(PET CARE/DOGS) Making your home a safe place for everyone takes thought and preparation. No doubt, you’ve probably considered safety gates to block pets’ access to certain rooms. You’re also careful about opening outside doors. But have you ever considered the indoor air quality of your home?

Pets not only contribute to this issue, but they can also suffer from the effects at the same time. Read on to learn more about indoor air quality and pet health.

Being exposed to dogs early in life can decrease one's risk of asthma by 13%.
Photo Credit: Roy Sanborn

How Pets Affect the Air

While this article focuses on dogs, many of the points also refer to cats and other furry pets.

Dogs come in many sizes, shapes, and fur types. They often groom themselves, shed, and carry pollen on their fur when they come inside. They also tend to shake vigorously and transmit pet dander, pollen, dust, and other allergens into the air.

Homeowners may not realize how much their dogs contribute to the particles that are floating in the air. If you or your loved ones have experienced chronic symptoms like allergic reactions or colds, you may want to take a good look at your ventilation system.

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The Ventilation

Your HVAC system may not be fully opt to filter the air when you have pets–especially if you have more than one furry friend in your household. Ducts may be coated with dust, the filters may need to be changed more frequently, and air intake vents may become blocked. Regular inspections and updates to your home systems will ensure the HVAC is functioning at peak efficiency so everyone can breathe more easily.

Pet Care in the Home

Dogs take a certain amount of care and attention. Just as each individual has needs, so do the pets who live in your home. Being aware of unique situations within your sphere of influence is the first step to taking action. This may even mean the unpleasant alternative of reducing the number of pets in your home. The consequences may be far greater than you realize.

That aside, taking good care of your dog doesn’t have to interfere with other activities. Bathing your dog regularly will keep their fur free of allergens like dust, debris, pollen, and so forth. There are even dog shampoos that reduce the allergens that can be found in other dog grooming products. Consult with your vet or local pet store expert for more information.

Photo Credit: Cesar’s Way

How the Air Affects Your Pets

There’s a chance your dog may be feeling the effects of poor air quality in their environment. Smokers tend to have pets with lung problems. Fireplace lovers may also discover that their pets have breathing problems. Sniffling, runny eyes, wheezing, and listlessness may all indicate that your pet is suffering from allergies. Discuss the issue with your vet and seek out ways to improve your pet’s health at home.

Steps You Can Take

  • Change the furnace filter every two to six months depending on the size of your filter

    Photo Credit: Phoenix Comfort Systems
  • Schedule occasional ductwork cleaning to remove years of dust layers that are out of plain sight
  • Brush and bathe your dog regularly
  • Examine your house: Do you need all the fabric furniture, cloth curtains, and layered carpeting?
  • Use a higher quality dog food which improves fur quality as well as your pet’s immune system
  • Make pet grooming a regular routine
  • Have your HVAC regularly inspected
  • Train dogs to stay off furniture, especially beds
  • Use HEPA filters throughout your house

Final Thoughts

The length of your pet’s fur typically isn’t the issue–the problem is more commonly found in pet dander. Allergens get caught in fur, so shedders affect air quality more than non-shedders. This then gets transferred to furniture, curtains, and carpet. But observant dog parents can solve many issues on their own with a little forethought and patience.

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