We love our pets. Just how much, do you ask? Market research estimates that the pet care industry in North America will reach $281 billion in sales by 2023. We buy the best food, even splurge on vitamins, because we want our pets to thrive and have the healthiest life possible. But there is one aspect of pet health that we often overlook, probably because it’s invisible: air quality!
What is Indoor Air Quality and its Effects?
According to the EPA, indoor air quality “refers to the air quality within and around buildings and structures, especially as it relates to the health and comfort of building occupants.” While we may not be aware of it, there are many sources in the home that can contribute to our air quality, such as asbestos, smoke, carbon monoxide, mold, and even products that we use every day. Upon exposure to these pollutants, some immediate symptoms are itchy eyes, sore throat, dizziness, headaches, and fatigue. With prolonged exposure, studies show that poor indoor air quality has been linked to respiratory issues, heart disease, and even death.
How Does Poor Indoor Air Quality Affect Animals?
Imagine having the nose of a dog, the lungs of a bird, and the eyes of a rabbit. All are highly sensitive, which is why it’s unfortunate that indoor air quality is on average 2 to 5 times worse than outdoor air quality. With most of our pets spending their time close to the ground, dust, dirt, and even pet dander can accumulate and get inhaled or ingested by animals. We are familiar with our own allergies, but animals can get them too! Pets can suffer from sensitivity to fleas, grass pollen, even their own dander, with symptoms similar to humans, such as sneezing, runny nose, and skin irritation if they come into contact with an allergen.
Air pollution, which can cause adverse health risks to humans, can also affect animals, especially birds. Compared to humans, birds have a higher breathing rate and are exposed to higher concentrations of particles, which can cause irreversible damage to their lungs.
With so many indoor air pollutants, what can we do to protect our pets?
Indoor Air Quality Solutions
To keep your air clean, here are a few solutions.
- Regularly vacuum and clean your home, preferably with a HEPA vacuum cleaner and non-toxic cleaning products.
- Ventilate your home so that enough fresh air from outside can circulate in your home.
- Check your home for signs of mold, especially in damp areas. If you suspect that you have mold, call a specialist for assistance.
- Use a HEPA air purifier, such as the AAFA Certified MinusA2 air purifier that can trap particles as small as .1 microns in size at a higher than 99% efficiency.