How Mold Affects Your Pets
No one wants to deal with mold in their home, especially when it is affecting their family! We all know anyone in your home with four paws means a great deal to your family, and it is important to keep them safe when it comes to mold as well! Dogs tend to have weaker immune systems than humans, which can cause issues if exposed to mold. Mold is a serious health risk to humans, so when we are talking about dogs and cats, we have to take their smaller size and weaker immune systems into consideration as well.
It is also important to know how mold and allergies affect the breed of animal you have. Did you know that some breeds are more susceptible to allergies? This is good information to know if you start to see certain symptoms, so you know how to treat it.
The first thing to do is figuring out if you have mold in your home.
The common mistake is that if you don’t see the mold, you don’t think it exists! Often, people do not actually see the mold that is growing in their homes. Mold lives behind walls, under cabinets, in your roof, and in other places, you may not think to look. If you suspect that you have mold in your home, the first step is to have a mold test done. The one thing to remember is that mold doesn’t affect humans alone. Mold can affect any living thing, and that includes your loving pets!
How Mold Affects Pets
Dogs can ingest the mold the same way people do. When mold spores move through the air, your pets can breathe it in. If they actually find the mold, they could ingest it.
If and when your pet inhales the mold, you may see:
-Discharge from their mouth or nose
Animals may also find the mold on their own and don’t always know to leave it alone. If your pet finds the mold and eats it, it can be a lot more severe. These symptoms turn from external to internal very quick and can lead to:
-Loss of appetite
Depending on the animal and its size, they may react in a different way. It also depends on the type of mold that they are inhaling or ingesting.
A Mold allergy is also very common. When your pet is allergic to mold, they will have a lot of irritation. Look for excessive licking, scratching, or chewing of their legs. You may also notice dry skin or fur loss.
If you notice that your pet is acting differently in any way, don’t count mold out as being the issue. Black mold can cause cats and dogs to have major anxiety, behavior changes, trembling, and typical external “flu-like” symptoms. Black mold is nothing to mess around with and can have serious long-term effects on your family and your pets.
What Molds are Dangerous for my Cat and Dog?
Mold is something you want to avoid in general, but certain molds are worse for your pets than others. Not all mold is a serious health concern, although there are several that are. Knowing the difference in these could save your pet’s life, as well as prevent health issues for your family.
Aspergillus: This type of mold can trigger allergic reactions in certain animals. Most of the animals affected by this have weakened or suppressed immune systems.
Cladosporium: This is a very common mold that people tend to find in their homes. It is not considered toxic, but it can cause asthma-like effects on people and animals.
Stachybotrys (black mold): This is the most toxic mold. This mold can cause serious illnesses and potential death if it is not fixed in a timely manner.
How to Keep Your Pets Safe
The first thing you can do to keep your family and pets safe is to get your home tested for mold. Be sure to do this on an annual basis, after heavy rain or snow, or if you are dealing with extreme humidity. Mold can accumulate anywhere in the home, and it is important to be aware of if you are living in it.
If your pet becomes exposed to mold or ingests it, you should not take matters into your own hands. Mold can be very toxic to your pets, and a professional should step in to see them right away. Mold allergies or poisoning could have short-term or long-term effects on your pet, and it is best to head right to the vet clinic if you suspect anything.
Some things you can do at home to help keep mold away from your pets are:
-Wash your pets bedding often
-Clean their cages and their toys
-Keep them away from any areas with standing water or where mold can grow
-Keep your humidity levels low in your home, and create good air circulation in every room
Continue to monitor your pets and if you see them acting strange or dealing with any of these symptoms, contact your veterinarian.