Can You Vacuum Your Dog? Is It Safe?

While having a dog will certainly give you lots of joy, you should also be prepared to deal with having dog hairs all over your house. One thing you can do to prevent having dog hairs all over your house is to vacuum your dog.

Vacuuming your dog is absolutely safe if you are using the right equipment and are aware of the procedure. It is also more effective than vacuuming the whole house periodically.

Most dogs are afraid of vacuums, so you should introduce the vacuum to your pet by letting him or her play with it. Let your pooch get used to the idea of a stationary vacuum.

Just because you can vacuum your dog, however, this doesn’t mean that you should get your regular vacuum and start using it on your dog. In this article, we’ll take a look at what you need before vacuuming your dog, whether you can vacuum your dog for fleas, how often you should vacuum your dog, and how to get your dog comfortable with vacuuming.

We’ll also look at whether pet vacuums are worth it, what to look for in a pet-friendly vacuum, and which vacuum is best for pets.

Before getting into all that, however, let’s answer the most important question… Can vacuum cleaners clean dog hair?

Can Vacuum Cleaner Clean Dog Hair?

Yes, a vacuum cleaner is very effective at cleaning dog hair, both from your dog’s coat, as well as on other surfaces within your home, such as floors, carpets, and furniture.

Image from Bissell

When vacuuming your dog, avoid using the normal attachments that come with your vacuum, those that are used for cleaning floors and carpets. These attachments are not only ineffective at vacuuming your dog, but they can even harm your dog’s coat.

Instead, you should get special attachments that are specifically designed for vacuuming dogs. These are designed to be comfortable for your canine buddy and are effective for removing dead hairs from your pooch’s coat without causing any undue anxiety.

How Long Do Dogs Moult For?

Most dogs will molt for about 3 to 4 weeks, though the duration will vary depending on the kind of coat your dog has.

Dogs use their coats for temperature regulation. As seasons change, dogs will shed some of the hair on their coats to help them cope with the temperature changes. This process of shedding dead hairs is what is referred to as molting.

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Most dogs molt 2 times a year, while others will shed continuously. The degree of shedding exhibited by a dog will depend on the kind of coat they have.

Dogs with long-haired coats usually shed more during peak season, while dogs with short-haired, smooth coats tend to shed all year round. Some of the dog breeds that molt the most include the Chow Chow, Cardigan Welsh Corgi, the Alaskan Malamute, Golden Retrievers, Labrador Retrievers, Beagles, the American Eskimo Dog, and the Siberian Husky.

When your dog is shedding, you need to take proper care of them to ensure that the dead hairs do not get tangled on your pooch’s coat. Tangling of dead hairs on your doggie’s coat can make their coat dirty and smelly.

One way to keep your doggie’s coat from tangling during molting season is to brush their coats regularly. However, if you don’t want to constantly deal with dead pet hairs on your couches and floors, a better option is vacuuming your dog.

Vacuuming your dog catches the dead hairs before they hit the floor or your furniture.

Can I Vacuum My Dog For Fleas?

Yes. It is possible to use a vacuum to rid your dog of fleas. Some manufacturers make design vacuums that are specifically made for vacuuming fleas from dogs.

No dog parent wants to find a flea infestation on their beloved doggie. However, this is something most dog owners will have to deal with at some point in life. This is especially true if you regularly allow your pooch to venture outdoors.

Even if your pooch rarely goes outside, they can still get fleas from another dog when other dog owners come visiting. Family members who come and go could also accidentally carry a flea on their clothes, which then finds its way to your dog’s coat.

If you notice fleas on your beloved fido, vacuuming your dog is one of the fastest ways of getting rid of fleas on a dog. When done properly, using the right kind of vacuum attachments will clear the infestation completely.

That said, there are other equally effective ways of getting rid of a flea infestation, such as washing your dear fido using a flea shampoo, or buying a flea comb and using it to remove the fleas from your doggie’s coat.

Alternatively, you can use homemade remedies, such as washing your pooch using mild soap and some lukewarm water. This works best with minor infestations.

Vacuum Everywhere After Getting Rid Of The Fleas

When your dog is infested with fleas, the fleas will lay thousands of eggs on your doggie’s coat. Many of these will fall off onto the carpet, furniture, and other areas where your dog routinely spends their time.

Even after getting rid of the fleas on your dog, their eggs will remain around, and once they hatch, this will result in another infestation.

To prevent this, after getting rid of the infestation, you should thoroughly vacuum your entire house to get rid of any flea eggs that could be lying on your floors and furniture.

Once you’re done vacuuming, take the vacuum bag outside and dispose of the contents into a sealed plastic bag.

Will Vacuuming Kill Fleas?

Yes, vacuuming will kill most of the fleas that get sucked into the vacuum, according to a study done by researchers from Ohio State University.

Image from Bissell

In the study, which was sponsored by The Royal Appliance Manufacturing Company, different vacuums made by the sponsor were used to pick up fleas in their different life stages – larvae, pupae, and adult fleas. The fleas were then examined to determine whether they would remain alive after passing through the vacuum.

The study found that about 96% of adult fleas that were sucked into the vacuums died. That value is 100% for flea pupae and larvae.

While the study did not investigate how being sucked into a vacuum cleaner kills fleas, the researchers suggest that going through the vacuum’s brushes at high speed wears out the protective layer that helps insects hold water. With this protective layer damaged, the fleas die of dehydration.

How Often Should You Vacuum Your Dog?

The frequency with which you should vacuum your dog will depend on the kind of coat and fur your dog has and how much they shed.

Image from Barkbox

Dogs with coats that shed a lot will need to be vacuumed a lot more frequently than low shedding dogs. If your dog is a heavy shedder, you can vacuum them two or three times a month. This frequency can be increased during shedding season.

