Think you hate bed bugs? Your furry friend hates them, too. After all, bed bugs are annoying, gross bloodsuckers. These tiny invaders — about the size of an apple seed — can create a huge infestation in your home and ongoing discomfort to you and your pet.
How to tell if you have bed bugs?
If your pet is the only one suffering from itching and/or hair loss, it might be a flea infestation. But if you’re both waking up with itchy welts on any area of exposed skin, or you’re seeing dark or rust colored spots on bed linens, your home might have bed bugs.
Where do bed bugs come from?
Having bed bugs has little to do with whether your home is clean or dirty. So how do you get bed bugs?
- Used furniture, especially mattresses, are a leading entry point of bed bugs into your home
- Bed bugs may hitchhike home in your luggage from your vacation
- Family and friends — but not pets — may inadvertently bring them into your home
- Bed bugs that expand their territory from neighboring houses or apartments
How to get rid of bed bugs
Once you have identified a bed bug problem, getting rid of them quickly can help reduce emotional stress, anxiety and, of course, itchy bites for both you and your pet.
While there aren’t products that treat bed bugs on your pet, you can help your pet by using soothing or anti-itch shampoo, relief sprays and antihistamines.
Products that treat your carpet, upholstery and home can help your pet’s entire environment. Use in combination with different methods, do-it-yourself and professional solutions to effectively reclaim your home from bed bugs.
Regardless of how you prefer to take back your home, several steps and processes are almost universal:
1. Clean your bed and your pet’s bed. Like their name implies, bedding and areas close by are most likely ground zero for bed bugs.
- Remove and wash all pet bed covers and inserts, your own bedding, and any blankets used by you or your pet in hot water and dry on the highest temperature setting
2. Clean your clutter, including your pet’s toys. The more items you have, the more hiding places bed bugs can find.
- Remove items such as stuffed animals, clothing, shoes, blankets, electronics, appliances and toys in sealed plastics bags for treatment; take care not to transfer bugs to other areas
- Clean washable items in hot water and dry on highest temperature setting
3. Clean infected area(s), like your pet’s favorite hangout. Even a near-empty room still offers plenty of places to harbor bed bugs.
- Scrub surfaces with a stiff brush to dislodge eggs and clingy bugs
- Vacuum everything you can: baseboards, furniture, bed frame, cracks, crevices, wallpaper, soft surfaces, seams, carpets; immediately seal and dispose of vacuum bag in outside trash can
4. Kill the bed bugs. The washing machine isn’t your only tool in bed bug defense.
- Treat areas with bed bug spray, fogger or aerosols
- Spray around and under beds, along baseboards and inside closets and doors
5. Repeat. Eliminating bed bugs takes time, patience and vigilance.
- Consider where you and your pet spend a lot of time and continue to vacuum, wash items in hot water, and monitor those areas for bed bugs