Bed Bugs-Borne Diseases in Dogs and Cats

Common info

The bed bug is a very small-sized insect whose bites are not dangerous. However, in the case of dogs with severe allergies, bed bug’s bites may be life-threatening. The symptoms commonly found in Bed bugs-borne diseases in dogs and cats are itchy, reddish-brown bumps and irritating, etc. 


A bed bug was first described in the 11th century in Germany, while bed bug problems were first reported in the year 1950


The bed bug is an insect that belongs to Cimicidae family and feeds on any blood available to sustain itself.  A female bed bug will lay 1-5 eggs a day or 540 eggs on average for its entire life. Bed bugs shed their skins in every stage of their life cycles, i.e. eggs – nymphs — and adults. Any sloughs found, therefore, can imply that the bites may belong to them.  It is normal for bed bugs to lay eggs in rough cracks that are close to their resting places. Bed bugs are nocturnal eaters as it is the time the dogs are sleeping with carbon dioxide being released, making it easier for bed bugs to approach the dogs.


  • Itching
  • Reddish-brown bumps
  • Irritating
  • Allergic
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Skin to swell

The symptoms of Bed bugs-borne diseases in dogs and cats: When dogs are bitten by bed bugs, reddish-brown bumps will be found, esp. in their bellies and limbs. Dogs will feel so itchy and irritating that they will regularly bite and lick the itchy areas, causing the skin to swell and bruise. In some of the allergic dogs, severe swelling, vomiting, and diarrhea may be experienced.

If the cause of the bites is unsure, a search can be made in the crevices of mattresses. If a brown flat oval insect without a wing is found, it can be assumed that such bites are caused by bed bugs.

Treatment and Prevention

The treatment of bed bug bites will have to start with topical ointments that will reduce the irritation. If the dog has a severe allergic reaction, injections or oral steroids will be administered. You may also opt for a few home remedies such as baking soda, which relives itchiness. Aloe vera may also be beneficial if the dog has severe skin irritation. Apart from these, getting rid of bed bugs is also essential and should be handled by professional insecticide companies.

  1. Wikipedia | Bed bug
  2. Vetinfo | Bed bug bites on dogs
  3. Pestworld | Bed bug biology
  4. Mullen, Gary R.; Durden, Lance A. 2009. Medical and Veterinary Entomology, Second Edition. Academic Press. p. 80. ISBN 0-12-372500-3.
  5. E. N. I. Weeks, J. G. Logan, M. A. Birkett, J. A. Pickett and M. M. Cameron. 2013. Tracking bed bugs (Cimex lectularius): a study of the effect of physiological and extrinsic factors on the response to bed bug-derived volatiles. The Journal of Experimental Biology. 216:460-469.
  6. Michael F. Potter. 2016. The History of Bed Bug Management with Lessons from the Past. American Entomologist. 57:14-25.
  7. Stephen L. Doggett, Merilyn J. Geary and Richard C. Russell. 2004. The Resurgence of Bed Bugs in Australia: With Notes on Their Ecology and Control. Environmental Health.4(2):30-38
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