Let's face it, cleaning up loose dog hair sucks.
But virtually all dogs shed, so unless you want a home full of dog hair and dander, you'll need to stay on top of it. And that's a lot easier to do with the right vacuum cleaner.
Deciding which ones are best for dog hair, however, can be challenging. Especially since there are just so many different types of vacuums on the market.
And because I'm often asked which vacuums I recommend for heavy shedding dogs, I decided to share my top picks, along with a detailed buyer's guide, in this post.
Top 10 Vacuums for Dog Hair (2021 Reviews)
I love that our dogs roam around our home and take trips in the car with us, but I don't like the hair they leave in their wake. So I've spent a considerable amount of time and money researching and trying different vacuums on the market, to figure out which ones are best.
In the end, I was able to narrow it down to just 10 vacuums.
And I based my top picks on things like how powerful the vacuum is, the cleaning head, attachments, design, air filtration system, value for money, and reviews from others.
Here are my top 10 picks for 2021:
- Shark APEX AZ1002 DuoClean Upright Vacuum - Top Pick
- Dyson Ball Animal 2 Total Clean - Best Powerful Upright Pet Hair Vacuum
- Bissell Clean View Swivel Pet - Best Affordable Upright
- Dyson V11 Torque Drive Cordless Vacuum - Best Cordless Stick for Pet Hair
- Aucma by Whall Cordless Vacuum Cleaner - Best Affordable Cordless Stick
- Black & Decker Stick Vacuum (BDST1609) - Best Budget Electric Stick
- Kenmore 22614 Bagless Canister Vacuum - Best Value Canister
- Miele Classic C1 Cat and Dog Canister HEPA Vacuum - Best for Allergy Sufferers
- Bissell Pet Hair Eraser - Best Handheld Vacuum
- iRobot Roomba 675 Robot Vacuum - Best Robotic Vacuum
Let's take a closer look at each vacuum in more detail, so you can learn more about the reasons why I chose the ones I did and decide which one, if any, is right for you.
1. Shark APEX AZ1002 DuoClean Upright Vacuum - Top Pick
The Shark APEX AZ1002 DuoClean upright is my favorite vacuum on the list for a number of reasons including its effectiveness, feature set and the value for money aspect.
It really is a great all-round vacuum for pet hair.
The first main reason I say this is because it does a great job of sucking up the loose dog hair from carpets, hard surfaces and upholstery. Which is largely thanks to its powerful 1350 watt electric motor and unique DuoClean brushroll system.
A brushroll is basically a rotating cylinder with brushes attached to it, that sits inside the vacuum cleaning head. And these work really well to loosen and remove pet hair, especially from carpets, because they essentially brush up the dog hair as you vacuum.
This is one of the main things to look for in a pet hair vac, so almost all of the vacuums on this list include a brushroll, or some version of this, as part of the cleaning head.
The difference with the AZ1002, however, is that it has two brushrolls instead of one. The front brushroll is softer and makes the first contact with the hair, while the second brushroll is made up of stiffer bristles that safely and effectively clean your floor.
Another thing that makes the AZ1002 unique compared to other upright vacs is that the brushroll is self-cleaning. With most brushroll type vacuums, the hair tends to wrap itself around the brushroll over time. Which isn't a huge deal because they're easy enough to clean, and it only really happens with the longer hairs, but this is a great feature all the same.
Shark APEX AZ1002 Overview
Vacuum Cleaner Head:
Single HEPA filter
5 year limited warranty
It's quite versatile too. Thanks to the active-glide system in the cleaning head, the APEX automatically adjusts itself to the contour of the floor you're vacuuming. So it does a top job whether you're vacuuming hardwood, carpet, or anything in between.
And if you want to vacuum stairs or under furniture, there's a "Lift-Away" feature that allows you to detach the entire pod (main part of the vacuum) from the upright skeleton. This allows you to easily pick the vacuum up and, using attachments like the Pet Power Brush, remove dog hair from stairs and hard to reach places.
Another feature that really stood out to me is the APEX's completely sealed HEPA air filtration system, which filters out finer particles from the air as you vacuum, like pet dander.
