Protecting your pets from mould
Last year Google reported a sharp increase in searches for ‘how to get rid of mould in the home’. Searches were up by over 100% between October and November 2022 and just over 40% over the year. This suggests that many of us may be struggling more with mould in our homes due to the combined effects of especially cold wet weather and more people turning their heating down or off due to soaring energy costs.
Mould in the home is known to have some serious effects on human health, so it stands to reason that it will also affect our pets in the same way. This is obviously cause for concern as pets tend to sniff about more than their owners, making them more likely to accidentally inhale mould spores. Plus they generally spend more time indoors than we do - particularly during winter - so they may be more susceptible to these effects.
Mould photo by Avinash Kumar on Unsplash
How mould can affect your pets
Just as with humans, mould can cause respiratory issues for our pets, triggered by inhaling mould spores in the home. How severe this will be is dependent on the type of mould and its toxicity levels. Black mould in particular causes a more harmful form of mould poisoning, with serious – even life-threatening – effects. As most pets like to smell everything around them, they are more likely to inhale spores by snuffling around in an affected area, which could lead to mould exposure and poisoning.
Whippet photo by Mitchell Orr on Unsplash
The causes of mould in the home
Mould always grows in moist areas around the home, including kitchens, bathrooms and poorly ventilated areas. These moisture levels often increase during the winter months when it is colder and water may seep into the walls or come from laundry drying indoors, causing more mould to grow.
Hopefully your home isn't this bad! Photo by Vero Eve on Unsplash
How to tell if your pet has inhaled mould spores
If your pet has sniffed an unhealthy amount of mould spores they are likely to exhibit one or more of the following symptoms:
- Difficulty breathing
- Runny nose
- Bleeding from the nose and/or mouth
If you have mould present in your home and your pet is exhibiting these symptoms it is likely that they could be suffering from mould poisoning. You should seek urgent medical advice. If you’re not 100% sure that your pet’s symptoms are caused by mould inhalation, we believe it is always better to be safe than sorry and recommend getting them checked out anyway.
t="Cat photo by Chen on Unsplash
Treating mould poisoning in pets
If your vet has diagnosed mould poisoning as the cause of your pet’s problems, then initially they will focus on managing the symptoms with medication and respiratory aid if needed. If it is caught in time, then recovery will be relatively straightforward as long as you get rid of the mould in your home too.
Bulldog photo by BP Miller on Unsplash
Certain breeds are more affected by mould poisoning than others
All breeds of pet breathe, therefore they are all capable of developing respiratory issues. However, once they have developed breathing problems, some breeds will suffer more than others, particularly flat-faced breeds such as Pugs, Bulldogs and Persian Cats.
Preventing mould poisoning in pets
Obviously prevention is better than cure so don’t let mould become a problem in your home. If you find mould regularly appearing in certain places, then include wiping them down as part of your regular cleaning routine. Check moist areas including cellars, kitchens, bathrooms, sinks, tiled areas, grout and windowsills. Wiping down with a mild bleach solution will clean the mould off quickly and easily and deter it from coming straight back. Wear a face covering if necessary to protect yourself from spores if the mould is particularly bad. If you have a ventilation system in your home, make sure that it is working properly and keep wiping the mould away as soon as it appears to help keep you and your pets safe. There are a lot of anti-mould products on the market and you can also try using anti-mould paint or even a dehumidifier in order to reduce the likelihood of recurring mould growth.
Got any tips for keeping mould at bay? As always, we’d love to hear them so let us know in the comments section below!
Main photo by Chewy on Unsplash