In the UK alone, more than 1 in 10 Brits are allergic to their pets, with a huge 13 percent regularly experiencing sniffles, sneezes, rashes and hives around their dog or cat.
What’s more, even if you’re not straight up allergic, your pet can still irritate your skin, eyes and nose thanks to ‘dander’, the tiny microscopic skin particles that mimic pollen and can make you itch like mad.
While some people are lucky enough to adjust over time to allergens from their pets, many aren’t.
Luckily, there are tools you can use to tackle pet allergies and keep your home’s air clean and breathable.
Anyone with a cat or dog will tell you how often they have to vacuum to keep their home clean of pet hair.
Cats in particular shed millions of hairs every week, which can get stuck to your carpets and soft furnishings.
One way of tackling this – besides brushing your pet regularly and using a lint roller – is to get an automated vacuum cleaner.
There are tons of ‘robot Hoovers’ that can be set to clean your house every day on a schedule.
While some of the top models (such as from Roomba) can run into the thousands of pounds, there are more affordable options out there.
We tried out the ProScenic M8 Pro (£499 on Amazon) and were impressed by how much it reduced pet hair around the house.
This self-emptying robot vacuum uses laser navigation to make a sophisticated map of your home. It will vacuum and mop before returning to its base station where it will empty itself of all dust and hair so you don’t have to.
The best feature about it is that it comes with an app you can use to schedule a clean every day. You can set this to one room or multiple rooms. It means that the vacuum will clean up for you even when you’re out at work.
The only shortcoming of the device is that it isn’t great at picking up smaller clumps of pet fur on carpet, and you might find yourself having to go over these again when they’re trapped on your floor’s fibers. It can also get caught on loose wires or shoelaces which means you need to keep the area clear of obstacles.
Pet dander won’t just accumulate on the carpet and your furniture, but in the air you breathe as well. This can have a negative effect on allergens as well as the quality of your air. On top of that, ventilation is critical to reducing condensation and dust accumulation.
You may have heard that HEPA air filters are good at clearing the air of pet allergens. There are tons of electric air purifiers out there that can be bought for an affordable price, but you want to make sure they have this HEPA functionality as it can filter out tiny particles. Pet dander is microscopic in size so if you don’t have a HEPA filter, it might not do the job.
Dyson have some high-end air purifiers that also have some amazing heating and cooling functions, such as the Cool Tower for around £500.
There are cheaper alternatives though. We tested the ProScenic A9 (£169 on Amazon) because it uses the same app as the M8 vacuum cleaner. This means it can be integrated with Alexa and other smart home appliances so you can schedule the air purifier to run after the vacuum cleaner. This will enable it to catch any particles that the vacuum cleaner throws into the air, although it can get quite loud particularly if you smoke indoors.
You just have to bear in mind that air purifiers’ HEPA filters are not permanent and will need to be replaced every couple of years. Check with the manufacturer of your air purifier to make sure when you need to change the filter.