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Bedbugs – How Do They Affect Pets? What You Should Know About Bedbugs and Pets

By: Dr. Debra Primovic

Read By: Pet Lovers
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Is my pet at risk?

If you have bed bugs, it is possible that your pet could be bitten. There have been no documented diseases spread from bedbugs to pets, however the risk is there.

What are signs of bedbug bites on pets?

Dogs and cats can develop reactions to bites and rashes and even develop skin infections. It is possible some pets can develop allergic reactions to bedbug bites.

Signs of bites may include a small red spot that may or may not be itchy. Several bites in a row can appear as a rash. The look of bites can be altered if your pet starts biting or scratching at the area and can lead to a skin infection.

Allergic reactions to bites can cause hives and swelling.

How do you get rid of bedbugs?

Eliminating bed bugs can be VERY difficult.

Elimination methods are labor and time intensive and repetitive. Single treatment is effective less than 5% of the time, causing multiple treatments and approaches to be most effective.

Many bedbugs are resistant to insecticides. Most elimination procedures combine both insecticides and non-insecticide approaches.
Heat treatment is a common method for elimination. Bedbugs will not survive high temperatures for periods of time. Bedbugs will die with exposure to temperatures of 115 degrees F for 7 minutes.

It is recommended that blankets and clothes coming in from say a thrift store be dried in a hot dryer for 25 minutes to 1 hour. Vacuuming is also important with prompt disposal of the vacuum bags or the contents of "bagless" systems.

Application of insecticides in a well ventilation area can be beneficial. The EPA has a list of insecticides that may be useful. Find out more about the chemicals and safety on their site. Go to: http://cfpub.epa.gov/oppref/bedbug

Elimination of infected belongings can be helpful (throw out the mattress, box springs, etc.) but it does not eliminate the infestation as they have generally moved to and are also living in the bed frame, by the baseboard or in other areas in the room.

The natural predators of bedbugs include cockroaches, ants, spiders, mites and centipedes.

What should you do if you suspect bedbugs in your home?

Call a professional and get advice. This can be labor intensive and expensive. They can help guide you on the best approach to treatment.

How can you prevent bedbugs?

Pay attention to what you bring into your home (especially second-hand clothes and furniture).

Check hotel rooms for signs of bedbugs and alert hotel staff of any concerns.

Can bedbugs spread disease?

According to the Mayo Clinic, "Bedbugs can be infected with over 28 blood-borne diseases. However, there is no evidence that bedbugs can transmit these diseases to other people."

What should you do if you suspect your pet has bedbug bites?

Treat the bedbugs in your home. If your pet has a rash or skin infection – please see your veterinarian. They may treat your pet's infection with an antibiotic or any allergic reactions with steroids or Benadryl.

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