I’ve been singularly fortunate in that I’ve never had a problem with fleas on any of my dogs. I touched on this a bit in 9 Things to Consider When It Comes to Fleas on Your Dog, in which I suggested that since I’ve lived in all kinds of different areas and had many different dogs, maybe there’s something about me that repels fleas. After all, I seem to be the only common denominator.
Whatever the reason, though, I’m just thankful, because I know a lot of people who find getting rid of fleas to be a constant battle. One such person recently asked me if I thought vacuuming would get rid of fleas.
The Effectiveness of Vacuuming on Fleas
I wasn’t sure. I figured that fleas might be able to live inside a vacuum cleaner bag for a while, but without food, they’d probably die. What about the eggs, though? How long might they live, and would they be able to hatch once the contents of the vacuum cleaner were dumped?
As it turns out, a study done by researchers at Ohio State University has proven that using a flea vacuum for dogs (and cats too, for that matter) will actually kill fleas at every life stage.
Fleas actually have several life stages. In the adult stage, they latch onto an animal in order to drink its blood. They also lay their eggs in the animal’s hair, and those eggs end up being transferred to bedding, furniture, carpets and so on. In about 14 days, the eggs hatch and the young insects grow into larvae. In the final larval stage, they spin cocoons, and in another week or two, new adult fleas come out of the cocoons to begin the whole nasty cycle again.
The Ohio State University Study involved vacuuming up groups of adult fleas as well as groups of larvae and pupae from a piece of carpet, and the results were pretty amazing. 6 separate tests on adult fleas revealed that on average, vacuuming killed 96% of the fleas. 3 separate tests on pupae and 1 on larvae resulted in 100% mortality.
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How Does Vacuuming Kill Fleas?
Researchers admitted that they weren’t really sure, but since the purpose of the experiment was to identify new, non-chemical ways of killing fleas, the experiment was deemed to be a success. One theory is that the brushes and strong air currents wore away the waxy outer layer on the insects, and caused them to dehydrate and die. In other words, the cuticle of the insect couldn’t stand up to physical abuse.
By way of full disclosure, the study was funded in part by a manufacturer of vacuum cleaners, and only that company’s model was used in the test. Research team member Glen Needham believes, though, that any model will do the trick, stating “No matter what vacuum a flea gets sucked into, it’s probably a one-way trip.”
Choosing the Best Flea Vacuum for Dogs
Certainly, this is good news for people who already know that they have to vacuum their home to get rid of stray fleas and eggs, but who would also like to have a simple, cost-effective method of killing fleas that doesn’t involve potentially harmful sprays, flea baths, and collars.
So, let’s take a look at some of the best vacuum cleaners for eliminating fleas. Each of the vacuums we’ll talk about is ergonomically designed, so it’s easy to get into nooks and crannies. Some can only be used on floors (so you’ll still have to give your dog a flea bath from time to time) while others have attachments that you can use to vacuum your dog directly. Here they are, in no particular order.
1. Lithium Flex Vacuum
This 20-volt cordless offering from Black and Decker is a very easy to use flea vacuum for dogs. It’s light weight and no problem at all to carry around, and it comes with its own charger. The flexible hose makes it very easy to clean around and beneath your furniture, and there’s even a special pet brush that you can use on your dog. It’s not hard to tell that Black+Decker had pet owners in mind when they created this awesome vacuum cleaner!
2. Anker Robovac 10 Self Docking Vacuum
This is a robotic vacuum cleaner that will definitely make your life a lot easier. All you have to do is charge it and turn it loose, and it will make use of laser and GPS technology to clean your floors without harming your walls or furniture. It’s equipped with a spiral brush that gets very close to the walls and into corners, working to pick up dirt, hair, fleas, mites, ticks and just about any other bug that could possibly invade your home. Then, once it’s done, it returns automatically to its charging station to get ready for the next cleaning session. The only down side to this handy little device is that it only works on floors – not on stairs or furniture.
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3. SKG 1500 W Steam Vacuum Cleaner
If you’re looking for an amazing steam cleaner, but don’t want to spend a ton of money, consider the SKG 1500 W. It sells for under a hundred dollars, but it’s not short on features. One thing that pet owners will really appreciate is that, unlike many steam cleaners, you don’t need any chemical solutions to operate the SKG 1500 W – just plain water is all it takes to deep clean, deodorize, and get rid of fleas and ticks as well as their eggs and larvae. It comes with 6 different attachments, so you can get under furniture and into corners, and any other places where nasty insects might like to congregate. It comes with reusable, washable pads that can be used on carpets or any type of flooring (even hardwood!). It’s also lightweight, so you’ll have no problem carrying it around the house.
