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Mold is not just toxic to humans; your furry friends suffer from it too.

Mold is not just toxic to humans; your furry friends suffer from it too.

If you or anyone in your household is experiencing sensitivity to mold, it’s best to check in with your pets, too.  Since dogs, cats, rabbits and other pets spend a lot of time on the floor and the ground outside, they can be even more prone to inhalation and ingestion of mold than we are.  According to a registered vet technician on the natural pet website nhvpethealth.com, typically your dog or cat will show the following symptoms when experiencing mold:

  • itching
  • redness of the skin
  • dry, scaly skin
  • hair loss
  • chronic ear infections
  • head shaking
  • chewing/licking skin, especially the paws

It doesn’t stop with their skin, though.  Because mold affects their respiratory and digestive systems in similar ways to ours, serious breathing and digestion issues can develop from mold.

Mold is everywhere.  Here are some common types of mold your pet may encounter, and where they are found (nhvpethealth.com):

  • Aspergillus – found in plants and damp basements
  • Spondylocladium – found in plants or in air ducts
  • Hormodendrum – found on leaves
  • Fusarium – found on plants, often crops
  • Penicillium – found on plants or stored items
  • Helminthosporium – found in soil, especially in summer

You can actually test your pet's fur to see the relative amount and variety of molds they may be carrying.  To do so, you can purchase mold test plates from Immunolytics and follow their advice for testing here

Since many pets eliminate waste in the backyard, it’s almost impossible to keep mold out of their paws and fur.  However, inside is where you can control their surroundings a bit better; the following are some tips from experts!

Try to keep them out of damp basements or garages where mold proliferates.  

If your pet’s bedding is made of old carpet or furniture that can’t be effectively washed, discard it and find a new alternative that can be laundered more frequently.  When washing, try one of these:

Try to use a brush on their fur before coming inside, and wipe him/her down with a damp cloth.  Weekly baths with a soothing shampoo containing essential oils will help eliminate mold in their fur.

  • CitriSafe shampoo is non-toxic to pets and humans and safely eliminates mold in pet fur.  
  • 4Legger has a variety of gentle shampoos that smell wonderful!  

Here are 2 sprays gentle enough to be misted directly on your pet’s fur and bedding between washings to keep mold under control:

Adding an Omega3 supplement will help to strengthen the skin barrier, which helps to prevent secondary infections caused by allergies.  You can try breaking a fish oil capsule over their food, or checking with your vet for their preferred supplement.

K9 Mask is a new product that can protect dogs from breathing in mold and other allergens when it’s highest outside.  The masks can also be used in wildfire smoke and other air pollution environments.

Finally, for your own health as well as your pets’, clean for mold as much as possible using a HEPA vacuum and non-toxic cleaners like TotalClean on your surfaces, even on floors!