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How Mold Affects Your Pets

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.

Exposure

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

Breathing

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.

Ingestion

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.

Reactions

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

Solutions

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.

Conclusion

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.

Why Insulation is Important in Crawl Spaces

Most living spaces are equipped with a crawl space. This is an area beneath one’s home that’s designed to help improve air circulation. It’s also used to hide wires and pipes. Many often neglect to care for the crawl space because it’s an unused spot that’s only needed for storage.
However, crawl spaces are more important than one might think because they prevent pests and improve your home’s air quality. However, to function correctly, they need to be properly insulated. This article will explore more behind the importance of crawl space insulation.

How Does Crawl Space Insulation Work?

Insulation will seal the crawl space to prevent air from escaping and prevent pests from sneaking into it. Crawl space insulation comes in two main types: foam or fiberglass.

  • Foam: Foam insulation acts as a vapor barrier. It’s very quick to install and is often used to fill in small cracks. Foam insulation is a bit pricey and can be a little uneven because it needs to be sprayed on.
  • Fiberglass: Fiberglass insulation is constructed out of tiny glass strings. This is one of the most traditional types used and is very inexpensive. However, unlike foam, it can absorb moisture. This could lead to mold.

Why Insulation Needs to be Installed in Crawl Spaces

Insulation needs to be installed in your crawl space for a variety of reasons.

  • It Prevents Allergens: Your crawl space can easily absorb allergens if it’s not insulated correctly. This could end up sending particles like dust and pollen into your home’s air which could lead to respiratory problems. Insulation traps any allergens in your crawl space and prevents them from traveling through your home.
  • It Stops Pests: As mentioned above, insulation keeps pests away because it fills in gaps where they could crawl through.
  • It Saves Money: Insulation can help save money because it reduces energy usage. By trapping hot or cold air, it will reduce the amount of work your home’s air conditioner and heater needs to do.
  • It Regulates Air Temperatures: If you notice that your home has fluctuating air temperatures, it could be due to an uninsulated crawl space. By adding crawl space insulation, it will prevent this because it won’t allow drafts.

Using insulation in your crawl space is important if you want to keep pests and allergens away. If you’re interested in having some installed in your Santa Rosa crawl space, RCS can help. We offer a crawl space insulation service that ensures your home is protected.

 
 
Photo Credit: Jack Amick