Guest Writer: James Hall
As a dog owner, you probably feel like you could spend all day cleaning yet still have a home covered in hair. Some dogs shed throughout the year, so removing hair is a continuous battle. For this reason, having a powerful pet vacuum is essential.
But what’s the difference between a regular vacuum and a “pet-friendly” one? Dog hairs get caught around carpet or upholstery fibres. This makes them difficult for most vacuums to remove – especially ones with weak suction or brush bars.
In contrast, pet-friendly vacs make short work of hair stuck in carpet, laminate or hard floors. They also often come with tools for cleaning furniture.
Unfortunately, many brands label their vacuums as “pet-friendly” – but not all actually are. Here are some simple tips for choosing a pet vacuum that will make cleaning your home faster and less stressful.
Decide on a Type of Vacuum
The most common types of vacuum are cordless, upright and cylinder. The best type for you depends on the size of your home, how often you want to clean and whether you have staircases.
For most people, an upright vacuum is the best choice for dog hair. As the floor head is attached to the main body, they have a powered brush bar to dig deeper into carpets. The downside is that uprights are difficult to use on stairs and often have a small capacity.
If you want a vacuum that’s convenient for quick and regular cleanups, a cordless can also be a good choice. These vacuums have a limited battery life and small dust capacity, but are great for easy clear-ups. If you have the budget, the Dyson V8 Absolute is one of the best cordless vacuums for pet hair.
That doesn’t mean you should ignore cylinder vacuums though. While they aren’t as good for large areas of floor, some come with powerful floor heads for removing dog hair. They are also more convenient to use on stairs and in tight spaces than uprights.
Don’t Rely on Suction Power Alone
Strong suction power is vital for a pet vacuum, but it’s not the only factor – especially on carpets. If hairs are caught in fibres, a vacuum needs a strong motorised brush bar to remove it. Most pet vacuums come with a brush bar that’s designed to remove dog hair, so you’ll spend less time going over the same patch of carpet.
Some vacuums also come with brush bars that are easy to remove for maintenance. This is useful if your dog has long hair, as the bar is likely to become tangled.
Look for an Effective Filter
Dog dander (dead skin cells), saliva and urine can all cause allergic reactions. When you vacuum with a poor-quality filter, many allergens escape back into the air. This can trigger symptoms such as sneezing, a runny nose and red eyes.
Even if you don’t suffer from an allergy, an efficient filter is still important for providing clean air. The best are HEPA filters, which can catch particles that are too small for a regular filter to remove. Bagged vacuums are also better for preventing allergens escaping, as they can be emptied without coming into contact with trapped pet dander and dust.
Additionally, if your home has a “doggy” smell after cleaning, you might want to buy a vacuum with an active charcoal filter. These absorb odours so your air smells fresh and clean.
Choose a Vacuum with a Mini Motorised Attachment
Most pet vacuums have a motorised brush bar on the primary floor tool, but these are difficult to use on furniture. A standard hose also won’t be effective at removing hair that’s caught in upholstery.
For this reason, look for a vacuum that comes with a miniature motorised tool that’s designed for upholstery, curtains and other fabrics. These smaller tools are also useful for cleaning stairs.
Bonus Tip: Clean Little and Often
Even with the best pet vacuum, you’ll still need to clean your home regularly to avoid fluff and hair building up. It’s best to clean little and often, as this allows you to catch hair before it becomes deeply ground into carpet fibres.
Trying to clean dog hair can be a nightmare – especially if you have a large pet. Owning a high-quality pet vacuum can save you time and effort, while providing relief from carpets covered in hair.
When looking for a pet vacuum, the most important considerations are suction power and a strong brush bar. It should also have an effective filter and include a miniature turbo tool for stairs and furniture.
About the Author: James is a writer specializing in home improvement and DIY. In his free time, he enjoys hiking, camping and biking with his family (including two beautiful golden retrievers). You can also find him on Twitter.