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There’s no greater joy in life than having a dog. There’s also no task more daunting than continuously vacuuming their hair. Still, you don’t have to live with fur clinging to your floors, couch, and clothes. Instead, you can purchase a pet vacuum that’s designed to suck up those hairballs and reduce indoor allergens.

Not all vacuums are created equally. For example, did you know that upright vacuums have more powerful filtration than stick vacuums? Or that relying on a robot vacuum can save hours of cleaning time?

While you can’t stop your dog from shedding, an efficient vacuum can make it more manageable. Here, we break down the different types of pet vacuums, highlighting the features that are guaranteed to leave your house spotless.

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Pet Hair Vacuums Are Specially Designed for Dog Hair

Having a reliable pet vacuum is a must, whether you have a heavily-shedding Siberian Husky or a smooth-coated Dachshund. These devices do more than remove hair; they rely on powerful filtration systems to trap debris and ultimately promote good air quality.

Siberian Husky laying down indoors next to a large pile of fur and brushes.
©Dodor_Inna -

Some other advantages pet vacuums have include:

  • Tangle-free mechanisms. A vacuum’s brush roll helps it collect even the finest dirt particles. Pet vacuums will have mechanisms that prevent dog hair from getting tangled in the brush roll and reducing efficiency. Many standard vacuums don’t have this feature.
  • Different attachments. A pet vacuum isn’t just for floors. Many come with attachments that allow for cleaning your car, in-between couch cushions, and those other hard-to-reach places.
  • Bag-free canisters. You don’t have to rely on purchasing one-use bags for many modern pet vacuums. A majority offer bagless canisters, allowing stress-free, straight-into-the-garbage disposal.

What’s more, pet vacuums are designed with durability in mind. They’re made for daily use and processing materials that would overwhelm your standard vacuum cleaner. As noted, they also have mechanisms that prevent above-average wear and tear from shortening the device’s lifespan.

Features of Pet Vacuums Offer Different Benefits

It’s understandable to feel overwhelmed by the number (and types) of pet vacuums available. The important thing to know is that there isn’t a runaway winner for “best pet vacuum.” The ideal product depends on your home and dog’s shedding level. Still, when making a decision, you may look for a pet vacuum that:

  • Stands upright. Upright vacuums boast powerful suction, expanded storage space, and strong airflow. Generally relying on brush rolls, these devices can suck dog fur deeply embedded in certain fabrics, such as carpet. The unwieldy size comes as a tradeoff for power.
  • Is lightweight and easy to store. Stick vacuums don’t offer the sheer power of an upright vacuum, but they’re easy to store and battery-operated, allowing for a fuller range. Some allow users to remove the stick and use it handheld for targeted spot-vacuuming.
  • Offers portability. Handheld vacuums are a great tool if your dog enjoys going for car rides. You can even keep them in your vehicle for on-the-go cleaning. However, they offer limited debris storage and need frequent recharging.
  • Cleans automatically. Always on the go? Don’t have time to vacuum multiple times a week? No problem! Robot vacuums can map your home’s floorplan and vacuum independently, taking this chore off your plate.
Woman using vacuum standing near fluffy white dog
©Ivan Ozerov/Blend Images LLC

Depending on how often and heavily your dog sheds, you may opt to purchase multiple devices and use them alongside each other. For example, you may purchase a handheld vacuum to keep your car spotless but rely on an upright vacuum to clean your home’s rugs and carpet.

Vacuum Filtration Systems

Filtration is equally as important as suction when purchasing a pet vacuum. That’s because you want more than a device to get rid of unwanted dog hair; you want a vacuum that promotes good air quality. After all, you don’t want a vacuum to expel tiny particulates and contaminate the air you breathe. You want to protect your dog from poor air quality and keep their respiratory system healthy.

A powerful pet vacuum will have a high-efficiency particulate absorbing (HEPA) filter that removes 99.7% of dust, bacteria, and other airborne particles between 0.3 and 10 microns. For reference, a red blood cell measures six to eight microns, so very little gets past these filters. A HEPA-grade pet vacuum will capture everything from pet dander to dust mites, promoting both your home’s indoor “breathability” and overall health.

Robot Vacuums for Pet Hair: What to Know

Ever fantasize about having a robot maid, like from “The Jetsons”? With a robot pet vacuum, that can be a reality. Relying on a network of sensors, these automated assistants map out your home’s floorplan, then get to work sucking up dog hair. Some even come with apps that allow you to “zone off” certain areas and set daily schedules.

Golden Retriever laying down next to a robot vacuum indoors.
©frank11 -

When looking for a robotic pet vacuum that suits your lifestyle, consider the unit’s shape. For example, if you’re looking for a robot to keep an open-concept area clean (such as your living room), look for an O-shaped vacuum. If dog hair collects in the corners of your home, get a D-shaped vacuum for those angular areas.

Additionally, you may look for a robotic vacuum that self-empties debris. With this level of autonomy, you don’t even have to worry about emptying it out, reducing your exposure to dust, pollen, and mold.

Common Concerns With Pet Vacuums

Even with all the benefits of owning a pet vacuum, these products can periodically experience certain issues – many of which you can address.

For example, dog hair can get tightly wrapped around the brush rollers, reducing the vacuum’s overall efficiency. While admittedly frustrating, you can generally pop out these rollers and cut away the hair using scissors. If your dog sheds heavily, you may make this process part of your vacuum’s regular maintenance routine.

Two other addressable concerns with pet vacuums include:

  • Loss of suction. A vacuum’s filters capture dust and debris, but they can become clogged, leading to inadequate suction or even blowing back particulates. Check the hoses for obstructions and clean the filter to restore suction.
  • Shortened battery life. This is especially common in stick and handheld vacuums. Try charging the battery using a different outlet. You could also purchase a different battery, as some lose power with frequent usage.

Many warranties cover factory-specific problems, such as faulty circuit boards and defective batteries. Check your product’s user manual to ensure you understand the terms and conditions. Some require that you register the product upon purchase to access the warranty’s coverage.

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Maintaining Your Pet Vacuum Prevents Common Problems

Just like your dog, your pet vacuum requires a bit of maintenance to thrive. This isn’t regular grooming sessions and cuddles, though; it generally involves cleaning the filter, emptying the canister, and ensuring the roller brushes spin properly. If you have a robot pet vacuum, you may need to regularly update the software, making sure it’s on the latest version. Recalibrating the sensors is also advised.

With periodic maintenance, you do more than get the most out of your pet vacuum. You also put your and your dog’s health first. Regularly vacuuming dog hair reduces airborne particulates and promotes good indoor air quality. Within just a few uses, you could see a marked improvement in your dog’s breathing, energy levels, and quality of life.

Related article: How to Remove Dog Hair From Your Car
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