Don’t Blame the Dog: Relieve Allergies with a Pet Air Purifier

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As you try to read this article, you might be dealing with this:

Cat on Laptop

Or perhaps this:
Dog Allergy Pet Air Purifier
Or maybe even this:

Cat Allergies Up Close

And if you see this, run:

Animal Air Purifier

In all seriousness, the point here is that house pets get in the way all of the time, but that’s a major reason why we love them. They bump into us, knock stuff over, jump onto our laps, and quite simply, remind us through constant contact that they’re here for us. Hearing your lab snoring with her chin on your knee while you try to send 10 work e-mails is what keeps you sane while trying to send those e-mails.

What we don’t love so much about pets is the mess that gets everywhere through this showing of affection. The fur they shed. The smell of their farts while they wriggle happily all over the kitchen when you pull out the peanut butter. The little particles that drift about in a light shaft above your lab’s bed after she rolls onto her back for a tummy scratch.

The worst part is that many of us are allergic to these shed bits. Common pet allergy symptoms include a runny nose, itchy eyes, sneezing, and coughing. And your pet can’t do anything about it — if Butterscotch is going to shed, Butterscotch is going to shed.

Luckily, you can do something about it without resorting to drastic measures, such as shooing your dog into the backyard, or even worse, giving her up. A pet air purifier is a great option for reducing mild allergies. Below, we list common pet allergens, along with the type of air purifier that can help. So if you have the sniffles and a sneaking suspicion that the culprit has a tail, don’t blame the dog — relieve your allergies with a home air purifier.

Dog Dander

Dog Dander Allergy Pet Air Purifier
Clean white couches are my favorite place to make a mess!

Pooch owners like to blame their allergies on all the dog hair, probably because it’s easy to see. But dog hair isn’t an allergen in and of itself. In fact, dander is the main culprit. ‘Dander’ might remind you of the word ‘dandruff,’ and for a reason — dog dander is shed skin flakes. Your pooch regularly sloughs off little pieces of skin, and after floating around for about 10 minutes, these particles settle onto the carpet, curtains, couches, and bedding.

Bigger dogs, like Great Danes and Mastiffs, naturally produce more dander, simply because they have more skin surface area. Dogs with double coats actually shed less dander into the air, because their thick hair traps it. On the other hand, short-haired dogs don’t have a fur net to catch the flakes, so they’re major dander sources. And some breeds are just born with dryer skin then their canine compadres, including German shepherds, basset hounds, and short-haired dachshunds.

Also, any type of dog can produce excessive dander (a condition called seborrhea) because of outside factors like food allergies, skin parasites, or too many baths. Yup, washing your dog too much can dry out her skin and make her scratch more, which means more dander. The first step to reducing this shed pet skin is to take care of the factors you can control. For example, only bathe your dog once a month. Then, you can supplement your dander-fighting efforts with a pet air purifier.

Pet Air Purifier with HEPA Filter

To handle that dog dander, you need a HEPA pet air purifier. HEPA is the type of filter that’s inside and it stands for High Efficiency Particulate Air. This filter is designed to remove super small particles from the air, down to about 0.3 microns in size. Basically, the purifier fan circulates air in the room. As dirty air moves through the purifier, tiny airborne particles (such as dust and dog dander) stick to the mat-like HEPA filter. Once stuck, they stay stuck. Most modern HEPA air purifiers are more than 99% effective at trapping pet dander.

The pet air purifier should run continuously in the most vulnerable area, i.e. the living room where the dog sleeps. The goal is to catch most of the particles before they can land and stick to the carpet. To take care of the rest, vacuum and dust regularly with your HEPA purifier running nearby to capture any dog dander that you kick up.

Dog Odor

Pet Odor Air Purifier
I wonder if this tablecloth tastes like bacon.

More than a few people have described a basset hound’s smell as reminiscent of corn chips. Hound owners (us included!) like to pretend this is true, but deep down we know that bassets can get pretty darn stinky, into a funkiness no corn chip should ever reach. Pet odor isn’t an allergen, but it can be unbearable and just as irritating to the sinuses as dander.

Dogs with long ears, including bassets and poodles, get stinky, yeasty ear infections that will have you saying who did it and why. This happens when moisture gets into their ears and doesn’t dry properly. These infections can also happen in skin folds, which hounds have a plethora of. In fact, let’s take a moment to admire the glorious basset hound in motion:

Basset Hound Pet Odor
Poetry in motion.

Yes, that’s what you’re up against. The first step is to properly treat your pooch’s skin problems, and to keep them clean and groomed without drying out their skin. This will eliminate a lot of the smell, but there’s always going to be your canine’s natural stinkiness and lingering dog farts. That’s why you need an air purifier for pet odors.

Pet Air Purifier with Activated Carbon Filter

While a HEPA filter is great at catching dander, it can’t get rid of smells. If you have a particularly stinky dog, you need to look for a pet air purifier with an activated carbon filter. Activated carbon has tons of absorbent little pores all over it — kind of like a sponge. And it works just like a sponge too. As the dirty air circulates through the filter, the carbon soaks up all of the stinky molecules. Once sucked up, these molecules can’t get out again, with the result being dog-stank-free air if you keep the purifier running continuously. Activated carbon is also great for removing smoke and gases, and can be combined with other materials into “special blends” that get rid of various harmful matter in the air.

Dog Drool and Pee

Pet Air Purifier Dog Slobber
I look better than all of the other pets in this article.

People may think think of allergens as dusty particles, but dog drool and pee are also big culprits. When these wet messes dry, they can cling to shed dander and hair and become airborne, causing your immune system to go into runny nose overdrive.

