Are Air Purifiers Safe for Pets?
David Chao /flickr
Air purifiers seem like a great solution to the odors and dander produced by your pets. However, some purifiers can be potentially hazardous to your pet’s well-being.
Having pets are awesome. They entertain you, they provide companionship, and some of them even protect you. If they’re allowed inside, they also make for great cuddle buddies. But with all that cuteness, there’s the occasional price to pay. One of these downsides is smell. You know — that musty cat-litter smell? That’s the last thing you want to encounter when you come home from a long day of work.
The other, of course, is allergies. Even if you’re not actually allergic to pet hair or feathers, they can still aggravate your sinuses. When birds rub their feathers together, a fine dust is emitted that can give you a serious allergic reaction.
Luckily there’s a solution for your cuddly, but stinky problem – an air purifier.
Gerson Leite/ flickr
Before you storm out and buy the first air purifier you see, you need to know about a few things that should influence your decision. One big no-no is purchasing a purifier that emits ozone. This can be deadly to your pet parakeet, parrot, or flying squirrel (we don’t judge what kind of pet you have).
An ozonator (also called an ionizer) is a type of air purifier that oxidizes and destroys bacteria, fungus, mold, viruses and mildew, and leaves pure oxygen in their place. Too much of this oxygen can be harmful to your bird, and according to BirdChannel.com, the FDA has set a limit of 50 parts per billion of ozone from electronic air cleaners.
So if you have a feathery friend, it’s probably best to steer clear of anything with “ozone” or “ionize” in its name, or at least to consult your veterinarian before you fork over your hard-earned cash.
Pet hair can also lead to a sneeze or two, but it’s not the hair itself that’s giving you trouble. Just like humans, animals shed dead skin cells, and these little buggers are what really wreak havoc on your sinuses.
That’s where a HEPA (high-efficiency particulate air) filter can help you out. According to WebMD, a HEPA filter works by forcing air through a fine mesh that traps harmful particles, such as pollen, pet dander, dust mites, and tobacco smoke.
While avoiding the accidental death of your pets with an ionizer is an admirable step in the right direction, that’s only half the problem solved. Improving the air quality might address the allergy problem to an extent, but that odor is still lingering around the house, right?
A carbon-based filter in your air purifier can absorb odors effectively, but if you have a severe urine-odor problem that could use a little more oomph, opting for an air purifier that has an additional carbon filter is the way to go. One air purifier that has just that is the Rabbit Air MinusA2, which can be fitted with an extra Customized filter made specifically to deal with pet odors and allergens.
Also, make sure that your air filter has the capacity to run 24 hours a day — otherwise, you won’t be able to fully reap the filter’s benefits.
So are air purifiers safe for pets? Definitely. By doing your research, checking specifications thoroughly, and maybe having a chat with your vet, you can find the ideal air purifier to improve the air quality that you and your furry, feathery friends breathe in.
Maggie Marx is a writer from South Africa with a penchant for Labradors and hedgehogs.