Hair, dander and fleas can be a fact of life when you share your home with a dog or cat. So which vacuums can rise the the occasion?

All vacuums suck – literally! But can they all pick up animal hair before it forms dust bunnies under the furniture or gets adhered to your upholstery? Are they powerful and versatile enough to suction up a range of particle sizes, from tracked dirt or cat litter, to animal dander and flea eggs?

Vacuuming is a regular chore for any homeowner, but if you have dogs or cats, it needs to be done more frequently. The trick is to find a vacuum cleaner that works properly.

8 steps to making a selection

  1. Purchase the highest powered machine with the best suction and air flow you can afford. Hair, fleas, flea eggs, and microscopic animal dander can be notoriously hard to pick up.
  2. Choose a model that will easily reach under furniture, and that comes with a selection of attachments for cleaning upholstery and baseboards, and for getting into corners. Hair and fleas often accumulate in dark, out-of-the-way areas where there’s little foot traffic.
  3. Think about your ability to push and maneuver a vacuum cleaner around. If an upright is too heavy for you, consider a canister model where you only have to handle the brush and hose.
  4. Ask to turn on and listen to the noise level of the vacuum. The louder it is, the longer your cat will hide and the more your dog will bark at the machine!
  5. Purchase a sealed filter machine. You don’t want hair to go up the vacuum nozzle and back out the filter system into the air.
  6. Does the vacuum or its bag “poof out” some of its contents when you remove or empty it? Newer models have bags that seal to eliminate this problem.
  7. Will the vacuum bag hold fleas – or allow them to climb back up the hose after the machine is shut off?

Care and maintenance

Whichever vacuum you buy, take care of it so it will continue to do its job properly.

  • Read the manual and follow the instructions for care and maintenance.
  • Clean the vacuum’s rollers after every use.
  • Once air flow is restricted, the machine loses suction power.Keep hoses and filters clear of hair and other debris.
  • Tired, worn-out brush bristles no longer do the job right. Replace brushes as needed.
  • If the machine has a bag, check it regularly to make sure it’s not getting too full.
  • Some bag less machines trap animal hair in the containers and cause fine particles of dust to end up on the filter. Check these filters regularly and clean or change them as needed.
  • Prior to vacuuming, give the room a quick sweep with a rubber broom to collect excess animal hair – this will help extend the life of your machine.

The future is here!

Robotic vacuum cleaners, once the realm of The Jetsons, are now a real-life option. They’re a viable choice for those who are squeezed for time or find vacuuming physically difficult. They’re not noisy, and don’t miss any spots the way humans often do. They’re also designed to glide easily underneath most furniture – a lifesaver for bad backs.

Cats and dogs find these robots entertaining and less threatening than regular vacuums – you may seen the YouTube videos of Max the Roomba Cat, nonchalantly riding around his home on a robotic vacuum while wearing a shark costume!

Prices for robotic vacuums vary, depending on the make and model, and range from around $250 to $800.

The right vacuum can make a world of difference when it comes to cleaning up after your dog or cat. It’s worth making the extra effort to get the ideal model for your animal-centric household!