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Bed bugs are small (one-quarter inch long), brownish parasitic insects that feed exclusively on the blood of humans or animals.
While they do not typically cause serious health issues, bedbugs can be extremely uncomfortable, and their bites can often become infected which can result in other health issues.
In addition, bed bugs are very difficult to get rid of once they have infested an area.
Think you abhor these critters alone? Your Fido hates them, too.
He may have an allergic reaction to bedbug bites, scratch constantly, develop rashes, and even lose patches of hair due to incessant itching caused by these pesky bugs. Even worse, he’s at risk for infections.
Consequently, it is important to be vigilant and deal with the bed bug problems before it becomes a full-blown infestation in your household.
In today’s post, we are going to talk about bedbug dog shampoos. Do they exist? Are they effective? Which one should you buy if you spot bedbugs in your pup?
We are going to answer all these questions and more. It’s going to be insightful—trust me.
Can Dogs Get Bed Bugs?
Bedbugs are more likely to feed on humans since they’re attracted to the warmth and carbon dioxide that we emit.
So, dogs aren’t the first choice for bedbugs. In other words, these creatures have a penchant for humans above pets and all other species.
However, bedbugs can easily move from one host to another, so dogs can still be hosts for these creatures – especially if there’s already an infestation in your home.
Additionally, just like other pests, bedbugs go through a few growth stages—eggs, nymph, adult, etc.
But after hatching from eggs, they cannot progress to other stages without a blood meal.
This means that they will do everything possible to survive, including feeding on your dog.
Also, bedbugs typically hide and come out to feed at night but the fur of your dog might just provide the perfect cover – allowing them to feed at will.
The linings of your dog bed as well as crevices in your dog’s house may also provide them with a perfect, dark spot to hide.
How Can You Tell If Your Dog Has Bed Bugs?
Since dealing with bedbugs is not easy, it is best to nip them in the bud before the infestation becomes full-blown.
If you notice or suspect that your pet has bedbugs, take the necessary measures to control them right away.
The most obvious sign that your dog has bedbugs is the presence of bites on his skin. These bites are usually small and raised, and they can be very itchy.
If your dog is scratching a lot, this could be a sign that they’re trying to relieve the itchiness caused by the bites.
Bedbug bites are painless and your dog will not feel them. However, the bite will leave behind welted skin.
Diagnosing bites can be tricky because they could be caused by any number of insects.
However, bedbug bites are typically clustered together with each cluster having 2-5 bites.
If your dog has sensitive skin, the bite might also cause an allergic reaction or irritation.
Another tell-tale sign is bloodstains on the dog’s coat. If your dog rolls over and exerts pressure on a bedbug that was on them, they could die and leave behind a blood stain.
Also, the bugs might leave behind a streak or speck of blood on the skin. Granted, this might be tough to notice especially if your dog’s coat is not bright but if you see any of these signs, you can almost be certain you have a bedbug problem.
You may also want to check for a musty smell on your dog. Bedbugs have a distinct smell that they usually emit as a way of communicating with other bedbugs.
If you pick an offensive musty smell on your dog, it could be a sign they have bedbugs.
Shed exoskeletons anywhere your dog sleeps is another good sign of bedbug infestation. The exoskeletons look exactly like bedbugs but they are translucent and empty.
Finally, look out for any bedbugs on your dog’s fur. These insects are small (about the size of an apple seed), flat, and rust-colored and so they may not be easy to spot.
If you see a tiny insect moving on your dog’s coat, do not ignore it but investigate immediately to make sure it’s not a bedbug.
Also, if you see one bedbug on your dog, you can be sure he isn’t alone.
Is There A Bedbug Dog Shampoo?
Because bedbugs rarely affect dogs, there isn’t a dog shampoo that is dedicated to eradicating them.
That said, you can use any anti-itch shampoo to relieve your dog from the itchiness that he might have developed as a result of the bug bites.
But the demerit of these shampoos is they will only soothe the itchiness but they will not kill the parasites.