4. BISSELL 9595A Corded Vacuum
Bissell has long been a respected name when it comes to vacuum cleaners, and it’s easy to see why, with the Bissell 9595A. It works very well as a flea vacuum for dogs, because it’s very light and easy to carry over stairs. With a variety of attachments, you’ll have no trouble getting under your furniture or cleaning your upholstery. It’s very powerful, too, so you won’t have to expend a whole lot of time and energy going back and forth, back and forth… in fact, you’ll probably find that you can clean your floors in a single pass. It comes with a washable, reusable filter, too.
5. Eureka Mighty Mite Canister Vacuum
For under a hundred dollars, you can own the Eureka Mighty Mite, which was manufactured specifically with pet owners in mind. It weighs under 9 pounds, so it’s very easy to carry and maneuver. You can use it on any surface – vinyl, tile, hardwood, carpet, etc. – and it comes with a number of attachments that are designed with your pets in mind, to reduce dander, hair, fleas, ticks, and mites. The HEPA filter also works to remove pollen and other allergens, and the Arm & Hammer® dust bag takes care of those troublesome odors that go along with our beloved pets.
6. Dyson Ball Multi Floor Upright Vacuum
This offering from Dyson is a bit more on the pricey end (a bit under $400), but it’s well worth the money. Dyson has put this machine through literally thousands of tests to ensure ease of use and superb cleaning action, and it’s made specifically with pet owners in mind. If the idea of handling a flea-infested vacuum cleaner bag troubles you, you’ll love the fact that all you have to do is press a button to detach the canister – then just take it outside and dump the contents in your trash can or compost bin. There are attachments that you can use to clean under your furniture, on your walls, and anywhere else that fleas and other pests are known to hide. The filter only needs to be cleaned 3 times a year, and the suction is nothing short of awesome!
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7. Hoover Wind Tunnel Bagless Vacuum
This is one of the highest rated vacuum cleaners at Amazon.com, and with good reason. The suction is powerful and continuous, and the Hoover Wind Tunnel will pick up even the tiniest dirt particles. It’s very easy to handle, so you’ll have no problem getting into nooks and crannies. It’s highly effective on carpets of any height since it’s adjustable, which is a very important concern when it comes to choosing a flea vacuum for dogs.
8. Dyson V6 Cord Free Vacuum
Here’s another great vacuum cleaner from Dyson, and this one is available for under $300. It’s cordless, so you’ll never have to worry about finding an electrical outlet. When charged, you’ll enjoy powerful suction for a full 20 minutes, and with the stiff-bristled motorized cleaner head, you probably won’t even need that much time. It brings fleas, their eggs, and their larvae right to the top of even the thickest carpet pile, but it’s also gentle enough to use on your hardwood floors. It’s also very lightweight, at just 5 pounds.
9.Shark Rotator Professional Lift-Away Vacuum
This vacuum cleaner is a godsend for anyone looking for a flea vacuum for dogs. It’s equipped with a HEPA filter to reduce allergens, and rotator technology to deliver deeper cleaning. It also features swivel steering, so you’ll have no trouble getting into hard to reach areas. It has a 30-foot cord, too, so you won’t have to keep unplugging it and plugging it back in all the time. The Shark Rotator also comes with a set of premium pet accessories and tools, and it’s very quiet – something most pets will definitely appreciate! And as if that’s not enough, it even comes with LED headlights so you can use it outdoors at night, and indoors in areas that don’t get a whole lot of light.
10. Soniclean Bare Floor Pro Canister Vacuum
The Soniclean Bare Floor Pro has a sealed HEPA filter to eliminate allergens and pollen, and the 1150 W motor is deadly when it comes to suction – you’ll have no difficulty vacuuming up pet hair, dander, and any other crud that your dog might bring into your home. It has soft rubber wheels, so you’ll never have to worry about damage to any type of flooring, and it comes with an assortment of attachments for cleaning furniture, curtains, lamp shades and more. It’s also very quiet.
So, there you have them – 10 of the best flea vacuums for dogs. Of course, there are others out there, but I simply wouldn’t have room here to review all of them. This should give you an idea of what to look for in a flea vacuum for dogs, though.
Best Flea Vacuum for Dogs On Amazon
The Final Word
So, can vacuuming kill fleas? Apparently, it can, and now we know, thanks to the researchers at Ohio State. With the right flea vacuum for dogs, you can throw away flea collars and chemical sprays, and make do with just the occasional flea bath. If you’re using a vacuum cleaner on your dog as well as on your furniture and floors, you might even be able to dispense with flea shampoo. Just proceed carefully at first, since not all dogs are receptive to being vacuumed – with patience and treats, though, your dog might actually end up looking forward to it!