Top Vacuums For High-Shedding Dogs
As pet owners, one of the biggest challenges we face is trying, futilely, to keep our homes clean. As someone with three dogs and three cats, this can be a constant battle between them and the weather. Rainy days are always a bit foreboding. I chose to write this article to highlight some of my own experiences with automatic vacuums, standard vacuums, and other floor care items such as carpet cleaners.
As I started to write this, I mentally added up how much money I have spent to keep my floors in tip-top shape. And I have to say; I think it’s around $1200. Granted, this is over several years, but we’re at the point where we have a Roomba, Dyson, Hoover carpet cleaner, and Shark Steam Cleaner. Our Dyson, by far, has been the best of the bunch as it will consistently get the job done. The Roomba saves us a ton of time and energy keeping up with the floors and lets me go about a month without having to pull out the Dyson, which is wonderful.
Below, I’ll share some of my tips and reviews on the best vacuums and cleaners that will keep your home free from tumbleweeds (for at least a day, anyway).
Ten years ago, I would have laughed at the idea of a robot vacuum being a successful tool for picking up the dog hair that’s deeply embedded in the fibers of my carpet. Roomba’s were always something that sounded too good to be true and came at a high price tag.
My perspective changed entirely a couple of years ago when I saw a killer sale on Black Friday. So, I bit the bullet and gave it a shot. All the while being mindful of the return policy and how I could send it back in case it didn’t work.
Flash forward a couple of years, and my Roomba is still going incredibly strong. Since we have carpet throughout most of our living areas, it became such a pain to pull out the vacuum every day. Our Roomba runs twice a day and picks up everything in his path (which means I have to pick up all of the lingering dog toys to help his efficiency).
Here are some of the best automatic (robot) vacuums that will pick up every clump of dog hair and save you a ton of time –
Pros: (Our recommendation, works like a charm)
- Superior suction strength
- Wi-Fi Connected and works with Alexa/Google Home
- Works well on both carpets and hardwood
- Automatically syncs with Braava mop for full-performance cleaning
- Ocassional need to clean hair from bristles for optimal performance on carpet
- Needs to charge in between cleanings
- Self empty feature is great for homes with a lot of hair build up
- Room-by-room cleaning feature
- Strong suction power
- High capacity storage canister
- High price point
- Functions the same as the Roomba i3 but with less bells and whistles
- Consistently receives bad reviews
- Consistently voted the best get-the-job done robot vacuum
- Works great on all surfaces
- Less suction power than the i3
- Doesn’t have home mapping capability, meaning it won’t clean one specific room at a time
- Can fill up fast
Since I moved into my first apartment with Coco, I’ve had to combat Aussie hair on every surface imaginable. At the time, I was a broke college kid who was just trying to buy something affordable that would hold up to what I needed. So, I bought whatever Bissel “pet” vacuum they had at Walmart, and off I went.
Well, that lasted a good 3 months before that noxious “vacuum” smell started to overwhelm my tiny apartment. A couple of weeks after the smell started, it just decided one day not to turn on. I thought, “well, maybe I should get the *nicer* Hoover pet vacuum and shell out $150”. So, I did. And that one lasted for about 6 months before breaking just like the cheap-o one I had.
So, I said screw it. I’m buying a Dyson. It came with a warranty and had thousands of positive reviews. And boy, has my Dyson been a workhorse for the past 8 years. I have NEVER had a problem with it beyond having to clean out the brushes every year or so. Granted, it’s basically in retirement now that we have the Roomba, but when I do my monthly once-over or need to clean up a mess rather fast, it never fails to impress.
My advice to any pet owner is to make the leap and get a substantial vacuum with a good warranty. I recommend Dyson simply based on my long-term success with mine, but there are others out there that hold up just as good. Now, to end my rant, I’ve combed through Amazon and even reached out to my Instagram audience to see what has worked best for them. Check out these reviews below –
Pros: (Our Recommendation – our older model is still going strong 8 years later)
- Highest rated vacuum on the market
- 10-year warranty
- Superior suction power on any surface
- Needs occasional maintenance (cleaning out brushes/canister)
- Middle of the road price point
- Lightweight yet still has a large canister capacity
- Easy-to-use hose attachment to clean up hard to reach areas
- Clogs easily
- Short power cord
- High suction power specifically designed for homes with pets
- Top-notch quality with a proven track record of durability
- 60 minute battery life before recharging
Carpet & Steam Cleaners
While we are on the topic of clean floors, I realized I should include some of my recommendations for both carpet cleaners and wood floors. Since I have both in my house, I have both a carpet and regular flooring solution to clean up muddy paw prints and random vomit instances.
The carpet cleaner I’ve used for the past two years is the Hoover Smartwash. I like this one as I had an issue with the previous model, and Hoover sent me a new one at no charge. Using their warranty was easy, and I didn’t have to wait more than five days to get the new one delivered. I clean our carpets about every two weeks, especially given the puppy accidents that were happening right when we got Kashi.
For our “vinyl” floors, I’ve been using a Shark steam cleaner, and I’ve had it for about five years now. It works well on both hardwood and tile, although you may sometimes have trouble getting into the grout.
Pros: (Our recommendation – have only had ours for a year, however)
- Pulls up dirt from deep within carpet fibers
- Dries quickly and doesn’t leave a residue
- No odor while operating
- Cleaning solution can add up over time
- Water tanks are small, meaning you may have to dump dirty water several times during use
Tips of Desensitizing Your Dog to the Vacuum
While I’m at it, it’s worth noting some tips to get your pup used to the presence of the vacuum and establish a positive association with it. The best way to do this is to introduce them to the concept of the vacuum slowly. Let them smell it, walk by it, and just notice its general presence. Reward them for any positive interaction by saying “Yes!” and giving them a treat or round of tug.
Slowly introduce them to the movement of the vacuum by moving it around while it’s off. If you have a herding dog, you may need to work on “Leave it” as they tend to try to “herd” the vacuum while it’s moving. It’s cute at first but can be incredibly annoying when you’re trying to clean up dirt they tracked in on a rainy day.
After they are comfortable with movement, begin by turning on the vacuum for a moment and then turning it off. Reward them for accepting the noise and continue to increase the duration it is on for but be aware of your dog’s comfort threshold.
If you have a dog who is absolutely terrified of the vacuum, it may be best to keep them in a separate room or their crate while you are cleaning. You can try to run the vacuum far away and have someone with your dog reward them for being calm while they can hear it running. Slowly reduce the distance between the noise and your dog as they become more comfortable. You can also slowly introduce them to the vacuum in the same way as discussed above, just at a more conservative rate.
When looking for a vacuum when you have a ton of pet hair to contend with, it’s always important to do your research and pick the best one for your needs. I’ve set up this guide based on my own experiences and input from friends and family. For all other products, I noted that the reviews are based on online customer reviews.