Nevertheless, your best bet at controlling these bugs would be to use a lice shampoo because lice shampoos will also kill bedbugs.
Lice shampoo has some active ingredients that make it a good choice for dealing with bedbugs.
For instance, they are formulated with pyrethrins and piperonylbutoxide.
Pyrethrins are derived from the chrysanthemum flowers and this combined with the piperonylbutoxide will not only kill the bedbugs but also their eggs.
These compounds are classified as contact poisons which means they will irreversibly block all of the sodium channels in the parasites’ nerve membranes.
This action results in spastic paralysis of the bedbugs which not only knocks them down but eventually results in death.
For best results, use the shampoo after every nine days until you are certain the problem is contained. This is because some of the eggs may hatch later and unless dealt with, the infestation might easily become a vicious cycle.
Here are the best lice shampoos that we are certain will help you eradicate or control bedbugs on your dog:
The vet solutions lime sulfur dip has been specially formulated for dealing with all kinds of dermatoses on both cats and dogs.
This sulfur dip was designed to be gentle on your pet’s skin while at the same time being lethal to the parasites.
However, the sulfur smell from this dip is quite pungent and may be a problem for people who cannot handle very strong smells.
But that is a small price to pay to get rid of the bedbugs. Besides, once you rinse it off, the smell will also go away.
This shampoo was designed to deal with fleas and ticks but it is also quite effective in eradicating bedbugs.
This might just be an all-in-one option for combating all the common dog pests.
It is formulated with oatmeal, aloe vera, coconut extract, and lanolin, and it’s gentle on your dog’s skin and leaves his coat soft and shiny.
Plus, the light fresh scent will leave your pet smelling pleasant and pest-free.
Zodiac Oatmeal Conditioning Shampoo is great for dogs with sensitive skin.
This rich, creamy formula contains natural ingredients that clean and conditions your pet’s coat while also killing fleas, ticks, lice, and bedbugs on contact.
Plus, it prevents pest eggs from hatching for up to 28 days which makes it great for eradicating stubborn pests.
Finally, we hope you can remember what we said about anti-itching shampoos. They can help you relieve your dog from the itchiness that he might have developed as a result of the bug bites.
Here are the best 3 in the market right now:
The VETNIQUE LABS Anti-Itch Dog Shampoo is specially formulated to help your pet recover from those annoying bedbug bites.
This soap-free formula uses pramoxine to temporarily numb the skin, providing relief from the constant itching and scratching that can keep you both up at night.
It also has Oat Extract to soothe and moisturize irritated skin, leaving your pet with a healthy glow.
The Veterinary Formula Hot Spot & Itch Relief Shampoo is the perfect solution for your pet’s itchy skin and hot spots!
It is specially formulated with medicated analgesic and anti-inflammatory ingredients to provide fast-acting relief of symptoms caused by allergies, insect bites, matted dirty coats, and more.
It is also safe to use on dogs and cats of all ages.
This USA-made shampoo and moisturizer is specially formulated with all-natural botanical extracts like tree oil, lavender, and flax seed oil.
These natural extracts will soothe irritated skin and also prevent dryness.
It also has a pleasant smell so your pet will smell great all day.
Don’t be tempted to use human lice shampoos on your dog.
We (humans) and our canine friends react differently to various insecticides, so the dosage level that you used when your kids came back from school with lice might overwhelm your innocent dog.
Additionally, some shampoos may not be safe for puppies, pregnant, and lactating dogs.
So, ensure that you consult your vet before you use any brand of dog shampoo on your pup.
Other Products That Can Help You Get Rid Of Bed Bugs from Your Dog
Apart from shampoos, there are other ways that you can leverage to get rid of bedbugs from your dog, Including:
I. Heat Treatment
For your dog’s bedding and toys, a dog shampoo won’t help much.
Heat treatment is one of the most effective ways of ensuring that these bugs and their eggs are exterminated in these areas.