I explain more about HEPA air filters and pet dander in the buyer's guide section. But in short, the main cause of pet allergies is not the dog hair itself, it's actually the dog's dander (dead skin flakes), as well as their dried sweat and saliva, which can attach to hair and become airborne.
So if you suffer from allergies, it's important to get a vacuum with a good air filtration system. And not only does the APEX have a HEPA filter, it's also completely sealed. Which increases its overall effectiveness and helps ensure that the vacuum only expels clean, filtered air.
To sum it up, the Shark APEX AZ1002 upright vacuum is highly effective at picking up dog hair and has some really cool features like the self-cleaning brushroll, Lift-Away and sealed HEPA system, which make it stand out. It's also reasonably priced considering what you get. So if you're looking for the best overall pet hair vacuum, this is my top pick.
That said, there are better alternatives if you're looking for a more powerful vacuum, one that doesn't cost as much, or one that is better for allergies. So let's look at some of the other picks.
2. Dyson Ball Animal 2 Total Clean - Best Powerful Upright
The Dyson Ball Animal 2 is one of the most powerful, and popular, upright vacuums in the market.
We bought our Dyson a couple years ago and were absolutely amazed at how much dirt and dog hair it picked up. To the point I wondered if my last vacuum even worked at all (lol).
And when you look under the hood, it's easy to see why. The Dyson Ball Animal 2 uses a powerful 1400 watt electric motor and boasts a whopping 306 Air Watts of suction power.
It's not just raw power though. Dyson is one of the most established and trusted brands in the vacuum industry. And for good reason, they think of just about everything and continue to innovate their vacuums year over year.
The Dyson Ball Animal 2 is the latest upright they've created specifically for pet hair. It features a self-adjusting brush bar cleaning head, which makes effectively picks up loose hair and dirt, while adjusting itself to any floor type as you vacuum.
It also comes with eight different attachments (and tool bag), including a pet hair turbine tool that clips onto the end of a long, detachable hose which is ideal for sucking up pet hair from virtually any surface, including sofas, car carpets and upholstery.
The main thing I like about this versus the Shark APEX, other than being more powerful, is that instead of having to detach the entire body of the vacuum to clean areas like stairs, it has a long, flexible hose that detaches and allows you to go quite a distance away from it.
I've personally found that I'm able to leave it at the bottom of the stairs and the hose extends far enough that I can get right to the top of the stairs. So in this respect it's better than the APEX Lift Away feature, because you don't have to carry anything other than the hose.
And on the end of the hose you can attach a broad range of attachments, including this neat little pet hair turbine tool that has two rotating brushes on it.
Lastly, the Dyson Ball Animal 2 has a washable twin air filtration system (pre-motor filter and post-motor filter) to provide a comprehensive "whole machine" filtration. And it has been independently certified by the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA). So you can rest assured it only expels clean, filtered air as you vacuum.
Dyson Ball Animal 2 Overview
Vacuum Cleaner Head:
Self-adjusting brush bar
Dual air filter system
5 year limited warranty
Why didn't it make the top spot? It came very close, because it's a great machine, but there were just a couple of areas where I think the Shark APEX is (slightly) better.
First, the brush bar (AKA brushroll) on the Dyson isn't self-cleaning. After a few months, I started to notice that the longer (human) hairs in our home were getting wrapped around the cleaning head. So it does require cleaning occasionally if you are vacuuming up longer hair, which is easy enough to do, but not something you have to do with the APEX.
Second, it's more expensive. I do believe it's well worth the price given it's such an effective, high quality vacuum, but the APEX is more affordable.
Either way, the Dyson Ball Animal 2 is one of the best and most powerful pet hair uprights going. So if you don't mind spending a bit extra, it'll give you years of hair busting pleasure.
3. Bissell Clean View Swivel Pet - Best Affordable Upright
There's a lot to like about Bissell's Clean View upright vacuum, it boasts many of the features of top quality pet hair vacs like the SharkNinja and Dyson, but at a fraction of the price.
