When we think of indoor air quality and pollution, we typically only worry about their effects on humans. Humans have close to six million olfactory receptors in our noses, but pets have around 300 million. These furry friends have a great sense of smell, and unfortunately, that means they are affected even more by pollution indoors and poor indoor air quality.
Causes of Indoor Air Pollution
Even when your home is spotless, there are still allergens and other contaminants that float around. Your indoor air quality is compromised on a daily basis without you even realizing it. Allergens can drift through the air and land on surfaces you have already cleaned. Cleaning products, tobacco smoke and other allergens can settle on window coverings and floor rugs, contributing to indoor air pollution. Many homeowners invest in expensive air fresheners to keep their homes smelling nice. However, these items cause more harm than good when it comes to keeping your pet healthy.
Effects of Air Pollution
Poor indoor air quality increases respiratory issues, such as bronchitis and asthma. Chronic asthma and bronchitis sufferers may have worse symptoms if the indoor air quality isn’t improved. Humans may also experience increased allergy symptoms to dust mites, pollen, and dirt floating around in the air. Viruses and bacteria will thrive in a home with poor indoor air quality, leading to weakened immune systems.
The effects of air pollution on pets can be hazardous since most people aren’t aware their pets are susceptible:
- Cigarette smoke affects pets even worse than humans because pets are closer to the ground where the smoke settles. Cats in homes where their owners smoke have reduced lung function compared to cats living in smoke-free homes.
- Cleaning products used in your home leave carcinogens in your air that can cause several health problems for dogs, such as mesothelioma, lung, nasal, and bladder cancer.
Ways to Protect Your Pets
The good news is you can make improvements to your home’s indoor air quality to keep your pets healthier. Below are a few tips to improve your home’s air and keep allergens low:
- Change your HVAC filter regularly. Typically, your filter should be cleaned or replaced once every three to six months for homes without pets. Pet owners should consider changing their HVAC filters once every two months, or more frequently if warranted. The filtration system inside your heating and cooling unit is responsible for trapping and eliminating allergens and other pollutants before they circulate throughout your home. This will prevent your HVAC filter from clogging and pumping polluted air back into your home.
- Vacuum regularly to remove pet hair, pollen, dust mites, and other allergens from carpets and rugs. When your pets are sneezing, it’s time to vacuum again!
- Buy cleaning products that are safer for your pets. Natural cleaning products, such as baking soda and vinegar, don’t leave behind carcinogens that harm your pets. You can also look at the labels on products before buying them to ensure they aren’t harmful to your indoor air.
- Consider smoking outside and creating a smoke-free environment for your four-legged family members. Secondhand smoke is dangerous for everyone, even your pets. Give your pets the best chance of breathing healthily by eliminating tobacco smoke. Your pets will have stronger lungs and will be healthier without the risk of respiratory issues.
Reduce allergens and other pollutants in your home to give your pets the best indoor air quality! Douglas Cooling & Heating understands how important your pet is to your family. Call us for preventive HVAC maintenance to keep your filtration system operating efficiently.