How Does Black Mold Affect Cats and Dogs? Symptoms That May Manifest

dog ate moldy food

The discovery of black mold in your home is nothing to take lightly. Along with being a serious hazard to you and other people living in the house black mold causes a lot of harm to household pets. For people who regard their cats and dogs as family members, the idea of them being harmed is unacceptable. 

Fortunately, this is a situation that can be remedied. All it takes is getting in touch with professionals who know how to clean black mold effectively, and the house will be safe once more. Here's some basic information that you should know about black mold, and what exposure to it could mean for your pets.

What Does Black Mold Look Like?

mold toxicity rash

As the name implies, black mold is darker in color. Much of the time it is black, but it can also appear in shades of dark brown or even dark green. Typically, the mold appears somewhat circular in nature, but may overlap so that it takes on the appearance of one solid mass of dark mold. 


Within the mold, you may notice tiny flecks of white or orange. The appearance is also likely to be somewhat fuzzy or furry. Since the mold can spread with relative ease, the last thing that you want to do is touch it in order to see if the texture is furry or fuzzy. Even with small amounts, it's important to go about removing it carefully. 


Black mold can appear just about anywhere. You may spot it in interior or exterior walls. It can be found on metal vent covers, and even in the ductwork of your home heating and cooling system. With the right conditions, it can even turn up in spots that you would have never considered, such as a closet wall that adjoins the back of a shower stall.

What Causes Black Mold to Develop?

One of the most common reasons for black mold to develop has to do with dampness. The mold may be the result of excess moisture that has seeped into the home somehow. Leaving wet clothing in a corner of the laundry room for an extended amount of time may trigger mold growth. In the case of a basement or attack, any type of moisture seepage over time may increase the odds of this type of mold developing. 


Black mold is likely to develop on any type of cellulose material. That means items like cardboard boxes may provide the ideal place for it to thrive. Papers stored in more humid or damp areas may also be ruined thanks to the development of black mold.

Signs There's Black Mold in Your Home

The most obvious sign of black mold in the house is seeing areas covered in those tiny dark spots. What you should remember is that the mold easily seen is rarely the whole issue; there's likely to be more mold spores elsewhere. For this reason, removing the mold that you see only solves part of the problem. 


You may notice a musty scent coming out of the air vents. The scent serves as one of the early-stage signs of black mold in air vents, and in the home's duct system. Left unaddressed, the mold spores can travel through the ductwork, exit from each of the vents, and carry mold to every room of the home. 


In like manner, a musty odor in the attic or basement is a sign that mold is found in the house. That may have to do with stored items that were damp and have become home to a lot of mold. Along with disposing of whatever the mold has ruined, treating the attic or basement is the only way to bring the problem under control. 

Common Black Mold Symptoms in Cats

black mold symptoms in cats

How does black mold affect your feline companion? Many of the early signs are similar to how mold affects the physical and mental well-being of humans. Here are some of the more common black mold symptoms in cats that you should know about:


Physical Symptoms:


  • coughing and sneezing: if your car rarely does either, coughing and sneezing indicate some sort of irritation, with mold being a likely culprit. 
  • watery eyes: this is not usually an issue for cats; if it does happen, mold is often the reason why the eyes begin to water.

  • bleeding: you may notice small amounts of bleeding around the mouth or the nose. That may be due to irritation that the pet keeps rubbing in order to ease the discomfort. 

  • changes in appetite: if your cat begins to consume less, then it may be due to mold exposure leading to stomach upsets. 

  • vomiting may also be due to mold exposure. The stomach is so upset that nothing stays down. 

  • unusual scratching or licking: these are signs to deal with the discomfort caused by mold exposure. Underneath the fur, there may be signs of a mold toxicity rash. If so, your cat needs professional attention immediately. 


Mental Changes:


  • loss of interest: if your cat normally plays with toys or engages in specific activities daily, then seems to lose interest, it may be due to black mold exposure.

  • increased irritability: like humans, cats may be more easily agitated due to contact with mold. 

  • withdrawal: cats may spend less time around humans than usual; this is part of the natural desire to remain safe when not feeling well. 


Fortunately, getting rid of the black mold will go a long way toward easing these symptoms and helping your cat feel normal again. If the symptoms persist, taking the cat to the vet is the best course of action. 

Dog Mold Poising Symptoms You Should Recognize

dog mold poisoning symptoms

Dogs don't have it any easier when exposed to mold. Many of the same symptoms that cats exhibit also happen to be dog mold poisoning symptoms. Here are some additional signs that your dog is suffering from exposure to mold:


Physical Symptoms:


  • Increased fatigue: while dogs do sleep a good part of the day, you may find that your dog is sleeping a lot more. Instinctively, the dog may be choosing sleeping spots that are as far away from the mold as possible. 

  • scratching and biting that leads to sores: in an effort to calm any skin irritations, your dog may scratch and bite different areas of the coat. 

  • loss of appetite: it's not just dog food that no longer holds any appeal; treats that used to be greeted with enthusiasm barely rate acknowledgment.

  • no desire for walks: most dogs love to go on walks with their humans. If your dog has lost all interest in walks, it could be due to increased fatigue. 


Emotional Symptoms: 


  • no signs of emotion: your dog is usually excited to see you; now your arrival home isn't worth getting up. 

  • more aggression: the dog is normally docile, but has begin to growl whenever anyone gets close.

  • loss of affection: a paw on the knee or rolling over for a belly rub doesn't happen any longer; that's likely due to the dog feeling unwell in general. 


Mold remediation gets rid of the source, and you may see improvements in your pet's demeanor and general condition within a few days. Be patient, since it will take a little time for the mold symptoms to subside. 

How You Can Prevent Mold Poisoning

There are things that you can do to minimize the risk of mold poisoning. One has to do with leaving food out for extended periods of time. If your dog ate moldy food, serious stomach upsets are sure to follow. The same is true for your cat. Make sure pet dishes are washed and dried before placing food in them. Make sure to retrieve the dish after the pet eats. 


Taking action as soon as you notice signs of black mold is important. Having the home treated gets rid of the underlying cause, and will help your pets to get better in less time. You may notice that you're feeling better once the mold is history too.

Seeking Medical Treatment For Your Pets

While short-term mold exposure may not lead to any long-term issues, the fact is that prolonged exposure could mean that medical treatment is in order. If the symptoms that your dog or cat exhibit aren't better in a few days, make an appointment with the vet. The right medical treatment may improve the qualify of your pet's life significantly. 


Don't attempt to diagnose the problem on your own. Just as you want to leave the mold remediation to an expert, it pays to ensure your pet has professional medical care. In the long run, everyone will be better off.

Removing Toxic Black Mold Requires an Expert's Touch

early stage signs of black mold in air vents

The nature of black mold makes it one of the most serious issues that homeowners face. It's not just the potential damage to the humans living in the home or to the four-legged members of the family that mean so much. Black mold also has the potential to cause damage to the home that would require expensive repairs. 


Instead of attempting to deal with the problem on your own, the most effective method is to call in professionals who understand what's involved with mold remediation and removal. You can depend on experts to know how to get rid of black mold once they have determined the scope of the problem.


If you have any reason to believe there's mold in the home, now is the time to call the team at Best Option Restoration and have the house and property inspected and remediated. See that as a way to keep yourself and your pets safer. 



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How Does Black Mold Affect Cats and Dogs? Symptoms That May Manifest