How Air Quality Affects Your Pets & How You Can Fix It

Women taking care of her dog

Is your dog suffering from bad air quality?

Air quality and pets aren’t often discussed. But when they are, research shows some concerning results; pets are as susceptible to poor air quality as humans. Whether cat, dog, bird, or mouse, they can contract lifelong diseases like asthma or life-threatening ones like cancer.

And as a responsible pet owner, you want to protect your pet from poor air quality to keep them safe.

So, how can you improve your indoor air quality and keep your companions as healthy as possible? This article discusses the impact of air quality on your pet, the causes of indoor air pollution, and the steps you can take to mitigate it.

Why Are Pets More Vulnerable to Bad Air Quality?

Your pets are exposed to the same air you breathe, so they’re also exposed to the same indoor pollutants that impact your health.

In fact, a study on sled dogs found that they’re more sensitive to poor air quality than humans. When the researchers exposed the dogs to Particulate Matter 2.5 (PM2.5), the dogs experienced 5-10 times higher levels of superoxide dismutase (indicative of oxidative stress). In other words, air pollution induces a lot of stress in our beloved companions.

Meanwhile, dogs are also 60% more likely to develop lung cancer because of indoor air quality. They’re also more likely to develop diseases like:

  • Tonsillar carcinoma
  • Bladder cancer
  • Mesothelioma
  • Nasal cancer

Worse, scientific journals report that poor indoor air quality can lead to multiple health issues in dogs and cats. A paper published by the Journal of Veterinary Internal Medicine reported that, when exposed to PM 2.5 at home, cats have a higher chance of contracting respiratory diseases like:

  • Feline asthma
  • Chronic bronchitis
  • Lung cancer

Why Causes Poor Indoor Air Quality?

Because bad air isn’t always visible, it isn’t easy to determine when its quality has changed. Unless, of course, you have an air quality monitor and keep consistent observations, you’ll never really know. So, what’s causing poor indoor air quality at home and making your pets get sick?

Thanks to scientific research, we’ve discovered that the following are the main contributors to the air pollution in your home:

  • Particles & Gases Suspended in the Air: Particulate Matter (PM), Carbon Monoxide (CO), Radon (Rn), Nitrogen Dioxide (NO2), and Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs)
  • Biological Pollutants: Fungus, mold, pollen, and other allergens
  • Human Activity: Cooking stoves & ovens, cleaning chemicals, pesticides and insecticides
  • Smoke & Fumes: Secondhand Smoke, smoke from woodburning, fumes from burning incense or candles
  • Construction Materials: Asbestos, Lead (Pb), Formaldehyde/Pressed Wood Products

6 Tips to Keep Your Pets Safe from Poor Air Quality

Like any other companion or family member, you want to keep your pets safe from harm. And the same goes for indoor air pollution. Fortunately, you don’t have to go to great lengths to protect your furry friends from bad indoor air quality.

Here are 6 tips to get you started:

#1 - Ventilate your home

When the air quality index indicates that the air outside is good, open your windows to ventilate your home as much as possible. This also helps guarantee that air circulates in your rooms and reduces the chances of pollutants staying in your home.

Additionally, don’t forget to use a ventilation system when cooking and baking. By doing so, you redirect the fumes and smoke outside instead of letting it settle in your home.

#2 - Use cleaning products and pesticides that are pet-friendly

Cleaning products and pesticides release chemicals and toxins in the air that are harmful to your pet. To keep your pet as healthy as possible, you need to research pet-friendly cleaning products. This will help prevent you from buying an all-purpose cleaner that's possibly affecting your air quality.

#3 - Vacuum regularly

Your pets, just like your clothes, can bring in pollutants from the outside. That’s why it’s important to vacuum your home regularly to minimize the dust in your home. You can also take this one step further by buying a vacuum cleaner with a HEPA filter, so you can more effectively trap particulate matter.

#4 - Use air filters

Air filters have become a popular commodity during the pandemic and for good reason. A HEPA air filter paired with an HVAC home system will help trap many of the pollutants in the air. That way, you can rest easy knowing that the air you and your pooch are breathing is safe.

#5 - Close your windows when outdoor air quality is poor

While you can’t control the air pollution outside your home, you can take several steps to protect yourself and your pet. One such step is to keep your windows shut when the air quality index shows the air quality as poor to severe or hazardous.

#6 - Invest in Air Quality Monitors

Not knowing the state of your indoor air quality can be anxiety-inducing. That’s why air quality monitors are a good investment. With them, you can monitor the air around you regularly and make smart decisions on how to best protect your pet from poor air quality.

Protect Pets With Air Quality Monitors

Your pets are just as susceptible to poor air quality as you are. They can contract diseases from asthma to cancer. However, can still use our tips to keep your furry friend safe. By following these steps, you’ll not only keep them healthy, but you’ll also improve their quality of life for years to come.

Worried about your air quality?

Monitor the Particulate Matter levels around the world with our free, real-time PurpleAir Map or join PurpleAir's mission to make air quality data accessible to everyone by investing in an air quality monitor for your home and office.

Together, we can be informed and make changes in our daily habits and the community to improve air quality.