It features a powerful cyclonic motor, large capacity bagless dirt tank, and the cleaner head uses scatter-free technology, which allows it to seamlessly transition between vacuuming multiple types of surfaces.
Also, similar to the APEX and Dyson, it's able to swivel as you vacuum, which makes it easier to manoeuvre. And comes with several attachments, one of which is the Pet TurboEraser Tool.
I also really like how up to $10 is donated to the Bissell Pet Foundation with every purchase. I think that's a great cause and has no doubt contributed to Bissell's popularity in the pet hair vac space.
Bissell Clean View Swivel Pet Overview
Vacuum Cleaner Head:
Triple action brush roll
3 year limited warranty
That said, it does lack some of the features my first two picks have, nor does it give me the feeling that it's made with the same level of quality. The air filtration is not up to the same standard as either the APEX or Dyson either, so it's probably not ideal for allergy sufferers.
Overall though, it is a solid upright vacuum cleaner that will get the job done, and it's by far the most affordable upright on the list, which makes it a great lower cost alternative.
4. Dyson V11 Animal Cordless Vacuum - Best Cordless Stick
Uprights are the most powerful and capable of sucking up loose dog fur, especially from carpet. But not everyone wants to lug around a great big machine, and cordless stick vacuums are getting better, more powerful, and more efficient, so they're a great option.
And Dyson's new V11 cordless stick vacuum is, in my opinion, the best and most advanced battery operated pet hair vac available.
Here's why I say this:
- Power: The V11 Animal uses a Dyson Hyperdymium motor that features 14 concentric cyclones and, according to Dyson, has twice the suction power of any other cordless vacuum when tested at the cleaner head to ASTM F558 standards. In other words, it's a beast.
- Efficiency: It gives you up to 60 minutes or runtime which, for a cordless stick, is impressive. One of the main reasons it's so efficient (other than an improved batter, motor and design) is because it has three power modes (eco, auto and boost), so you only use the power you need, when you need it. And it features a High Torque cleaner head which automatically adapts the power and suction based on the surface you're vacuuming.
- Cleaner head: The cleaner head in the V11 features a brush bar that's made up of stiff nylon bristles and anti-static carbon fiber filaments, which spins up to 60 times a second thanks to the integrated digital motor, so it makes short work of sucking up pet hair.
- Air filtration: The Dyson V11 features a fully-sealed filtration system that Dyson says "traps 99.99% of particles as small as 0.3 microns" or 99.97% when not in "boost" mode, which is the standard for a HEPA filter.
Other reasons I like the V11 is the modern LED display at the top, which shows you metrics such as the current power mode and the estimated remaining battery life.
Dyson V11 Animal Cordless Vacuum Overview
Vacuum Cleaner Head:
Nylon brush bar with integrated digital motor
Dual air filter system
7-cell lithium-ion battery
2 year warranty
The biggest downside to the V11 though, is the cost. As with most Dyson products, they're top of the line, and you get what you pay for. So this definitely isn't the cheapest option.
The other drawback is that, like most battery operated vacuum cleaners, the battery life may not be enough to get through a whole home in one session.
Especially if you need to vacuum up loose dog fur from carpet.
This is one of the best in its class in terms of battery life, you get up to 60 minutes of runtime on eco (low power) mode. And they have a more powerful V11 Outsize model which gives you up to 120 minutes of runtime if you're willing to pay extra.
But either way, it may not be suitable if you have a heavy shedding dog and a large carpeted area, unless you're fine with doing multiple vacuuming sessions for the larger floor areas.
In any case, if you understand the inherent drawbacks of a cordless vacuum, and don't mind spending a bit extra for the best, then this is well worth checking out because it's an excellent cordless vacuum that does a brilliant job of getting dog and pet hair up.
5. Aucma Cordless Vacuum - Best Affordable Cordless Stick
The Aucma by Whall cordless stick vacuum represents great value for money. It comes with many of the features and benefits of the higher priced battery stick vacs, at a much lower price.
In terms of power and efficiency, it features a 250 watt brushless motor and has three running modes (standard, mid and max) and is able to run for up to 53 minutes on its lithium battery.
