These days, bed bugs are a growing concern in the US.
Their exact relationship to us and our pets remains a mystery for the majority of people, however.
Chances are that you’ve got some questions about cats, dogs and bed bugs.
Can our furry friends bring them in? Are they at risk during a bed bug infection? Read on and we’ll discuss the relationship between your pets and one of the world’s most detested pests.
Can Animals Act As Carriers of Bed Bugs?
Many of the common parasites that cause a problem in our homes take a ride in on our animals. Ticks, fleas, and a few others can show up simply because our pets have been infected.
Bed bugs may be little bloodsucking ghouls but they don’t infest our pets.
Unlike many of the blood-drinking parasites that can be encountered in our daily lives, they don’t actually live on the host animal.
That’s not the full story, however. Bed bugs can be brought into the home by hitching a ride on a dog or cat which has been exposed to them. The life cycle of a bed bug doesn’t lend them to infesting an animal but your pets can bring them in.
Fortunately, tick and flea drops seem to keep the risk to a minimum. Don’t be too quick to blame Fido if you have an infestation.
Hitchhiking on humans is a far more likely culprit.
Dogs and Bed Bugs: Is There a Risk?
While they’re rarely the cause of the infestation, our pets suffer from these pests just as much as we do. Fortunately for our pets, however, they much prefer feeding on humans.
Still, when infestations become intense our animals’ beds can also become infected.
The best way to handle an infected pet bed is with a dryer. A long, hot cycle will generally kill off any infestation in a pet’s bed and most dog and cat beds have covers which can be removed to clean easily.
Just be aware that if a pet’s bed is infected then you’re likely looking at a much more serious problem in the home. Chances are that every available surface was infected first, bed bugs primarily move to pet beds once their favored places have become overcrowded.
Identifying Bed Bugs in the Home
Bed bugs are extremely small and can be hard to identify.
For most people the first indication there’s a problem is the small red bites that show up. These sores are often quite itchy but the parasites first inject an anesthetic compound before sucking blood so the bite itself is rarely felt.
Due to their small size, it’s often hard to find an infection before it reaches a critical point. There are some indicators that show up, however.
The easiest indication is adult bed bugs. They range from 1/2 to 3/4 of a centimeter in length but they can be identified by the naked eye in most cases.
You should also keep an eye out for small spots of blood, discarded egg casings, and the red streaks which indicate their excrement. Bed bugs tend to infect everywhere they can and there will be plenty of signs of a heavy infestation.
In most cases, an expert is required to do a full removal. The more signs you’ve noticed, the heavier the infestation.
You’ll want to act quickly before things get worse.
What Are the Risks of a Bed Bug Infestation?
Unlike some parasites, bed bugs don’t generally transmit diseases to either humans or animals. They carry a relatively small risk in isolation, mostly producing a lot of itching and discomfort for those suffering from bites.
The problems which arise come from infections caused by consistent scratching. Bacteria under your fingernails or present on the hands can spread and cause inflammation and other secondary issues.
The problem is doubled for pets. Their feet tend to carry some nasty stuff, especially in the case of cats where they regularly use a litterbox. Infections can occur and require veterinary care.
For humans, it’s mostly a matter of discomfort. Try to scratch as little as possible and use a hydrocortisone or antihistamine cream to treat bites until the problem can be taken care of.
Some people and pets may also be allergic to the pests, creating a greater reaction than the one usually found.
What to Do About Bed Bugs
The truth is that once a bed bug infestation has taken hold in a home it’s a serious problem to get them out.
Bed bugs are nocturnally active and suck blood, but they’re not confined to cloth by any means. They can hide in the spaces underneath drawers or even behind furniture.
They move quickly and cover a lot of ground during their nightly excursions.
It’s important to treat the whole problem. More than one person has made the mistake of thinking they could dispose of a mattress and replace it to get rid of them… only to find their expensive new purchase is infected as well.
In the end, the only real option for most is professional help.
Got Bed Bugs? We’ve Got Solutions
If you suspect that you have an infestation of these notorious pests you need to act quickly. You’ll find that dogs and bed bugs are a bad combination and the stress caused to the whole household will rapidly rise.
That means you need professional help as quickly as possible.
If you’re in the Phoenix, Arizona area and suspect that bed bugs are making your life more difficult then you’re in luck. Contact us today and get the help you need to make bed bugs a thing of the past.