, April 24, 2024

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Are Humidifiers Safe for Pets?

  •   6 min reads
Are Humidifiers Safe for Pets?
by Desiree Carlos

Most of us fur parents treat our pets as our babies or members of the family. Thus, we always check if the stuff we want to bring inside our home are safe for pets too. So when we want to bring home a dehumidifier, we want to know if this will not harm our pets, right?  

Yes, your pet and your dehumidifier can co-exist but with a few exceptions. It is safe for dogs and cats, but a very low humidity level  can be dangerous for  birds and reptiles.

But first, what is a dehumidifier?

In “What is a Dehumidifier Used For? (Answers That Could Help)” in homeproducts.com, here are the uses of a dehumidifier:

A small dehumidifier can be placed on top of a table where it is out of reach of pets and children inside the house when humidity is too high which makes breathing difficult.

1. To remove dampness

Dampness  can cause respiratory tract infections like pneumonia, bronchitis, coughing, or even lead to muscle stiffness and ache.

The dehumidifier absorbs excess moisture in the air, and thus reduces humidity level. This keeps the air drier and reduces discomfort because it is easier to breathe.

2. Combats Musty Smells

A musty odor comes from mold and mildew which proliferate rapidly when the level of humidity rises.

3. Curbs the Growth of Dust Mites

Dust mites thrive in a humid place and can cause asthma or other allergic reactions.  A dehumidifier  depopulates dust mites.

4. Gets Rid of Mold and Mildew

A damp room is the best place for mold and mildew to thrive. When there are molds and mildew, some health concerns will arise such as asthma, nasal stuffiness, wheezing, throat irritation, coughing, skin irritation, and allergic reactions.

5. Curtails Condensation

Condensation arises from water heating, cooking, baths, and showers. Initial signs of condensation include streaming mirrors and windows. Later, you will notice shrinking of wood, damp patches on walls, and peeling of wallpapers. You can prevent these by installing a dehumidifier.

6. Better Overall Health

A dehumidifier removes extra moisture from the air which is good for your health.

But  is it good for a pet’s health?

Michael Badin, in “Are Dehumidifiers Safe for Pets??” in the Family Safety and Security website, stressed that we need to understand how “humidity levels impact our pets, and how we can protect them, is key to keeping our lives – and our pet’s lives – stress-free.”

Your pet’s reaction to the humidity level in the area depends on where you live. “Some animals indigenous to those various areas also need different humidity levels to stay healthy,” Badin said.

In general, a dog, a cat and a hamster all get dry skin when they are in a dry, arid area.  They all  “suffer from the effects of oppressive summer humidity, “ Badin said.

“Our pets do not sweat the same way we do, so it is more difficult for them to regulate their body temperatures. Air conditioners and dehumidifiers can contribute to our pets’ health when the humidity is high,” Badin explained.

When a dog is panting, it is because he or she feels very hot. It is equivalent to sweating in a human. A dog can not cool his or her body  as quickly or as easily. “ Humans have our entire bodies to regulate heat. Dogs only have their tongues,” Badin said.

During summer, you will observe that your cat cleans herself. A cat regulates her body temperature through her fur. “By licking themselves, cats are managing how they sweat and are trying to get relief from that awful humid air,” Badin said.

Reptiles and birds, on the other hand, need a more humid environment. They need moisture in the air.

Badin enumerates certain environments wherein a dehumidifier may be required:

· The humidity is high that you feel uncomfortable, or

· You do not want mold or mildew invading your home. Generally, moisture level in a home should be between 30-50 percent.  Above 60 percent, the mold/ mildew will invade your home.

The best place for the most healthy air is of course where there are lots of trees and the grass is green and lush. Do take time to bring out your pets to the garden if it is not too hot outside, sometime 7 to 8 a.m. and 5 to 6 p.m. Here are rescued dogs Mags (white) and Burton of Save Animals of Love and Light (Save ALL Inc) enjoying a walk in a farm.

How to keep snakes and birds safe

Always remember to spray some water – or to mist— your birds and reptiles  a couple of times a day. “This will keep their skin moist and help protect them from dehydration. There are also automatic enclosure misting systems that you can add to their environment to make sure they regularly get the moisture they need, “ Badin said.

Make sure there is plenty of  water where they are placed to keep themselves hydrated and help their skin produce the moisture it needs.

Water from the dehumidifier is not safe  to drink.

“The water from your dehumidifier has been exposed to chemicals on the coolant coils or the material used to absorb the excess moisture. Think of this water the same way you would if you were camping in an RV. It is the same as your dirty dishwater – it’s considered gray water,” Badin said.

You can use the water for your plants or to clean the deck, Badin said.

Other ways to help pets

Badin enumerates several things one can do to help  pets regulate their body temperature during times of high humidity:

· Make sure cool water is available for them to drink.

· Provide a fan and angle it in a way that it will blow on the pet to give a satisfying breeze.

· Put a cool (not cold), damp towel on the floor near their bed so they can lay down and get cooler. Put a trash bag under the towel to prevent damage to the floor.  

· Let your pet swim or take a bath.

· Give your pet a small ice cube to chew on or lick. (Many dogs love to do this!)

· Do not over exercise your pet. “Strenuous exercise in excessive heat and humidity is not only dangerous for humans, it’s also hazardous to our pets’ well-being,” Badin said.

Safety tips

1. Do not let pets sleep beside a dehumidifier.

“Like any other electronic unit, dehumidifiers can overheat. Allowing your pet to lounge on or against the unit may cause it to malfunction which could result in a fire.,” Badin warned.

A pet’s fur may also get inside the unit and can cause a malfunction, Badin added.

To keep them away, get a small dehumidifier you can put in high areas in your home.

2. Some pets are rattled by the rumbling of a dehumidifier. The “noise” can cause anxiety in a pet.

“To help your pet adapt to this unwelcome trespasser of its space, coax your pet to that area while the unit is running,” Badin said.

“Give your pet tons of praise for how brave it is and let it explore the ‘danger’ while it sees that you’re there to keep it safe. It may still be nervous around the unit, but it should help it adapt to the new, intrusive object,” Badin added.

Stray cat Efren, still unapproachable but he doesn't run when we go to the terrace anymore, loves resting beside the plants. He has a bowl of water which we change often during summer days. Plants and flowers are the best calming tools, and we all know that a calm mind creates a healthy body. So please keep taking care of those plants for healthy air, specially around your house.

It is safe to use a dehumidifier, Badin  reiterated, as long as the pet has access to lot of clean water.

“By taking a few precautions, you will be able to keep your pets safe. You can use your dehumidifier and will be able to comfortably live through those times of high humidity,” Badin stressed.

This article also appears in the Manila Standard

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