are air purifiers safe for pets (3)

Are Air Purifiers Safe For Pets?

are air purifiers safe for pets (3)

If you have pets in your home, one of the main questions that may cross your mind when you are considering an air purifier is whether it will be safe for your pet. Well, in my search for the perfect air purifier I came across a lot of information about air purifier safety and pets and in this post I share with you just about everything you need to know.

In short, are air purifiers safe for pets? If used correctly, most air purifiers are safe for pets. However, some air purifiers release harmful by-products into the air which are dangerous if inhaled by pets. These by-products can even be fatal for some pets. To keep pets safe, pet owners should avoid air purifiers that release ozone.

The main harmful product released by air purifiers that could harm your pet is called ozone. Yes, this is the same ozone that protects the earth from dangerous sun rays but if you do your research on the dangers of ozone, you will quickly realize that it is not safe for you or your pets to breathe in.

If your pet is exposed to ozone long enough, it will start to develop respiratory problems. Ozone is even worse if your pet has preexisting respiratory problems and smaller pets like birds can actually die with minor exposure to ozone. So, to be completely on the safe side with your pets, you want to avoid any ozone producing air purifier.

Now that you are aware that the main danger is ozone, I am going to show you which air purifiers produce ozone and which ones don’t. This should help you know exactly what to avoid for the safety of your pet. That said, take note that even safe air purifiers can be dangerous for your pets if used incorrectly. So, to help you keep any pet out of danger when using air purifiers I also give you some basic operational safety tips people often overlook.

Dangerous Air Purifiers for Pets

Ozone Generators

By far the most dangerous type of air purifiers I know you can get for your pet is an ozone generator. Just as the name suggests, ozone generators are made purely to produce ozone in order to clean your air. As much as ozone is dangerous, through a process of oxidation, it is actually quite effective at removing odors, bacteria and mold from the air and that's why ozone generators are still made. However, people tend to misuse ozone generators because they do not know their dangers.

Ozone Generator

The only time ozone generators should be used in your home, if at all, is when there are no humans or pets around. What usually happens with ozone generators is, when there is a serious mold or odor problem in your home, you call in a professional cleaning service to clean up the mess while you are away for the day.

Then by the time you get back at the end of the day, your house is smelling fresh and ozone-free. I suggest, getting an ozone generator if you know what you are doing, otherwise, you can harm not just your pet but also yourself.

Ionic Air Purifiers

Next on the list of dangerous purifiers, are ionic air purifiers or ionizers. Ionic air purifiers, work by discharging ions which attach to air contaminants. Once the ions are attached to the contaminants, they make them too heavy to stay in the air and eventually these contaminants fall to the ground or get collected in the purifier while ozone is formed as a by-product of the process as the ions attach to the air contaminants.

You will find that ionizers don’t produce as much ozone as ozone generators do and most produce ozone within the government’s stipulated safety limits for humans.

are air purifiers safe for birds
Are air purifiers safe for reptile pets

But then, they still remain dangerous, especially for smaller animals, like birds, hamsters and lizards. So not to take any chances with your pet, steer clear of ionic air purifiers.

Safe Air Purifiers for Pets

On the safe side of life, you have so many many options, and you really should not be wasting any time looking at any of the unsafe options. Out of the numerous options, I am going to focus on two purfication technologies that are especially used for pets.

True HEPA pet air purifiers

True HEPA purifiers are mechanical devices that trap pollutant particles in the air by recirculating air through a filter positioned in the core of the purifier. They are effective for trapping dust, and pet dander and HEPA purifiers that come with a combined activated carbon filter are also quite good at eliminating pet odors. They safely help minimize cat litter dust, cat litter smells, and dander from birds, rodent pets, dogs, weasels and you name it.

The only trouble with HEPA air purifiers is that you will have to replace parts quite often. If you do not mind buying and changing filters at least every 6 months then this option will work for you and your pets. A good HEPA air purifier worth trying for any pet and that's available at Amazon is the Rabbit Air MinusA2 Ultra Quiet.

Photocatalytic Oxidation (PCO) Air Purifiers

My favorite type of air purifier for pretty much all indoor air issues including pets is a PCO type purifier and more specifically the Airocide air purifier.

PCO purifiers work by literally destroying air contaminants, using a highly concentrated UV-Light spectrum and titanium dioxide to decompose the contaminants with only water and carbon dioxide as by-products. It used to be that PCO air purifiers produce ozone, but their technology has been advanced so that they no longer do.

Good PCO air purifier like the Airocide purifier can work in rooms that span up to 3000 sq ft and remove everything from allergens like pet dander to Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs), gases and odors.

They require minimal maintenance and you only need to change their reactor chamber every 1-3 years. However, the main drawback with PCO purifiers is that it can be difficult to find replacement parts as they are highly customized devices and are not easily found depending on where you stay.

From the mix of pet air purifiers I have seen on the market, in my opinion, purifiers using the two types of technologies I have just described work the best for pet owners. You can learn more about these purifiers from my recommended air purifiers post here.

Basic Precautions to Keep Pets Safe When Using An Air Purifier

Now that you know what to go for when it comes to air purifiers and your pet’s safety, let's go over a few safety precautions that will ensure your pets are safe whenever you are using your air purifier.

Probably the most important thing you should do before operating an air purifier in a house with a pet is to choose an appropriate location for your air purifier. If you have a dog or a cat dashing around the house, you will want to have a wall mountable air purifier or to place your purifier on a clear counter-top out of your pet’s path. This will help prevent your pets toying around and potentially getting electrocuted by poking at the purifier.

With birds and caged animals, try to place your air purifier on the opposite side of the room, away from their space. This also generally applies to your dog or cat’s sleeping area, and your cat’s litter box. Air purifiers can be distracting for animal’s and the last thing you want is their personal space and rest time being disrupted.

Lastly, if you have a HEPA air purifier, avoid cleaning and replacing the filter around your pet. If you accidentally bump or drop the filter, this could send the trapped contaminants flying back into the air and into your pets respiratory system, if your pet is hanging around close by. To find out more about cleaning and maintaining air purifiers safely and which air purifiers are best from a cleaning standpoint click here.

This is pretty much everything you need to know about pet safety when using air purifiers and if you have read this whole post, I can safely say you are well equipped to have an air purifier around your pet. For additional guidance on safety, make sure to also consult the manual that comes along with your air purifier. 

About the Author

Jean-Baptiste

Jean is a research economist by profession and he runs Fresh Air Genie. He is enthusiastic about maintaining good air quality at home and on the go and he shares his knowledge about this here at Fresh Air Genie.

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