Buying an air purifier for pet hair and dander
We all love our four-legged family members. What we may not love as much is the allergies they can cause: pet allergies can make daily life difficult and uncomfortable. However, it is important to know that, thanks to an air purifier for pet hair and dander, there is no need to choose between your well-being and your pet! Read on to learn more about pet allergies and how an air purifier can help.
What is pet dander?
Pets with hair (like dogs and cats) are the most common source of pet dander. But what, exactly, is pet dander?
Pet dander consists of skin cells, hair, saliva, and urine, but it can also contain allergens and asthma triggers like pollen and dust. These are things that your pet may track into the home after being outdoors. Wet fur and paws from rain, leaves, and dewy grass can make it easy for allergens to stick to our furry friends. Pet hair then accumulates on the floor and furniture. Some pet dander is microscopic and can become trapped in carpets, bedding, sofas, pillows, curtains, and even become airborne.
What causes pet allergies?
A common misconception is that we are only allergic to our dog or cat’s hair. Humans who experience pet allergies are typically allergic to an animal's saliva, urine, and secretions from the sebaceous glands.
If you are allergic to dogs, for example, you are allergic to Can f 1 and/or Can f 2 (‘Can f’ refers to ‘Canis familiaris’)1. If you are allergic to cats, you are allergic to Fel d 1, and Fel d 4, and/or Fel d 7 (‘Fel d’ refers to ‘Felis domesticus’)2. These proteins are salivary lipocalin proteins (with the exception of Fel d 1, a secretoglobin and not a lipocalin) that are secreted from the sebaceous glands under your dog or cat’s skin. These allergens are present in your pet’s urine, tears, saliva, and sweat (yes – dogs and cats do sweat through their paw pads!) and stick to your pet’s fur when they groom themselves.
Can f 1, Can f 2, Fel d 1, Fel d 4, and Fel d 7 can all be released when your pets scratch themselves, shake, move around the home, or when you pet them. This then renders the allergens airborne or transfers them to your hands. Due to their microscopic size, pet allergens can remain airborne for long periods of time – even longer than cockroach or dust mite allergens! This is what causes allergic reactions in humans. These proteins are found in all homes with pets and one-third of homes without pets.
How many people are affected by pet allergies?
It is estimated that 10-20% of the world’s population is allergic to dogs and cats (with more people allergic to cats than dogs on average). However, as with other allergies like those to pollen and dust, allergies to pets are on the rise. Some studies are beginning to show that the presence of air pollution, both indoor and outdoor, increases the incidence of allergic rhinitis, asthma, and other allergic disorders. Fine particle pollution, or particulate matter like PM2.5 like those emitted from road traffic and industry, seem to have the biggest impact4.
It is important to note that there is technically no such thing as a hypoallergenic dog or cat breed. Although certain breeds may trigger fewer allergy symptoms than others, all pets excrete proteins that can become inhalable allergens. One study found that there was no difference whatsoever in the level of Can f 1 found in dust samples collected from homes with a ‘hypoallergenic’ dog breed compared with samples taken from homes with ‘non-hypoallergenic’ breeds5.
What are pet allergy symptoms?
Like all allergies, symptoms of pet allergy can vary in severity depending upon the person. Most symptoms appear within minutes of exposure with some of the most common including:
Symptoms as a result of inhalation
- Itchy eyes, nose, and/or throat
- Swelling of the face
- Runny nose
- Quincke's oedema
- Watery and red eyes
Symptoms as a result of skin contact
- Skin disorders
- Allergic hives
For sensitive individuals who have pre-existing respiratory conditions like asthma, wheezing, difficulty breathing, and triggering of asthma attacks can be symptoms of exposure to pet allergens. For ultrasensitive individuals, a drop in blood pressure upon exposure may even lead to fainting.
The advantages of purchasing an air purifier for pet hair and dander
Purchasing an air purifier for pet hair and dander, especially one using a HEPA filter, can help ease allergy symptoms for those suffering from all airborne allergies. An air purifier can help trap airborne pet hair and dander particles (including dust and bacteria) that may be responsible for your allergy symptoms. Dander may be microscopic, usually measuring between 0.1 – 25 μm, meaning that it falls into both the coarse and ultrafine particle categories. It can be captured by certain types of filters and eliminated from the air by an air purifier equipped with the proper filter. Air purifiers with HEPA-certified filters, like those offered in Eoleaf products, eliminate 99.95% of airborne contaminants down to a size of 0.01 μm, including all pet dander and fine particles.
Installing an air purifier for pet hair and dander (and other allergies) in your home can provide much-needed relief without medication, i.e. antihistamines, eye drops, and nasal sprays, especially for those who have pets in the home. The presence of an air purifier can also help prevent the need to treat your home with chemicals that some use to aid allergy symptoms which can be dangerous to both your health and the health of your pets.
