Outdoor Molds on Fall Leaves Can Bring On Dog Allergies

The changing seasons usually bring on an allergy flare-up for our boxer Elsie. The Fall flare-up is most often brought on by increasing outdoor molds. Those pretty fall leaves pile up, get wet and breed molds. Even if we rake up every last leaf in our yard, it won’t prevent molds from other yards to bother her. I just make sure to wipe her feet when she comes in from outside and to give her regular baths. And, of course, her allergy shots keep the flare-ups from getting too problematic.

I found this cool mold map on Weather.com.  Here is what the mold spores situation looks like today in the U.S..  Visit the Weather.com mold spores map to see the latest update:
http://www.weather.com/maps/activity/allergies/usmoldspores_large.html

weather.com mold spores map
Mold Spores Map from Weather.com

Dog Allergy Treatments. Remove Mold in Your Home.

Mold can be a big problem for allergy-prone dogs.  In addition to outdoor mold, mold can grow indoors in humid spaces like bathrooms, kitchens, basements, garbage cans, refrigerators, carpets, and sheetrock.  Once you start looking for mold, you may be surprised at how prevalent it is in your home.

I live in an older home, in the Mid-Atlantic, where it can get quite humid.  After I started researching allergies, I’ve learned that my home can be a breeding ground for mold.  Here are some of the regular places I find and treat our mold:

  • Showers and Sinks.  These are likely the most common place for mold to grow in your home.  Since showers and sinks contain a lot of moisture, it’s an easy place for mold to grow and spread.  I’ve found the best solution is to spray on a mildew and mold cleaner or bleach, leave it on for 10 minutes and then rinse and wipe clean.  This should keep the mold at bay for a couple of weeks.
  • Window panes.  In the winter months, I find that our home has some condensation forming in the corners of our window panes.  If left unattended, mold will eventually appear. I now wipe the condensation regularly, and use a mold cleaner or bleach as needed.
  • Basement corners.  One year, when left unattended, our basement walls started to grow a bit mold in the corners.  After cleaning up the mold, we’ve now learned to check these walls regularly and not lean any items against the corners – to prevent excess moisture buildup.
  • Window unit air conditioners.  We use some window unit air conditioners in our home during the hot summer months.  One year, I took a close look at one of our units and found mold growing on the intake vent.  I now include a good bleach wipe down of these vents as part of a regular summer cleaning routine.

In addition to the sources of mold I’ve listed above, you can also find mold growing in dishwashers, washing machines, humidifiers and dehumidifiers, since all regularly contain water.  Be sure to check these devices regularly and be prepared to eliminate mold as needed.

Dog Allergy Causes. Mold Allergies.

Mold is a type of fungus that feeds off decomposing plant or animal matter.  It is present both indoors and outdoors.  Mold spreads by releasing tiny spores into the air.  When these mold spores are inhaled, an allergic reaction may result.

Mold can grow quickly in dark, humid indoor spaces, such as shower stalls, basements, garbage cans, refrigerators, cabinets, washing machines, carpets, and sheetrock.  Mold is also prevalent outdoors, particularly in the Spring and Fall, when there are large numbers of dead leaves and other decaying plant matter.

Although outdoor mold allergies will be most noticeable in your dog during the Spring and Fall months, indoor mold can cause problems for your pet year round.

We live in Maryland, which can be very humid in the Summer.  Mold can quickly grow in our bathrooms if we don’t keep on top of it.  Unfortunately, mold can also be problematic in the Winter too. Our home is 100 years old and isn’t as tightly sealed as many new homes are today.  When the days are particularly cold, we’ll see a build-up of condensation on basement walls and windows.  These areas are excellent breeding grounds for mold.

When we had Elsie allergy tested, we learned that she was allergic to two different types of mold.  Once we realized this, we became super indoor mold fighters.  Suddenly these pesky mold discoveries took on a new significance in my life – they were hurting my dog and I needed to get rid of them.  I’ll share some of my mold fighting tips a bit later when we discuss Allergy Treatments.