While the dangers of mold to humans are well known, not many people realize that toxic mold can also endanger the health of our pets. Although only a handful of mold species are toxic to people and pets, the most common type – toxic black mold – can bring serious illnesses and even death to people and pets.
Mold spores enter pets’ bodies by inhalation in areas where mold is present. In most cases, mold develops in damp, warm and dark places, usually after a flooding occurred. It may be visible (on the exterior of walls) but it can also hide behind walls and underneath floors, where it’s difficult to detect or remove. If your home has experienced a flood, it’s best to call in a mold remediation company to inspect and eliminate any traces of mold if there are any.
When experiencing mold exposure, pets can exhibit symptoms such as:
- Respiratory difficulties and illnesses: wheezing, coughing and struggling to breathe
- Pulmonary hemorrhage
- Bleeding from the nose
- Scratching themselves in the absence of fleas; pets may develop sores or even bleed from excessive scratching
- Chewing on their extremities or at their skin, which can also develop sores or bleeding
- Excessive licking that can cause hair loss
- Extreme lethargy
- Runny nose
- Loss of appetite
- Allergic reactions such as sneezing, runny eyes and other symptoms that may also be caused by common allergens, not just mold
Mold can also contaminate pets by ingestion. Spoiled products such as cheese or sour cream may contain mold that releases poisonous chemicals, called mycotoxins. Pets that eat this poisoned food may exhibit muscle spasms or body tremors. Don’t let your pets eat spoiled food and take them to the vet if you notice any of these symptoms.
Tips to keep your pet safe from mold:
- If you suspect mold growth in your home, do an inspection yourself or call a mold remediation service quickly. Professional companies will make sure the job is done properly and in a timely fashion.
- Get any household mold cleaned up as soon as possible. Use a mix of water and detergent to clean mold. However, for areas larger than 10 square feet, contact a professional mold remediation company.
- Keep your pet away from moldy food and environments.
- Store your pet’s food in a sealed container to keep out moisture and mold growth.
- Buy only pet beds and toys that can be washed in hot water to ensure they don’t get infected with mold and dust mites.
- Use shampoos that fight allergies for your pets.
- If your pet begins showing symptoms of toxic black mold poisoning (such as changes in the typical behavior, eating patterns and energy level), take him to the vet immediately. Tell the doctor that your pet might be affected by mold.
- If you must delay a visit to the vet, take your pet to a non-contaminated area to avoid further exposure to mold.
The presence of household mold must be taken very seriously, as it can damage your, your family’s and your pet’s health. Contact PuroClean for water damage remediation and mold cleanup services.