ABC Blog

Can Dogs Carry Bed Bugs?

a bed bug on skin

Few creepie-crawlies in the insect world have a mental and emotional impact on us humans like bed bugs.

They come out at night…while we’re sleeping…to drink our blood…

The common bed bug is tiny, with a flat, oval body roughly the size of an apple seed. It can expand to nearly twice its normal size while feeding, turning from muddy brown to dark red in color.

Bed bugs get their name from the types of locations they prefer to infest and feed. They are most active at night and look for a ready source of blood to feed on. That’s why beds (and the humans sleeping in them) are their ideal targets.

Likewise, female bed bugs will lay eggs in the protected seams and crevices of your mattress (or your dog’s bed). This is their way of looking out for their offspring, who will have a convenient source of blood.

These eggs hatch as nymphs, grow to adulthood in about a week and begin laying eggs of their own. If not stopped, this process can continue to repeat, leading to a massive infestation throughout the entire home.

A bed bug’s saliva, like that of leeches, contains anesthetic substances. This numbs the bites and reduces coagulation of the blood flow at the bitten place.

Because it may take two to three days before obvious symptoms of bed bug bites appear (if they do at all) homeowners are often unaware of a problem until a full-blown infestation has established itself.

How Do I Know if I Have Bed Bugs in my Home?

Bed bugs are small, nocturnal, and can stay hidden for a long time without a meal bed bugs can be extremely difficult to identify, and even harder to eradicate without professional help.

In fact, few homeowners actually see these blood-sucking little vampires at all. They only become aware of an infestation through early signs of bed bugs, including:

  • Pin-sized blood stains on sheets or pillowcases
  • Dark spots (bedbug excrement) on sheets, mattresses, bedding and walls
  • A rank, musty odor from the bed bugs’ scent glands
  • Flat, red welts in zigzag lines or small clusters (bed bug bites) on the torso or extremities

a dog in grass

Can Dogs Carry Bed Bugs?

The short answer, unfortunately, is yes. Pets, and outdoor pets in particular, give bed bugs a convenient method of transportation into our homes.

If you’ve noticed or even suspected the presence of bed bugs, it’s a good idea to thoroughly inspect your pet regularly for signs of infestation. This is especially important following professional extermination to help avoid recontamination.

Here are some signs that your pooch may be suffering from the presence of these tiny blood-suckers:

  • Excessive scratching is a common sign of a problem. It’s not uncommon for a dog to scratch itself. However, if the itching is increasing or they are scratching the same spots for a long time without stopping, it’s could be something more than a typical itch.
  • Check their skin for sores, welts or red, irritated bite marks. A hive-like rash is another sure give-away that something is feeding on fido.

The good news is that bed bugs aren’t carriers of any serious diseases, either for humans or dogs.

If bed bugs are allowed to thrive, they can cause a great deal of discomfort and anxiety for both you and your pets. These pests cover their hosts in itchy, painful welts which can cause allergic reactions.

What is the Ideal Environment is for a Bed Bug?

Bed bugs aren’t very picky about their accommodations. They will seek out any environment with a steady source of food, and a temperature range between 65°- and 85°-degrees Fahrenheit.

Though most often associated with beds, these annoyances are just as happy to nest elsewhere like:

  • Couches
  • Headboards
  • Stuffed animals
  • Chair cushions
  • Purses
  • Coats
  • Even inside bedside lamps, computers, and digital clocks

If they’re not disturbed in these environments, a single female bedbug will lay anywhere from one to six eggs every day, and up to 400 eggs in her lifetime. Contacting a pest control professional is crucial to controlling bed bugs.

a bed bug on wood

How Long Can Bed Bugs Live Without Food?

If you think you can “wait out” a bed bug infestation as a method of pest control, think again.

Like many insects, bed bugs can survive incredibly harsh conditions. In the case of bed bugs, this includes starvation.

Bed bugs can go without feeding for 20 to 400 days, depending on temperature and humidity. Older stages of nymphs can survive longer without feeding than younger ones, and adults have survived without food for more than 400 days in the laboratory at low temperatures.

So, while it can be tempting to simply close off the infested area, the more likely result is that the pests will just migrate to the other rooms. They will resume their feeding and breeding cycle there.

Keep In Mind:

  • Bed bugs are so small that they can squeeze through wall cracks and use air vents and electrical sockets to move about in search of food and shelter.
  • They’re happy to hitch a ride from room to room on the backs of your pets.
  • Even your clothes, luggage and personal items aren’t safe. Bed bugs often hide there to later travel to fresh hunting grounds.
Bed bugs, if not hitching a ride with you, your pets or other moving items, can travel about three feet each hour. This means a dedicated march under their own power can bring them from one room to any other room in an average-sized home or workspace.
The painful truth is that, if one room has bed bugs, other rooms can have bed bugs too. Any attempts to isolate an infestation of bed bugs or limit its spread throughout your home through a DIY approach are doomed to fail.
This is why the battle against bed bugs is one of those challenges where the best defense is to call in the pros, and quickly!

How Do You Get Rid of Bed Bugs?

Unfortunately, bed bugs are one of the most difficult pests to eradicate. So, you’re not going to wait out a bed bug infestation. You also can’t control them by starving them or avoiding them.

Many home and business owners aren’t even aware that they have a bed bug issue until they become a rapidly growing colony. Bed bug control starts with knowing where to look. Knowing what to look for is critical in evaluating a bed bug infestation. That’s why it’s important to call an expert. Professionals have the knowledge and resources to eradicate these pests.

Bed bugs are great at staying hidden for long periods of time, making home remedies and store-bought chemicals practically useless. These products’ active ingredients disappear long before these tiny bugs resume their feeding.

A full-blown infestation can occur with frightening speed. Female bed bugs multiply quickly, laying hundreds of eggs over their lifespan. These larvae can begin reproducing in as little as 30 days, leading to an explosive and exponential number of bed bugs throughout your home.

Every piece of fabric, bedding and clothing needs to be stripped, washed, heat dried and then stored off-site until the extermination is successful. Mattresses, carpets and furniture must be treated and vacuumed. Walls, ceilings and all other surfaces will need to be treated, too.

Even after all that work, re-infestation rates are high, since bed bugs can lay eggs in places that most non-professionals are not equipped to reach.

Professional Treatment

For complete eradication, turn to licensed bed bug control professionals. Pest control experts know where to look and what to look for and have the training, equipment and products needed to treat these pests.

Pet owners should keep their furry family members out of the home and away from exposure to any residual pest control products for at least 4 to 6 hours. Smaller pets like birds, reptiles or rodents may need longer as they can be more sensitive. Be sure to discuss your specific needs with your pest control pro.

ABC Can Rid Your Home of Bed Bugs for Good!

As pest control professionals, ABC Home and Commercial Services can identify the specific pest you’re dealing with, formulate a targeted plan of treatment using professional-grade products, locate the source of the infestation and, with our training and experience, maximize the impact of the extermination.

Contact ABC Home & Commercial Services, and let us evict those pests and help you (and your pets) get a good night’s sleep again!

Russell Jenkins

Russell Jenkins is the Chief Communications Officer for ABC Home and Commercial Services in North Texas. Russell has been working as part of the ABC Family since he was 12 years old under the direction of his father, Owner Dennis Jenkins, and has since held several leadership roles at ABC. Russell holds a degree in Agricultural Leadership from Texas A&M University, and is a Food Safety Specialist. In his free time he enjoys spending time with his family and two children, playing tennis, and gaming.

Learn More

Comments are closed.