The cleaning head comes with two interchangeable brushrolls. One is designed for carpet and the other is for harder surfaces like hardwood. So you can switch these depending on the surface you're vacuuming. Which does add to the effort needed to vacuum, since many cleaning heads work well on any surface, but it's easy enough to switch them.
You can also detach the vacuum pod from the wand and use it as a handheld which is great for doing things like stairs and vacuuming the car. Especially with the help of the attachments.
And last but not least, it contains a 4-stage washable HEPA filter.
Aucma Cordless Vacuum Overview
Aucma by Whall
Vacuum Cleaner Head:
2 interchangeable brushrolls
8-cell lithium battery
Overall, it doesn't match the Dyson in terms of features, power, battery life, or quality. But it is still a great cordless vac and it costs a (lot) less. So overall it represents great value.
Also, compared with other lower cost cordless vacuums of a similar caliber, this has the ideal balance between power and runtime. Which is important for a battery vac. It's also highly versatile and does a great job of removing pet hair from carpet and upholstery.
6. Black & Decker Stick Vacuum - Best Budget Electric Stick
If you're looking for an ultra-low cost, lightweight stick vacuum and you don't need it to be cordless, this is worth a look.
The Black & Decker BDST1609 weighs just 2.75 lbs and can be used as a stick or handheld. It's ideal for apartments, vacuuming stairs, or for the vehicle. It's also bagless and comes with a HEPA air filter.
So there's a lot of value packed into a small, low cost machine.
It's definitely not designed to take on heavy duty dog hair, thicker pile carpet, or for vacuuming larger homes. But if you want the convenience of a smaller, stick design vacuum that you don't have to charge, this is worth a look.
Black & Decker Stick Vacuum (BDST1609) Overview
Black & Decker
Corded stick vacuum
Vacuum Cleaner Head:
7. Kenmore 22614 Bagless Vacuum - Best Value Canister
The Kenmore 22614 bagless canister vacuum features a dual motor with 8 cyclones to enhance power and prevent loss of suction, even as it starts to become full of dirt and hair.
It also features a powerful motorized brushroll cleaning head which is one of the key features that separate this from other canister vacuums. This feature does add some bulk to the cleaning head, but it does a great job of sucking up dog and cat hair.
It also comes with an attachment, called the Pet Powermate, that's specifically designed for picking up pet hair from carpet and upholstery, without tangling around the brush. So this works well for picking up loose hair from the sofa and car, too.
Like most vacuums on this list, it also contains a HEPA filter system and some useful attachments to help you get into hard to reach places. Including a 9 foot telescoping wand.
It's about mid-range in terms of price, but when you take into consideration the suction power, pet hair attachments and overall quality, this is a great value all-round canister vacuum.
Kenmore 22614 Bagless Vacuum Overview
Vacuum Cleaner Head:
Motorized power head
2 year warranty
8. Miele Classic C1 Cat & Dog Vacuum - Best for Allergy Sufferers
The Miele Classic C1 is ideal if you're looking for a super high quality vacuum that's both tough on pet hair and suitable for allergy sufferers. And there are a few key reasons why I say this.
First, the Classic C1 features a powerful 1200 watt electric motor. Which means it's plenty powerful enough to suck up even the most stubborn dirt, dog fur and dander.
Second, it comes with the SEB228 Electro Plus floor head, which is specifically designed to pick up pet hair from low to high pile carpet using five adjustable height settings. It also comes with the SBB Parquet floor head for hard floors, and the STB20 Mini Turbo Brush for picking up pet hair from stairs, furniture and car upholstery. So the vacuum cleaning head and attachments are ideal for pet hair.
Third, it comes with a fully sealed, comprehensive (Active AirClean) air filtration system that includes a pre-filter, HEPA filter and dust filter bag. This combination of air filtration helps ensure that the vacuum doesn't expel dust and allergens like pet dander as you vacuum, and it helps eliminate pet odors thanks to the activated charcoal that's built into the filter.
