The Hidden Negative Side Of Having A Pet In Your Home (Hint: Air Quality)

The Hidden Negative Side Of Having A Pet In Your Home (Hint: Air Quality)

Chanu Vasantharajah30/5/19

Having pets has always been a good solution for any home since there are lots of benefits that come with pets like introducing some rules and obligations to your children, so they’ll understand from a young age how and why should they care about other beings. Other benefits include a particular kind of pest control like mice and small insects in case you own a cat or even keeping your home safe from unwanted intruders in case you own a dog. Household pets provide you and your family with lots of fun moments, and most of the people can’t imagine their lives without a pet in their home, regardless of the air quality issues it brings.

Nowadays, 37% of Canadian households have cats and around 32% own dogs, and 9% owns other pets like fish, birds, reptiles, etc. meaning that almost 80% of Canadian households own at least one pet. Another side of the coin is that having an animal indoors can have an enormous impact on the indoor air quality since pets can trigger allergy symptoms and bring some other airborne irritants into your house.

How Is it possible that having a pet in your home can significantly decrease the indoor air quality?

Having a pet indoors can bring many side effects, apart from the lovely ones. It is advised to perform an allergy test before you decide to bring a pet into your home. If you are not allergic, maybe some of your family members are, and it’s always easier to choose not to bring a pet home in case someone is allergic than to get into a situation where you need to give away your beloved animal. There is an estimate that 15 to 30% of Canadians are allergic to many different kinds of irritants brought by pets. Animal fur, dander, litter and many others can cause severe air quality decrease in your home. The most common irritants that are airborne are:
  • Animal fur that can be found all around your house since animals shed their coat often. Cat’s fur is more common to cause severe allergies followed by sneezing, eye-watering and even symptoms of asthma in some cases. Dog’s hair can also cause allergies, but it’s not so prevalent as it is with cat’s fur.
  • Animal dander is a particle of animal skin that is shed and is airborne. Animal dander can also trigger symptoms like itchy eyes, runny nose and sneezing. Even hairless dogs and cats shed skin, so there aren’t any hypoallergenic animals at all. Bathing and brushing your pets on a regular basis will decrease dander significantly.
  • Cat Litter is very well known to cat owners for its high pitch odour. If not cleaned on a frequent basis it will blow a punch to your senses and significantly decrease air quality in your home.
Among the ones mentioned above, other reasons contribute to low air quality in your home like irregular cleaning and dusting of rooms and objects your pet often uses or goes into.

Tips on how to fight-off lousy air while keeping your pets inside

There are ways to fight against this “enemy” like cleaning the house more frequently than you used to when your home had no pets inside. Also, frequent dusting is very important since shed skin and fur are pilling up on your walls, objects around your room and floors. Every step you make inside your home makes that pilled up dander and fur fly around. Try to teach your pets some restrictions. Do not let them enter specific rooms that you choose they shouldn’t enter, especially bedrooms. Also, try to teach them to avoid spending their time on the couch, do not sleep with them, but teach them to sleep in their bed. Wash any piece of cloth that your pet sat on in hot water frequently to avoid allergenic symptoms to spread. Despite the need to perform “Air Quality Test” in your home from time to time, there are also “techy” solutions you could use to improve the supply of quality air in your home. Some of them are:
  • Monitoring and changing furnace filters regularly which is crucial in case you have pets. Finding a filter shouldn’t be very hard. We recommend having at least a MERV 11 filter if you have pets, as this level of filtration is needed for pet dander. Never let your filters to get too much dirty!
  • Using strong air purifiers in every room is also advisable. Seek for the latest, automated ones with sensor technology installed.
  • Installing an air exchanger that will provide you with constant fresh air supply is also a must.
  • Air vents must be clean and free of any dirt, fur or foreign objects.

Do not choose between healthy home and having a pet

Quality air makes your pet happy As I’ve already mentioned, having a pet is a fantastic, life-changing experience that comes at a specific cost. The price you have to pay for being a proud owner of a house pet will not be high if you follow up the standards and rules of keeping your home healthy and clean, whether you use your vacuum cleaner and soap or even some more “high-tech” solutions. The combination of the two is always the best solution, but in case you aren’t able to combine those two solutions, try to do your best in implementing at least one of them because you owe it to your health, as well as to your pet’s health.

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