We absolutely love pets – there’s nothing quite like coming home and having a furry friend waiting for you at the door. In the U.S., it is estimated that over 37% of households have dogs, and over 30% have cats, the most common pets kept in the country. While our pets are certainly a part of the family, they can also be major culprits when it comes to poor air quality.
Pets like dogs, cats, birds, and small mammals all release dander – mainly dead skin cells – into the air. This dander can cause some bad reactions in people, including itchy eyes and skin, sneezing, coughing, trouble breathing, and in some cases life-threatening asphyxia. In addition to dander, allergens can also be found in a pet’s saliva, droppings and urine.
So how can you keep your pets in the house and better your indoor air quality?
Sorry cats – one of the best ways to control dander is regular bathing and grooming of your pet. Remember, your pet’s hair isn’t the problem – it’s the dander coming from their skin. Bath time helps to reduce dander and wash it down the drain, instead of letting it release into the air.
Regular House Cleaning
A vacuum made for dealing with pet hair and dander will help to keep the allergens under control. Look for a vacuum with a HEPA filter, as this type of filter will help to gather the smallest particles going into the machine and hold them in place. Regular dusting with a microfiber cloth will also help to gather any dander that has settled around the house.
Don’t Forget The Walls
Almost all of us tend to neglect the walls when it comes to cleaning, but pet dander can stick onto the surface, making even the cleanest room uncomfortable for someone with pet allergies. Using a damp microfiber cloth will help to gather the dander and dust that settles on these surfaces.
Change Those Filters
Your HVAC filter can help a lot when it comes to dealing with pet allergens, but only if you’re using the right filter and changing it on a regular basis. If you have pets, you should invest in a high-quality filter that helps to filter out the smallest bits of dander that may be floating in the air. Some homes may want to consider HEPA filters, but make sure your HVAC system can handle them, as they can reduce overall efficiency by blocking airflow.
Watch Your Litter Box Placement
It’s not a pleasant subject to think about, but your cat’s urine and feces can also cause reactions in some people. Most homes have the litter box hidden away, but make sure that it isn’t located near an air vent, where particles can work their way into the vents of your home. Regular little box cleaning can also help with reducing the risk of allergens spreading.
Keep Pets Off Furniture
People with cats are already laughing at this advice, but if at all possible it’s best to keep your furry friends off of furniture, especially anything covered in fabric. Fabrics tend to hold on to dust and dander; so regular vacuuming of these items is also a big help when it comes to improving air quality.