Also, because the dust, hair and dander is collected into a sealed bag, you don't come into contact with these allergens as you're emptying the vacuum as you do with a bagless vacuum.
And this is key for allergy sufferers because most vacuums are bagless, which will save you money on replacement dust bags, but emptying bagless vacs can be a dusty experience.
With the Classic C1, however, everything it sucks up is contained in a bag. So there's very little chance of coming into contact with any dust or dander when the bag needs replacing.
Miele Classic C1 Cat and Dog Vacuum Overview
Vacuum Cleaner Head:
SEB228 Electro Plus and SBB Parquet floor heads
Dual filter system with HEPA and activated charcoal
12 months warranty
There's a lot of other great aspects about this vacuum too.
For example, it comes with an adjustable speed dial so you can adjust the power between 200 to 1200 watts which is great for vacuuming around curtains. It comes with four attachments including a crevice tool, dusting brush, upholstery tool and Mini Turbo Brush for pet hair.
And the quality is second to none. Miele is a trusted brand that has been around for over 120 years, and all of their products are made in Germany.
That said, the Classic C1 is one of the most expensive vacuums on the list. So the price, and ongoing cost of replacing dust bags, is easily the main drawback.
I also don't like that you need to manually set the height of the floor head. This is easy enough to do, but the Dyson does this automatically so I do personally prefer it for that reason.
Either way, this is definitely one of the best and highest quality vacuums in the market. And they are tested for up to 20 years of average usage, so they're built to last.
9. Bissell Pet Hair Eraser - Best Budget Handheld Vacuum
If you're looking for a small, handheld vacuum that picks up pet hair around places like stairs, furniture and car upholstery, this is a great little vacuum, especially for the price.
It comes with a 16 ft power cord to give you plenty of room to move around, and a special rubber nozzle that makes it easier to pick up the dog hair from carpet.
It's not the best in terms of suction power or air filtration, by a country mile, but it's not meant to be either. Where it shines is as a small, budget friendly handheld pet hair vacuum.
So if that's all you need, this is worth checking out.
Bissell Pet Hair Eraser Overview
Vacuum Cleaner Head:
1 year limited warranty
10. iRobot Roomba 675 Robot Vacuum - Best Robotic Vacuum
iRobot has been in the robotic vacuum space for over 30 years now, and have become the leader of quality, feature-rich robot vacs.
The Roomba 675 is iRobot's entry-level "set and forget" automated vacuum. It integrates with an intuitive smartphone app, so that you can easily schedule the vacuuming to suite your preference.
Based on the settings you select, the Roomba 675 vacuum will go about cleaning your floors and return to the charging dock when it needs to recharge. You can also use voice commands to instruct the vacuum to start, stop and charge, among other commands, with the help of an Alexa-enabled device.
Under the hood, it features a dual brush (auto-height adjusting) cleaning head which allows it to seamlessly glide across carpet and hard floor areas automatically. And there's an edge sweeper to make sure it gets the pet hair and dirt right up to the edge of where it's vacuuming.
Not to mention, it can automatically detect and prioritize the cleaning of nearby dirt and navigate stairs and other obstacles. So it's a very intuitive machine.
iRobot Roomba 675 Robot Vacuum Overview
Vacuum Cleaner Head:
Dual auto-adjusting brushrolls
Lithium Ion battery
1 year warranty
On the flip side, it's not the most powerful pet hair vacuum. So if you have a larger home, or a heavy shedding dog, this probably isn't the best option.
That said, there is a more powerful and more expensive model, called the Roomba s9+, which is many times more powerful than the Roomba 675. So if you really want a robotic vacuum, and don't mind the extra cost, this would be a heavier duty option.
Aside from suction power, the other main drawback is that it lacks the more comprehensive air filtration systems of other machines like the Shark, Dyson and Miele. So it's probably not the best option if your main concern is removing pet allergens like dander from your home.
Either way, if you like the idea of letting the vacuum do the work for you, this is one of the best quality, highest value robotic vacuums I've come across.
