If you worry that there may be bedbugs in the hotels in which you stay, you will be pleased to know that there are detection dogs who are hired to ensure the rooms are bug free or sniff them out so they can be eliminated.

In this past Raising Your Paws Podcast Episode,  we talked about the dogs that detect bedbugs with Dan Hughes, Co-owner of Dogs for Defense.

As a follow up to my talk with Dan,  I asked him some additional questions I wanted to know. His answers follow.

This is a bedbug.
Photo credit: CDC/ Harvard University, Dr. Gary Alpert; Dr. Harold Harlan; Richard Pollack. Photo Credit: Piotr Naskrecki

How prevalent is it that hotels use dogs to check for bedbugs?

Very prevalent, depending on geographic area and the type of guests. Many hotels will have a routine search set up monthly, weekly, etc. as a proactive approach.  If dogs are called in because bugs have already been seen, at a minimum the K9 team will search the rooms on each side and above and below.

Do you (Dogs For Defense) have many contracts with hotels?

We do not have direct contracts with hotels, we frequently work with Pest Control companies that may have the contracts.

Do most big hotel chains regularly employ bedbug detection dogs?

Most hotels are franchise owned so it is typically made on a more local level. As you can imagine an airport hotel may have a more diverse traveler than a small town mid America hotel.

Are there other companies like yours sending dogs into hotels?

What is becoming more prevalent is pest control companies bring a bedbug dog in house with their own handler. We have trained dog teams that work for pest control companies.

Can people feel reassured that most hotels are doing something to safeguard against bedbugs?

Yes, most hotels try very hard but it never hurts to take precautions as you travel. Such as keeping your luggage off the ground.

What other measures do hotels take to keep beds free of bugs?

A well trained cleaning staff will be doing a cursory visual inspection every time they change the sheets. They should be looking for small blood spots in the sheets or mattress or, of course, the bugs themselves. The bugs are similar in size and look to a common deer tick.

Much thanks to Dan Hughes for this reassuring information.

In the episode link below, you can hear Dan talk about how his dogs help rid airports of geese and his days serving in the U.S. secret service.

Full show notes for Raising Your Paws Podcast Episode Title Introducing Your New, Adopted Dog to the Family & Stories from a Dog Handling, Secret Service Agent.

Links for Dan Hughes.   You can see many more photos of Dan’s working dogs on Facebook and Instagram.

Dan Hughes and Bdak.

Dog for Defense Website
Dogs for Defense Facebook
Dogs for Defense Instagram 

Source for story about how to stop the yelling and the barking: The Other End of The Leash by Patricia B. McConnell, Ph.D.  

How to find a certified animal behaviorist.

Please support this podcast by subscribing and telling your friends. To subscribe on iTunes so you can hear each episode, here is the link



Here are some additional photos of Dan’s dogs.

Bdak, a German Shepherd, is one of Dan’s current U.S. Army contracted dogs. Bdak is a male and an explosive detection dog.

Dan Hughes and K-9 Riki in Kabul, Afghanistan.

Annie is also one of Dan’s current U.S. Army contracted dogs. She is a German Shepherd and a drug dog.


Additional Resource from Raising Your Paws Podcast Episode 14.

In the above episode, I talked about how to introduce your newly adopted dog to your other dogs. Here are the basic steps written out for you.

Listen to Podcast Epsiode 14 for the complete story and also learn how to best introduce the new adopted dog to the human family.

1.  With multiple dogs at home, have your new dog meet the other dogs one at a time.

2.  Have them meet outside – not inside your house. Use your yard or a nearby park or sidewalk that is not busy with people.

3.  The space needs to be fairly open – not cramped.  If the dogs are crowded too close together, like in a doorway, gate, or small pen, this can cause tension and one or both dogs may react aggressively.

4.  Leashes on both dogs need to be held loosely, its easiest to use the long 10-12 foot leashes but if you are mindful and make sure you don’t pull the leash tight, you can use the 6 foot ones. You don’t want the dogs to feel trapped or spark any leash reactivity.  If you have a fenced in yard, best yet is to drop the leashes completely. If you’re thinking this is crazy, you’ve got to keep the leashes held tight so you can pull them back or apart quickly in case something happens, see the next caveat.

Caveat. If you are worried about step 4, because the dogs did not meet before you adopted the new cutie pie, and you know your dog has problems meeting new ones or if you’ve been told your new buddy has issues with other dogs, then you’ll probably want to get some assistance from a dog trainer or dog behaviorist and even have them attend the initial greeting. See the resources below for how to find a behaviorist in your area.

5.  Its a good idea to get the dogs moving. Do this by walking around yourself, striding away from them  and calling happily, “this way” and encourage the dogs to follow.

6.  Don’t have any toys or food around outside for the first meet and greet. You don’t want to bring out any resource guarding.  Even dropping a treat on the ground can force both of them to go for it and then you can have a fight on your hands.

7.  Speaking of resource guarding, before letting the dogs inside, make sure you’ve doggie proofed the house removing any bowls of dog food from off the floor and bones or toys laying around that could provoke possessiveness. Put them all away for now.

8.  When it is time to go inside the house – take your new pup in first. Then bring in the resident dog(s). This helps prevent your dog from becoming territorial – copping a negative attitude like “Wait, the newbie is coming into MY house”?