Why are dogs so afraid of vacuum cleaners?

Kövess Péter

2023. November 25 - Photos: Getty Images Hungary

Dogs generally react with aversion even at the sight of a vacuum cleaner, and they may respond with extreme behavior when the machine is turned on. According to the veterinarian, who says they have good reason for it.


When the dogs hear the sound of the vacuum cleaner, they often hastily flees from it, or, on the contrary, start growling and barking. According to veterinarian Dr. Andrea Bodó, the simple explanation for this is that dogs have much more refined senses than humans.

Many dogs are afraid of vacuum cleaners.

The noise and vibration caused by the vacuum cleaner have a distinctly unpleasant effect on their sensitive ears. Moreover, the dog finds unfamiliar sounds frustrating. This is why most dogs are also afraid of thunder and fireworks.

From here, it’s not difficult to imagine why they might retreat from the vacuum cleaner. They perceive its sound as threatening, so their instincts dictate that they should flee from it.

Their fear may be further heightened by the machine’s unusual movement, as they may not necessarily realize that it is being controlled by their owner.

The vacuum cleaner can also disturb the dog’s sense of smell

During the movement of the vacuum cleaner, a larger amount of dust and various odors may be released, which can be unpleasant for a dog with a sensitive nose. Some experts suggest that the suction effect generated by the device adds to this, reminding them of sniffing.

This can be uncomfortable because the vacuum cleaner forcefully draws in air, creating further uncertainties.

It is rare that a dog tolerates the sound of a vacuum cleaner well.

How to handle dogs’ fear of the vacuum cleaner?

Some suggest gradually getting your pet used to the vacuum cleaner, as they may eventually realize that it doesn’t pose a real threat. However, Dr. Andrea Bodó doesn’t believe in this approach, as the root of the problem lies in the dog’s sensitive hearing, which is unlikely to change.

The best approach is to give them space to retreat while we vacuum. If there’s a garden, you can simply let them out, or ask someone to take them for a walk. This way, you can spare them the whole ordeal

– says the veterinarian.

According to the vet, very few dogs tolerate vacuuming well. Some may try to play with the machine. But for most, the tendency is to either attack it or flee from it.

Therefore, if the vacuum cleaner induces stress in your pet, try to be considerate and avoid forcing it upon them!

dog fear vacuum cleaner vet veterinarian why

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