​Can Dogs Get Bed Bugs and Be Bitten By Them?

  • Written By Dan Edwards on January 8, 2018
    Last Updated: December 28, 2020

Everyone knows that humans are a bed bug’s favorite snack -but does that mean those little critters will leave your beloved dog alone? If you’re wondering if bed bugs bite dogs, keep reading and you’ll soon have your answer.

Will Bed Bugs Bite And Feed On Dogs?

You know when you’re really craving a particular food, but you don’t have any of it in your house so you settle for something else that’s handy? That’s how bed bugs feel about feeding off your dog. They’ll do it, but they’d rather be feeding off of you. We’re easier targets since we’re not covered in fur. They don’t have to work as hard to reach our skin.

And don’t assume your dog will be protected if you slap a flea and tick collar on them. Those kinds of collars may keep the other pests off your dog, but they won’t do anything to a bed bug. They’ll happily climb and crawl right past those collars to get to their food source.

Do Bed Bugs Bite Dogs

But if your dog sleeps with you on your bed, they are a target for bed bugs too. Or if your dog sleeps on a pet bed right next to your bed, the bed bugs are likely to find him there. If it’s not a heavy infestation, they may just target you instead of them.

However, dogs can carry bed bugs from room to room and spread an infestation if you’re not careful, so keep a close eye out for any suspicious signs.

How Do I Know If My Dog Is Being Bitten By Bed Bugs?

Because dogs don’t have a voice to tell you when something is wrong, it can be hard to know what’s going on with them sometimes. You may have their basic needs figured out, like food and going outside to use the bathroom, but it’s harder to tell when they’re being bitten by bed bugs.

You’ll have to pay careful attention to their skin, which means you might have to do some digging under their fur to look for any signs. You might be able to see welts on their skin, particularly if they are short-haired dogs.

If your dog has a lot of itchiness, you might want to consider bed bugs, although itchiness could also mean fleas. If your dog starts to lose a lot of hair, it could be because of bed bugs too. It’s been known to cause patchy spots of missing hair.

Dogs can even have anxiety symptoms from being bitten by bed bugs. They could also have blisters or hives.

If you suspect your dog is being bitten by bed bugs, look for exoskeletons in his fur and even within skin folds. After a nymph, a young bed bug, feeds on blood, they’ll shed their exoskeleton to become an adult. And if that happens when they are still on your dog, that can be the smoking gun you need in order to figure out whether bed bugs have entered the picture.

What To Do If My Dog Is Being Bitten By Bed Bugs

If your dog is being bitten by bed bugs, you’ll need to take action to confirm that you have an infestation in your house.

Examine your bed and your pet’s bed for any signs of living or dead bed bugs. If you don’t see any actual bugs, look for signs they may have left behind, like blood spots, exoskeletons, excrement, and eggs. You might also have noticed you have itchy, red bites on your skin.

CC Image courtesy of AFPMB

If you find signs that your house is infested, it’s time to call in the professionals so they can take measures to take care of the problem. They’ll need to treat your house or apartment to kill off and remove any bed bugs. Make sure your exterminator knows that you have a pet.

Although the bites from bed bugs do cause discomfort and itchiness, at least you can take comfort in the fact that bed bug bites don’t spread disease like the bites from mosquitoes and ticks do.

The worst thing that can happen with bed bug bites is a case of anemia from the blood loss your pet might experience if your house has a large infestation. The other main health risk from bed bugs is that you or your pet could get a skin infection from scratching too much.

How To Prevent Bed Bugs From Biting a Pet Dog

The easiest way to prevent bed bugs from biting a dog is to make sure you don’t inadvertently bring bed bugs into your home. These little pests are becoming more common in hotels so before you bring your bags too far into your hotel room, you should first check the room out for any signs of bed bugs.

When Do Bed Bugs Come Out

If your room is infested and you don’t know it, there’s a good chance those bed bugs will hitch a ride back home with you and set up shop in your house. Once, they find their way in, it becomes a lot more difficult to prevent your dog from getting bed bugs too, and just as importantly, it becomes harder to stop your dog from carrying them to more places around the home.

Because you’ll be a bed bug’s number one target, if you want to try to stop your pet from being bitten by bed bugs once you know you have them, you should keep them out of your bedroom.

Don’t let them sleep on the bed with you and make sure their pet bed is in another room of the house. That’s because bed bugs tend to stay within several feet of their primary food source.

But you need to stay aware of the fact that a dog can get bed bugs from sources other than you and your activities. Although it’s not typical of a bed bug to stay on a dog after feeding, it can happen. And if your dog encounters another dog from a home with bed bugs, and rubs against it, it’s possible your dog could carry bed bugs into your home.


Knowing if bed bugs bite dogs can help you be prepared in case it happens in your home. Being aware of how you can safeguard your dog from bed bug bites will help you feel more in control of the situation during an infestation.