Are Humidifiers Good For Pets?

Lately, you've noticed that your pet has dry skin or symptoms of a cold. You believe it's because it's cold outside and you're turning the heat on full blast to keep the house warm. While you and your pets are cozy, it seems like the dry air caused by the constantly running heater has taken a toll on their wellbeing.

Ultrasonic air humidifier with flowing steam on the table near the window and russian blue cat at the background
credit: Julija Kumpinovica/iStock/GettyImages

If you want to keep the heat on and ensure that your pets are healthy and comfortable, then consider investing in a humidifier.

Let's take a look at what humidifiers are, how they can help pets, the different types of humidifiers, and which ones are best for your pets.

What’s a humidifier?

A humidifier is a device that ensures there is moisture in the air in your home. You put water into it, and it releases warm mist or cool mist into your home.

According to the Cleveland Clinic and the Environmental Protection Agency, the humidity level in your home should be between 30% and 50%. The humidity level is especially important for pet owners, who have not only their health to look out for, but their pets' as well. Humans and animals alike can benefit from the right humidifier.

When using the humidifier, it's best to put in filtered water, because your tap water might contain microorganisms and minerals that are not healthy to breathe in.

Close-Up Of Humidifier At Home
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How pet owners know they need a humidifier

Before deciding what kind of humidifier to purchase, you'll should determine whether or not you actually need one.

You will first have to determine if your home is the problem. Do your pets have dry skin? Do they have runny noses, or are they sneezing a lot? Are their allergies flaring up? Your home's humidity level could be the problem. If you have static in your hair or see sparks when you touch another person or an object – or you're experiencing similar symptoms as your pet – then you do need a humidifier.

Since a humidifier adds moisture in the air, it can help your pets' nasal passages, restore their skin, rid of their cold symptoms, and allow them to breathe normally. Bacteria and viruses spread rapidly in dry air, so a humidifier can help you combat them.

Different types of humidifiers

There are various types of humidifiers to choose from when shopping for the right device. For instance, some homes come pre-installed with central humidifiers, which are in your central A/C and heating system.

Evaporative humidifiers won't heat water to generate humidity; it uses a fan to circulate it instead. Warm mist humidifiers, on the other hand, heat up the water to generate vapor, which will cool down before it's released. There is less of a chance of bacterial contamination with a warm mist humidifier as opposed to an evaporative humidifier.

You may also want to look into ultrasonic humidifiers, which use a metallic diaphragm that will vibrate at high frequencies and generate water droplets that go into the air. There are is no heat involved, and they are known for being extremely quiet.

Are humidifiers safe for pets?

When trying to find a good humidifier, you'll have to choose between one that creates cool mist and one that creates warm mist. The latter may be tempting if you live in a cold place. Also, the warm steam will kill off any harmful bacteria in the air.

The problem with warm mist humidifiers is that they are dangerous for pets, since they boil water. What if your pet tries to topple over the device? They could accidentally get burned. If you're going to use a warm mist humidifier, make sure you keep it in a completely separate room, safely tucked away where your pets can't reach it.

welsh corgi dogs and british longhair cat on sofa at home
credit: LightFieldStudios/iStock/GettyImages

A cool mist humidifier is the better option for pet owners. You can keep it in the same room as your pets; just exercise caution and make sure they don't knock all the water over. These humidifiers are also quieter than warm mist ones, so they create a calming environment for you and your pets.

You'll also want to go with the humidifier that's best for you and your family. If you breathe better in saunas, use a warm mist humidifier that's out of reach of pets. If you have any allergies or asthma, a cool mist humidifier is the right choice.

Other precautions to take

To keep your pet healthy no matter what the humidity level is in your home, make sure you crack open a window every so often so that the stagnant air can leave the room. Keep all your pets well hydrated, make sure they have a comfortable and cozy place to sleep, and exercise with them when they are up for it.

If your pet is lethargic, has a lack of appetite, is experiencing a cold that just won't go away, or is exhibiting any other strange behavior, then it's time to call your veterinarian. While a warm mist or cool mist humidifier can help alleviate symptoms, add moisture in the air, and get you to the right humidity level, nothing is better than advice and treatment from a pet doctor you know and trust.

Conclusion

The moisture produced by humidifiers is safe for pets to inhale, as it's only water. However, warm mist humidifiers contain very hot water, and can be dangerous if knocked over by a pet. It's best to keep warm mist humidifiers out of the reach of all pets, or to opt for a cool mist humidifier, which is safe for everyone.