Pets and COPD: Can I own a pet?

Having chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) does not mean you are not able to own a pet however, understanding the pros and cons may help make the decision.  

Having a pet companion can come with many great physical and mental benefits. Understanding what can irritate your lungs can help manage or decide whether owning a pet is right for you. There is no definite answer to this situation so the best way to decide is to understand the pros and cons of what bringing a pet into your life can be like. 


Living with COPD or any chronic illness can weigh heavy on your mental wellbeing - bringing a pet into your home can relive stress and create a rewarding responsibility for your everyday life. Having an animal in your life has benefits such as decreased blood pressure, decreased triglyceride levels, and decreased cholesterol levels.  Introducing a dog to your family can help reduce feelings of loneliness, while giving more opportunities for exercise and socialization. 

You don’t have to limit yourself to a furry companion - having a pet with no hair, like a fish or a pet amphibian, can be a great alternative! 


While there are many benefits to having a pet, you also need to consider the cons. Some of the things to consider when you are thinking about bringing home a pet is the pet’s dander and allergens which may cause flare ups. Wheezing, coughing, and shortness of breath can be triggered by these airborne allergens however the severity varies from person to person.  


Always talk to your health provider and ask what the best and safest option for you and a pet could beThey can give you the best advice knowing your health situation.  

  • Consider a trial run with the animal to see how sensitive you may be. 
  • Keep your pet well groomed - bathe your pet regularly and brush them daily. Having your pet visit the groomer will not only help reduce your chance of a flare up but also promotes better hygiene in them as well.  
  • Train pets to stay away from areas of sleep. Sleeping in clean sheets and a clean area is very important when you have COPD – keeping your pets away from these areas can lessen the chance of any microscopic allergens getting into these places.  
  • Vaccinate your pets and take them into their regular vet appointments to make sure they are happy and healthy. 
  • Having a consistent cleaning routine, especially in areas where your pets hang out the most or an area where you sleep and get rest.  
  • Investing in a good quality air purifier can help keep the air in your home clean and free from dander and allergens.  
  • Stick to hardwood floors if possible and have minimal rugs – carpet and rugs are allergens and dusts favorite place to hide.  

Having a pet can bring much happiness into your life and home. When following these tips and staying consistent, you can keep both your pet and your health as top priorities! 


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