do bed bugs affect dogs? The short answer is yes (and they can bite your kitty cats too!) Once they're in your home they become pretty difficult to get rid of, so make sure that you’re doing all you can to keep these critters out of your bed and your dog’s bed!
How do dogs get bed bugs?
Bed bugs can work their way into your homes through a number of avenues. One common way that you could get bed bugs is when you’re out travelling and visit hotels in different places. The little critters may crawl into your luggage or onto your clothing which you bring back into your home when you return. Another way that you might be inviting them into your home is by buying second hand pieces of furniture or clothes.
The main thing to note here is that they won’t live on you or your dogs as fleas do, they’ll instead bite you and then go back to their hiding place, usually on your mattress or dog bed. Although they do prefer biting people, they’re not afraid to give your dogs, cats or other pets a little bite too.
They also like to go for exposed skin, so if your dog has short hair or little to no hair around their belly, it may be a place that the bed bugs might go for.
Signs that you may have a bed bug problem at home
If you’re beginning to suspect that your home may have an infestation of bed bugs, there are a few telltale signs to be on the lookout for. Be mindful of any small looking insect bites that may pop up anywhere on your body or your pup. Some dogs may have more of a reaction to bed bug bites than others, so take note if you see any of the following:
- Raised red welts on the skin of your dog
- Your dog furiously scratching through the day (though this might be a sign of fleas instead)
- Any signs of irritation on your dog’s skin
- Dark spots on the mattress or dog bed from the bed bug’s fecal matter
- You may be able to spot bugs crawling on your mattress, although they’re often hard to see
How to deal with bed bugs at home
If you do think that your bed or your dog’s bed may have bed bugs, don’t panic just yet. Although you might be conjuring up pictures of pest control workers in hazmat suits, sometimes there can be a simple solution to the problem.
Having your dog professionally groomed and bathed will help you to get rid of any bugs that may be present (particularly if you’re confusing the bed bugs with fleas). Use this as a time to give your designer dog beds a wash at home, removing the outer bed cover and putting them through a high-temperature wash cycle. The George Barclay dog beds at Creatures of Comfort make this an easy fix as you simply take the outer cover off and put it in your washing machine.
High levels of heat will help to kill off the bed bugs and any other fleas or ticks that your dog may have picked up when they’ve been exploring outside or hanging around other pups. After you’ve done a high heat dryer cycle too, make sure to leave the dog bed out for 30 minutes. You can see our guide on washing your dog bed in the washing machine for the full rundown.