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  • Writer's pictureJustin H. Joe

Can mold make my pet sick? Effect of Mold on Pets

Updated: Nov 18, 2022

Justin H. Joe, PhD, CIH, CSP, CPE, Nicole Lee, and Lucas Kim

Pets can be affected by mold from their indoor home environment is similar to humans. The negative effects for pets are unique compared to humans, with symptoms appearing as allergies or more severely, respiratory diseases or toxic reactions. Monitoring changes in your pet may indicate poor health within the home caused by mold. Understanding the effects of mold on your pets may be essential to maintain their health and wellbeing them and the health of the household.

Common Sources

Like humans, exposure to molds can be harmful to pets. Generally molds grow easily in warm and humid conditions with organic materials, which can be food for the molds. Especially, there are some additional sources of mold for pets as below:

  • Manufactured pet food stored improper place

  • Trash container

  • Pet’s water bowls, favorite towel or toy and bedding.

  • Pet’s fur and dead skin flake: pets can be a source of mold itself. Their furs and dead skin flakes are good food for mold. Once mold is present in their body, they often carry a variety of molds and release these molds into their indoor air.

Exposure Route

Pets are likely to spend more time in the environment that could be contaminated by mold. They are prone to mold exposure due to their habits such as chewing on toys, clawing tree stumps, or grooming themselves. The two primary exposure routes of mold in pets is inhalation and digestion.

  • Inhalation: the animal inhales floating spores released by mold colonies

  • Being in a house where mold exists already

  • Sniffing moldy surfaces

  • Digestion: Pets are more likely to chew or ingest things they can find around them.

  • Eating moldy food, compost piles, and stump

  • Taking care of themselves through grooming

Symptoms in Pets

Common symptoms among pets are dissimilar to symptoms experienced in humans. Symptoms may be categorized differently, based on the severity and type of malady: respiratory distress, allergic reactions, or toxic reactions.

- Allergic symptoms of mold exposure in pets include but are not limited to:

  • Pruritus: excessive itching

  • Papules: razor burns, insect bites, skin tags, etc.

  • Alopecia: a disease causing fur loss

  • Hyperpigmentation

  • Excoriation: chronic skin picking

  • Skin infection

  • Scaling

  • Lesions

- Respiratory distress symptoms include:

  • Constant sneezing/coughing

  • Nasal discharge

  • Watery eyes

  • Fatigue

  • Bleeding from mouth or nose

- Toxic reactions include:

  • Gastrointestinal complications

  • Decreased appetite

  • Vomiting

  • Shaking/tremors

  • Neurological problems: may include odd behavior or loss of functions

Monitoring these symptoms are essential to protecting your pet’s health and understanding the health and conditions of the home.

Dogs Are More Sensitive to Mold

Dogs are particularly sensitive to mold exposure, similar to humans. Because of their weaker immune systems, they are susceptible to mold-related illnesses. Certain breeds exhibit symptoms and allergies worse than others, though all dog breeds are affected by mold poisoning. For example, respiratory diseases are easily found in dogs with relatively broad, short skulls (brachycephalic breeds). It is recommended that if symptoms are apparent, it is best to consult a veterinarian before taking any other action.

Concerning mold issues with unique pets, consulting a veterinarian or specialist is ideal, as the effects of mold are not well understood for animals that are not conventionally owned.

Reducing Risk of Exposure/Health Effects

As mold exposure deteriorates the health of your pet, there are several measures that may be taken to reduce the effects:

  • If mold growth is suspected, schedule an inspection with a licensed mold inspector

  • Avoid contact between the pet and moldy foods/environments

  • If the pet is exhibiting severe symptoms, take them to the vet

  • Clean toys/beds/other belongings in hot water


  • Common sources of mold that increase exposure to pets include: trash containers, improper storage of moist pet food, pet dander, etc.

  • Exposure route of mold is primarily through inhalation or digestion

  • Symptoms in pets are categorized as allergic symptoms, respiratory distress, or toxic reactions

  • While pets may show symptoms to mold exposure, these symptoms are unique from human symptoms

  • Dogs are especially sensitive to mold due to weaker immune systems

  • To reduce the risks of mold exposure, maintaining cleanliness and taking action is essential

How can BNF Consulting help with Mold?

BNF Consulting, Inc. is a licensed mold inspection company that abides by New York State & US EPA regulations for mold inspection and testing. Does your home or business have a mold problem? Our company can provide a reliable mold inspection service to determine potential risks.

If you are concerned for you and your family’s safety or curious about air pollution in your home, schedule a free call with us today at 914-297-8335 to learn more about our services. We also offer a free phone/video consultation.

About the Authors:

Nicole Lee is a sophomore environmental science major at Rutgers University and BNF Consulting internship program participant.

Lucas Kim graduated from Pohang University of Science and Technology with PhD and MS degrees in chemistry and BNF Consulting Environmental Consultant.

Justin H. Joe, PhD, CIH, CSP, CPE, is a Certified Industrial Hygienist and a principal consultant of BNF Consulting, Inc. Dr. Joe graduated from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign with PhD and MS degrees in nuclear engineering. Dr. Joe has provided industrial hygiene consulting as a core function with his diverse background of experience and education.


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