Indoor Air Quality and It’s Impact on the Health of Your Pets
Did you know poor indoor air quality can harm your pet?
It’s not known how many pets get sick from air pollution. But 3.8 million people die per year from issues like lung cancer and strokes. Illnesses can be due to poor quality indoor residential air.
It’s only natural that the effect of indoor air quality on pets will be mimick our own experiences. Most pets are more sensitive to air pollutants and can suffer worse consequences.
But don’t worry, we can help show you what to look for! Please keep reading for our guide on how poor residential indoor air quality affects pet health.
Smoke & Fumes
Smokey fumes released by household appliances or by smoking affect people. For pets, they can be more fatal, causing suffocation, leading to death if not caught early.
To make this worse, some cat and dog breeds have respiratory issues due to shortened muzzles. For them, any extra interference with their strained breathing can have dire consequences, especially if they’re left alone in the house or a different room.
You shouldn’t smoke inside or around your pets, and make sure there is enough ventilation in your home. This will help you improve indoor air quality in your home.
Allergens & Mold
Another sign of poor indoor air quality and pets’ health is mold and allergens in the home. Pollen, mold spores, and other allergens aren’t visible to the human eye.
However, your pets can cause severe allergies, like humans. Prolonged exposure to allergens can cause asthma and bronchitis. You’re looking at long-term health issues for your pet.
Bacteria, mildew, and types of mold can cause the following symptoms:
- Discharge from the eyes and nose
- Paw licking
- Lack or total loss of appetite
- Labored and loud breathing
The best way to prevent this is to reduce the humidity levels in your home. Hang your washing outside or have a dryer with an outside vent. Empty dryer drip trays often and place some dehumidifiers around to regulate levels.
If fungal growth because of plant moisture is an issue, remove some of your indoor plants. While they’re great for filtering the air, they can skew the humidity balance if you have too many. The wet soil can also release airborne microorganisms into a moist home.
You don’t think of it, but a complex chemical mix is pumping into your home’s air. Chemicals come from things like:
- Air fresheners
- Bug & mosquito repellant
Most of these come in the form of carcinogenic aerosols, which considerably affect our pets. They can lead to impairment of the heart, lungs, and some cancers.
Volatile Organic Compounds
A lot of household items contain VOCs. These include things like sealants, pesticides, cleaning products, and adhesives. A standard VOC is a formaldehyde which you find in:
- Gas & kerosene heaters
- Laminate flooring
- Synthetic fabrics
It’s also used for binding resin in some pressed wood furniture items. Without knowing, it could be all over your home! For cats and dogs, it can cause several issues.
They can suffer dizziness, fatigue, nausea, and headaches. You also might see eye, nose, and throat irritation as well as reactions on their skin.
In bad cases, they can cause organ damage as well as cancer. While this is unlike in a typical, careful household, it shows how important indoor air quality for pets is.
The best way to lower chemicals and VOC levels in the air is to get good, regular ventilation in your home. When the weather allows it, open your windows. Don’t smoke inside the house, and make sure exhaust fumes from outside can’t get in.
When looking for new furniture, choose natural wood and textile options. The key is that they’ve only had minimal processing with very few chemicals. Solid wood is the best choice for overpressed, as this takes out most formaldehyde.
Also, avoid using aerosols, paraffin wax candles, and artificial fragrances inside your home. As much as they smell pleasant to use, they can add VOCs and chemicals into the air that’s harmful to your pet.
Our next piece of advice about indoor air quality will cover carbon monoxide, a silent killer. Any appliances that burn coal, wood, oil, or gas can release it. These include appliances like wood burners, fireplaces, generators, and furnaces.
Carbon monoxide can be deadly in high amounts to humans, cats, dogs, and any other animal. Even low-level exposure can cause symptoms that include breathlessness, drowsiness, lethargy. It can cause collapsing too.
The best thing to do is install carbon monoxide alarms near all appliances that can give it off. If you use a wood burner, make sure it’s sealed and only use wood that has no chemicals.
Have professionals conduct a regular service on your furnace and heating systems. If you have a chimney and flue, sweep it out and keep it clean, checking for any cracks that could form over time.
Dust & Mites
Some of the biggest air quality enemies are dust and the mites that call it home. Wherever dust settles, you’ll get mites including:
Anywhere that is warm and moist, they will thrive. Your pet could have an allergic reaction to them, experiencing itching and inflammation. They can also trigger ear and skin infections, from where your pet is scratching so much.
Pets can have an allergy from birth or develop a dust mite allergy over time. It would be best if you took measures to eradicate them as much as possible to keep your pet comfortable.
Ensure you’re washing pet and human bedding at 104 °F as this will kill off any dust mites. Doing this every two weeks will help prevent a build-up of their waste and a population explosion.
Put any soft toys or items you can’t wash in the freezer for 24-48 hours. This, too, will kill any dust mites calling them home. The waste product will remain, though, unless you clean it.
Make sure you’re vacuuming and often dusting to keep dust levels down, as, without it, the mites can’t live. A vacuum with a HEPA filter helps reduce dust mites. It also helps remove other contaminants like smoke, soot, spores, and pollen.
Don’t Let Poor Residential Indoor Air Quality Harm Your Pets.
It’s impossible to remove all indoor air pollution, but there are easy steps you can take to reduce it. Be careful about what chemicals you use in your home; keep your home clean and tidy.
Keeping the home dust-free with good ventilation will go a long way to helping your cat or dog breathe clean air. And so will have your heating and HVAC systems onto a regular maintenance schedule.
The bottom line is every home should have an IAQ monitor installed by a professional. Please schedule an IAQ Checkup to ensure your air is helping not hurting you or your family.
If you’d like to improve your residential indoor air quality, contact us today. At Minnicks: Heating, Cooling, Plumbing, Insulation our knowledge and expertise can help with all your maintenance needs.
Click here for our complete guide to heating and cooling your home.
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