In recent years, there’s been more evidence pointing to the negative impact mold has on your physical health, especially those with compromised respiratory and/or immune systems.

Negative responses to mold include anything from red, watery eyes to a full-blown asthma attack and everything in between.

While it’s easy to see how humans respond to mold, what if any affect does mold have on your pets? Here are some ways pets may experience exposure to mold.


There are several ways your pets can be exposed to toxic mold.


Mold spores are airborne and undetectable to the eye. Just like humans can breathe in airborne spores, it’s just as easy for a pet to breath them in, too. The smaller the pet, the less inhalation of mold spores it takes to make them sick or suffer other physical reactions.


Especially in humid climates or indoor conditions, mold spores can settle and grow in your pet’s food. All it takes to ingest unhealthy mold spores is for them to lap up the exposed pet food.

Pets have a tendency to get into the garbage and if they do, can easily eat moldy food or other items in the garbage with active, growing mold.

Another way for pets to ingest mold is by grooming. As they lick their paws or clean their fur, any traces of mold spores in their fur picked up during the day is ingested by basic grooming practices.

Direct Contact

Because of their size and natural curiosity, pets may unintentionally spend time in areas where mold is more likely to grow.

A litter box kept in a damp basement or a pet spending time in any mold-loving, dark, musty or humid space (like a crawl space) increases the risk of exposure to active growing mold.


A reaction to mold exposure varies from pet to pet, much like it does in humans. Some pets may have more severe reactions than others.

Typically, mold exposure shows up in three different ways:

Respiratory Symptoms

If your pet suffers from these respiratory symptoms, it’s possible they’ve been exposed to mold.

  • Watery eyes
  • Sneezing/coughing
  • Wheezing
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Lethargy/fatigue

Allergic Symptoms

Allergic symptoms to mold exposure may include:

  • Watery eyes
  • Runny nose/nasal discharge
  • Sneezing/coughing
  • Skin rash or sores
  • Excessive itching/scratching/biting/licking
  • Fur loss/bald spots from excessive scratching and biting

Toxic Exposure Symptoms

If your pet becomes obviously or seriously ill, they may be experiencing a reaction to toxic (black) mold exposure:

  • Lethargy/fatigue
  • Decreased appetite
  • Vomiting
  • Shaking/tremors/convulsions/seizures
  • Loss of normal functioning (diarrhea)
  • Behavioral changes


If you notice these symptoms or reactions in your pets, take them to a veterinarian as soon as possible for a thorough exam and diagnosis. Be sure to mention to the vet that mold exposure may be a possibility for their symptoms.

The goal is always to prevent mold from developing in the first place to keep your family and pets safe from the physical effects of mold exposure.

Some ways to prevent mold in your home:

  • Keep all areas of the home dry by using a dehumidifier, fixing leaky pipes and repairing areas where excessive condensation forms (windows, doors).
  • Seal drafty windows and doors to keep moisture and humidity from getting inside.
  • Check for musty smells, which indicates mold growth.
  • Clean and treat moldy areas
  • Make sure home is well ventilated.

If mold keeps coming back, you experience flooding or encounter problems with excessive humidity and moisture, call in a professional mold remediation company for an inspection and mold treatment recommendations.


Exposure to mold can be a very serious health risk for both you and your pets.

While prevention is ideal, there is help if you have a new or recurring mold issue in your home. Don’t wait until you or your pets experience mold exposure health symptoms. In Santa Rosa, call the professionals at RCS to schedule an inspection and a mold remediation plan customized for you.