If you’ve got a bulldog, Saint Bernard, hound, or other slobber monster, or a schnauzer who just loves to pee in the kitchen and look at you while he’s doing it, the first step is training. Teach your best friend that you love them very much, but licking is a no-no. Potty-training your pooch will make your life way easier whether or not you’re allergic to their urine. Having them go outside means no pee spots around the house and a drastically reduced amount of pee particles drifting around. Cleaning is also a must. Wearing gloves, wipe up any lingering accident areas, and also regularly wash your pet’s chew toys in warm soapy water to get rid of the drool.

Pet Air Purifier with Pre-Filter and HEPA Filter

In addition to training, you should get a pet air purifier with a HEPA filter and a pre-filter to cure the dog drool allergy blues. The HEPA filter is great at catching smaller stuff, but it needs some assistance with bigger airborne particles. That’s where a pre-filter comes in. It acts as a first line of defense when air enters the purifier, and traps big- to medium-sized particles such as lint, pollen and dog hair that’s carrying urine and slobber. It also ensures that the HEPA filter doesn’t get clogged, so it can continue to efficiently snatch dander. Together, the two bring a 1-2 punch to dog allergens.

Cat Protein FEL d 1

Cat Allergy Air Purifier

Dogs are stinkier, itchier, and just plain dirtier than cats, but the fact is that way more people are allergic to cats than dogs. In fact, cat allergies are 2x as common, and a lot of the time, the symptoms are worse. This is due to our immune systems overreacting to a little thing (literally) called FEL d 1 — a protein naturally produced by cats on their skin and in their saliva.

This cat allergen is harder to handle than what we saw on the canine side. Dog dander is comparatively heavy and it falls to the ground and other surfaces soon after it’s released (this is why the air purifier needs to close-by to your dog’s home base, to catch the particles before they can land). But feline dander is the smallest major allergen and is much more lightweight. The protein hitches a magic carpet ride on your kitty’s delicate skin flakes and hair, and explores the whole house via natural air currents. Meanwhile, your cat’s on the couch, licking his paws or other places we won’t mention. When his saliva dries up, it will also drift off into the air by itself, and on shed hair and dander airplanes.

Air Purifier for Cat Saliva
Did you say lick myself everywhere? My pleasure.
Pet Air Purifier with HEPA and Pre-Filter and High ACH

The result is a swirling, airborne allergen nightmare of cat hair, skin, and saliva, all boasting FEL d 1. To relieve the resulting allergy symptoms, you need a pet air purifier with a pre-filter to nab any drifting feline hair, a HEPA filter to catch the tiny cat dander particles, and a model with a sufficiently high ACH (Air Changes per Hour) to keep the air allergen-free. ACH refers to how many times the purifier cycles and cleans all of the air in a room each hour, based on the air purifier’s maximum coverage area. At least 5 ACH is ideal for allergy sufferers, and the higher the number, the better.

Relieving mild cat allergies will be easiest if you can contain most of the allergens to one room, and then filter the air there. However, cat dander and FEL d 1 are pretty pervasive, so two pet air purifiers in your home would be the best solution. Then, combine this dual power with common sense solutions like not letting your cat sleep with you, washing your hands after petting your tabby, and wiping down surfaces regularly with your air purifier running.

Bird Allergens

Though not nearly as common as with cats and dogs, some people are allergic to bird serum and dander. Luckily, allergies caused by pet birds are fairly easy to treat for the reason we just mentioned above: if you can contain the allergen source to one area, it’s easier to keep the air particle-free. Since house birds are usually caged, and that cage stays in one spot, then you can control most bird allergens with a well-placed pet air purifier.

Pet Air Purifier for Bird Allergies
I don’t want a cracker. I want a whisper-quiet air purifier.
Pet Air Purifier with HEPA Filter

Once again, you’ll need a HEPA air purifier. The biggest factor here is placement. Set the air quality control appliance close enough to the bird cage to capture immediate particles before they can settle. Also check the purifier’s “Maximum Coverage Area” to make sure it’s at least 10% bigger than the bird room’s volume. You want to keep cycling clean, allergen-free air throughout the entire space. And importantly, look for a pet air purifier with a low operating noise level, so that you don’t disturb your feathered friend’s peace with the continuous operation. Any purifier with less than a 50 decibel noise level should be quiet enough.

Hamster, Gerbil, Mice, and Rat Smells

Hamster Pet Odor Air Purifier
Yes, the prairie dog above is my cousin.
Pet Air Purifier with Activated Carbon Filter

Allergies caused by small furry pets aren’t very common. On the other hand, the living spaces of these creatures can emit some unpleasant odors that air fresheners just don’t seem to solve. That brings us back to a pet air purifier with an activated carbon filter. A model with a HEPA filter would be helpful for improving overall air quality, but a carbon filter is essential to getting rid of the rodent smell.

Other Allergens

Finally, don’t forget that pets don’t just produce their own pesky allergens — they also pick up outdoor particles, like pollen and dust, and then bring them back inside for you to enjoy. Sometimes these are the real cause of your allergies and not your furry friend’s dander. This is a particular problem with dogs, but indoor/outdoor cats can also be culprits.

As with the various scenarios above, regular grooming and cleaning are essential to controlling the problem, in part. And once again, you should look for a HEPA pet air purifier with a pre-filter. The pre-filter will catch any bigger dust and pollen particles that get tracked in before they can reach the HEPA filter, and then the HEPA filter will take care of the rest.

For a 1-2-3 punch, get an air purifier with pre-filter for allergen-laden hair, a carbon filter for pet smells, and a HEPA filter for dander and dust. Remember to see check out how big of a room the appliance will work in, how many times it cleans the air each hour, and how loud it is. You can visit our air purifier selection for ideas, then go give your furry friend or feathery friend some love.

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