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Does Having a Pet Affect Your Indoor Air Quality?

Home is where your heart is. It is a safe haven, a place to relax and unwind from the worries of the world, and a gathering place for families. For over 57% of Canadian families, pets are also a part of the household structure.

Indoor pets such as cats, dogs, birds, and mice have been found to be great furry (or feathery) companions. They listen to your problems, give you lots of love, and have fun personalities. However, those fluffy little friends can also have some unpleasant tendencies. Shedding, dander, fleas, and mites all come from animals.

Can having an indoor pet really be detrimental to the air quality of a home?

What To Expect:

Dogs

dogs indoor air quality

Often labeled man's best friend, a dog is a lovable companion. Dogs are usually indoor/outdoor pets. When an animal has free access to the outdoors, they can bring outdoor allergens inside with them. Dogs can carry in dust, mold, and pollen on their coats. Because they are curious creatures, they often get into dirty situations. The pollen, mold, dirt, or allergens found on a dog's coat can be triggers for allergies inside the home.

Dogs also produce pet dander. Dander is not hair, as most people believe. Dander is small particles of dead skin that sloughs off of the pet.

Cats

cats indoor air quality

Aloof, but somehow also very affectionate, cats are a favorite indoor pet. Like dogs, cats produce pet dander. The dander is made up of proteins that affect owners who have sensitive immune systems. The body confuses the allergen with a dangerous virus and attacks the proteins from dander, saliva, and urine from the pet.

Studies have shown that neutered tom cats are better pets for owners with allergies. Neutering the cat causes him to produce less allergens.

Birds

birds indoor air quality

Chipper and chirpy, birds are beautiful entertainers. However, birds come with a special type of allergen. Many people believe that bird allergens are brought on by feathers. But bird feathers, like dog hair, are not the culprit. Birds produce dander too, but they also harbor mites. Mites are tiny insect-like animals that live on the feathers of a bird and feed of of dander and debris. Mites also produce waste. Their waste as well as the bird’s dead skin slough off of the bird like dander. This creates an entirely new set of allergens.

Mice/Rodents

rodents indoor air quality

Known for their intelligence and ability to fit in just about anywhere, mice and other rodents are often great pets for people with small spaces. But they produce dander and also have allergen proteins in their saliva, urine, and dander.

Rodents also have been held responsible for the spreading of severe illnesses such as plague. Prolonged exposure to rodent dander has also been shown to increase the likelihood of asthma.

What Do Pet Allergens Cause?

The tiny particles of pet dander can be found anywhere. Many people don't realize that their pet's dander hitches a ride with them to work, on the bus, to the doctor, at the grocery store, and everywhere else they travel.

Pet dander can be a problem for the homeowner, but it can also become a problem for people they come into contact with on a daily basis. In other words, a pet-less coworker can still be exposed to dander from their dog-loving desk mate.

Pet allergens (dander, mite waste, etc.) can cause numerous respiratory problems. The most common problem associated with pet dander is asthma. Occasionally, allergens can cause skin conditions such as eczema. Many people have mild allergic reactions to pet dander, but others can have life threatening complications.

Pet dander, especially in large amounts, can be detrimental to the air quality of a home. Don’t go thinking you need to get rid of your beloved family members, however;, there are precautions homeowners can take to maintain superior air quality in their home with pets.

What Can I Do?

  • Have an indoor air quality test regularly.

  • Maintain litter boxes in spaces far away from air vents.

  • Monitor and change furnace filters regularly if you have pets.

  • Do not allow pets to sleep in the bedrooms.

  • Clean all bedding and wash toys or stuffed animals regularly.

  • Seek the advice of an allergist.

  • Wash your hands and face after playing with pets.

  • Wear gloves/mask and immediately wash clothes after grooming pets.

  • Regularly disinfect hard surfaces such as floors and walls to keep dander/dust from building up.

  • Lessen unsupervised outdoor time for pets. Keep kitty doors and windows closed to prevent pets bringing in allergens from outside.

  • Have mattresses cleaned in rooms that pets may have slept in.

  • Use strong air purifiers in every room.

  • Install an air exchanger to help bring a consistent supply of fresh air into your home.

  • Vacuum pet beds, their favorite spots to lie, furniture, carpets, and any surfaces that can accumulate dander. Using a HEPA filter is recommended with pets.

  • Keep all bedding and pillows protected with allergen proof covers.

  • Try to keep all furniture free from dander; keep pets off of large areas of furniture.

  • Give pets a bath regularly. Wash their bedding. Brush pets outdoors to reduce spreading dander indoors.

No one should have to choose between air quality and a beloved pet. Homeowners should know that having a pet does not mean sacrificing air quality.

Proper maintenance of ventilation, regular cleaning, and correctly disposing of dander can exponentially decrease allergen symptoms. Supplementing a regular and efficient cleaning routine with an allergen medication can help many pet owners with allergies overcome their symptoms.

Clean Air Solutions Can Help

We can perform thorough air quality testing to determine the air quality in your home. We also offer many products and services that can reduce pet dander and other contaminent levels in your home to more tolerable levels. Contact Clean Air Solutions today for free, no obiligation consultation.

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