How Air Quality Affects Our Dogs

When you think about air pollution, you likely imagine clouds of chemicals coming from factories, planes, or cars. While these things are significant contributors to the gasses that affect our earth's climate, air pollution exists in households, too.

Indoor air quality affects how you feel and what symptoms you experience. It can also hurt your dog. Dogs need clean air just like humans, but they aren't able to help themselves or take preventative measures.

As a dog owner, it's up to you to learn about how air quality affects our dogs and what you can do to make your home a better place to live. Read about the most common pollutants to see how they might affect your home so that you and your dog can breathe easier while you snuggle or play.

How Indoor Air Gets Polluted

Whether you smell a bad odor or not, your home's air quality could be unsafe to breathe for long periods. It depends on your lifestyle and what's in your house. Here are a few factors that may change how you think about the air you breathe.

Newly installed carpet releases potentially harmful chemicals into the air because of the glue used to keep it in place. Older carpet can also pose a risk because bacteria and mold grow in the fibers after spills and stains settle in. Dogs are especially vulnerable to these things because they spend so much time sleeping and sitting on the floor.

Your cleaning supplies could also put your pet's health at risk. Many mainstream products contain volatile organic compounds (VOCs) that hang in the air when you clean. You can find VOCs in products like air fresheners, detergents, and chlorine bleach. They don't always have an odor, so you and your dog could breathe in these compounds long after you finish cleaning for the day.

These are just a few of the ways you can accidentally pollute your indoor air without realizing it. It's always important to research what you bring into your home before spraying or installing something new.

Health Effects of Indoor Pollution

Humans can experience immediate and long-term effects due to this kind of pollution, ranging from dizziness to cancer. Dogs experience many of the same symptoms.

One recent study found that dogs who spent 12 months in homes that burned incense and use chemical-based cleaning products developed respiratory diseases and extreme symptoms because of the lingering air pollution. Some dogs dealt with chronic bronchitis, while others needed emergency assistance for a tracheal collapse or atrial enlargement.

Another study documented increased brain inflammation in dogs who lived with constant air pollution. The inflammation led to neurofibrillary tangles and amyloid plaques, which are proteins related to Alzheimer's Disease in humans. 

The most challenging part for dog owners is recognizing the threat of indoor air pollution without seeing a physical change in their dogs. Most of these symptoms are internal, so you may not know the effect on your pet unless you go to the vet after it's too late.

Improve Your Air Quality

If you recognize that these air pollutants may be in your home, you can always improve the air quality. Here are a few things anyone can do so that their pet always breathes clean air:

  • Change your air filters regularly
  • Vacuum dust and allergens often
  • Buy organic or eco-friendly cleaning products
  • Never smoke indoors
  • Invest in an air purifier

Each of these steps will prevent and remove pollutants in your home. As you take precautions to keep your dog healthy, you'll improve your own health.

Talk With Your Vet

If you have any concerns about your dog's health from past indoor air pollutants, talk with their vet. They can pinpoint potential side effects and find out what's causing any issues. As you learn more about indoor air quality and what you can do to prevent it, you and your dog will live a safer, healthier life.


Emily is a freelance wildlife conservation and pet blogger. To check out more of her work, see her blog, Conservation Folks, or follow her Twitter account @emilysfolk.

Recommended For you!

  • Why-Do-Dogs-Eat-Poopv2.jpg

    7 Reasons Why Your Dog May be Eating Poop (And How to Stop It)

    Read More
  • Healthy-Dog-Digestive-Tract.jpg (1)

    5 Must-Have Items for a Healthy Dog Digestive Tract

    Read More
  • Choosing-a-vet.jpg (1)

    5 Important Things to Consider When Choosing a New Vet

    Read More
  • 10-Benefits-of-Exercising-previewv3.jpg

    10 Benefits of Exercising with Your Dog

    Read More