Whether it’s cats, dogs, or even bunnies, we all love our pets to bits; however, our little furballs contribute more than just cuteness to our homes. In this discussion, we dive into the world of pet dander, what it is, its impact on indoor air quality and how we can effectively manage it to ensure that we’re breathing easier while our cuddly pets are curled up next to us.
What is pet dander?
Pet dander are minuscule flecks of skin, hair and feathers that are shed by your pets that consist of dead skin cells, fur/feathers and particles of saliva, urine or feces. When released, they can float around the air and can affect your indoor air quality, causing complications to you and your loved ones if exposed.
Pet dander contains allergic proteins that can trigger allergic reactions, especially in individuals suffering from chronic health issues like asthma.
Pet dander and indoor air quality
There are an estimated 28.7 million pets in Australia, with over 90% of those pets being cats, dogs, birds and other small mammals like rabbits and guinea pigs. Although they are an integral part of the lives of millions of Australians, they come with a unique set of airborne particles that can impact the air quality within our homes.
Pet dander is released into the air from pets simply when they roam around your home and they can become airborne very quickly. They can easily float through the air and settle on surfaces, carpets and even find their way into ventilation systems.
What makes it more troublesome is that it doesn’t just disappear. It can stay suspended in the air indefinitely until you inhale it or leave your home through an opening such as a window or door.
Why is pet dander harmful?
Pet dander is harmful as it can trigger allergy symptoms, including sneezing, coughing, a runny nose, irritated eyes, and skin if a person is exposed to it for an extended period of time. However, it tends to be more of an issue for those that are sensitive to allergens, such as the 2.7 million Australians living with asthma.
Pet dander is, in fact, a known asthma trigger and is can cause harm to vulnerable groups of people, including the elderly and those with compromised immune systems.
How can I get rid of pet dander?
You can get rid of pet dander by regularly cleaning your home, regularly grooming your pets outdoors and also by employing air purifiers equipped with HEPA filters that can remove tiny particles including pet dander from the air.
By all means, living with pets does not mean that you have to simply endure the woes of pet dander. Instead, you could simply employ some of the strategies mentioned above to keep your fur babies in check to reduce exposure to them while also reducing their concentration in the air.
By taking these proactive steps, you can create and maintain a healthier indoor environment for you and your furry buddies.
The first line of defence against pet dander is to regularly groom your pets. Brushing them regularly helps to remove loose fur before it has a chance to spread to other parts of your home. Regularly bathing them also reduces how much pet dander is present on their bodies. Brushing and bathing your pets should be done outside your home to avoid pet dander ending up floating through your indoor air.
Assign pet-free zones
As lovely and calming as it is to take naps with your pets on your bed, this will more than likely increase the concentration of pet dander within your household, especially in sensitive areas like your bedroom. Assign pet-free zones in places that you spend a lot of time in such as your bedroom or study area.
Regular cleaning is crucial in managing pet dander and other allergens and pollutants, including PM10 or even PM2.5. Vacuuming with a HEPA filter-equipped vacuum cleaner can effectively capture and trap dander from carpets and upholstery. For surfaces like tabletops or coffee tables, use a damp cloth instead of a feather duster, as the latter can increase the chances of the particles becoming airborne.
Using air purifiers for pet dander management
Investing in high-quality air purifiers like ones from Ionmax can help capture and neutralise pet dander particles that are already airborne. Ionmax has a wide range of HEPA air purifiers for pet dander management and is designed to capture these particles and provide you with healthier, cleaner air all year round.
The Ionmax Breeze air purifier consists of a 5-stage filtration system that effectively traps particles as small as 0.3 microns which include pet dander and other allergens.
Wash pet bedding
If you have a dedicated space or small pet home for your beloved pet, there is likely to be a lot of dander left in and around the area. This is also true for any of their favourite resting sports. Clean these spaces or beddings regularly and opt for hypoallergenic detergents to minimise the risk of irritation for both you and your pets.
Wash your hands
After playing with your fur babies or handling their litter box, wash your hands to avoid transferring dander or other viruses and allergens to other parts of your home.
Consult a vet
If allergy symptoms continue to persist despite your efforts, consult a vet, as they will be able to provide advice on managing pet-dander-related issues and can recommend products or alternative strategies to help alleviate your symptoms or reduce the shedding of pet dander from your pets.
By understanding what pet dander is and implementing the relevant steps to manage its spread across your home, you will be more prepared to take on this invisible enemy while also creating a more comfortable and healthier home for you, your loved ones and your little furry balls of joy.
Remember that managing pet dander is an ongoing process that takes consistency and dedication. Learn more about how the highly rated Ionmax Breeze air purifier is able to filter out unwanted particles from your indoor air and help you breathe easier in your home.
For more information on pets and indoor air quality, check out our resource on how living with pets could reduce asthma risk.
Disclaimer: The information provided in this article is for general reference only. Please seek advice from professionals according to your needs.