New Delhi: Pet owners in India are educated and aware of the presence of zoonotic viruses in and around their houses, but they don’t seem to be too concerned about it. According to a report, only 28% of pet owners in India clean their houses daily. This could potentially pose a problem, as roughly one in 6 Indians are now pet parents.
The report in question is the Dyson Global Dust Study 2023, which is based on an online survey. 33,997 people participated in this survey across 39 countries, which aimed to establish a connection between household dust and pet owners, and the impact of specific cleaning habits on a household’s well-being.
Pets bring joy to a household, but that’s not all they bring. Pet hair, pet dander (flakes of dead skin), and skin flakes can all cause allergies in people around the house. The amount of dust carried by dander and hair can be enough to trigger respiratory issues, even if you don’t have a pre-existing condition. This is even before you consider the viruses and microbes that cannot be removed by vacuuming or dusting. The report outlines the disconnect between knowing that you must clean and cleaning up after your pet to prevent infections.
Out of pet owners in India, only 28% reportedly clean their homes completely, with only 21% admitting to cleaning their pet’s baskets and bedding routinely. Only 41% of owners believe that dander and hair can contribute to allergens.
At this point, the report highlights the fact that Indians have the highest level of awareness regarding the presence of viruses in dust, with 50% of the population being aware of this fact. "Many people think that pet hair is the biggest problem as it is the most visible. Unsurprisingly, people are unaware of the other particles that may reside on their pets because these particles tend to be microscopic," said Monika Stuczen, Research Scientist in Microbiology at Dyson, in a statement.
The lack of cleanliness is a concern, especially when you consider the fact that nearly half the population is aware of this fact. While regular grooming and cleaning up around the house via vacuuming/dusting can help reduce the amount of visible hair and dust, it cannot clean the microbes (tiny germs & viruses) that pets can spread around your home. The pet's breed does not matter; both short-haired and long-haired pets contribute equally to indoor allergens and germs, which is why regular disinfection of surfaces your pet interacts with is important.