Can Bed Bugs Live on Dogs? Signs, Prevention, and Action

Ever wondered if your furry friend could be a host to bed bugs? It’s a common question that pet owners grapple with. After all, bed bugs are notorious hitchhikers, and they’re not picky when it comes to their next ride.

But before you start inspecting your dog’s coat with a fine-tooth comb, let’s delve into the facts. Understanding the habits and habitats of bed bugs can help you protect your pet and your home. So, let’s get to the bottom of this: do bed bugs live on dogs? Stay tuned to find out.

Key Takeaways

  • Bed bugs do not have a clear-cut preference for humans over pets; their survival predominates preferences. They will feed on pets if humans are not accessible.
  • Contrary to popular belief, bed bugs do not permanently reside on dogs or any other animal hosts. They prefer nesting in concealed, less disturbed areas close to their feeder’s location.
  • Bed bugs exhibit remarkable adaptability to alternative food supplies. If human hosts are not available, pets may become their next feeding spot. Therefore, occasional infestations can occur on pets and their surroundings.
  • Identifying the signs of bed bugs on dogs is crucial. Symptoms may include unexplained skin bumps or rashes, excessive scratching or licking, restlessness, changes in sleeping patterns, and dark-colored feces stains on bedding.
  • Protective measures against bed bugs involve not only treating pets but also conducting comprehensive home inspections and maintaining a clean environment. Regularly inspect and clean surroundings, declutter, and wash bedding at high heat settings.
  • Professional pest control services play an integral role in eradicating severe infestations. Regular preventive measures and immediate action at the first sign of infestation can help maintain a bed bug-free environment for both pets and humans.

Myth: Bed Bugs prefer humans over animals

Bed bugs are a familiar nuisance, but commonly misinterpreted. One of the many myths is their supposed clear-cut preference for humans over pets. This section will present facts to debunk this fallacy.

First, let’s establish an important fact about bed bugs: their survival predominates their preferences. Bed bugs are known for their ability to adapt and change according to the environment they find themselves in. If you assume they’ll skip your pets just because they prefer human blood, you’re in for a surprise.

Consequently, bed bugs do not turn down a meal from pets if humans aren’t obtainable. So, while they’d rather feed on human blood, they’re not picky eaters. If a dog is within their reach, they’ll bite. Their main interest lies in feeding and reproducing.

Next, while it’s true bed bugs prefer humans, they do not necessarily live on them. Same goes for dogs. They do not necessarily live on dogs as they prefer nesting in places close to their feeding area rather than on their hosts. People often find bed bugs in cracks and crevices of furniture, mattresses, or even in tiny gaps in the floor.

This highlights an integral part of your strategy in dealing with bed bugs: It’s crucial to not only inspect your four-legged friends but to check their sleeping spots and surrounding areas as well.

The tricky part about bed bugs is that an infestation might not be where you’d expect it. While you might find them in your pet’s bed, they could also be hiding somewhere near your dog’s favorite spot on the couch or under the rug where it loves to lie down. This is why a keen, active inspection is necessary to truly rid your home of these pests. So, make sure you check all possible hiding spots within their reach.

Now that we’ve busted this myth, you should incorporate this knowledge to protect both your family and furry friends from these stubborn bugs.

Can Bed Bugs Live on Dogs?

Contrary to what many think, bed bugs do not permanently reside on dogs or any other animal hosts. These tiny pests have highly adaptable survival strategies, which include a preference to nest in concealed and less disturbed areas. Unlike ticks or fleas, bed bugs do not stay on your pet’s body after feeding. They only visit their hosts (whether humans or dogs) for a short, albeit unpleasant, blood meal.

They are, in fact, perfectly suited to sneak off to live and breed in inaccessible locations close to their preferred feeding spots. If your dog often lounges on your couch or bed, these are precisely the types of places bed bugs will hide. Cracks and crevices in these furniture pieces offer optimal conditions for these insects to lay their eggs and thrive unchecked.

Between feedings, bed bugs will nest in a variety of areas:

  • Edges and seams of mattresses
  • Box springs
  • Bed frames
  • Baseboards
  • Electrical outlets
  • Loose wallpaper

It’s important to note that while bed bugs significantly prefer human blood, they exhibit a remarkable adaptability in the face of reduced food supply. If human hosts are not available, your pets might just become their next feeding spot. Therefore, even though they don’t specifically live on dogs, occasional infestations can occur on your pets and their surroundings. Understanding this is a crucial step in combating potential infestations effectively.

When it comes to bed bugs, it’s not enough to merely treat your pets. A comprehensive home inspection is needed to detect any early signs of infestation. It’s always smart to call in a professional pest control service if a bed bug infestation is suspected. These experts have the necessary tools and expertise to accurately identify and eradicate these unwelcome guests from your home.

Remember, prevention is better than cure. Regularly inspecting and cleaning your surroundings, along with your pets, will contribute to keeping your home bed bug-free.

