Can you vacuum your dog? It sounds like such a strange question, but you’d be surprised at how often I hear it. In fact, since you’re here reading this post, I’m guessing that YOU’VE wondered the same thing! Below, we’ll explore the answer and go over a few tips if you decide that vacuum-grooming Fido is the way to go. Let’s dive in!
Can You Vacuum Your Dog? Is it Safe?
The short answer to the first question is yes, you CAN vacuum your dog. You can vacuum anything, really. The REAL answer is “SHOULD you vacuum your dog?” Semantics, I know, but I like to be crystal clear when answering questions that could impact your pup’s safety.
Honestly, there is a lot of debate in general on whether or not you should vacuum your dog. Some people swear by it, while others think it’s too dangerous.
Let’s break down the pros and cons of vacuum grooming first. Then, if you decide that it’s something you want to try, I’ll give you some tips on how to do it safely.
Pros of vacuum-grooming your dog’s coat
First, let me just say that I am in no way advocating using a vacuum as a grooming tool. I’m actually on the fence about it myself. I’m simply presenting the pros and cons so that you can decide for yourself. Got it? Good. On with the show.
Vacuuming is faster & easier than brushing your dog
The #1 benefit of using a vacuum attachment (and yes, you’ll need an attachment, more on that in a minute) to groom your dog is, of course, that it’s quick and relatively efficient. Let’s be honest, brushing your mega-furry friend is super time-consuming. I had a friend once who spent HOURS brushing her Siberian Husky during coat blowout season and barely made a dent in his shedding.
It helps remove loose hair, dirt, and dander
Vacuuming also helps remove loose hair, dead skin cells, and dirt from your dog’s coat, which can help minimize shedding. This, in turns, reducing the amount of dander that Fluffy releases into your carpet, furniture, and everywhere else that his fur flies. Plus, for those of us with seasonal allergies, it also helps minimize the amount of pollen that your pup tracks through the house.
It MAY help minimize fleas and ticks
Additionally, it can be a great way to get rid of any bugs or ticks that may be on your dog’s skin. Emphasis on the can because it’s really not a reliable way to remove fleas and ticks. Plus, you’ll need to empty the canister outside and away from your house to get rid of those nasty critters. Otherwise, they’ll just find their way back into your house and back onto your dog (or YOU).
While that’s a pretty short list of pros, the first two really are awesome enough that you really don’t need a zillion other benefits to make you want to consider Hoovering Howie.
Cons & Considerations
Now, let’s check out the cons of using a vacuum to groom your dog.
It can be dangerous
The biggest issue is the fact that vacuum grooming can be very dangerous if it’s not done correctly. Vacuums are designed for lifting dirt embedded deep in carpet fibers. They have powerful motors and even more powerful suction action. As is, they’re not safe to use on living creatures. This brings us to…
You need a special attachment
If you want to vacuum Fido, you absolutely need a special attachment designed to lift pet hair FROM your pet (versus just your carpet). The good news is, there are actually quite a few of them on the market. The bad news? They’re either fairly pricey or they have less-than-stellar reviews.
For example, the Dyson vacuum pet hair attachment is fairly inexpensive (under $40), but nearly 20% of users gave it a 1-star review. On the other hand, the kits that have solid 4-star ratings across enough reviews to inspire confidence (versus those that just have a handful of reviews) cost well over $100.
Most dogs don’t like being vacuumed
Then, of course, there’s the fact that your dog will probably freak out before you can even get within a foot of his fur! Most of the many, many dogs I’ve known in my lifetime hated the sound of the vacuum.
Remember, dog ears are far, far, far more sensitive than human ears. If the high-frequency sound is enough to bother them when you’re vacuuming across the room, imagine how bad it must be when it’s right next to their ears.
Fortunately, you should be able to overcome all three of these cons with a little time, research, patience, and training. With that in mind, let’s talk about some tips for success.
Tips for Successfully Using a Vacuum for Dog Grooming
First things first, I’m assuming you paid attention to the “cons” above and bought yourself a pet-safe vacuum cleaner attachment. If you decide to try vacuum grooming and your dog doesn’t show signs of being completely terrified, here are some tips to help you do it safely:
- Make sure your dog is completely calm and relaxed before you start.
- Never vacuum their head or face.
- Only use a pet-safe vacuum cleaner. Bissell Bark Bath could be your best option.
- Start by vacuuming the back of your dog, and working your way toward the front.
- Vacuum each section for no more than a few seconds at a time.
- Be careful not to vacuum too hard, as this can be dangerous and painful for your dog.
Unfortunately, if your dog looks at you like you’ve lost your mind and/or darts for the nearest hiding spot when you break out the vacuum, you’ll need to work on desensitizing him first.
Desensitization training requires a lot of time and effort, so you’ll have to decide if it’s really worth it just to save some time on grooming. Pam’s Dog Academy has some great tips in the video below to help you overcome your dog’s fear of loud noises by using positive reinforcement. I recommend checking that out.
By following these tips, investing in a pet-friendly vacuum (or attachment kit), and using a little common sense, it’s entirely possible to vacuum groom your dog safely and effectively. Just make sure you take precautions to avoid any injuries, and always consult with your veterinarian if you have any questions or concerns.