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Why Are Dogs Scared of Vacuums?

Christen da Costa Profile image

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Updated June 27, 2022

So, why are dogs scared of vacuum cleaners? It’s a fair question and one that every pet parent will ask themselves if they have a canine companion. Most dogs are fearful of vacuum cleaners, even if you’re just quickly cleaning the stairs. But, there are a variety of reasons for this. However, some of the top-rated vacuum cleaners have features that could help with this problem. Helping your dog cope with their fear is crucial to maintaining a healthy mindset for your furry friends. Because let’s be honest, it’s so darn hard to clean a carpet without a vacuum cleaner.


  • Dogs can be scared of vacuum cleaners for various reasons, and understanding your dog’s specific fear is key to helping them through it.
  • Aggression is dangerous and should never be tolerated, so if your dog shows aggression toward the vacuum, it’s time to involve a professional behavior specialist.
  • There are several ways to help your dog cope through vacuuming, like desensitization and establishing a positive association.

Why Are Dogs Scared of Vacuum Cleaners?

The age-old question of why dogs are scared of vacuum cleaners is a popular one. It’s almost as popular as the question “Where should I store a vacuum in an apartment?” Most folks will find themselves wondering what fido is so worked up over whenever your favorite cleaning tool comes out. There are some pretty logical reasons behind this, however.

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The Reasons for Vacuum-Related Fear

Dogs are scared of vacuum cleaners for a variety of reasons. While what they think most of the time can feel like a mystery, you’ll find that simple explanations can and do exist. Understanding canine behaviors can take you one step closer to a happier companion and, in turn, a more comfortable household. Speaking of comfort, did you know that installing a central vacuum in your home is a good investment if you have high levels of pet dander?

These are the most common explanations to help you better understand your dog’s mindset.

Vacuum Cleaners Are Noisy

The number one reason your dog is probably fearful is due to an emotional response to the vacuum monster. Or, what they think is a monster, anyway. Loud noises can be distressing to dogs since their sense of hearing is so much better than ours.

Vacuums Can Mess With Sense of Smell

Dogs have a keen sense of smell. That’s why they’re able to help us do things like locate missing people and keep illegal goods out of airports. Vacuums release a lot of scents into the air that they could be reacting poorly toward.

They Might Be Having a Prey or Herding Response

If you have a hound or similar type of hunting breed, you might notice that they display aggression toward the vacuum. This could be a reaction based on a prey response rather than out of fear alone. You should never tolerate aggression as it can cause injury to your vacuum, dog, or even yourself. Herding dogs might also be acting on herding instinct, which is different altogether.

Helping Your Dog Through Vacuum Anxiety

You can make a difference in your dog’s relationship with vacuum cleaners. There are a few different fear mitigation techniques you can use and professionals you can trust. Here are the best ways to help:

  • Consult your veterinarian and see what suggestions they have
  • Use desensitization techniques under the supervision of a professional
  • Seek out an experienced, trusted behavioral specialist for support
  • Put your dog in another room when you vacuum to mitigate fear
  • Give them an easy escape route so they can leave if they want to


How to treat a vacuum cleaner phobia?

The dreaded vacuum cleaner can cause even the calmest of canines to lose their minds. This can sometimes involve a full-blown phobia, which should always be handled under the watchful eye of a behavioral specialist.

Help! My Dog is Scared of the Vacuum Cleaner, What Can I Do?

There are a lot of things that you can do to help calm your canine. Establish a positive association with the presence of the vacuum by giving lots of treats and understanding when they’ve reached their sensory overload limits.

Are Dogs Afraid of Robot Vacuums, Too?

While they might be quieter, robotic vacuum cleaners can still cause a dog to throw a fit. Sometimes it’s just since they move around autonomously, which can be scary for a dog. This is even truer for small dogs that might see it as a threat.

What Do I Do If My Dog Attacks the Vacuum Cleaner?

The first step is to separate your dog from the room you’re vacuuming. Aggressive behavior can lead to dangerous situations for not just your dog but also you. A professional trainer must treat aggression sure you get to the root of the problem and solve it.

STAT: So, considering a dog can hear sounds at lower decibels than humans (below 0dB), imagine how loud a vacuum cleaner is that often registers around 75dB, according to Yale University. Now consider your vacuum, which emits many high-pitched sounds. (source)

Christen da Costa Profile image