Just as people can be allergic to mold, dogs and cats can also be allergic to this common allergen. However, your pets cannot tell you that the mold around the patio or in their sleeping area is making it hard for them to breathe. Fortunately, there are some very easy steps you can take to protect your beloved pets from the threat of mold.
Know the Symptoms
The first step is knowing the signs of an allergy. Animals may walk through mold as well as breathing it in, so it’s important to know what to watch for. Dogs that are allergic may chew on their feet, rub their face on objects to relieve the itch and scratch at the sides and stomach. If your pet is showing signs of something itching, but there are no signs of fleas, then mold could be the culprit.
Other symptoms to watch for include skin lesions from scratching. The skin may be crusted over, oily or simply raw. The animal may also tear out patches of fur from the scratching.
Mold poses a threat to people, and it can be dangerous for dogs and cats. The immune system responds to inhaled mold by producing the immunoglobulin E protein. This attaches to tissues, causes the release of chemicals and leads to skin irritation. Antihistamines are not an effective treatment for mold allergies in pets, but there are other solutions.
Keep Mold out of the Home
Keep the mold out of your home to protect your pet. Damp areas should be dried using dehumidifiers, and the water source should be pinpointed and treated. This includes sources like leaking faucets, dripping lines, clogged drains and external water that seeps in through the foundation.
Ensure that the home has adequate air flow by leaving space between furnishings, eliminating clutter and getting stacks off the floor. Change filters in dehumidifiers and the HVAC system frequently to capture mold spores and get them out of the house.
Comfort for Your Pet
You should also specifically treat your pet’s bedding to help keep mold away. Use hot water to launder the bedding every week, and allow it to dry thoroughly before your pet uses it again. You can also wash the bedding with vinegar to help kill spores and allow it to wash away. An added bonus is that the bedding will also smell better afterwards. Use vinegar to clean pet bowls and the area they eat in.
Removing Visible Mold
If you have visible mold in the house, you should take steps to remove it. Linens can be washed or thrown out if the mold remains in place. Upholstered items can be steam cleaned with a mixture of vinegar and hot water. Use a diluted bleach solution in a spray bottle to address mold on hard surfaces. If the mold has seeped deep into the material, then the items may have to be disposed of completely.
Finding Hidden Mold
If your pet is suffering from these symptoms but your house seems clean, then you may have to go on a search for mold. Open cabinet doors, take items out and look along the bottom of the cabinets. Pull out appliances to check behind and beneath them. Use a flashlight to check the dark corners around your furnace and water heater. Remember that your pet can visit areas of the home that are inaccessible to you, so you may need to search for the source. If necessary, call in the professionals to do a thorough inspection of the home and determine if mold is present.
It’s also important to look in the attic and crawlspaces when you are searching for mold. Even if your pet never goes in these areas, the mold spores can still migrate into the living areas from them.
When you have a pet, you want to protect them and keep them comfortable. Mold that is lingering in your home can make your pets sick, so it’s important to protect your dogs and cats. Know the symptoms of mold allergies, so you can search for mold as soon as possible. Take preventive measures to keep mold away like controlling humidity levels, cutting back on clutter and addressing any water leaks promptly. When you take the time to follow these steps, your pet will be more comfortable and you will both breathe easier.
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Robert Murphy is an avid blogger and content contributor for many pet blogs. Here he revealed his tips about how to protect pets from mold.