Although they aren’t vectors or intermediaries of the transmission of bed bugs to people, pets can be victims of bed bug bites.
However, bed bugs far prefer to feed on human blood. Despite this, birds and other pets can sometimes be victims of bed bug bites, and their accessories can become contaminated (mattress, bed, covers, litter, cage, bags, accessories, etc.).
Can bed bugs hide in animal fur?
Animal fur is a barrier that complicates the movement of bed bugs on animals’ skin. As with humans, bed bugs prefer to hide elsewhere than on their victims after biting them. Although it’s sometimes possible to see bed bugs on people or animals, this is very rare. These are often exceptional cases, from environments that are very heavily contaminated by the presence of bed bugs.
What animals can bed bugs bite?
Bed bugs are particularly fond of humans and bats. Although this is rare, they can sometimes go after birds, dogs, cats, rabbits, guinea pigs, mice, rats, pigs, and other mammals that are mostly our pets. 1 (pdf)
How to recognize bed bug bites on a pet
Like on a human being, bed bug bites don’t always cause skin reactions. They sometimes produce reddish blisters or marks. These lesions can often be recognized due to their characteristic alignment. In addition, bed bugs prefer to feed on human blood. They are rarely found on pets.
Can bed bugs hide in pet litter?
Bed bugs are likely to be found in the immediate surroundings of pets, such as mattresses, mats, litter for rodents or birds, dark bags (e.g., open bags of pet food or litter), corrugated cardboard boxes, furniture, and some other pet accessories.
If you have bed bugs, regularly change your pets’ litter and use hermetically resealable containers to store the spare litter, pee pads, food, etc. Regularly and completely wash the cages of your birds, rodents, or any pets that have litter.
Don’t forget to have the furniture treated with dry steam and to clean all the accessories located near the place where your pet sleeps with either dry steam or heat (dryer treatment).
Can birds get bed bugs?
Yes, bed bugs can feed on bird blood. In some birds, such as chickens, bed bug bites can cause swelling of the skin, scratching, lesions on the skin of the legs and chest, a disruption in egg laying, and an increased appetite. Bird victims of severe infestations can suffer from irritability and even anaemia. 2
During a bed bug infestation, regularly change your birds’ litter. Avoid leaving accessories in or under which bed bugs could hide (recovery of sticks, cracked branches, nests, etc.). Regularly inspect under and around the cage.
Immediately before the treatment, make sure to change the litter and inspect and wash the cage. Take your birds and their food with you during the treatment and the period when you will be absent from the home.
Should pets leave the home during the treatment?
Yes, whether it’s dogs, cats, rabbits, guinea pigs, hamsters, birds, reptiles, or mini-aquariums, pets must leave the apartment with you before the treatment begins.
Consider cleaning the cages, bowls, bones, and toys before bringing them with your pets during the bed bug treatment. Change the litter just before your departure. 3(pdf) If your pet has a mattress or “bed,” bed bugs may be hiding there. Make sure to wash and dry it in the dryer for at least 45 minutes on the hottest cycle or have it disinfected with dry steam by a professional.
Before re-entering your apartment, make sure to respect the period prescribed by your exterminator and air out all the rooms of the house adequately.
What should you do with your dog or cat’s toys during the bed bug treatment?
Before the treatment, it’s important to find all the toys that belong to your dog or cat. Take the time to look under the furniture to prevent one of the toys from being sprayed with pesticides by mistake. Take care to wash them, dry them, then keep them in a hermetically sealed container. Bring them with you when you and your pets leave the house.
How long after the treatment can a dog or cat re-enter the house?
Pets must never be present during the application of an insecticide treatment. Ask your exterminator about the period that your pet must respect before re-entering the house. Note that this period only begins once the treatment is finished.
Can the bed bug treatment affect fish in an aquarium?
To prevent particles from the powders or liquid insecticides sprayed during anti-bed bug treatments from settling on the surface of the water in your aquarium, it’s necessary to cover it with plastic wrap, attaching it tightly around the sides of the aquarium. Feeding the fish and stopping the water pump and the aeration pumps before leaving the premises is also recommended.4 Before removing the plastic wrap from the aquarium, make sure to respect the period prescribed by your exterminator and air out all the rooms of the house adequately.
Warning: Check with your animal professional if these measures are suitable for the animals in your aquariums. Additional precautions or handling may be required.
Can the bed bug treatment affect reptiles?
Reptiles are often sensitive to insecticides. To avoid stressing or affecting them, make sure that your reptiles are absent and that their habitat (vivarium) is covered with plastic wrap during the treatment to protect them. Wait before bringing them back home after the anti-bed bug treatment and air out the entire home again before removing the plastic wrap and reintroducing your reptiles.
Avoid letting reptiles roam free for the months during which your apartment is treated for bed bugs because the products must remain on the treated surfaces for several weeks to combat the bed bugs. Ask your bed bug exterminator when you will be able to wash your floors and the base of your walls without compromising the effectiveness of the treatment. You will then be able to wash and rinse them adequately before allowing your reptiles to walk on them again.
To learn more about bed bugs, check out our frequently asked questions: