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Pet lovers understand that there’s nothing like a furry friend to keep you company. But then shedding season arrives, and you’re wearing more of your pet’s hair than he is. You find it on your sofa. You find it in your coffee. You find it in little dust bunnies on the hardwood floors.

Don’t let your cat’s or dog’s fur take over your home. We’ve compiled our best tips for how to choose the best vacuum cleaner for pet hair, including information on the best robot vacuum for those who want a little convenience. We also have some great tips on other ways to reduce the fur storm in your home so you can get back to enjoying your pet.

Best vacuum for pet hair on carpet

Most vacuum cleaners that are worth their salt are also good for pet hair. But some models stand out for features that are especially important in a home with a shedding cat or dog. We’ve compiled a list of the top vacuum cleaners for pet hair by budget.
  • Best vacuum for pet hair under $150: The Eureka NEU180B is less than $100 and is surprisingly powerful for its small price tag. It’s an upright vacuum but is only 12 pounds, so it’s easy to use frequently (which you know will come in handy all through shedding season). It has an extra-large capacity dustbin to hold all of that fur.
  • Best vacuum for pet hair under $300: The Shark Rotator Powered Lift-Away TruePet Upright Vacuum sits right at $300 and is also one of our top overall picks for vacuums. It comes with a mini brush attachment meant for pet fur and also has anti-allergen seal technology specially designed to reduce the dander in your home. Its LED lights make it easier to see the little hair dust bunnies under your furniture and in the corners of your home.
  • Best vacuum for pet hair under $500: At $400-$500 depending on the model, the Dyson Animal 2 Upright Vacuum is the best on the market. It has an allergy filter, incredibly strong suction (Dyson says it’s the strongest on the market), and easy maneuverability to get under all the furniture where Fido likes to hide. You can also use this vacuum cleaner’s special attachments to remove fur from your furniture and even your clothes.

Best robot vacuum for pet hair

    • Truthfully, robot vacuum cleaners can’t compete with classic upright vacuums for removing pet hair from the carpet. But the right robot vacuum can handle some of the workload for you so you don’t have to vacuum every single day. We found two models that are ideal for pet owners.
    • Best robot vacuum for pet hair under $300: The Proscience 790T comes in at $260 and has several features that make it ideal for a pet-friendly home. It has a built-in filter and a stronger motor than most robot vacuums at similar price points. It also has a mop feature that can help clean up pet accidents and stains on hard floors.
Best robot vacuum for pet hair under $500: The iRobot Roomba 890 is a great option for pet owners. It’s about $400. It has a built-in filter to reduce allergens caused by pet dander. It also has an auto-adjust feature that senses the height of the carpet or floor and adjusts accordingly for a nice snug vacuum, ensuring even suction across surfaces.

How to vacuum your dog

This definitely doesn’t work for all dogs, so only try it if you have a laid-back pup that is obedient. You can vacuum your dog by using a hose on an upright or canister vacuum cleaner. Some companies sell a pet attachment to attach to the hose, or you can try the upholstery attachment that came with your machine.

Get your dog used to the vacuum cleaner gradually by letting him sniff it when it’s turned off. Then turn it on and set it down near him, offering him treats for coming near it. Do this over several days if needed; the important thing is to get him accustomed to the vacuum without being afraid of the loud noise or mysterious suction.

After he’s used to the vacuum’s sound, pet him while gently vacuuming across his back. You can use the hose with no attachment or use the upholstery attachment, whichever he prefers. Be careful to avoid his face, ears, tail, and underside (and his paws if he’s sensitive about them). Reward him generously with his favorite treat frequently as he sits still for you.

Many dogs actually come to love being vacuumed and come running each time they hear the vacuum cleaner turn on. Others never learn to love it, and that’s okay, too! You can use other strategies if your dog won’t let you vacuum him.

How to get dog hair out of a car

We’ve all been there: Your dog rides in your car one time, and the car looks like a fur bomb went off in there. Or maybe you never let your pet in the car, but somehow his hair magically appears anyway. Once the hair is in your car, it’s difficult to remove. Something about the fabric in many vehicles makes it much harder to remove pet fur from it than from other fabrics; the fur just sticks to it and gets embedded like Velcro.

Before you get too desperate, try using the upholstery attachment on your upright or canister vacuum cleaner. If you have a handheld vacuum, you can try that as well, though most of them don’t have enough suction power to remove pet fur. A few vacuum cleaner brands have a special attachment for pet hair, and that may work as well. You can even purchase a pet hair attachment from the pet store from brands like FURminator; just be sure it’s compatible with your model of vacuum cleaner.

If the vacuum doesn’t cut it, you can purchase a specialty glove to remove fur from your car; this is what many auto-detailing professionals use. You simply put the glove on and rub it across the fabric, picking up the fur as you go. The gloves themselves can be hard to clean, but you’d probably rather have a furry glove than a furry car.

Another option is to try using a boar hair brush to gently brush the fabric on the floorboards. It might scratch up leather seating, so be sure not to use it there.

Some people swear by using Velcro-style hair curlers to remove the fur from floorboards.

Other tips for shedding season

Whether your pet is blowing his coat or sheds year-round, these tips can help keep the fur out of your carpet and minimize how often you have to vacuum in the first place.

  • Wash your pet, especially if it’s a dog. Weekly baths help loosen the undercoat so that it comes off easier during brushing. Use a gentle pet shampoo, using your fingernails to massage it all the way through his coat. Use your hand or a special fur-removing glove to coax as much of his fur off of him as you can while he’s soaking wet. Then apply a gentle pet conditioner and rinse it off, again using your fingers to brush through his coat and remove as much loose fur as possible. Rub him down with a towel and then, if he allows it, blow dry his coat on a warm or cool setting while brushing.
  • Have your pet professionally groomed. Long-haired pets especially benefit from a trim or even a shave in the warm months. This leaves less hair to adorn your carpets.
  • Brush your cat or dog every day. Train your pet to sit still while you brush him with a curry brush, and reward him with treats and lots of love when he does well. Most pets learn to love this time with you, and it’s also great for their skin and circulatory system.
  • Once a week to once a month, use a tool specially made for shedding, like the FURminator deShedding Tool for cats or dogs. These tools remove more loose hair with each swipe than a standard pet brush, so you can spend less time brushing and more time playing.

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