Can I Vacuum Fleas Off My Dog?

By John Martin - November 14, 2023

Vacuuming the dog

As a pet owner, the thing you probably dread the most is flea infestation. These tiny, pin-headed blood-sucking parasites can be a complete nuisance that not only irritate your furry pooch but also infest your home.

And, every time you try to get rid of them, they just keep coming back. So, the question is, how can you get rid of fleas and keep them off? Can you vacuum fleas off your pooch?

Why Are Fleas Harmful?

Fleas burrow into your dog’s fur and feed on their blood. Flea bites can cause allergies in your pet, red, irritated and flaky skin, intense scratching, hot spots, scabs and hair loss. While flea bites can be extremely irritating, they can also cause serious problems such as anemia, tapeworm and flea allergy dermatitis, which is why flea prevention and control are extremely important.

And, while usually, fleas live off the blood of animal hosts, according to the CDC, when there are no animals around, they can even bite humans, transmitting disease-causing germs via fecal contamination or feeding on their hosts.

Can I Vacuum Fleas Off My Dog?

While there are many ways by which you can get rid of fleas, often, pet owners ask, “can I vacuum fleas off my dog?” Yes, you can use a vacuum to get rid of fleas off your furry pet.

According to research studies by Ohio State University, it has been seen that the vacuum suction is sufficiently powerful to cause damage to the fleas and even kill them in all the stages of their life. Nowadays, there are specially designed pet vacuums that can vacuum fleas from dogs.

If your pet spends a lot of time outdoors, then there is a high risk of them getting fleas. And, even if he spends most of his time indoors, your pet can catch fleas from another dog that he comes in contact with. It is also possible that humans may carry fleas on their clothes, which can get transferred to your pooch’s coat.

So, if you notice your pet scratching himself a lot, he probably has a flea infestation and the easiest and quickest way of getting rid of the fleas is by vacuuming your pet. Using a vacuum with the proper attachments can help to clear the flea infestation completely and effectively.

Does Vacuuming Kill the Fleas?

As mentioned earlier, according to the research study done by Ohio State University, it was seen that vacuuming fleas in all their stages, whether larva, pupa or adults, kills them.

It was seen that around 96% of the adult fleas, which were sucked into the vacuum were killed, while 100% of the larvae and pupae died when sucked into the vacuum.

The fleas probably die because of the powerful air currents, fans and brushes of the vacuum cleaner. The brushes destroy the waxy cuticle on the fleas that hold water and keep them hydrated, without which they get dehydrated and die.

How Often to Vacuum Your Dog for Fleas?

The type of coat and fur your pooch and how much he usually sheds will determine how often you need to vacuum your dog. If your pet has a dense coat that sheds a lot, then he may need to be vacuumed more frequently, around 2-3 times in a month and during the shedding season, you can increase the vacuuming frequency. If your pet does not shed a lot, then using the vacuum on him once a month is enough.

Are Dogs Scared of Vacuums?

While some dogs are not bothered by vacuum cleaners, many are afraid of them and may growl, bark, raise their hackles, run off or cower in the corner when you turn on a vacuum. This is probably because the vacuum cleaner makes a high pitch sound that may irritate or scare your pet. Also, dogs have sensitive ears and the loud sound the vacuum cleaner makes may seem even louder to your furry pooch.

Dogs may also be scared of vacuum cleaners because of the odors from the device. Your pet has a highly-developed sense of smell that may cause him to get confused by the several odors picked by the vacuum cleaner when it sucks up all types of dirt and debris around your home. There are a few ways by which you can change your pooch’s perception and train him to enjoy vacuum time.

Getting Your Pet Used to the Vacuum

Using a regular vacuum cleaner with the standard attachments may be too powerful for your pooch and can hurt them, causing them to dislike vacuuming even more. So, it may be a good idea to use a smaller and portable machine at the start to vacuum your dog and once your pooch has been acclimatized and is comfortable around a vacuum, then you can switch to a larger machine.

It may be a good idea to expose your dog to a vacuum from when they are younger, which will ensure that they will not view the machine as a threat and be comfortable around it. However, if you have an adult dog, then you can start by familiarizing your pet with the vacuum by bringing the machine into the room and let it lie around in different places for a few days without turning it on.

This will ensure that your pet becomes familiar with the presence of the vacuum cleaner and is not alarmed by it. Once your pooch is comfortable with the vacuum, then turn it on at a distance away from your pet. Gradually move the machine closer to your pet until he is comfortable around the running vacuum cleaner. Praise your dog and give him a treat each time that he remains calm and does not run away when you turn on the vacuum.

Make sure to start slowly when vacuuming your pooch, around a few seconds at a time. Stop and give him a treat before starting again. Try to vacuum him around 3-5 times the first time and then, when your pet is absolutely comfortable, you can increase the duration.

Choosing a Pet-Friendly Vacuum

When purchasing a vacuum for your pet, make sure that the model is quiet and will not alarm or hurt your pet when you’re vacuuming him. Using a regular vacuum with a standard attachment may hurt your pooch’s skin because of the high suction level.

So, ensure that the model you buy has pet-friendly attachments that are gentle on your pet’s skin and fur. Also, look for a pet vacuum cleaner that has an allergen filter, which will help to capture all the pet dander when you vacuum your pooch.

Advantages of Purchasing a Pet Vacuum

In general, pet vacuums are more expensive compared to regular vacuum cleaners; however, as a pet owner, you may find that investing in a pet vacuum is worth the extra money that you pay for it for many reasons, including:

  • Pet vacuums come along with specialized tools that can help to remove dead hair from your pet’s fur and coat effectively and because these tools are specially designed for pets, they will not harm your pooch’s coat and skin.
  • Vacuums designed for pets usually come with better filtration systems that trap up to 99% of the pet dander, allergens, fleas and other debris.
  • Pet vacuums usually come along with auto-seal bags, which prevent the allergens, fleas, etc. from being released into the air when you empty the vacuum cleaner.
  • The biggest problem faced by pet owners who use vacuums to clean up pet hairs is that the vacuum hose gets clogged, which does not happen in the case of pet vacuums because they are more advanced and are specially designed to clean pet hair.

Other Ways to Get Rid of Fleas

While vacuuming the fleas of your pooch is one way of getting rid of them, other methods can be used to get rid of fleas as effectively. Using mild soap and warm water to wash your pet is a good way to get rid of minor flea infestations.

You can use an anti-flea shampoo on your pet while bathing him, a flea comb to remove the fleas from his coat and fur, topical liquid applications and even pills to treat flea infestations. And, if all these methods fail, speak to your vet about an effective way to get rid of fleas.

However, an important thing to remember is that if your pet is infested with fleas, the fleas lay eggs on your pet’s coat, which can drop off onto your furniture, carpet and other places where your pet goes. And, even if you successfully get rid of the fleas from your pooch’s coat, the eggs remain around your home and when they hatch, there will be another infestation.

So, to get rid of the fleas and their eggs effectively and prevent a reinfestation, it is recommended to vacuum your entire home thoroughly to remove all the flea eggs that may be lying on your furniture, carpets, floors, etc.

When you have finished vacuuming your entire home, empty the contents of the vacuum bag into a sealed bag and then dispose of it outside your home.

Also Read: How Long After Flea Treatment Can I Bathe My Dog?

Wrapping Up

While there are many ways to get rid of fleas in case your pooch has a flea infestation, the idea is to get rid of them effectively and prevent them from coming back. A pet vacuum is an excellent, chemical-free and safe tool that can help to rid your furry friend of fleas effectively and keep your pooch healthy and happy.