Do Bed Bugs Bite Dogs?

Bed bugs are notorious pests that feed on the blood of humans, causing discomfort and anxiety due to their bites and the difficulty in eradicating them. However, a common concern among pet owners is whether bed bugs also target their beloved pets, particularly dogs. Understanding the interaction between bed bugs and dogs is crucial for ensuring the health and well-being of your furry companions and implementing effective pest control measures.

Do Bed Bugs Bite Dogs?

Bed bugs are primarily human pests, preferring to feed on human blood. However, in the absence of human hosts, bed bugs can and will bite other warm-blooded animals, including dogs. Bed bugs are opportunistic feeders, meaning that when their preferred human hosts are not available, they will turn to alternative hosts such as dogs to sustain themselves.

Identifying Bed Bug Bites on Dogs

Identifying bed bug bites on dogs can be quite challenging due to the fur that often hides the bite marks and because the symptoms can resemble other common skin issues in pets. Here are some key indicators and steps to help determine if your dog is suffering from bed bug bites:

Signs of Bed Bug Bites

1. Red, Itchy Bumps:

  • Appearance: Bed bug bites typically manifest as small, red, raised bumps that can cause itching and discomfort.
  • Location: These bites are often found on parts of the dog with less fur, such as the belly, ears, and legs, where the bed bugs can more easily access the skin.

2. Excessive Scratching and Irritation:

  • Behavior: Dogs with bed bug bites may scratch, lick, or chew at their skin more frequently. This excessive grooming behavior is a response to the irritation caused by the bites.
  • Symptoms: Look for areas where the fur is thinning or there are signs of self-inflicted wounds from scratching.

3. Visible Bed Bugs or Fecal Spots:

  • Inspection: Carefully examine your dog’s bedding and sleeping areas. Bed bugs leave behind dark fecal spots, shed skins, and sometimes even live bugs can be spotted.
  • Evidence: Check for small, rust-colored stains on your dog’s bedding, which can indicate crushed bed bugs or their excrement.

Steps for Confirmation

1. Vet Consultation:

  • Professional Opinion: If you suspect bed bug bites, it’s advisable to take your dog to a veterinarian. They can help rule out other causes of skin irritation such as fleas, ticks, or allergies.
  • Diagnosis: Vets can provide treatments to alleviate itching and irritation and may suggest specific cleaning protocols or pest control measures.

2. Home Inspection:

  • Thorough Check: Conduct a thorough inspection of your home, focusing on areas where bed bugs are likely to hide, such as mattress seams, furniture crevices, and behind baseboards.
  • Signs of Infestation: Identifying a bed bug infestation at its source can help confirm that your dog’s symptoms are related to bed bugs.

3. Bedding and Environment:

  • Cleaning Routine: Regularly wash your dog’s bedding in hot water and dry it on high heat. This helps eliminate any bed bugs or eggs present.
  • Preventive Measures: Consider using bed bug-proof covers for mattresses and furniture, and regularly vacuum areas where your dog spends time.

Preventing and Treating Bed Bug Bites on Dogs


Preventing and treating bed bug bites on dogs requires a combination of vigilance, cleanliness, and proactive measures to ensure your pet’s comfort and health. Here are detailed strategies to help protect your furry friend from these pests.

Prevention Strategies

1. Regular Inspections:

  • Routine Checks: Frequently inspect your dog’s sleeping area, bedding, and toys for signs of bed bugs. Look for live bugs, dark fecal spots, eggs, and shed skins.
  • Environment Monitoring: Keep an eye on common hiding spots around your home, such as mattress seams, furniture crevices, and baseboards.

2. Maintain Cleanliness:

  • Washing Bedding: Regularly wash your dog’s bedding and blankets in hot water and dry them on high heat. This kills bed bugs and their eggs.
  • Vacuuming: Vacuum your home frequently, focusing on areas where your dog spends a lot of time, such as around their bed, carpets, and upholstery. Use a vacuum with a HEPA filter to capture bed bugs and their eggs effectively.

3. Heat Treatment:

  • Hot Dryer: For items that can’t be washed, place them in a hot dryer for at least 30 minutes. High temperatures effectively kill bed bugs and their eggs.

4. Pest Control:

  • Professional Help: If you suspect a bed bug infestation, seek professional pest control services. Experts can treat your home using safe and effective methods to eliminate bed bugs and prevent their return.
  • Insecticides: Use bed bug-specific insecticides on your dog’s bedding and surrounding areas. Ensure that the products are pet-safe and follow the manufacturer’s instructions.

Treatment Strategies

1. Immediate Relief:

  • Topical Treatments: Apply pet-safe topical treatments to soothe the itching and irritation caused by bed bug bites. Products containing ingredients like aloe vera or oatmeal can provide relief.
  • Oral Medications: In some cases, veterinarians may prescribe antihistamines or anti-inflammatory medications to reduce itching and swelling.

2. Consult a Veterinarian:

  • Professional Diagnosis: If you notice excessive scratching, redness, or irritation, consult a veterinarian. They can confirm if bed bug bites are the cause and recommend appropriate treatments.
  • Skin Treatments: Your vet may suggest medicated shampoos or sprays to alleviate symptoms and protect your dog’s skin from further irritation.

3. Environmental Control:

  • Integrated Pest Management: Work with pest control professionals to implement an integrated pest management (IPM) approach. This includes a combination of chemical and non-chemical methods to control bed bugs.
  • Preventive Measures: After treatment, maintain preventive measures to ensure bed bugs do not return. This includes regular inspections, cleanliness, and monitoring for any signs of bed bugs.

4. Isolation During Treatment:

  • Quarantine Affected Areas: If your home is being treated for bed bugs, temporarily isolate your dog from affected areas to prevent further bites and reduce stress.


Understanding the answer to “do bed bugs bite dogs” is crucial for pet owners concerned about their furry friends’ well-being. While bed bugs prefer human hosts, they will bite dogs, especially when humans are unavailable. Regular inspections, maintaining a clean environment, and seeking professional pest control services are essential steps in preventing and treating bed bug bites on dogs. Vigilance in monitoring your pet’s behavior and living areas can significantly reduce the risk of bed bug infestations, ensuring your dog’s comfort and health.

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