Are Air Purifiers Safe for Pets? (Backed by Studies)

Many people invest in air purifiers to sanitize and heighten the quality of their indoor air to remove pollutant particles. Air purifiers assist in sanitizing the air around us and our pets, making it odor-free and clean.

Nevertheless, many cautious pet owners are concerned about whether air purifiers are harmful to their pets. That leads us to the frequently asked question…

Are Air Purifiers Safe for Pets?

Yes, air purifiers are safe for pets. According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), air purifiers that are installed with HEPA filters are safe and can remove 99.97% of airborne pollutants as small as 0.3 microns. Moreover, they also positively affect our pet’s health by reducing ear, throat, and lung irritation.

A study was carried out by the National Taiwan University Veterinary Hospital. The researchers confirmed that animals who were exposed to indoor air pollution are more susceptible to developing respiratory illnesses. Hence, air purifiers are not only safe but beneficial for the health of your pets.

Air Purifiers to Stay Away From

The majority of the air purifiers available on the market are safe for your pets. However, here are a couple of varieties that you should refrain from purchasing.

Ionizers or air purifiers that emit ozone should not be bought at any cost as they can harm your pet’s health.

Ozone Generators

According to the EPA, air purifiers that generate ozone are harmful. When ozone reacts to chemicals inside a living space, it can produce aldehydes and concentrations of formic acid.

These chemicals and air pollutants can cause lung irritation, and increase levels of organic chemicals. Hence, they are harmful to the health of any living creature, which includes humans, pets, and even plants.

Moreover, apart from being detrimental to health, ozone generators are ineffective. They are not able to remove airborne pollutants and particles. Hence, dust, pollen, and dander will always remain in your room, causing stress to your pet’s respiratory system.

Even the California Air Resources Board (CARB) outrightly mentions that birds are sensitive to air pollutants such as ozone. Especially parrots and parakeets, which people normally keep as birds.

While ozone-generating air purifiers might help in eliminating odors, no amount of smell is worth compromising over you or your pet’s health.

Since humans have a larger respiratory system than animals, you might be able to tolerate low levels of ozone. However, your pets may develop nausea, dizziness, inflammation, and in the worst-case scenario, might even die.


Over the past year, the air purifier market has seen a surge in demand for ionizers. The reason for this is because they have been marketed as a defense mechanism against viruses.

Amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, many people have bought into this advertisement. However, as an air purifier, Ionizers are not effective.

Ionic air purifiers cause air-borne air particles, such as allergens and pollen to become heavy and drop to the floor. The phenomenon occurs as the particles bind with the negative ions released by the ionizer.

While the particles do not remain in the air, they are not removed either as they exist on the ground now.

Contaminated particles on the ground level are harmful to your pets as they are closer to the ground than humans are. Such is the case with common pets like cats and dogs. Hence, they will be equally vulnerable to bad air quality as before.

Moreover, if either you or your pet happen to step on these pollutants, it will trigger them to rise again. Hence, they will exist again in the air.

Therefore, investing in ionic air purifiers is practically useless as they do not improve indoor air quality.

Additionally, a study from conveyed that ionizer devices led to an increase in volatile organic compounds (VOCs). Exposure to VOCs results in various negative health effects. For example, eyes, nose, and throat irritation, and nausea.

Furthermore, on the extreme side, constant exposure can lead to damage to the nervous system, kidney, and liver. The study also mentions that organics can cause cancer in animals as well. Hence, you should always stay away from ionizers at all costs.

Related: Best Air Purifier for Litter Box Smell in 2022

UV Light Air Purifiers

There is some uncertain debate going around air purifiers that use ultraviolet (UV) technology.

Similar to ionizers, they have also been gaining traction due to the pandemic. UV Light air purifiers also market themselves as ultraviolet germicidal irradiation (UVGI) cleaners.

The purpose of UVGI cleaners is to eradicate biological pollutants such as germs, bacteria, and viruses. Moreover, they can also remove airborne allergens and mold, improving the air quality.

However, EPA’s published guide to air cleaners, states that UVGIs should not replace any air filtration system.

The debate occurs where ozone generators also employ UV lights in their system. Many air purifiers present themselves as only using UV technology. While in reality, they are ozone generators in disguise.

Additionally, the guide also discusses PCO cleaners, which stand for photocatalytic oxidation cleaners. PCO cleaners are another variation of air purifiers that employ UV technology.

However, they are only efficient in destroying gaseous pollutants, and not contaminated air pollutant particles. Hence, you and your pet can still suffer from respiratory issues, and irritation caused by bad air quality.


Air purifiers are a helpful investment that every household requires. While we may develop tolerance to certain pollutants, there is no denying that they are harmful in the long run. Especially for the pets, who do not have an equally capable immune system as us, nor is their respiratory system as large.

Hence, to ensure that your pet does not develop any pollution-related allergies or respiratory diseases, an air purifier will come in handy. You can also read our guide on the best air purifiers for birds owners for picking the right air purifier for your birds or any other pet that you own.

Moreover, you must stay away from ozone-generating air purifiers, and ionizers. With UV technology air purifiers, you must do your research before investing in them to make sure that they are safe for your pet.

According to the International Association of Certified Home Inspectors, there are better alternatives to these harmful air cleansing devices. Air purifiers that have HEPA filters and/or activated carbon filtration are the safest to use with frequent filter replacement.