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How Bed Bugs Can Affect Your Pets

Monday, December 19, 2011 Comments

Remember that cutesy little rhyme you used to hear before you went to bed, prodding you to “not let the bed bugs bite”? For many people, unfortunately, bed bugs are a reality, affecting not only their homes and loved ones but their pets as well. Since your pets, especially cats and dogs, are probably warm-blooded mammals just like you, they are bound to attract insects such as bed bugs. And while a bed bug will prefer to feed on you, they will happily bite your pets if they get a chance. Here are a few ways that your pets might be affected by the nasty little buggers.

Bed bugs can affect your pets, too!
Your cat or dog probably has a preferred sleeping area that may contain a bed, pillow, or blanket. These are havens for bed bugs, who build their communities where we like to sleep. (It is important to keep in mind that bed bugs, unlike fleas or ticks, don’t actually live on their victims. They live in the environments where their victims reside, though they can easily be transported on clothing, in bags, or on bed-wear as it is carried from place to place. They can also be carried to different locations by riding along in your pet’s fur.)

You might not be able to see the bite marks on your pet if they have been attacked by bed bugs, especially on cats or dogs with long hair, but since the bites usually itch, you should watch to see if your pet is scratching more than usual. Bed bugs are often mistaken for fleas. They can be identified by their wingless reddish-brown bodies that are flat and about one-fifth of an inch long. Though the bites may be difficult to find, you can check to see if they exist on particularly sensitive areas of your pet, such as their stomach.

Once you have identified the problem, you can rid yourself of the infestation by washing and drying anything that your pet has come into contact with, particularly their toys or their bedding. Bed bugs will die when exposed to heat above 120 degrees Fahrenheit, so make sure to dry whatever you wash on high heat. Flea and tick baths will not affect bed bug populations, so if you’re going to bathe them, use insect control shampoos that are pyrethrin-based. Be aware that these products may be harmful to cats.

Continue to practice bed bug control even after you believe that you have successfully destroyed the infestation. Even if you see improvement in your pets or in the rest of your home, remember that bed bugs are persistent, and colonies may regenerate if you aren’t careful. Continue to wash and maintain your pet’s living area with extra attention, and routinely vacuum areas frequented by your pet. Look for bed bug signs, such as blood on light-colored areas (like sheets, blankets, or the wall), or little brown specks that are actually bed bug fecal material. Keep an eye out for a bed bug resurgence and your pets (and you will) will sleep more tightly in the future.

Evan Fischer is a freelance writer and part-time student at California Lutheran University in Thousand Oaks, California

Help Keep Madison-area Pets in Their Homes

Thursday, December 15, 2011 Comments

From DCHS:

A New Program to “Help Keep Pets in Their Homes”

Click to donate!
Hard economic times may result in tough choices regarding family pets for households struggling to stretch their limited resources. Families faced with the choice of purchasing pet food or providing for their family’s needs may have to make the heartbreaking decision to give up their pet. At a time when unconditional love from a pet is needed the most, some families need to make this tragic decision. Pets may be given to relatives or friends, surrendered to Dane County Humane Society or, sadly in some cases, abandoned.

To help families keep their pets at home, Dane County Humane Society (DCHS) is partnering with Community Action Coalition for South Central WI, Inc. (CAC) to supply pet food and cat litter to participating Dane County food pantries. CAC will facilitate the delivery and pickup of donation barrels with businesses participating in pet food drives. DCHS, acting as the county pet food bank administrator, will coordinate pet food drives, solicit business and private contributions, warehouse the donations and deliver them to food pantries with the aid of DCHS volunteers.

How Can You Help?

1. Donate pet food (dry or canned) or cat litter (clumping or clay) - bags 10 pounds or less to participating businesses between December 12 and 18. Click here to see a list of participating businesses. Click here to download a list of participating businesses.

2. Host a drive to collect pet food and cat litter in your business, school or organization. Contact DCHS for details.

3. Make a monetary donation to DCHS for food pantry food and litter. Checks should be made out to Dane County Humane Society, and include instructions to apply your donation to the “Help Keep Pets in Their Home” program. You can also donate online (include "Help Keep Pets in Their Homes" in the comment box).

What is our Goal?

With your help Dane County Humane Society and Community Action Coalition for South Central WI, Inc. want to support struggling families and prevent them from making the terrible decision to give up a loving pet when the family is faced with severely limited resources. Your donations will decrease the number of pets separated from their families - where their love, loyalty and enthusiasm for life are needed the most.

For More Information:

Contact: Patty Zehl, Volunteer Coordinator with Dane County Humane Society

Mail monetary donations to:

Attention: Patty Zehl
Dane County Humane Society
5132 Voges Road
Madison, WI 53718

Fun Internet Find: Cat Scratch DJ!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011 Comments

DJ Cat busting out some dope tunes
Many thanks to my friend Maureen for pointing out this adorable cat scratcher from SUCK UK! The record is a cardboard scratcher, and it actually moves/spins when your cat uses it. You can customize it with the included kitty DJ stickers. Now you just have to convince your kitty to wear headphones...

Cat Scratch DJ is available for purchase from ThinkGeek for $34.99.

Also check out SUCK UK's foldable cat play houses.

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