We know that mold causes a variety of chronic and acute heath problems in humans, but what about the pets that share our homes? Mold that might cause minor irritation to you could be much more serious for your pets. See how mold growth affects your pet’s health and what you can do to prevent mold problems.
Pets come into contact with mold in two ways:
- Environmental exposure, via mold spores growing in their environment
- Ingestion, through eating moldy food
Depending on the species and individual animal, your pet may react to mold you weren’t aware existed because it is hidden behind walls, under carpet, or behind wallpaper. If you notice any of these symptoms and cannot identify a cause, see your vet and call a reputable mold remediation expert, such as ServiceMaster AAA Restoration.
Allergic-type symptoms, such as sneezing, scratching, and excessive licking are the most common mold reaction, especially in cats, dogs, and other mammals. If you notice your pets scratching or biting themselves and you’ve ruled out fleas, they could be reacting to mold in the environment.
Rapid or labored breathing is always an emergency situation and requires immediate veterinary care.
Lethargy and reluctance to play or exercise are signs of chronic respiratory difficulty that could be caused by exposure to mold. If you notice your pet losing energy quickly or lacking interest in active games, examine their environment for mold.
Aspergillosis is an internal, systemic disease that is often fatal, especially to pet birds. It is caused by inhaled mold spores and can infect the lungs, gastrointestinal tract, skin, eyes, and brain. Birds do not always develop Aspergillosis when exposed to mold; it is often the result of mold exposure combined with a weakened immune system due to stress or other environmental toxins.
How to Keep Your Pet Safe From Mold
Eliminating or reducing the amount of mold in your pet’s environment isn’t difficult. Follow these steps to safeguard your pet’s health:
- Keep pet food in a sealed, airtight container. Discard food immediately if you see signs of mold.
- Clean birdcages, litter boxes, and pet beds in hot soapy water at least once per month. Dry them thoroughly.
- Inspect your home, especially areas frequented by your pet, for mold. Pay special attention to the kitchen, bathrooms, basement, attic, and laundry room – any area that moisture might collect.
- Clean mold immediately with a solution of hot water and household detergent. If the area is large – greater than 10 square feet – or you suspect a mold problem but cannot find it, call a professional mold remediation service.