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Whether you live in a concrete jungle like New York City dogs do, or have a country mouse (or perhaps have are a snow birding dog), a majority of pet dogs spend their time indoors, just like their human counterparts. Being indoors a majority of the day has its impact on your health and is said to be a leading factor in depression, inner respiratory issues (possibly caused by mold overgrowth in older NYC buildings), runny eyes, drippy noses and skin allergies. I was talking about for dogs (not just humans).

Debbie Downers to Outdoor NYC Air Quality on Fido’s Precious Health

In New York, like most huge cities, we get exposed to lots of toxins outside that don’t cycle out as quickly and efficiently by the trees (and the wind) as places that have more greenspace (and wind). We have an increasing number of shared ride vehicles (thus leading to the congestion tax to help mitigate this) as well as whole long streets that don’t even have one single tree or any green space despite many efforts such as 1 million trees project.

Health Cons Wreaking Havic on Indoor City Living Dog’s Health

That’s outdoors, let’s talk about indoor health.  How often do we as New Yorkers clean out and circulate the air in our apartments? Be realistic? With the noise, honking, sirens and amount of dusting one has to do with just a window being opened a crack, it’s hard to justify doing so unless you want to keep a cleaning person on retainer or dedicate 10 mins a day to wiping down the window sills other dusted sparkled areas.

Itchies, Sniffles and Doggie Depression

How is this relevant to your pup? Many dogs have skin conditions which account for upwards of 40% of non-routine vet visits, others have seasonal allergies, some suffer from from Seasonal Affective Disorder or SAD and some dog breeds are more prone breathing issues which can all be exacerabated by indoor living conditions aka apartment living, aka not fresh air aka stale air. Not sure if you’re home is affected by mold or want to get your home tested for indoor air quality you can get your home or office space professionally tested, there are services for that too.

The good news is there are many ways to upgrade the air quality in your home with pet safe plants that are readily available both at your local NYC green market at Union Square on Saturdays (and some Weds) through the fall season as well as at Trader Joes (not always the highest quality).

Hacks to Uplevel Your Indoor Air Quality Apartment Space Feng Shui for you and your Dog

There are many house plants that are safe for dogs that can help improve your air quality including the Variegated Wax Plant, Spider Plant and money tree.  Another one that is not dog friendly is the snake plant but still can do its job if you place it in a high place (on top of the cabinet or fridge or high up on a shelf where there’s no way a dog can climb up there. The secret sauce is in the number of plants and the plant: person/dog ratio.

A common non-house plant solution which helps clean the air is the Himalayan salt lamp which is fine if you have a dog only household and the salt lamp is placed in a space that a dog can’t access (see above) and highly discouraged if you have a cat (they can die from licking and getting addicted to licking the salt lamp).

For those without a green thumb, and those that want to go the extra mile we also recommend an air purifier (remember to clean it on a regular basis) and moving to eco and pet friendly cleaning products. Remember dogs are much closer to the floors, walls etc and they have an especially acute stomach system (more intricate than humans) and they are rolling around on the floor so interaction is more frequent and close quarters.  Another thing that can help is to you give your dog the best dog food for allergies.

Stay at home pet parents and those bringing their pup to dog friendly offices around NYC are NOT exempt.  Please be sure to talk to your HR rep or manager about helping bump up indoor air quality.

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