Can I Vacuum Fleas Off My Dog

Most every dog owner encounters them eventually. Fleas are the bane of dog-loving humans and all their furry pets. Doubtless, if you’ve ever had to deal with these pin-head sized pests before then, you’ve heard that vacuuming up is an absolute essential. However, you also probably know already that tiny fleas can be a shockingly resilient nemesis, returning time and again. Often they come back just when you thought you’d finally seen the last of them. So maybe the old vacuum trick doesn’t do much good after all. Until recently, no one was certain, but I just encountered some new evidence that will clear up the flea-dog-vacuum question.

Can I vacuum fleas off my dog? You can vacuum the fleas off your dog. New evidence from Ohio State University researchers has shown that the suction does enough damage to kill fleas in all their life stages. There are even specialized vacuums designed for use on animals. 

Vacuums on Fleas

Experienced pet owners, groomers, and even vets will tell you to vacuum everywhere a dog has been if they have fleas. It’s common knowledge. Always pay extra attention to the areas where your dog spends the most time.

Once fleas find your dog, they feed on his blood. Females require blood to produce eggs so that they can begin the lifecycle. They are an infestation that won’t go away until you make sure it does.

The eggs will fall off your pooch, landing in bedding, and getting everywhere from the grass outside to the tiny cracks between floorboards. The same thing that makes the pests so challenging to get rid of is also why vacuums are so useful. Sucking up all those eggs means the next generation has a harder time laying in wait.

Do Vacuums Kill Fleas

Until recently, no one had ever done a study to see if the vacuum truly kills the fleas it picks up. The good news is that evidently, it does. Unfortunately, they still don’t know why.

The Royal Appliance Manufacturing Company, which makes vacuums, including the one used for this study, funded the research team at Ohio State University. They sucked up fleas in all of their life stages.

Adult fleas died from the experience about ninety-six percent of the time. Meanwhile, the three larval stages, including cocoons and the eggs, all died a hundred percent of the time. That’s a pretty impressive track record.

Regardless of the result, it should be noted that a single study is not typically considered absolute proof. Researchers only used one vacuum cleaner, and they didn’t do any post-mortem work to see what exactly killed the fleas.

How Do Vacuums Kill Fleas

The working theory is that suction force from the machine itself strips fleas of their protective outer layer. This leaves them to dry up and die. Then again, it could be that getting caught up in all the pressure and swirling tosses the parasites around enough to scramble them inside their carapaces.

Although the answer is far from complete, it’s a good start toward proving the idea scientifically. Separating fact from fiction helps create better products and treatments. Moreover, a vacuum is a fantastic safe, and chemical-free solution, as long as it works, that is.

You probably don’t need a special vacuum to get rid of fleas. However, since most upright vacuums are powerful enough to hurt your dog, I suggest you use one that’s compatible with dog-friendly attachments. When you need dog-safe vacuum parts, the Penn-Plax Pet Grooming Attachment Kit will help you get rid of those nasty pests and unwanted dog hair at the same time. You can get yours from Amazon by clicking here

Dogs & Vacuums

Almost as well known as vacuuming to control fleas is the fact that dogs often dislike vacuums. Barking, growling, raised hackles, and cowering are all common reactions. Though some dogs aren’t bothered by the strange machine and its noise, many more are confused and upset by them.

Happily, you can train a dog to enjoy vacuuming time. However, before we get to that, there’s something important I need to point out. The average vacuum cleaner with regular attachments is far too powerful for use on your dog. You could hurt them and break their trust trying to convince them it’s good for their fur.

I suggest the BISSELL Pet Hair Eraser HandVac. Having a portable, cordless dog vacuum is a good idea anyway since it can reach the car. You can take yours on trips, or keep it handy at home for easy, fast grooming. To check prices and availability, click here

Train Dogs to Like Vacuums

If training your dog to handle a full-sized vacuum hasn’t worked for you yet, it’s alright. Patience and proper training methods will win out in the end. While a smaller and more portable option might help you acclimate your pooch to the bigger machine in the long run, don’t give up.

Your dog is probably hesitant because they don’t understand cleaning. Nor do they ‘get’ why you bring out a super loud, imposing-looking thing that makes you behave and move strangely.

Steps to Teach Your Dog About Vacuums

Start introducing and acclimating your pooch to the vac by leaving it around in places they go all the time. Near their bed, and the middle of the living room are good options. Let your dog sniff it and spend a few days getting familiar with its presence.

Once your pet doesn’t mind having a vacuum around, start by moving it slowly where they can see it. Using a leash to keep your dog in the room can be helpful at this phase. You don’t need to make big moves. Take your time and let the dog see you push the machine around. If they don’t bark or otherwise freak out, give a treat, but if they do, then stop.

After your dog has spent some time watching you interact with a vacuum and learning to associate it with treats, you can move on. It’s best if you can enlist some help when it comes time to turn it on. If you can sit with your dog and some treats, it’s better than when you have to walk back and forth between a plugged-in vacuum and your dog.

Reward A Good Dog

Both methods work with enough time and gentle understanding. It will probably take longer if you have to do everything yourself, but your dog will come around. Although it might take days, or even weeks, if the fear is extreme, persistence and praise work wonders.

When you finally reach the point where you can begin vacuuming your dog, make sure to start small. A few seconds at a time is more than enough. Give them a treat for doing well and start again. Shoot for three to five minutes the first time.

I prefer to do my training with special treats, especially when a dog is working through fear. Primal’s Organic Chicken Nibs from Amazon make a good reward. I like that they’re organic and made in the USA. You can find some for your pet by clicking here


Preventing & Treating Fleas

You can’t dog-proof the world around you. Nor can you avoid every potential problem your favorite Fido might encounter. Still, it’s vital to do whatever you can to prevent these potential disease carriers from getting into your dog’s coat and your home.

You can always contact your vet about a flea treatment if things get out of hand. Yet most dog owners prefer to take care of the problem at home since they have to clean the whole house anyhow. A good anti-flea shampoo will help.

Unfortunately, it can take as much as three months to completely clear your home of an infestation. As awful and drawn out as that sounds, it’s far worse when you have to go through it. Fortunately, there is one simple thing you can do to help prevent fleas and ticks all year.

Get your dog, and any other animals that live with you, a high-quality preventative collar. I use the Seresto Flea and Tick Collars from Amazon since that they last eight months. Since I never see fleas on my pets, I can vouch for how effective they are in my home. Plus it’s convenient when you only need to change a collar once or twice in a year. You can find out more about these superb, pet-safe, pest-killer collars when you click here

Final Thoughts

A vacuum is a very effective tool in the battle between dogs and fleas. However, the best vacuum cleaner in the world doesn’t prevent the parasites from latching onto your dog. You should always do what you can to avoid this pervasive problem pest instead of cleaning up after them.

Unfortunately, like their fellow parasites the ticks, fleas can do more than merely annoy you and your best furry friend. As plague carriers, they spread disease. Keeping yourself and all the animals you love safe and healthy means never letting a problem like fleas go unchecked.

More than just a few bites and some extra vacuuming time, fleas can (in extreme cases) kill your dog. Always see a vet if your dog has fleas and any other symptoms.

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