Bed bugs recently made the news when an infestation in Rex cinema was reported by the straits times newspapers. This has led to a string of queries from our students asking if dogs can get bed bugs and if they can carry the infestation to their homes?
Can Bed Bugs Bite Your Dog?
The short answer is yes. And they can bite your cat or other pets too.
Can Dogs Get Bed Bugs?
Unlikely, but much depends on the level of infestation. If the infestation is high, there is every chance your dog will fall victim too, especially if bed bugs are found on his bedding.
Why Is This So?
Because bed bugs have a natural preference for human blood and unlike fleas and ticks, they find it difficult to travel through fur and hair. Hence bed bugs have a tendency to congregate near their primary food source i.e. you. That’s why they are commonly found on mattresses, bed frame or other furniture.
That said, if the level of infestation is too heavy and if they are in need of a secondary food source, your dog can fall victim too. In such instances, you may find bed bugs hiding in folds on the dog’s bedding; the dog gets bitten when he lays there to rest.
Can Dogs Carry Bug Bugs Home?
Unfortunately yes. Bed bugs are very skilled hitchhikers, often entering a home after latching on clothing, luggages and footwear etc. As such it is very possible for them to latch on your dog and enter your home.
Do Bed Bugs Carry Diseases?
Fortunately no. However, bed bug bites can be very itchy and those with sensitive skin can suffer allergies as a result of these bites. Skin infection due to skin tear brought about by frequent and excessive scratching are common too.
If you are badly bitten, it is best to consult a doctor rather then treat DIY.
How Do I Know if My Home Is Infested?
Tell-tale signs include actual visible bed bug bites as well as the various signs of infestations noted in Jessie Ting’s article on bed bugs, which provides a pretty good layman view on the bed bug problem. And for those hungry for more details about bed bugs, nothing beats the wikipedia bed bug page.
What Should You Do if Faced with an Infestation?
If the problem is severe, look for a professional bed bug control service immediately. Bed bugs are known to be very resilient and if the population is not completely wiped out, the surviving bugs may scatter to other rooms and in extreme cases (especially in HDB flats where apartments are spaced out pretty close together), infest your neighbour’s home as well.
If it is just clothing, bedding or upholstery that is contaminated, washing them with your washing machine at the highest temperature wash will often be sufficient as will placing them in a dryer at high heat for at least 20 minutes.
This is what we at Dog Training Singapore learnt about bed bugs recently; we thought we share this so that dog owners in Singapore, and not just our students, will benefit from this knowledge. If you find this post useful, do help us by sharing it using the social buttons on this page.