How to avoid getting bed bugs on vacation

Charlotte Reed loves to travel with her dog, but worries about exposing her pet to bed bugs when on the road. 

She says, "My dog sleeps in the bed with me. So, just like i'm exposed to bed bugs at night in the bed, so is she."     

It's a valid concern, says Jeffery White of Bedbug Central.  A recent survey found two-thirds of pest management companies have treated bed bugs in hotel rooms.  He says, all pets are fair game.

Bed bugs don't tend to live on pets long term, like fleas and ticks.   But your pet can't bring them home, warns the American Veterinary Medical Association.

Kimberly May from the American Veterinary Medical Center says, "Pets can transport bedbugs. Just mechanically, the bed bug hitches a ride on your pet and gets into your house."

A more common way of traveling is snuggling up in your pet's bedding.

May says, "You need to check their bedding.  You also need to check their soft toys, because there could be bed bugs in there."

So how can you keep your pets-and your home-safe?

First, experts say, when traveling, thoroughly inspect your hotel room for bugs.  Before you bring your pet through the door. The bugs are visible to the naked eye.

White says, "One of the most common areas that you want to inspect when you stay in a hotel room is either the headboard, where bed bugs will typically hide, or the bottom of the box-spring."

Second, consider leaving your pets' bedding in the bathroom where there will be less chance of bugs."

And consider treating the carrier with a pet safe bed bug repellent spray.

When you check out..  Make sure to examine your pet's bedding thoroughly. And take further precautions once you get home.

Consider laundering your pet as well.

While none of these precautions can guarantee to keep your pets and home bed bug free, experts say they can cut down the risk.

Unlike fleas and ticks, bed bugs aren't known to carry disease.  Their bites are merely irritating and itchy to pets and people.

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