For many, bed bugs are a creature from a bed time ritual or thought to be a myth; however, they are very real and have made a drastic come back since the late 1990’s. They have literally become a world wide epidemic and are now found in all 50 of theUnited States. Travelers and visitors alike are all common causes of bed bug infestations, often without even knowing that they are carrying the pests with them and, unlike roach infestations that are often related to sanitation issues, bed bugs have nothing to do with cleanliness. One thing pet owners may not realize are those bed bugs will feed on pets too! Although bed bugs do prefer human blood, they will feed on any “warm blooded” animal. For this reason, it is important that pet owners consider their pets in the event that they find themselves facing a bed bug infestation. Here are a few facts you should know:
1. Bed bugs are not confined to the bed. They are often found in couches, recliners, dressers, desks, and numerous electronic devices among other things.
2. DO NOT try to treat bed bugs yourself. Many pesticides are not labeled for use on furniture, which needs to be treated in order to eradicate the problem. If you suspect you have bed bugs contact a professional.
3. Pet beds, kennels, and even cages can be harborage areas for bed bugs and their eggs. Make sure to discuss the safest and most effective way to eliminate them from these areas with your pest professional.
4. When having your home treated for bed bugs, check with your pest professional first to find out if your pets can be in the home during or immediately after treatment.
5. Many pets, birds, and fish especially, are extremely sensitive to pesticides. Make sure your pest control professional is aware if you have pets in your home. DO NOT assume that they know they are there.
6. While bed bugs themselves have not been shown to carry diseases, scratching at bites can cause skin infections in both humans and animals.
7. Depending on the infestation level in a home and the size of a pet, it is also possible for bed bugs to cause anemia due to blood loss. While this is not a common problem, pets should be closely monitored.
Owners are encouraged to take precautions when traveling in order to prevent bed bug infestations. Always transfer clothing immediately into the washer upon returning home and thoroughly vacuum suitcases or bags using a crack and crevice attachment to remove potential eggs.
Ask us at Animal Central for more information on pets and how they may be affected by bed bugs or visit: http://www.allthingsbedbugs.org/
Dr. George Stroberg, DVM and Staff