All pets, such as cats and dogs, are considered family members and important parts of many people’s families. There has always been a pet in my house and probably always will. According to the American Veterinary Medical Foundation, approximately 37 percent of U.S. Households contain dogs and 30 percent of homes contain cats.
Pets often bring owners companionship and happiness. However, pets may also bring unwanted allergens into the home and affect the air quality. Believe it or not, I have always had allergies to our dogs and especially cats but I would never get rid of them. As I have learned there are ways to mitigate these issues, but awareness is key.
Pets and Allergens
While many people think that making sure their animals have short hair will help to control allergy symptoms, this is often not the case. Millions of people, such as myself, are actually allergic to pet dander. Pet dander does not have any correlation to the length or type of fur that a pet has. Pet dander can cause an allergic reaction on its own, but pets can also bring in pollen, mold, and other allergens on their fur.
What is Pert Dander?
Pet dander is similar to dandruff in humans, as it is composed of the tiny specks of skin that flake off rom animals. Since many animals lick themselves, there may be flecks of dried saliva included with pet dander that can cause additional irritation to people who are sensitive to allergens. Pet dander is lighter weight and smaller than most airborne allergens such as dust mites. This allows the dander to linger in the air longer, causing greater irritation.
Pets, Air Quality, and Health
A higher percentage of Americans are allergic to cats than dogs. However, this number may be slightly skewed because many cats are kept strictly indoors, while most dogs are allowed outside for a portion of the day. As animal dander is continually released into the air, the concentration of harmful allergens in the air increases. Other pet-related irritants, such as odors and particles of feces and urine from litter boxes, may also contaminate the air.
Without proper filtration and ventilation, pet allergens may build up and have an impact on the pet owner’s health. Symptoms such as congestion, sneezing, and wheezing may manifest. Watering eyes, eczema, and rashes may also develop. Continually experiencing these symptoms can be uncomfortable and can have a detrimental effect on overall health.
Limiting Pet’s Affect on Internal Air Quality
To lower concentrations of pet allergens and other harmful VOCs in the air of the home, it is important to routinely change your air filters. We also recommend installing a superior air quality monitor for your home, such as the FOOBOT. The FOOBOT takes smart homes to next level and can guarantee happiness for your family including your four-legged friends.