Five Ways Pet Odor in Carpet and Furniture Affects Your Health


For pet owners, pet odors may seem like a fact of life. It’s difficult to keep it from getting trapped in carpeting and upholstery, and many people who live with animals simply become habituated to it and fail to notice. Unfortunately even if someone no longer notices the pet odors they live with, these odors can have a negative impact on their health.

Ammonia is a compound found in urine, and contributes a lot to its characteristic odor. While ammonia breaks down readily in nature, it tends to stick around in homes. Inhaling it can irritate the lungs and respiratory tract. While this is bad enough for the average person, it can be especially dangerous for people with emphysema, COPD, or asthma.

The respiratory system isn’t the only part of the body negatively impacted by ammonia. Fumes from pet urine can also burn eyes and skin. This is a particularly serious concern for young children, who have delicate skin and may end up crawling directly on dirty carpeting.

Odors from pet feces can indicate problems, too. While it may seem easier to pick up pet feces than to clean up urine, traces of feces and dangerous fecal bacteria (including e. coli or salmonella) often remain behind. This can cause stomach and intestinal problems in healthy adults, but may result in hospitalization for the ill, elderly, or young children.

Traces of cat feces can be particularly hazardous for pregnant women. Toxoplasma gondii, a parasite that reproduces in cats, can be shed in cat feces. If it isn’t completely cleaned up, the parasite may be spread to counters, dishes, hands, and other places that allow it to be ingested by humans. While most healthy people won’t have a problem, the parasite can cause miscarriages or stillbirths in pregnant women.

Lastly, pet odors may actually contribute to stress and poor mental health. Cluttered, dirty surroundings, including those with lingering pet odors, are known contributors to cycles of anxiety and depression. Reducing stress may be as simple as having carpeting and upholstery professionally cleaned.

One important thing to remember is that odors can only mean one thing– animal urine, feces, saliva, or body odor hasn’t been completely cleaned up, and dangerous bacteria and substances like ammonia remain behind. A professional can do more than keep your home smelling fresh, it can help protect your family’s health from these pet odor hazards.