Why are dogs afraid of vacuums?

It is a known fact that many dogs are afraid of anything that makes a loud noise. Be it a hairdryer, a power tool, or a vacuum cleaner, they tend to react to it either from the moment it is switched on or from the moment they lay their eyes on it.

But, have you ever wondered why your dog is nowhere to be found when the vacuum cleaner comes out of hiding?

Or maybe your dog is the type that wages war on the machine from the moment you turn it on. At a click of a button, your beloved dog tries to attack the vacuum cleaner or starts going ballistic and barks, growls, or yelps at the cleaning machine. 

Dogs have their reasons for this type of behavior, they feel the need to protect you from this nasty machine, or they are afraid of it.

In this post, we discuss the reasons by giving you answers to why are dogs afraid of vacuums. We also include a couple of tips for how you can help your dog overcome their fear.

Reasons for a Dogs Fear of Vacuum Cleaners

Having dogs that hate the vacuum cleaners is an incredibly common behavior for dogs and a few good reasons too.

Why are dogs afraid of vacuums_ (1)

They don’t like the noise they make

One of the main reasons why do dogs hate vacuums is the noise they make. A dog’s sense of hearing is much more sensitive to loud noises than that of a human; they hear a range of sounds that humans are unable to hear. So, if a vacuum cleaner’s noise is too loud for your ears, you can imagine how your dog must feel. 

Then there are also the high-frequency sounds that a vacuum produces that can scare your dog as well as the sudden onset of this loud noise. Their environment around them goes from relatively quiet to extremely noisy in a split second.

Dogs see this strange looking and extremely loud machine as a danger to both them and their owner. Their instinct is to try to protect you and themselves by attacking the vacuum or to move away from it as quickly as they can.

Vacuum cleaner smells strange to them

While operating a vacuum cleaner on your floors or carpets, it leaves behind strange smells as it lifts the different types of dirt from the floors and into the air. 

Although the smell may not be an issue for you but for your dog it is an entirely different story as they have a heightened sense of smell. Your dog may not be used to these smells and could cause them to react in a particular way around the vacuum cleaner.

So if your dog is scared of vacuum cleaners and it does not make too much noise then another potential reason may be the strange smell coming from the vacuum cleaner.

The suction is intimidating to them

For some dogs, the suction of a vacuum cleaner can be intimidating to them. It is in their nature to sniff the floor for scents and spilled crumbs; they recognize the action of the suction of a vacuum cleaner but are alarmed by the intensity of it.

The vibration of a vacuum cleaner

On occasion, your vacuum will begin to make an unusually loud noise and vibrate. This may be something that has entangled around the brush roll or is blocking the airflow of the vacuum cleaner.

The vibration is something your dog may not be used to causing them to become afraid of the vacuum cleaner.

The strange shape and movement of the vacuum cleaner

To a dog, a vacuum cleaner has such a strange shape. Starting from the size of the machine, the height, and the hose and including all the attachments. A vacuum does not resemble a shape of an animal or a human; it is a shape unknown to them and it moves in mysterious ways that make them afraid.

They have had bad past experiences with vacuums

If you have adopted a dog and you notice that, your dog hates a vacuum cleaner. There is a possibility that their fear of vacuums comes from bad past experiences. The cause may be from a vacuum cleaner getting too close to your dog unexpectedly, turning on the vacuum cleaner while they were sleeping, or even using the vacuum cleaner as a grooming tool. 

Previous owners may also have dished out punishment every time your dog attacks a Roomba. This type of action does more harm than good as it intensifies a dog’s fear for all types of vacuum cleaners.

Tips for how you can help them overcome their fear

Below are three methods you could use to help your dog to overcome their fear of vacuum cleaners. 

  • Vacuum while your dog is out in the garden or is out for a walk
  • Ignore your dog’s fear for a vacuum cleaner; the more you use it the quicker they will become used to the look and the sound of the cleaner.
  • Introduce a quieter vacuum cleaner to your dog a little regularly and give them a treat each time for good behavior

Questions commonly asked

Can I vacuum my dog?

It is wise to take your dog’s reaction to vacuum cleaners into account before vacuuming your dog. If they don’t mind a vacuum cleaner close them or on them, you can vacuum your dog but be sure to use a vacuum attachment for dogs as they are specially equipped to handle dog’s hair.

Why is my dog scared of everything all of a sudden?

A few things could be the cause of your dog becoming suddenly scared of everything around them. Things such as:

  • A sudden illness
  • They are experiencing pain 
  • They were traumatized by something extreme
  • They are suffering from anxiety

What do dogs do when they are scared?

When your dog is scared, there are things that you should do and some that you should stay clear of.

Things you should do:

  • Provide your dog a safe area where they can relax and calm themselves down
  •  Try to distract them from the thing that is scaring them if it is out of your control such as fireworks or thunder.
  • If you can control the thing that is scaring them like a vacuum cleaner, turn it off.
  • Keep yourself calm and relaxed

Things not to do:

  • Do not comfort them the same way you would comfort a scared child, this only makes it worse.
  • Do not punish your dog for being scared.

Understand the reasons why are dogs afraid of vacuums, then choose a way to help your dog overcome their fears. At the end of it all, everyone including your beloved dog will be much happier.

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