Mold Sniffing Dogs: A Supported Technique?

Have you heard phrases like “a dog’s nose works better than the cutting-edge technology” or “a mold sniffing dog is trusted and proven”? We are going to dive into the claims of mold sniffing dogs today. Let’s review some of the questions our mold experts ask when considering a “new mold trend” and the results we discovered during our research.

Are Mold Sniffing Dogs Supported by Third-Party Mold Certification Organizations or the EPA?

Within Kansas City and across the country mold remediation companies are starting to use mold sniffing dogs. Even though it has gained popularity among mold remediation companies, many reputable mold professionals and third-party mold training and certification organizations like NORMI and the IICRC have not jumped on board this trend. In addition, the EPA is the most educated, researched and thorough organization in regards to mold, mold testing and mold removal processes. Despite all of their years of research, they have yet to recommend or support the use of mold sniffing dogs. So if the leading third-party organizations in the country are not supporting this trend we must ask the bigger lingering question:

Are Mold Sniffing Dogs Accurate?

For those using dogs for their mold remediation company, they will give you a long list of reasons why a dog’s nose is very accurate.  We all know that dogs are trained to sniff out narcotics, chemicals, cash, explosives, and other forms of substances. These detection dogs are trained based on that substance being the same every single time. If they can detect all of these substances are they able to sniff out mold?

Mold is a Unique and Inconsistent Substance

The primary difference we must consider is that none of the “substances” listed above are living organisms in which they evolve and their makeup continually changes. Mold is never the same. There are six most commonly known types of mold. However, indoor mold can vary within hundreds of different types of mold and even have multiple types of mold in the same area. Making mold an “inconsistent” substance with unique odors based on the age of the mold, the type of content the mold is eating, etc. Each type of mold has a different odor and biological characteristic that is too much for these innocent creatures to detect. What is more, new types of mold are introduced every year so it is a challenge to educate dogs about the upcoming types. Once a dog’s job of sniffing is done, experts still need to spend a handsome amount on verification and further testing. The mold sniffing dog does not remove the need for a certified and experienced mold professional.

Mold Sniffing Dogs Cannot be Accurate with Minimal Training

We know from our research that dogs can only be trained to smell at most twenty different substances and these dogs must have a strict and repetitive training schedule to stay sharp. The drug-sniffing dog at the airport with a rigorous training scheduled cannot be compared to a mold-sniffing dog that has introductory and/or annual training. It’s like comparing an Olympian Athlete with someone who goes to the gym once a week. The comparison is not the same. In addition, there is a present debate about the accuracy of the highly trained detection dogs. The debate is that detection dogs will provide inaccurate ques to please their handler. Here is a link to a recent article by 60 Minutes of CBS News.

Mold Experts Have Consistently Seen Inaccuracy

Our mold experts do a lot of mold estimates, testing and removal every year! It is not uncommon for our mold experts to provide an estimate for our customers who have had a previous estimate and “detection” by a mold sniffing dog. Our experts continually find mold that the dog did not detect. The other extreme is that we have also not found mold in the area that the dog provided a queue. Providing our customer an unexpected surprise! In addition, we have had multiple jobs where we were called in to find and remove mold that was a continual problem after the dog team had already serviced the customer. Our mold experts and their network of other mold experts cannot find any supporting evidence or research to support the use of mold sniffing dogs as an accurate or legitimate form of mold detection.

Why Do Mold Companies Still Use Dogs?

We could give you a long drawn out explanation, but to put it simply, it sales! It gains attraction of local news media and it stands out from the rest of the mold experts in a community. Everyone loves a soft, cuddly and cute dog! It is easy to see the sales tactic at work. Mold is serious and it can cause serious health effects. We do not take mold detection and mold removal lightly, that is why our mold professionals are called experts! It is not about the latest trend or a sales gimmick. It is about providing you, the customer with honest and experienced information so you can make an informed decision that puts your family’s health and safety as a priority. If you have experienced a mold disaster or if you have concerns about a current mold problem, please don’t hesitate to call and speak to one of our mold experts!

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