A reader has found a small, worm-like, critter in his dog’s bed and he is wondering what it might be. He has sent a photograph showing the creature near a dime so that we can get a sense of the worm’s size.
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A dime is slightly less than 3/4” in diameter, so it would appear that our reader’s houseguest is less than 1/4” long. There is not a lot of information to be gleaned by enlarging the photograph, but it does appear that the critter is segmented or banded. Also, it is primarily dark brown or black in color (with lighter bands of color at the head and tail) and it does not appear to have hairs or fur (though we cannot be sure of that). We do not see any spikes or other identifying features, and we cannot tell if it has legs or not.
This specimen is most likely a flea larvae, about which we have written more recently here and here. A reader recently commented about this, which is what tipped us off to the fact that a previous researcher had identified this larvae as possibly being a beetle larvae. We leave her identification below, as it is possible, and we thank our alert reader for the comment!
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There are several species that this creature could belong to, including our old friend the carpet beetle (Anthrenus verbasci) which we wrote about quite recently. Not only are carpet beetle larvae very common, but they like to eat little flakes of skin that we (and our dogs) shed regularly. So one would likely be thrilled to find its way into a dog bed!
Another option is the larva of a larder beetle (Dermestes lardarius), which are also common household pests. Named for their tendency to invade household larders to feast upon cured meats, this would be a less-likely candidate to be found in a dog bed, but not unheard of.
We imagine that the biggest question in our reader’s mind is whether his dog’s bedmate is dangerous to his dog or to himself, or if there is any chance that the presence of this little critter is indicative of any medical issues the dog may be having.
While there are parasitic worms that can infest dogs, these would tend to show up more often in the dog’s feces than in the dog’s bed, so we think it is unlikely that this creature came from inside the dog, however if there is any question whatsoever, our reader should have his best friend checked by a veterinarian, as we are not medical professionals and cannot give medical advice.
If finding this worm in the dog’s bed is a one-time experience for the owner, we recommend that he thoroughly wash the dog’s bedding and make sure that the bed and the area around it is kept relatively clean, but not to worry. This little guy is most likely a beetle larva. While most of us prefer not to think about it, the truth is that we share our homes with any number of little critters such as beetles and their larvae every day and never know it.
If, however, our reader is regularly finding these little critters in the dog’s bed, or if the dog seems to be ill, it’s never a bad idea to make a trip to the vet just to be safe. If he brings the critter into the office with him, then the vet can likely tell our reader if there is anything to worry about. We hope he’ll let us know how it turned out!