Last Updated on May 12, 2022
Electromagnetic field radiation (EMF) is the electromagnetic energy that emits from all electronic devices including cell phones, laptops, and tablets.
By now we’ve all heard of the harmful effects that chronic, daily exposure to EMFs can have on the human body, but have you ever wondered whether or not they are affecting your pets in the same way? The bottom line is that the answer is yes.
Although there has been fewer studies on the health effects that come from EMF exposure in pets specifically, most of the significant lab studies ARE done on rats, which are animals. If scientists can accurately extrapolate evidence from rats to humans, the same can go for other mammals. There are thousands of studies in the scientific world that have found that long-term, constant exposure can cause a number of adverse health effects.
Ways Your Pets are Exposed to EMF Radiation
Although our beloved pets don’t personally own any of their own electronic devices (besides the necessary electronic pet feeders, electronic toys, and wireless pet collars), they’re still your roommate, and everything you are getting exposed to is also quite likely having an effect on your cats, dogs, and other pets. And just like us, many animals may not realize the effects EMF radiation can have on our body, down to the cellular level. If they can feel it, it’s not like they can tell us!
The world we live in today is extremely digitized, and avoiding EMFs is nearly impossible for anyone (unless you’re living completely off the grid).
While natural EMFs, such as the Earth’s magnetic field, are ever-present and actually good for our body (read this blog if you want to learn more about grounding!) man-made EMFs, which include all electronic devices and electronic transmissions, are seen as an environmental toxin by the body and can have a negative effect after chronic exposure.
Below is a list of common things that can expose your pets (and you!) to EMFs.
- WiFi Routers: In today’s world, wireless internet might be one of the most common household sources of EMFs. WiFi routers send radiofrequency signals to your electronic devices, in order to establish a communication pathway. These radiofrequency signals are hazardous to your health due to the fact WiFi routers transmit at frequencies between 2.4 to 5 GHz, which is more powerful than cell phone transmissions, (although cell numbers will grow as 5G cellular networks develop). Not only that, WiFi routers are usually left on. This means they never stop sending out pings to try and connect with a personal device, regardless of if you have any active connections. These signals can easily reach and affect your pet.
- Constantly being near electronic devices: Does your cat like to lay on your laptop because of its warmth? Does your dog lay next to you as you’re sitting on the couch facetiming with your friends? Is your WiFi router in the same room as their bed? Like humans, being in close-proximity to these devices can lead to a higher possibility of experiencing negative health effects.
- Living in or near densely populated cities: Second-hand smoking comes with health problems that can sometimes be just as bad as if you yourself were smoking. EMF exposure is similar. Living in or near a densely populated area, and being surrounded by thousands of people with their own electronic devices can drastically increase risk of exposure. With the rollout of 5G, this risk increases even more. 5G uses faster and higher frequencies. As electromagnetic frequencies get higher, wavelengths get shorter, meaning they cannot travel as far and cities will need multiple small cell sites within close proximity to each other to be able to connect devices to the 5G network. With these additional small cell sites on top of regular cell towers for 4G and below, there will be ambient EMF pollution in most crowded cities and towns.
Health Effects of EMFs on Pets
Like humans, our pets may deal with similar consequences in terms of health effects from EMFs. Both physical and biological changes can occur when exposed long-term and in close proximity to EMF-emitting technology.
Epidemiologic studies have found that animals exposed to electromagnetic fields can have perceptual and behavioral responses such as fatigue, headaches, and difficulty concentrating. In a number of these studies, researchers used rodents and monkeys to study the effects of Radiofrequency (RF) fields on animals by using methods such as disruption of behavior patterns, like work stoppage. One of these studies found that rats exposed to an intense level of EMF radiation could not readily escape from the area they were being tested.
A 2021 documentary titled, “Something is in the Air – The Cell Phone Radiation Documentary,” shows how honeybees are affected by different levels of electromagnetic frequencies emitted by cellphones. In the experiment, a microphone was placed inside a beehive to measure the honey bees behavior based on how much noise they were making at each different level of cellular networks (2G-5G). After 25-30 minutes at the 2G level, worker piping had been induced, and the queen bee had left the hive with a large group of worker bees, leading to the perturbation of the colony. At the 5G frequency level, the absorbed power of insects increased by 3% to 370%, which ultimately led to changes in their behavior, physiology, and morphology.
Of course it’s not very common to have rats or honeybees as pets. That being said, these studies prove that when animals are exposed to these electromagnetic frequencies, harmful effects to their behavior can occur.