Buyer's Guide: Things to Consider Before Buying
I've researched and tested dozens of vacuums over the years, because most of my dogs have been heavy shedders. And for the most part, I've found that choosing the best pet hair vacuum cleaner for your needs comes down to the following key factors:
- The surface you need to vacuum
- How powerful the vacuum is
- The cleaning head and attachments it uses
Generally speaking, these are the most important factors to consider. However, there are other factors that may be worth considering depending on your preferences and needs.
For example, uprights are typically more powerful, but some prefer a canister or stick design vacuum because these can be easier to manoeuvre. Then there are factors such as whether the vacuum is corded or battery operated, bagged or bagless and what type of air filter it uses, which is of particular importance for anyone with pet allergies.
Let's take a look at some of these factors in more detail.
Surface You're Vacuuming
One of the main things to consider before buying a vacuum is the surface you're vacuuming. For example, is it wood, carpet, upholstery, or a combination of these?
While most good vacuums are designed to work across a range of surfaces, some are more capable of removing dog hair from surfaces like carpet and upholstery than others. And some have manually adjustable or auto-adjusting cleaning heads that work well across multiple floor types. While others you need to switch out the cleaning head to suit the floor type.
Either way, this is important to consider because if you only need to vacuum hard floors (like hardwood, linoleum, or tiles for example) then you may not need as powerful a vacuum as you would for carpet, which means you could get away with using a less expensive vacuum.
One of the most important factors to consider when choosing a vacuum is how powerful it is. The more suction power the vacuum has, the better able it will be to suck up loose pet hair.
This is not the easiest thing to measure and compare though.
Firstly because there are so many different ways to measure how powerful a vacuum is. For example, you could look at the wattage of the motor which is useful, but this doesn't tell you as much about the actual suction power as other metrics such as CFM (cubic feet per minute) which measures air intake, or Air Watts which some vacuums are rated with.
Second, not all manufacturers provide the watts, CFM or Air Watts of their vacuums, because this isn't always required. So the information each manufacturer shares in this respect is often either different from what the competing manufacture provides, or non-existent.
So my point is, it can be difficult to properly compare the suction power of each vacuum. Which is why I like to consider all the available information I can (whether it be watts, CFM, Air Watts or other metrics like kPa), along with my own experience of using the machine, to determine how powerful a given vacuum is.
In any case, a good rule of thumb is that the electric corded uprights and canister vacuums are the most powerful. While battery operated vacs are typically less powerful, and even if a cordless does match the power of an electric vacuum, it will typically only do so for a short period of time before you need to recharge it.
Cleaning Head and Attachments
One of the main distinguishing features of vacuums designed for pets, versus regular vacs, is that the cleaning head and attachments are designed specifically to pick up the loose hair.
For example, many pet hair vacuums include some form of brushroll or brush bar on the main cleaning head, that spins as you vacuum to help lift the hair. And these are especially useful for carpeted areas. And they often come with special attachments that work to remove pet hair from upholstery and hard to reach places.
Some even have dual brushroll and self-cleaning functionality which can make them more efficient and easier to maintain.
Upright vs Canister Design
Upright vacuums are the largest and often most powerful type of vacuum. They are basically a one-piece vacuum that stands upright and that you push in front of you.
Canister vacuums, on the other hand, are smaller and lighter. These come with a hose attached to a small canister body that follows you around as you vacuum.
Both types can effectively remove dog hair, but I prefer uprights for heavy duty pet hair removal since they tend to be more powerful.
The images below illustrate the difference:
Corded vs Cordless
Corded vacuums are those you can plugin to a power outlet, and these are typically more powerful and better equipped for removing pet hair than cordless (battery operated) vacuums.
However, cordless handheld, stick or robotic vacuums can still do a great job and have the advantage of being more portable and convenient to setup. Not to mention, you could save a lot of time by using a robotic vacuum. So, as with anything, there are some advantages and disadvantages to consider and what is right for you will depend on your preference.
Bagged vs Bagless
The main difference between vacuum cleaners with a bag and those that are bagless, is the process of cleaning the vacuum when it becomes full of dirt and hair.
