Are humidifiers safe for dogs?
Dogs aren’t mere pets – they’re part of the family. If you’re anything like me, you consider the well-being of your pooches whenever you make a household decision that could impact their needs, safety, and health.
So, when I set out to buy a humidifier, I had to ask the question: are humidifiers safe for dogs?
And, if they are, what kind of humidifiers are best to use around your pets? And what are the potential pitfalls and health risks? And what is the best way to use a humidifier around my dogs?
I didn’t know the answers to any of these questions, so I buckled down to do the research.
It turns out, in most cases humidifiers are perfectly safe for dogs. In fact, they can even be beneficial!
But, like with anything else, it isn’t all that simple. Read on to get the lowdown.
First off, what does a humidifier actually do?
Humidifiers are specifically designed to increase the levels of moisture in the atmosphere of your home – especially if you live in drier climates, or during the notoriously dry winter months.
Adding moisture to dry air is greatly beneficial to well-being and general health – both yours and that of your dogs.
A proper humidifier provides substantial relief from issues such as:
- Cracked lips
- Nasal irritations
- Bloody noses
- Dry skin
- Scratchy throat
- Sinus congestion
- And even symptoms of the common cold
And, as if that’s not enough, a proper humidifier also hinders the transmission of viruses and bacteria, soothes allergies and asthma symptoms, and fights off allergens like dust mites and mold.
So, as you can gather, there is a strong case to be made for using a proper humidifier in your home, especially in dry winters, or if you live in a particularly dry area.
But are humidifiers safe for dogs?
In most cases, the answer is a resounding yes!
They’re safe to use around your dogs and other pets. And as they provide a string of benefits to humans, they can potentially do the same for your pooches!
There is a caveat, though.
Some types of humidifiers are simply better than others for use around dogs. But if you choose well, general wellbeing will markedly improve in your household, and this includes the well-being of your dogs.
Distinguishing between two types of humidifiers
Generally, when you start your search for the perfect humidifier, the first choice you’ll be confronted with is between a warm or cool mist humidifier. And then, also a unit that gives you the option of both warm and cold mist – in other words, the best of both worlds in one single unit.
Warm mist humidifiers have an internal heating element that generates steam and then disperses it into the atmosphere.
There are two types of cool mist humidifiers – evaporative units, and ultrasonic units.
Ultrasonic humidifiers use internal technology to create high-frequency vibrations instead of a fan to create and disperse micro-droplets of water into the atmosphere. These units are generally ultra-quiet – no annoying hums, glugs, or crackles anywhere.
Be cautious with warm mist humidifiers around dogs
The more research I did, the more I realized that warm mist humidifiers are probably not
the best idea around pooches.
Anything that operates with water close to a boiling point, and is placed at floor level, invites trouble. A wag of a tail or an over-excited romp can topple the humidifier and the result is a scorching splash or spill.
Cool mist humidifiers are recommended for homes with small children or babies, time and again. And, as a rule of thumb – if any kind of technology is safe around babies, it is safe around dogs. Humidifiers are no different.
Your dog can actually benefit from the use of a humidifier
So, you’re exercising your pooches, taking care of their teeth, making sure they get checked up by your friendly neighborhood vet every now and again, and you’re fastidious about their psychological well-being. I know I am.
But certain things drive dog owners up the creek, simply because it seems there is no way to relieve your dog’s suffering when these occur.
How about blocked nasal passages and constant, fretful snoring? Or, allergy irritations? Or constant scratching and itching due to dry skin? And that constant snoring…
This is where a cool mist humidifier can work magic. Because it increases the humidity in dry-air conditions, it will definitely assist your dog’s breathing. I know it did for mine.
The humidifier made a huge difference to the annual change-of-season allergies one of my pooches suffers from.
Also, when the season change and the air becomes drier, going to the vet to care for inflamed nasal passages had become a ritual. My humidifier solved that problem within days, and resulted in a happier pooch, and a happier human too!
And, as it turns out, the benefits aren’t only tangible in the drier months. I’m now running my humidifier throughout the year, and continue to reap the health benefits for both myself and my dogs during all four seasons.
For my dogs, dry itchy skin is a thing of the past. Scratching and the resultant restlessness too. And the amazing thing is that I was able to notice this difference within a couple of days.
My dogs also seem to sleep better. And, they snore less, which means I sleep better too. A recent visit to the vet affirmed that the humidifier is probably making a difference in this department.
And, even the dogs’ stiff coat of guard hair, as well as the undercoat of soft, downy hair, present better and are shinier. My dogs just look and act healthier.
A few safety hints to bear in mind
Make sure you place your humidifier somewhere out of your dogs’ way, even if you use a cool mist unit.
When you use your new humidifier for the first few times, stick around and observe your dogs’ reactions to the unit. See if they pick up sounds that disturb them – remember, they pick up a much broader spectrum of sound than we do – and make sure they properly adjust to this new thing in the home.
My dogs were curious at first but quickly lost interest. But if your dogs remain interested, a bit of training may be needed.
Teach the pooch that the humidifier is out of bounds, just the same way you housetrained it. Gentle discipline will get the message across in no time.
Also, try to select a slightly larger, heavier unit, that will be more difficult to tip over.
Avoid using essential oils, even though some humidifiers have a dispersion function. Dogs react differently to perfumed products to us, and some oils, when dispersed, can have negative effects on the membranes around their eyes and in their throats and sinuses.
It is best for both you and your pooch to use distilled water in your humidifier. Most urban areas have hard water – this is water with a high mineral content – that leaves a fine, powdery residue. If this gets into the atmosphere, it can create nasal and throat irritations.
Winter is coming. And with it, drier air, and the resultant allergies, dry skin, scratching and snoring. Now is the time to get a humidifier. I assure you, based on personal experience, that it will make an incredible difference for both you and your dogs.