A HEPA-certified air purifier for pet hair and dander can not only ease pet allergy symptoms, it can ease all types of airborne allergy symptoms (dust mite, dust, pollen, mould, etc.) . If you are experiencing itchy eyes, wheezing, coughing, sneezing, and/or a dry mouth (to name a few), an air purifier for allergies can help reduce these symptoms and improve your daily life. With less allergy symptoms keeping your immune system on high alert, an air purifier can give your immune system a break and, thus, a boost. Also, did you know that an air purifier can help you sleep better? By removing allergens from the air, you can breathe better which can reduce night-time allergy symptoms, asthma attacks, deepen your sleep, and reduce snoring.
Yet another added benefit of purchasing an air purifier for pet hair and dander is that, if equipped with the right technologies, it can help combat pet odours. Air purifiers equipped with activated carbon filters are effective at removing all types of bad odours from your home – including those caused by your pets, your kitchen, your bathroom, or other sources in the home.
How to choose an air purifier for pet hair and dander?
Before making your purchase of an air purifier, there are a few things to keep in mind.
Consider its 'clean air delivery rate' (CADR)
This is a metric that measures the filtration capacity for airborne pollutants and allergens; more specifically, it measures how many times in an hour your air is renewed. Search for a model with the highest CADR rating as possible to ensure strong and effective airflow.
Consider its filter type
Not all filters are created equal, and they do not filter the same things! To ensure a wide spectrum of action, look for an air purifier that has a combination of filtration technologies including a filter or prefilter. Ideally, you should find a device with technologies that capture coarse particles like pet hair (a pre-filter does this), a filter that treats ultrafine or nanoparticle pollutants (like a HEPA-certified filter), and another filtration technology that fights odours (like activated carbon). Keep in mind that all air purifiers require regular filter changes ranging from multiple times a year for lower-quality filters to once a year for high-quality filters.
Consider the size of your space to be treated
A few questions to ask yourself are:
- How many rooms are your pets allowed to access?
- Are there any allergic people living in these rooms?
- How many pets do you have?
Air purifiers are designed to filter the air in rooms of a certain maximum size. By answering these questions, this will help you determine whether or not you require multiple devices to treat several rooms. Ensure that your device is properly sized to your room or space.
Consider budget and energy consumption
Depending upon the options offered by your desired air purifier for allergens, the initial price of your device can vary significantly. However, there are other factors that determine an air purifier’s budget. These include maintenance costs like regular, required filter changes (a necessity regardless of air purifier model) and energy consumption. Search for a device that has the lowest energy consumption possible which will keep both your energy usage and energy bill low.
For any and all questions, do not hesitate to contact us: our team of experts is available to assist you in finding the perfect device for your needs. We also have created a Buying Guide that can help steer you in the right direction when choosing your air purifier for pet allergies.
1 Konieczny A, Morgenstern JP, Bizinkauskas CB, Lilley CH, Brauer AW, Bond JF, Aalberse RC, Wallner BP, Kasaian MT. The major dog allergens, Can f 1 and Can f 2, are salivary lipocalin proteins: cloning and immunological characterization of the recombinant forms. Immunology. 1997 Dec;92(4):577-86. doi: 10.1046/j.1365-2567.1997.00386.x. PMID: 9497502; PMCID: PMC1364166.
2 Bonnet B, Messaoudi K, Jacomet F, Michaud E, Fauquert JL, Caillaud D, Evrard B. An update on molecular cat allergens: Fel d 1 and what else? Chapter 1: Fel d 1, the major cat allergen. Allergy Asthma Clin Immunol. 2018 Apr 10;14:14. doi: 10.1186/s13223-018-0239-8. PMID: 29643919; PMCID: PMC5891966.
3 Chan SK, Leung DYM. Dog and Cat Allergies: Current State of Diagnostic Approaches and Challenges. Allergy Asthma Immunol Res. 2018 Mar;10(2):97-105. doi: 10.4168/aair.2018.10.2.97. PMID: 29411550; PMCID: PMC5809771.
4 Takizawa H. Impact of air pollution on allergic diseases. Korean J Intern Med. 2011 Sep;26(3):262-73. doi: 10.3904/kjim.2011.26.3.262. Epub 2011 Sep 13. PMID: 22016586; PMCID: PMC3192198.
5 Nicholas CE, Wegienka GR, Havstad SL, Zoratti EM, Ownby DR, Johnson CC. Dog allergen levels in homes with hypoallergenic compared with nonhypoallergenic dogs. Am J Rhinol Allergy. 2011 Jul-Aug;25(4):252-6. doi: 10.2500/ajra.2011.25.3606. PMID: 21819763; PMCID: PMC3680143.