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Could Your Air Conditioner Be Making Your Pet Sick?

As the months get warmer, our ACs crank up. But are there any negative health impacts to your pets when you try to beat the heat?

Cat sitting next to AC unit with owner

If you live in a place that feels the heat each summer (or even all year long), you likely know how vital AC can be to keeping you cool. But is it safe to keep your animals in a place where there is air conditioning?

It is natural to think about the risks - everything from candles to gas stoves are being assessed for safety. Responsible pet owners are always checking to see if conditions are right for their cats and dogs, and that includes air conditioners that may impact the air purity and quality of your home.

Why would your cat or dog need air conditioning?

Air conditioners allow us to control the temperature with a great level of accuracy. If you live in a location where it gets particularly hot, heating and air conditioning services may be essential to ensure that your AC unit is always working properly. This helps the pets in your home as well as the humans.

A fan does not have the same impact on a pet as it would on a human, as they do not sweat in the same way. Fans are not actually changing the temperature; they just give a cooling effect to humans while we sweat through the heat.

How to determine a comfortable temperature for cats and dogs

All pets are different. There are a lot of different factors that you should consider when deciding on the temperature.

For instance, the size and breed of your pet can impact what sort of temperatures they find comfortable. Obviously, the amount and type of fur that a dog or cat has can also have an influence. Think of their fur a bit like wearing a sweater that they can’t take off. And finally, the age and weight of your pet may also have an impact.

Choosing the best home temperature for your cat or dog

There is some variation depending on what pets you have and their age, but most agree that a temperature between 75 and 78 degrees Fahrenheit is okay for your pet during the summer, and between 68 and 72 degrees Fahrenheit is fine for the winter months.

Can air conditioners make your cat or dog sick?

As long as your air conditioner is used responsibly you should always be safe to use it in the home. Air conditioners should not be used to make the room overly hot or cold. There is a safe temperature range you need to stick to.

As long as your HVAC system is clean and the filters don’t pose any sort of risk, it shouldn’t make your pets ill.

Should you leave the AC on for your cat or dog?

Most are in agreement that you should leave the AC on for cats and dogs on hot days. Think about the temperature within your house and whether it is currently comfortable for your pets. If it is too warm, then air conditioning is perfect to reduce that temperature.

Make sure your AC unit is regularly serviced and maintained so that it is not a threat or a risk of any airborne diseases. Venting should be regularly cleaned and your HVAC system should be working at its maximum potential.

HVAC tips for pet owners

Here are some top HVAC tips for pet owners to ensure that they are using their HVAC system in the correct way:

1. Ensure your HVAC is regularly serviced to ensure that it is safe and that the filters are replaced when they need to be.

2. Do some research on your pet’s breed and age and work out if the temperature should be tweaked to suit them. Of course, you should always be comfortable as well.

3. Don’t use the air conditioner when the temperature is already safe and comfortable. This is a waste of energy, so it is bad for both the environment and your finances.

4. It may be worth reading the manual to see if there are timer modes you can take advantage of.


In the majority of instances, air conditioners will not make cats or dogs sick. As long as the HVAC unit itself is in a good state of repair, and the temperature is set to be safe for your pets, you shouldn't have any problems, and it can even prevent illness and discomfort that can come from excess heat.

Jennifer Williams is a PR & Communications specialist working with to create content that would help its customers understand the company's mission and products. Jennifer is a DIY enthusiast settled in Las Vegas with her 2 dogs. In her free time, you can find her working out in a gym, reading a book, or browsing Reddit’s /aww subreddit for cute pet photos.

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