A 2013 study from Hart discovered that dogs defecate according to the Earth’s magnetic fields (a type of natural EMF). How they came up with the idea for this study… we are not sure.
With this understanding, it led the researchers to conclude that constant exposure to man-made EMFs can have an effect on their defecation behavior, and other behavior types in general.
Basically, if EMFs can affect how dogs poop, it can affect how they do other things!
Exposure to EMFs are proven to have a negative effect on both male and female fertility, and many of these studies have been done on rats.
WiFi alone can lead to DNA fragmentation and lower sperm motility, while heat emitted from laptops can even kill sperm cells outright.
Studies conducted on female animals show that EMF radiation can also prevent eggs from being implanted in the womb or can cause abnormal pregnancies. EMF exposure during pregnancy has also been linked to a three times higher risk of miscarriage.
A study that exposed female mice to Extremely Low frequency—or ELF—magnetic fields throughout their pregnancy, showed the exposed mice had less offspring, spontaneous abortions and fetal deformities. Slowed development was also observed in the offspring that did survive.
The Endocrine System
The body contains several glands, all secreting hormones into the bloodstream that control different body functions. These glands and their hormones are called the endocrine system, and are vital to normal skin and hair coat production in your pets. They are vital for the regulation of other body functions, including the pituitary gland, thyroid gland, parathyroid glands, pancreas, ovaries, and testes.
The endocrine function in pets has appeared to be particularly harmed by the effects of EMF. Over the past 20 years, there has been a significant increase in endocrine diseases in pets, coinciding with the rapidly evolving digital age and new technology being used by humans every day.
Besides endocrine diseases, there are many other aspects of EMF exposure that have been shown to affect levels of hormones and neurotransmitters, leading to problems ranging from digestive issues to mood and mental health disorders.
The World Health Organization (WHO) classified radio frequency radiation as a possible carcinogen in 2011—and a probable carcinogen in 2013—so there’s no doubt that cancer has been on the radar of health officials as a possible effect of EMF radiation exposure.
A study by John Reif of the Colorado State University Department of Veterinary Medicine found a direct link between exposure to EMF and development of lymphoma in dogs.
Furthermore, a case study was conducted to establish whether residential exposure (think telephone wires, high powered electric lines, etc.) to magnetic fields led to increased risk of canine lymphoma in pet dogs. The results went as you would expect – when a dog was placed in a residence with high exposure, their risk of lymphoma increased significantly, whereas in lower exposure homes their risk decreased.
Tips to Mitigate Harmful Effects of EMFs on Your Pets
- Reducing exposure in your home: Removing devices in your home that you don’t use often can be a great first step in the right direction toward reducing your pets EMF exposure. Things like WiFi routers, home voice assistants, extra televisions, and extra mobile devices you don’t use can significantly reduce your pets exposure. If you can’t just remove them, simply unplugging them when not in use is also a great way to minimize their exposure.
- Creating an EMF-free space / outdoors: The farther away your pet is from an EMF source, the less exposed they are to its power. Keeping things like your WiFi router in a room 10 feet away from your normal living space—or away from any desirable napping place for your dog or cat is great! If you have a pet that likes the outdoors, try spending time with them at parks, nature trails, and anywhere that isn’t densely populated with people spending time on their phones or laptops.
- Strengthening their body through healthy diet and lifestyle: Like humans, diet and lifestyle can play a significant role in helping to keep your pet healthy and help to prevent certain effects that may come from EMFs. Loading up on antioxidants and anti-inflammatory foods, free from harsh chemicals or preservatives, is great for all animals!
- DefenderShield EMF Radiation Protection Pet Vest: If your dog won’t leave your side while you’re watching TV or working at your home office, get them an EMF Radiation Protection Pet Vest. The DefenderShield Pet Vest can block up to 99% of wireless EMF radiation up to 10 GHz, and is lined with silver mesh inside to protect their body from ambient EMF emissions from cell towers, WiFi routers, and mobile electronic devices.
Similar to children, your pets’ bodies are much smaller, and therefore will more easily absorb the EMF frequencies around them. Your pets aren’t constantly sitting in front of electronic devices like most humans, but when they are living in a home with things like mobile devices, WiFi routers, and cell towers nearby, their risk will be heightened.
Take the necessary precautions to protect yourself and your pets from EMFs by reducing exposure in your home, creating a healthy lifestyle for them, and protecting them with EMF-shielding technology to mitigate their risk of the harmful health effects that can come from everyday technology.