Heat treatment is not only fatal to these bugs but also penetrates the hard-to-reach areas.
Throw washable dog bedding and toys in a hot water washer and then in a hot dryer.
Ensure that the temperature is more than 140 degrees F to kill both adult bedbugs and immature eggs.
II. Food Grade DE
Another effective method of getting rid of bedbugs in your pet’s sleeping areas and your household, in general, is using Diatomaceous Earth (DE).
It is formulated with the remains of miniature silicon-based sea creatures. Since silicon is a desiccant, it kills these pesky insects by drying them out.
Although food grade DE is safe (according to FDA), its dusty nature may cause respiratory distress to your dog.
For your dog’s safety, ensure that DE’s dust settles before allowing your dog in areas where you applied it.
III. Pet-safe Bedbug Spays
Pet-safe bedbug sprays can also help you get rid of bedbugs on your pup.
For the sake of your dog’s safety, consider spraying a small area first just to be sure that he doesn’t react negatively to any of the spray’s ingredients.
Most importantly, consult your vet about the particular spray you plan to use on your dog.
We highly recommend EcoVenger Natural bed bug killer because it not only gets rid of all stages of these bugs (eggs, nymph, adults, etc) but is also safe to use around children and pets.
IV. Tea Tree Oil
Tea tree oil is quite toxic and can be quite effective in wiping out a large number of these critters.
But for it to be effective, you may need to spray it often.
V. Call Exterminator
If the infestation is extensive, we highly recommend calling a professional exterminator.
Ensure that you opt for somebody who has handled his or her business around pets.
Chemicals used by most exterminators have residual action and can poison pets if they come into contact with them.
1. Does regular tick and flea shampoos keep away bed bugs?
No, they don’t. You need a special shampoo that is designed to kill bedbugs specifically.
But some all-in-one options will kill both fleas and bedbugs.
2. How long will a bed bug stay on a dog?
They will usually stay on for a few days but can live up to a week if they manage to feed on the dog’s blood.
But since they keep reproducing, they might be on the dog for weeks or months if not taken care of.
3. Can Bed Bugs Transmit Disease to Dogs?
There is no evidence that bedbugs can transmit disease to dogs. However, their bites can be very itchy and uncomfortable for your pet.
4. Can Dog Carry Bed Bugs?
No. Pets in general rarely spread bedbugs. First, these insects have a penchant for human blood not pets’.
Secondly, these bugs don’t have the kind of legs that can allow them to latch on pets’ skin or fur.
That said, dogs can carry these critters if they hide in their collars, especially from infested areas like homes, kennels, or animal shelters.
5. Can Dog Detect Bed Bugs?
Dogs have a very keen sense of smell and can detect bedbugs even when they are in very small numbers.
Some breeds, like beagles, can be specifically trained to sniff out bedbugs.
Using bedbugs sniffing dogs can, therefore, help you eliminate bedbug problems in their early stages of infestation.
Bedbugs can be such a nuisance, not just for humans but for our furry friends as well.
To keep your pet comfortable and bite-free, use lice shampoos or products that are designed to kill bedbugs on contact.
And if your pet does happen to get bitten, there are great anti-itch shampoos out there that will soothe the itchiness and irritation too.
Related Post: 10 Best Tick Shampoo for Dogs
Sable McNeil is a canine chef, professional pet blogger, and proud owner of two male dogs. I have been an animal lover all my life, with dogs holding a special place in my heart. Initially, I created this blog to share recipes, tips, and any relevant information on healthy homemade dog treats. But because of my unrelenting passion to make a difference in the world of dogs, I have expanded the blog’s scope to include the best information and recommendations about everything dog lovers need to know about their canine friends’ health and wellbeing. My mission now is to find the most helpful content on anything related to dogs and share it with fellow hardworking hound lovers. While everything I share is in line with the latest evidence-based veterinarian health guidelines, nothing should be construed as veterinary advice. Please contact your vet in all matters regarding your Fido’s health.