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Dear Daisy Dog

I’m pretty sure my apartment is infested with bedbugs, so I called the exterminator. I have itchy bites, and Ginger, my dog who sleeps on the bed with me, is itchy too. What should I do for her?

Daisy Responds

If Ginger is itchy, she should visit her veterinarian, who can confirm the cause and prescribe treatment. Antihistamines, omega-3 fatty acids and steroids help minimize itchiness.

It’s certainly possible that Ginger was bitten by bedbugs, but the two of you may instead have been bitten by fleas or even mites. Or Ginger’s itchiness might have another cause altogether.

Bedbugs usually bite the human torso, while fleas are more apt to bite humans’ feet, ankles and lower legs. Canine mites, when they attack people, focus on areas beneath tight clothing, such as under the waistband of trousers.

While bedbugs prefer to bite humans, they do occasionally bite pets. Fortunately, they don’t carry disease.

Bedbugs feed for only a few minutes and then return to their usual habitats, generally along mattress seams or near the bed, where they live and reproduce.

Therefore, if bedbugs are the villains, it’s not necessary to treat Ginger with a flea or tick preventive. Besides, none have been tested to determine whether they are effective against bedbugs.

Instead, environmental treatment is recommended. Your exterminator can help you with this.

Ask about the product’s safety for Ginger and any other pets that live with you.

Remove your pets while your apartment is treated. Because bedbugs usually don’t remain on pets for long, it’s unlikely that Ginger will spread them to a friend’s home or the boarding kennel.

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