Pet Dander and Indoor Air Quality


If you’re like many homeowners, you may have a furry or feathered friend sharing your home with you. While you may love them, pets are one of largest contributors of allergens and other pollutants. If you often feel lethargic, shortness of breath and dizzy when at home, there is a chance that your pet could be responsible.

 

What is Pet Dander?

Pet dander is composed of skin particles that are shed by animals that have either fur or feathers. While some people are allergic to dogs, more than twice that number report suffering allergies caused by cat dander.

In most cases, animal fur itself is not a trigger for allergies; however, animal fur can bring in other allergens and pollutants, including dust and mold spores. In addition to pet dander, other animal pollutant sources can include feces and even saliva.

Pet Dander and Allergies

Pet dander, which is often microscopic in size, can be found almost anywhere, even in homes that don’t have pets. Dander can be extremely prevalent in homes that have pets even if measures are taken to reduce the amount of animal-related pollutants in the home. Because of the size of their particles, it can be difficult to fully remove these pollutants. Some pet owners may find that they develop asthma and allergies to their pets down the road, even though they may have had their furry friend for years.
Dog & Cat

Does Indoor Air Quality Affect Pets’ Health?

Many pets, especially cats, spend most of their time indoors. As such, they are exposed to the same allergens and pollutants as their human companions, though they often do not have the ability to leave for fresh air. Because animals also tend to be more sensitive to pollutants, they are more likely to suffer certain disorders that affect their respiratory system. Many pets may develop bronchitis, asthma and other throat or lung disorders. Not only may these signs result in increased vet bills, they may also indicate poor indoor air quality.

Controlling Pet Allergens

As with most other pollutants, there are ways to reduce the amount of pet dander and other allergens in the home. Because your pets have different needs, some of the ways are not always applicable. However, any steps that you take to reduce the amount of allergens in the home should improve your indoor air quality.

  • Keep pets outdoors when possible. While this is the easiest way to reduce pollutants in the home caused by pets, this is not always possible during the winter or if the animal is considered to be an indoor pet.
  • Wash pets regularly. Again, this may not be possible with certain pets, such as cats. However, dogs and the rare water-loving cats should be washed on a regular basis to remove any mold spores or dust that they may have picked up while outdoors.
  • Wash your hands after handling pets. Pet dander, mold spores and other pollutants can be transferred from pets onto bed sheets or other fabrics simply through touch. Washing your hands after each interaction can reduce pollutant transfer.
  • Limit materials that attract dander and other pollutants. Pet dander, like any other pollutant, can often be found in carpet fibers, and clinging to cloth curtains and furniture. Replacing hard-to-clean home items can help reduce the amount of pet-related pollutants that tend to stick around.
  • Ventilate the home when possible. A good ventilation system will help keep all occupants of a home happy and healthy. When the weather is warm enough, your pets may also enjoy a fresh breeze from an open window.

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