When bagged vacuums are full, you need to throw out the bag that contains all of the dirt and dust you've extracted, while bagless vacuums simply need to be emptied.
Which is best?
Both types can be equally as effective for removing pet hair, however, bagless (AKA canister) vacuums are more popular, and you don't need to replace bags every time your vacuum gets full. Which could be fairly often if you're using it to clean up dog hair.
On the other hand, bagged vacuums may be more suitable for people with allergies. Not because they're better at removing pet hair and dander. By default, they're not.
But because you can simply throw the full bag into the bin with a bagged vacuum. Whereas you need to empty a bagless vacuum, and that means you could come into contact with the dust and pet dander you've collected from vacuuming, as you empty it out.
When it comes to actually using your vacuum, however, the most important aspect to consider if you have allergies is the type of air filter the vacuum has, as I will now explain.
The Air filter
The way a typical vacuum works is by sucking in air at the base, collecting dirt, hair and debris within the canister or bag, and blowing out clean, filtered air into the air around us.
So a big part of how good a vacuum is, especially for those who suffer from allergies, is the quality of the air filtration system. Basically, you want to make sure that the air the vacuum expels is as clean as possible.
Most popular vacuums have an air filtration that is, at the very least, adequate enough to capture dirt, hair and debris, as well as finer particles.
However, the best vacuums often come with a HEPA filter. Which is a type of air filter that is designed to remove at least 99.97% of particles that measure 0.3 microns from the air. And these are very good at removing fine particles, including pet dander, from the air.
Most people think it's the dog hair that makes them sneeze, but it's actually most often the dander, which is basically a dogs dead skin flakes. And this, along with other allergens like dried dog saliva, urine and sweat, is one of the leading causes of pet related allergies.
So if you suffer from pet allergies, it may be worth getting a vacuum with a HEPA filter, as these are far less likely to blow allergens like dander around the home as you vacuum.
Some vacuums, like the Dyson and Miele for example, take this a step further by using a fully sealed "whole-machine" air filtration system that consists of both a pre-filter for the motor and a post-filter. This helps protect the vacuum motor and maintain optimal suction power, while helping ensure that the air it expels is as clean as possible.
Are Pet Hair Vacuums Worth It?
I've tried a lot of vacuums over the years, and I am yet to find one that makes cleaning up the loose dog hair as easy as they make out in the promotional videos.
Still, I definitely do think it's worth getting a pet hair vacuum. Especially if you have a dog in the home that drops lots of hair, and especially if you have carpet.
You will likely pay more than if you just bought a regular vacuum cleaner, but the difference a good pet hair vacuum can make is incredible.
And for the most part, this is because good pet hair vacuums are designed to be plenty powerful enough, use specially designed cleaning heads and attachments (most often some form of rotating brushroll) for removing pet hair, and have above average air filtration.
It is possible to get the same, or similar, results from a regular vacuum. At least, with respect to how visibly clean you can get the floors and furniture. But a pet hair vacuum is likely to help you do a better job in less time.
The other reason they're worth using is if you have pet allergies.
Not only can a good quality pet vacuum remove more of the hair and dander, in less time, but it's less likely to blow the dander around your home while you're vacuuming.
In any case, using a pet hair vacuum is not essential. But it may be worthwhile considering that a good one can help you get more dog hair up with less effort, in less time, and may spread less dander around your home than a regular vac with a less comprehensive air filter.
Tips to Remove Stubborn Dog Hair From Carpet, Upholstery and Fabric
If you're using a good quality vacuum cleaner, all you really need to do is vacuum your floors to remove the loose fur. But sometimes the dog hair can be stubborn and difficult to remove.
Which is especially true if you have a shorthaired breed, like a Fox Terrier for example, with short hairs that tend to needle their way into carpet and fabric.
In this case, you may need to put a little extra effort into remove the loose hair, and there are some really simple and effective ways you can do this.
The following are some methods that I find work really well:
- Rubber squeegee: Rubber squeegees (the ones you can use to clean windows) are surprisingly effective at removing dog hair from carpet. The idea is to work your way along the carpet and rake the fur into a pile, which you can then vacuum up.
