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Have you ever found yourself constantly sneezing or coughing at home and can't seem to figure out why? Ever noticed a lingering odor that just won't disappear no matter how much you clean?

As much as we love our four-legged friends, they might be the unexpected culprits behind these issues. Pets can unknowingly contribute to poor air quality in our homes, turning what should be our comfortable safe haven into a sneeze-inducing, odor-filled space.

In this article, you'll understand the surprising ways your beloved pet might be affecting your indoor air quality, and how you can mitigate these issues.

5 Ways How Pets Affect Air Quality

You may overlook the air quality in your home until you step out of the house for a few hours and reenter. The immediate change in odor will let you know you've got indoor air quality problems for your pet.

Below are five surprising ways your pets affect the air inside your home and what you can do about it.

Pet Dander

Practically invisible to the naked eye, pet dander is one of the primary causes of poor air quality when you have furry loved ones in your home. Pet dander isn't just fur, as many people mistakenly believe. It's actually microscopic flakes of skin shed by animals with fur or feathers.

Your dog or cat constantly sheds these tiny skin particles, easily becoming airborne, hitching a ride on dust particles or simply floating around in the air. If you live in really dry environments, it's even more common for your pet to release some dander anytime they itch or get petted.

The concern with pet dander is its potential to trigger allergic reactions and asthma attacks. These tiny particles are small enough to be inhaled deep into the lungs, causing respiratory issues.

Symptoms can range from sneezing and itchy eyes to more severe cases like difficulty breathing or asthma attacks. But, there's no need to feel doomed forever. You can take several simple steps to maintain a low amount of pet dander in your home.

Using supplements in your pet's food that add hydration to their skin, like fish oil or coconut supplements, works wonders. Another easy solution is regularly vacuuming your carpets, furniture, and curtains with a high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter, which will also help remove pet dander from your home.

Litter Boxes

Litter boxes are an essential part of caring for your feline friends, but they can also have a big impact on the air quality in your home. Many people think just the cat urine and feces are the only things affecting your air quality, but the truth is, the composition of the litter itself can also ruin the air you're breathing.

Cat litter is made from various materials like clay, wood chips, or silica crystals designed to absorb moisture and odors. Unfortunately, these materials can also release dust particles into the air when your cat scratches around in the litter box.

The best way to remove the dust is by using an enclosed box. These usually have a small cat door your felines can use to get in and out. The only time you risk litter getting into the air is when you refill or change out the litter.

The other problem is the smell of urine and cat feces. To keep your home smelling fresh and reduce odors, cleaning and replacing your cat's litter box regularly is important. You can also try using scented litter made from materials like pine to help eliminate odors.

Make sure you clean the actual litter box from time to time so the smells don't build up and stick to the materials. You can either use your tub or take the box outside in the backyard to give it a quick wash with some dish soap.

Pet Hair

Whether you have a dog, cat, rabbit, or flying squirrel, they all contribute to pet hair being released in your home. Each time your pet shakes, scratches, or even moves around, they shed tiny hairs. Although often invisible to the naked eye, these hairs float around in the air and settle on surfaces around your home.

Unless you have a good filter system, these hairs are blown throughout your home and cycle through all rooms. Eventually, you'll breathe the hair in, which could affect your respiratory system.

Regular grooming of your pets can significantly reduce the amount of hair they shed. Of course, don't do this inside your home. You want to take them to the backyard or the hair will circulate inside and won't help at all.

It's also important to regularly clean and vacuum your home to remove any pet hair that may have settled on surfaces or carpets. Use your vacuum attachments with the smaller hoses to get into the hard to reach places.

Another helpful solution is adding an air purifier to your home. These purifiers work by filtering out tiny particles in the air, including pet hair. Not only will it improve your air quality, but it can also help reduce pet odors.

Pet Products

You want to take care of your furry friends as well as possible but sometimes that means using products that release toxic chemicals into the air.

Many pet-related products, such as shampoos, deodorizers, and even certain types of pet litter, contain Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs). These compounds are a diverse group of chemicals that can easily become airborne due to their high vapor pressure. When we use these products on our pets or in their living areas, VOCs are released into the air.

The problem with VOCs is that they can cause a range of health issues. Short-term exposure can lead to eye, nose, and throat irritation, headaches, and nausea. Long-term exposure can cause liver, kidney, and central nervous system damage, and even cancer.

Fortunately, there are steps you can take to minimize the impact of VOCs from pet products on your indoor air quality. Opt for natural or organic pet products whenever possible, as these typically contain fewer VOCs. If you must use a product containing VOCs, try to do so in a well-ventilated area or even outside to allow the VOCs to disperse.


Pets unknowingly carry more into your home than just their playful energy. They can also bring in outdoor allergens that can significantly affect indoor air quality.

Pets, with their furry coats, are like living, breathing, allergen magnets. When they spend time outdoors they collect allergens such as pollen, dust, and mold spores on their fur, skin, and paws. Once back inside, these allergens can be released into the air as your pet moves around, shakes, or grooms themselves.

These airborne allergens can cause a range of issues for those who are sensitive or allergic to them. You'll know extra allergens are in the home because you'll sneeze, cough, or itch more than normal.

The best way to combat allergens entering your home is to change your HVAC filters regularly. The hard truth is that allergens will get inside during certain months whether you like it or not. So, if you regularly change your filters, you'll catch them before they circulate throughout all the rooms.

Another option is keeping your dog's or pet's hair short during allergen-heavy months. This makes it so that allergens have a smaller chance of attaching themselves to your pets. You can also groom and bathe them frequently so allergens that do get attached come off quickly.

Transforming Your Home Air Quality With Pets

Possessing a pet enriches your life immeasurably, but it's crucial to remain conscious of their impact on our home's air quality. The effects can be severe from dust particles released by cat litter to pet hair circulating in the air. However, by adding some simple practices like replacing your air filters, you can improve the quality of your indoor air and live a healthier life. To find the exact size and model you need for the best indoor air quality, shop Filterking today and remove all unwanted pet hair and dander from your home.