As human beings, we seem to have a love/hate relationship with dogs and bed bugs. That's because we love our dogs and hate the bed bugs. And the very last thing we want to do is see them together.
The question is, can dogs carry bed bugs? The simple answer is, yes, but it is important that you are aware of some simple facts to protect both yourself and your home.
Can dogs carry bed bugs into your house?
They sure can. Although it is typically uncommon for bed bugs to make their way onto your pet while it's outside -- after all, bed bugs are nocturnal and they don't particularly like fur -- for the safety of your pet and your family, you shouldn't disregard the possibility. Bed bugs aren't smart enough to knowingly hitch a ride on your pet in order to gain entry into your home, but if your dog encounters another dog who has them or a patch of grass where the critters happen to be, there's a chance they might use your dog as a way of inadvertently being smuggled inside.
Are bed bugs harmful to your dog?
Latching onto a dog is a bed bug's last resort. They don't want to climb through all that fur to get to some juicy skin they can siphon blood out of. If bed bugs do get on your dog and can get to the skin, however, they will treat your family pet in the same way they will treat you. Which means not very well, as they bite and suck blood until you're able to get rid of them. The good news is that, unlike other blood-sucking parasites, bed bugs do not carry disease. The good/bad news is that once a bed bug leaves your dog, it is more likely to find its way to you rather than back to your pet.
How do I treat my dog if he has bed bugs?
Unfortunately, topical flea and tick medications that you apply to your dog will not kill bed bugs. What you'll want to do is contact your veterinarian and let them know what you've discovered. He or she will tell you the best treatments available. For example, certain shampoos used to kill bed bugs on a dog are harmful to a cat, so a veterinarian will need to know if you have cats living in your home and how to avoid exposure.
Photo Credit: epSos.de via Flickr