- Carpet rake: These work in a similar way to the rubber squeegee, but are purpose built for the task of removing old hair from carpet. The most popular carpet rakes on Amazon are typically made of rubber bristles and come in either handheld or broom-like varieties.
- Damp cloth: Another great way to loosen up those stubborn hairs is by simply rubbing a damp cloth over the carpet or fabric. Simply rub a damp (not soaking wet) cloth over the area you're struggling with and this should loosen the stray hairs.
- Fabric softener spray: If you're really struggling, or just want to make vacuuming as easy as possible, one method I've found works is to mix a small amount of fabric softener with water in a spray bottle, lightly spray the carpet or fabric. And once it is fully dry, you can vacuum as normal except now it's much easier to vacuum up.
Can You Vacuum Hair Directly Off Your Dog?
It's generally not a good idea to take to your dog with a vacuum cleaner, however, there are some grooming attachments you can get that are safe and effective to use.
For example, the Penn-Plax VacGroom attachment is a good quality universal vacuum attachment that connects to most vacuums, and acts as a 2-in-1 dog brush and vacuum.
The idea is to carefully brush your dog with the attachment, while the vacuum sucks up the hair the brush removes. There are some drawbacks to using these though.
First, you'll likely get better results (in terms of removing dead hair) by using a proper dog brush or deshedding tool, compared with one that is part of a vacuum attachment. Because these are purpose built for deshedding and grooming.
Second, a 2-in-1 brush/vacuum attachment doesn't exactly "vacuum your dog." You're really just brushing your dog, and the vacuum is just sucking up the loose hairs that you remove during the brushing process. And in that case, there's not a huge difference in just brushing your dog normally and vacuuming up the hairs that drop off onto the floor when you're done.
Third, a much more effective solution to removing loose dog fur is with a dog hair blower, not a vacuum, which is why most professional groomers use these. A good bath, blow dry and brushing session is one of the most effective ways to remove loose dog hair.
Either way, if you are going to do this, I recommend using a proper attachment. Because taking to your dog with a vacuum cleaner, without a proper grooming attachment, could end up causing your dog an injury or at the very least, frighten him.
Ways to Minimize Your Dog's Shedding
Virtually all dogs shed, this is a perfectly normal process whereby your dog sheds the old hairs to make way for the new ones. And there are a variety of factors that contribute to how much a dog sheds such as the breed, time of year, diet and their overall health.
So it's not something you can stop, but it is possible to significantly reduce the shedding through simple things such as diet and grooming.
- Optimal diet: Choosing the right food for your dog is key to minimizing shedding. Not only can this have a big impact on your dog's overall health and wellbeing, but a good quality dog food can help improve the condition of his skin and hair. Speak with your vet about selecting the right food for your dog, and consider choosing one that is enriched with things like Omega 3 and other vitamins and minerals, as these may help alleviate the shedding.
- Grooming: The next most important thing for managing shedding is grooming. Bathing with a gentle deshedding shampoo is a great way to loosen up the old hairs and a proper brushing routine is a great way to remove the loose fur from her coat. It's also a good way to spread the natural skin oils, which in turn can help promote a healthier, stronger coat.
If you feel you've tried everything, but your dog is still shedding like crazy, or if you're noticing patchy shedding, it may be worth contacting a qualified veterinarian for advice. Because sometimes shedding can be caused by health issues, fleas, or pregnancy among others.
Vacuums are great for cleaning up the aftermath of your dog's shedding, but the more you can prevent excessive shedding to begin with, the less effort it will take to keep your home fur-free. And, while there are some other great methods you can use, proper diet and grooming are among the simplest and most effective. See our dog shedding guide to learn more.
Dog hair and dander, as much as you may want to stop it, is part of having a dog. But there are some effective ways to reduce it and using a good pet hair vacuum cleaner can make your job of cleaning up the aftermath both easier and more efficient.
I hope you found this post helpful and that you are now in a better position to decide which vacuum cleaner is right for you. Feel free to comment below if you have any questions or if you'd like to share your tips on which vacuum you like best.