Signs of Bed Bugs on Dogs

While it’s reassuring to know that Bed Bugs do not permanently live on dogs, it’s vital to be aware of the signs these parasitic pests might leave behind. If you suspect your pet may have been in contact with bed bugs, there are certain symptoms and signs to look out for.

Initially, try looking for physical indications on your dog. You might find unexplained bumps or rashes on your dog’s skin. These are often small, raised red patches that may be itchy and inflamed. While dogs have thicker skin than humans, they can still experience mild to moderate irritation from bed bug bites.

Behavioral changes in your pet can also suggest exposure to bed bugs. Pay close attention if your dog starts to scratch or lick excessively. Restlessness or changes in sleeping patterns might be indicating your pet’s discomfort, pointing towards possible bed bug interactions.

Moreover, the presence of bed bug feces can validate your suspicions. Unlike fleas and ticks that leave behind noticeable debris on pets, bed bugs often leave feces stains on bedding or areas where your dog rests. These stains are generally dark or rust-colored.

Nevertheless, it’s always advised to get professional help when dealing with potential infestations. Qualified pest control services are well-versed in locating and handling bed bugs efficiently. So if the signs are there, don’t try to handle it alone.

Preventing Bed Bugs on Your Pets

Understanding the correlation between pets and bed bugs takes the mystery out of how to prevent bed bugs on our pets. Dogs or cats don’t typically harbor bed bugs for long periods but these pests can still cause discomfort for your furry friends. Prevention is the best approach and here are some strategies you might consider.

First off, bed bug-proof your home. Since pets aren’t the primary hosts of bed bugs, establishing a bug-free environment drastically reduces the risk. Get in the habit of vacuuming frequently, decluttering, and regularly washing and drying your bedding and pet’s bedding on a high heat setting. This extreme temperature kills bed bugs in all stages, from eggs to adults.

Remember, vigilance is paramount. It’s not enough to maintain cleanliness at home; you must also be mindful when you’re away. Travel with care and caution. Bed bugs are hitchhikers, known to latch onto luggage or clothing. Before you settle into your hotel room or a friend’s house, do a quick scan for signs of bed bugs. Let’s not forget to check your pet’s carrier as well.

Consider using bed bug traps and interceptors. These not only capture but also help monitor infestation levels. They’re placed under furniture legs, trapping bed bugs as they travel to and from their source of food.

For those who reside in multi-unit buildings, it’s recommended to partner with your building management. In such environments, bed bugs can easily move from one unit to another. Joint preventive measures can go a long way to curb the problem.

The method you choose hinges deeply on your specific circumstances. The key is to stay proactive and observant, coupling these preventive measures with immediate action at the first sign of a potential infestation. The welfare of your pets, and household in general, depends on this diligence.


You’ve learned that bed bugs can indeed be a menace to your furry friends, but there are effective ways to prevent and manage this issue. It’s all about staying vigilant, maintaining a clean environment, and acting swiftly at any signs of infestation. Remember, vacuuming, decluttering, and washing bedding on high heat are your best defenses. Don’t forget about bed bug traps and interceptors when monitoring your home. If you’re living in a multi-unit residence, working with building management is key. By being proactive and observant, you can ensure your pets and your home stay bed bug-free. Your dog’s comfort and your peace of mind are worth the effort.

Can dogs get bed bugs?

Yes, dogs can get bed bugs, but these pests usually prefer human targets. However, dogs can carry bed bugs into the home or provide a substitute food source for existing infestations.

How can I prevent bed bugs on dogs?

Preventive measures include maintaining a clean environment, vacuuming regularly, decluttering, and washing pet bedding on high heat. Service dogs, in particular, should be inspected regularly as they frequently leave the home and could bring bed bugs back.

What are the signs of bed bugs on dogs?

Signs of bed bugs on dogs are tricky to identify, but constant itching, scratching, and skin irritation may hint at bed bugs. Red bite marks are a common sign, but not always present.

What should I do if I suspect my dog has bed bugs?

If you suspect your dog has bed bugs, consult a vet immediately. They can help confirm if it is indeed bed bugs and guide you on the best course of action.

How are bed bugs treated on dogs?

Bed bug treatment on dogs varies, but usually involves thoroughly washing the pet’s bedding, treating the home for bed bugs, and sometimes administering topical treatments under the guidance of a vet.

Can bed bugs spread in multi-unit residences?

Yes, bed bugs can quickly spread in multi-unit residences. Building management should be informed immediately to take measures throughout the building.

What are bed bug traps and interceptors?

Bed bug traps and interceptors are tools used to monitor the presence of bed bugs. They are placed under bed and furniture legs to keep bugs from climbing up, thus helping to track and limit infestations.

Can traveling increase the risk of bed bugs?

Yes, traveling can increase the risk of bed bugs. Being vigilant in hotels, airplanes, and new environments is crucial to avoid bringing them home unintentionally.