Is Your Dog Allergic to Mold?

You and your dog may both be allergic to mold, but your symptoms will show up in different ways. Let’s look at the symptoms that indicate a canine mold allergy, along with steps you can take to help reduce your dog’s symptoms.

What a Canine Mold Allergy Looks Like

Canine mold allergies are classified as atopic allergies, or allergies to an inhaled substance that show themselves with skin symptoms. They are the second most common canine allergy after flea allergy, and they are most likely to develop in dogs between the ages of 1 and 3 years. Keep in mind, though, that your dog can develop an allergy at any time in his life.

Mold-allergic dogs will most likely develop a year-round skin problem that doesn’t respond to treatment. Your pet may rub his body against the ground as he tries to scratch his itchy skin, or he may lick, bite at or chew his legs and feet. In more severe cases, your pet may develop a secondary skin infection after he repeatedly chews on his skin, or he may have bald or oily patches in his coat that develop from his incessant scratching.

Other indications of a possible mold allergy include sneezing, watery eyes or coughing. Dogs with mold allergies may also create large amounts of ear wax or have ongoing ear infections that are difficult to treat.

How a Canine Mold Allergy Is Diagnosed and Treated

Your veterinarian may use both blood and skin tests to diagnose your dog’s mold allergy. The blood tests combine a blood sample from your dog with known allergens to recreate an allergic reaction, while skin tests require that small amounts of allergen be injected under your pet’s skin to produce an allergic result.

Once test results are available, your veterinarian can formulate a plan that will help treat your dog’s mold allergy. The plan may include desensitization shots for your pet or medications such as topical treatments, steroids or antihistamines to relieve his symptoms.

How to Reduce Mold in Your Home

Reducing mold levels in your dog’s home environment is one of the easiest and most effective ways to help relieve his allergy symptoms. First, examine your home’s problem areas, such as basements, bathrooms or laundry areas, for signs of mold growth. If you find mold, spot clean the area with a bleach-and-water solution or mold-killing chemicals and take steps to ensure it doesn’t return.

Adding dehumidifiers to basements and other areas that are likely to attract moisture can help reduce humidity levels in your home, which makes it more difficult for mold to grow and thrive. Mold needs warm, humid conditions to grow successfully, so reducing your home’s relative humidity level below 50 percent and keeping the temperature below 75 degrees Fahrenheit will help limit mold growth.

If your dog has a severe mold allergy, a high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) cleaner may help ease his symptoms. You should also wash your home’s climate control system filters with a bleach-and-water solution to kill mold spores that may be growing in your home air conditioner. You can also use fans to help reduce mold allergy symptoms by keeping air in your home circulating constantly.