The dangers of mold are well known to human beings, with just a few symptoms of exposure including respiratory problems, skin irritation, and congestion. However, if you have pets, you should know that they are also subject to these health issues. Pets can experience serious issues, including gastrointestinal damage, allergies, and respiratory problems. Keep your home mold-free and your pets safe and secure by ensuring surfaces are clean and dry, and watch out for symptoms indicating there could be hidden mold affecting your pooch.

Hidden Mold

Sometimes, mold isn’t visible in a home. It can ‘hide’ in places like chimneys, refrigerator drip pans, window seals, air conditioners, and even washing machines. If pets have access to any of these areas, they can unwittingly inhale spores or even ingest them. All homes need a thorough check and cleaning, and all equipment needs to be cleaned and maintained regularly. Usually, a mixture of bleach and water will be sufficient to eliminate mold but if you find it keeps returning, a mold specialist will be required to take apart specific machinery and/or recommend total replacement. Considering mold affects kids, adults, and pets, investing in this service will certainly benefit you in the long run.

Signs that Your Pet is Affected by Mold

Dogs and cats who are allergic to mold can develop skin outbreaks, which result in extreme itchiness. Pets can then lick and bite skin in an aim to quell the itching, sometimes even causing wounds to develop. Mold can cause far more serious consequences than skin reactions; in some cases, it can cause neurological problems and death. If pets unwittingly ingest mold, they can have gastrointestinal upset, so watch out for vomiting, changes to their stool, and weight loss. If your pet is coughing and sneezing, or making a wheezing sound when breathing, the problem could be inhaled mold. Be vigilant and take your dog to the vet if you notice lethargy or any of the above symptoms.

Mold in Pet Items

Your dog can be exposed to mold in various ways, some of which you might not expect. Mold can hide in dirty dog dishes and toys, for instance, so these should be treated like human crockery and toys; that is, crockery should be washed frequently and toys should also be put through a washing machine or replaced after use. If you have a large home with outdoor spaces that are humid, ensure your pet stays within a safe zone so that he does not have access to moldy items or surfaces. As noted by veterinarian Dr. Karen Becker, if you doubt whether or not an area has mold, it is as easy as using an at-home kit to discover the answer. If mold is rampant in your home, it needs to be professionally treated.

Mold Exists Outside the Home, Too

In addition to keeping your home dry and mold free, you should also keep your pets away from warm lakes. A University of Florida study found that several lakes with warm water have spores that can make both humans and pets sick. Researchers warned that we should also avoid ponds and other standing water that contains grass and aquatic plants, particularly during warmer seasons of the year.

Most Americans consider pets part of the family. To keep your pet in optimal health, make sure your home is completely mold free. If mold is contained to a small area (like a front-facing washing machine or fridge tray) you can clean these yourself using a bleach-based solution. However, if mold has made its way into the chimney, air condition, or large areas of the home, professional cleaning will be necessary to keep potentially serious health conditions at bay.