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Did you know that in the United States alone roughly 35% of households have a cat and 44% of households have a dog?

Pets have truly become part of the family.

However, with all of these cats and dogs in our homes, there also comes the unfortunate lingering of pet smells.

And this can lead you to ask, “Do air purifiers work for pet odor?”

Air purifiers are known for cleaning toxins out of the air, but do air purifiers help with pet smells?

In this post, we’ll answer that exact question so you’ll know if it’s worth buying one or not.

We’ll start with the short answer below to give you a brief overview of what’s ahead.

Then we’ll go into a more detailed explanation so you can get a better understanding of what do air purifiers do and how it can work for pets.

Do Air Purifiers Work for Pet Odor?

Yes, an air purifier will help with pet odor as long as it includes an Activated Carbon filter. This is the only type of filter that can absorb cat and dog smells. Other filter types like a HEPA filter are good at removing pet dander but don’t eliminate odors.

If this is what you’re looking for, you can find our review of the best air purifier for pet odors here.

See all of Amazon's Best Selling Air Purifiers

A More Detailed Answer:

What Causes Dog and Cat Odors?

There are several common causes of cat and dog odors, and many of them are common for both species.

  • Poor Grooming: The number one cause of pet odors is a poor grooming routine. Dogs need routine baths and brushing. Cats also need periodic baths and brushing even if they are great groomers because fecal matter, debris, and food bits can still remain caught in their coats and emit a smell.
  • Dental Problems: By age three, over 80% of dogs and around 85% of cats have dental disease. This leads to bad breath that transfers to the animal’s coat and skin as they groom themselves. This odor can then be transferred to your furniture and carpets.
  • Skin Infections: Skin infections caused by yeast or bacteria and parasites like fleas can lead to an odor for both dogs and cats. It can also lead to open and infected wounds, which leads to an odor.
  • Yeast Infections: Yeast builds up in your dog or cat’s ears. If you don’t clean them out periodically, they can develop a strong odor. This odor can also develop on the bottom of their feet and spread to areas of your home.

Will an Air Purifier Help with Cat and Dog Smell?

Yes, as long as it includes a special type of filter.

Most of the best air purifier units come with a standard HEPA filter which is good at removing pet dander that is around your home.

While this HEPA filter is good for reducing allergies, it won’t take the odor away. You can learn more about what does a HEPA filter do here.

For an air purifier to be genuinely effective at removing cat and dog smells, it must include an Activated Carbon Filter.

What is an Activated Carbon Filter?

An Activated Carbon Filter is made up of small pieces of carbon and it’s typically in powdered block or granular form.

Activated carbon goes through a treatment process to make it extremely porous.

A single gram of this substance can have a surface area of 500 square meters or more. This allows it to be a powerful agent to fight pet odors.

Any organic compounds in your home’s air will react with the activated carbon on a chemical level as it passes through the filter.

This chemical reaction causes the organic compounds to stick to the filter and get absorbed in the activated carbon.

The more treated and porous your air purifier’s activated carbon is in the filter, the more compounds it will absorb.

If your air purifier odor remover contains a HEPA filter as well, the Activated Carbon filter will also catch and trap dust, lint, pet hair, and dander before it reaches the HEPA filter.

In turn, your HEPA filter will last longer and perform better at collecting microscopic pet dander.

How Do You Find a Good Air Purifier for Removing Pet Odor?

Now that you know will an air purifier help with dog smell and cat odor, you’re probably curious to find out which products are best made for your pets.

If you’d like to find out more, you can check out our review of the best air purifier for odors here that works for cats and dogs.

Summary – Do Air Purifiers Work for Cat Smell and Dog Odors?

The answer is yes. Here’s a recap of what you learned:

  • Common causes of pet odors include poor grooming, dental disease, skin infections, and yeast.
  • Those pet odors are easily transferred to furniture and carpets which leads to a smelly aroma.
  • An air purifier can help with cat and dog smells as long as it has an Activated Carbon Filter to absorb the odor particles.

Now you know the answer to the question, “Do air purifiers work for pet odor?”

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About David Morrison

David is an Air Quality & Comfort Technician. He has expert knowledge on the technology and design of air purification, air conditioning, and heating systems. His main role is to write content that helps people get the most value out of their air purifiers, air conditioners, and heating units. (See Full Bio)