For low shedding dogs, vacuuming once a month is okay. There’s no need to brush your dog if you’ve already vacuumed them since vacuuming and brushing serve the same purpose.

Vacuuming your dog frequently will help them get used to vacuuming and see it as an enjoyable experience, rather than an anxiety-inducing experience. This raises another question; are dogs scared of vacuums? 

Do Dogs Like Vacuums?

Most dogs do not like vacuums and will take off running the minute a vacuum cleaner goes on near them.

Each dog is different, and some dogs don’t pay the slightest attention to a running vacuum. However, for most dogs, vacuums are scary devices. It is not surprising to see a dog cowering in the corner or even leaving the room the minute you switch on a vacuum.

Why Are Dogs Scared Of Vacuums?

The main reason why dogs are scared of vacuums is because of the loud noise that vacuums make. Dogs’ ears are a lot more sensitive compared to our (human) ears. Therefore, the loud noise the vacuum makes is even louder to your four-legged buddy, which makes it irritating.

In addition, the noise produced by the vacuum is usually high-frequency sound. This can be annoying or frightening to most dogs.

The other reason why dogs are scared of vacuums is because of the vacuum’s confusing odor. Unlike humans, who have a very limited sense of smell, your dog’s sense of smell is highly developed and plays a major role in helping them understand the world around them.

During cleaning, a vacuum picks up multiple odors from all the dirt it is sucking up. Having multiple odors coming from the same item can be very confusing for dogs, who don’t know what to make of this strange-looking device without a specific scent profile.

As a result, most dogs see vacuums as something to be feared.

How To Get Your Dog Used To Vacuuming

If dogs are scared of vacuums, how then do you vacuum your dog? Fortunately, there are some things you can do to change your canine buddy’s perception of vacuums.

The best way to get your dog comfortable around a vacuum is to get your dog exposed to vacuums from puppyhood. If your dog has seen a vacuum being used since they were a puppy, they are unlikely to see it as something threatening.

If your dog is already an adult, what you can do to get them used to vacuums is to gradually build up their exposure to vacuums. For instance, you can start by bringing a vacuum into the room without switching it on.

Once your dog is comfortable being around a switched-off vacuum, start switching on the vacuum some distance away from the dog. Continue moving the vacuum closer until your dog is comfortable with having a running vacuum around them. Every time your dog stays around after you switch on the vacuum, give them a treat.

What Is A Pet Friendly Vacuum?

A pet-friendly vacuum will not hurt or unnerve your pooch during the vacuuming process. It needs to be quiet and should be equipped with pet-friendly attachments.

We saw that part of the reason dogs are scared of vacuums is because of the loud noise that vacuums make. Therefore, if you want to vacuum your dog without making them nervous, you should go for quiet vacuum models.

Of course, every vacuum will make some noise when in use. However, some models are designed to produce as little noise as possible.

A pet-friendly vacuum also needs to come equipped with attachments that are suitable for use on your four-legged buddy. Using ordinary vacuum attachments on your dog could end up hurting their skin because of the high level of suction.

Therefore, before buying any vacuum, check to see whether it comes with a dog grooming attachment. These pet grooming attachments come with soft bristles that are designed to be gentle on your dog’s fur and skin.

Alternatively, if you already have a vacuum at home, you can buy a grooming attachment to use with the vacuum. Just be sure to confirm that the attachment is compatible with your vacuum.

A good pet vacuum should also be fitted with an allergen filter that will trap all the dander produced as your vacuum your canine buddy.

Are Pet Vacuums Worth It?

While pet vacuums are generally more expensive than ordinary, all-purpose vacuums, they are worth every penny.

There are several reasons why pet vacuums are worth the money. First, they come with specialized hair removal tools that are more effective at removing dead hairs from your pooch’s coat compared to all-purpose vacuums. Since these hair removal tools are designed for dogs, they’re also very unlikely to harm your doggie’s coat.

Second, pet vacuums are fitted with better filtration systems. Most pet vacuums will trap about 99% of all pet allergens. In addition, many pet vacuums come with auto-seal bags, which means you don’t have to worry about releasing the allergens into the air as you empty the vacuum.

One of the greatest problems for people who use vacuums to clean up pet hairs is the clogging of vacuum hoses. This is not a problem with pet vacuums. Since these vacuums are designed primarily to clean pet hairs, they have advanced designs that reduce the likelihood of clogging.

With all these advantages, it is definitely far much better to get a pet vacuum, rather than using an all-purpose vacuum to vacuum your dog. The extra money is certainly worth it.

Which Vacuum Cleaner Is Best For Pets?

The best vacuum cleaner for pets is the Bissell Cleanview Swivel Pet Vacuum.

There are several reasons why we settled on the Bissell Cleanview Swivel Pet Vacuum. First, this vacuum comes with a triple-action brush roll, which results in enhanced cleaning effectiveness. The triple-action brushes will remove even pet hairs that are embedded in the carpet.

The triple-action brush roll is coupled with scatter-free technology which makes cleaning a whole lot easier. You don’t have to worry about spreading dirt across the room as you try to clean.

We also love the fact that the Bissell Cleanview Swivel Pet Vacuum works effectively across different surfaces, including hard floors and carpets. Emptying the vacuum takes a simple push of a button, and once you’re done cleaning, pushing another button will automatically rewind the power cord.

The hoses on this vacuum are also compatible with most pet grooming attachments. This means that, in addition to effectively cleaning your home, you can also use the Bissell Cleanview Swivel Vacuum coupled with a pet grooming attachment to vacuum your beloved pooch.

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Pete Decker