Shark Navigator – Excellent Vacuum for Dog Allergies

51epS5eORkL._SL1500_As the owner of a boxer dog with allergies, I’ve learned that some of the best allergy treatments involve good old-fashioned cleaning. I really don’t consider myself to be much of a home maker, and cleaning is usually the last thing I feel like doing during the evenings or weekends, but running the vacuum regularly really does help keep Elsie’s itching down. That along with her allergy shots.

A couple of years ago, we decided to get rid of our clunky old vacuum and buy a more powerful model designed to better filter out allergens. We were drawn to the Dyson vacuums – and came VERY close to purchasing one, but it just was too hard to stomach paying $300+ for a vacuum.

After lot’s a research, and receiving one of those excellent 20% off coupons from Bed Bath and Beyond, we decided to purchase a  Shark Navigator Vacuum (NV22L) vacuum.  Apparently they were widely advertised on late night television, but since I usually only watch Netflix or Amazon streaming now,I wasn’t familiar with the company or their products.

I’ll admit, when I first used it, I figured it would only last me a year and then fall apart. It was so light and made entirely of plastic. It felt like a toy vacuum. But, it was so easy to move around – especially in our old house that had quite a few steps. So, I decided to give it a chance.

I’ve been very pleased with this vacuum. Here’s what I love:

Easy to Clean Filters
With an allergic dog, it’s important that I keep the filters in the house clean – so as not to throw more allergens into the air. The Shark Navigator filters can easily be rinsed out in the sink – I try to do so each week – and then just air-dried over night. Nothing to replace. Just rinse, dry and repeat.

Carpet and Hardwood Floor Settings
We’ve always had a combination of hardwood, tile, rugs and carpeting in our homes. Since I’ve never much enjoyed chasing crumbs and animal hair around with a broom, I absolutely love how easy it is to use this vacuum to clean tile, hardwood and laminate floor.  Just flip the switch to move from hard flooring to carpet and you’ll catch every speck of dirt.

Light Weight
I never much liked dragging heavy vacuums around the house – and I’m not terrible gentle with vacuums. The light weight of the Shark Navigator makes it easy for me to move around from room to room and I don’t cause as much damage when I accidentally bang into tables or floor boards.

Best of all – Elsie does a lot less ear scratching and my house smells so much better after running this vacuum across the floors. It picks up the fur, dust and pet dander and keeps the house looking and smelling good.

If this little vacuum ever dies, I wouldn’t hesitate to buy another Shark Navigator Vacuum (NV22L). It’s a great vacuum cleaner.


Use Allergen-free Cleaning Products to Treat Your Dog’s Allergies.

allergen-free cleaning sprayWhen your dog has allergies and sensitive skin, it’s a good idea to eliminate their exposure to dyes, chemicals and perfumes found in many cleaning products.  It will be difficult if not almost impossible to completely determine if your pup is allergic to the wide range of ingredients found in cleaning solutions.  However, if your dog exhibits allergy symptoms while indoors, chances are high that your cleaning products could be adding to their discomfort.

Use Powder-based Bathroom & Kitchen Cleanser
Most kitchen and bathroom cleaning products come in aerosol or pump spray containers.  Although these sprays make it easy for you to quickly cover large surfaces, they also throw chemicals and perfumes into the air – which could bother your dog.  A great way to avoid these harsh chemicals and perfumes is to go back to the basics and use a good old fashioned power cleanser.  These powder cleansers have little to no fragrance and don’t mist chemicals into the air.

I’m a big fan of Bon Ami Power Cleanser. Not only does it to a great job of picking up soap scum and stains, but it is also gentle enough to not scratch surfaces.  It’s also amazing at removing dried on foods from stainless steel pots and pans.

After using a powder cleanser, your air may not have the “just cleaned’ scent that the perfume-rich cleaning products offer, but your surfaces will be just as clean and your dog may breathe a little easier.

Try Allergen-Free Dusting Sprays
Many traditional dusting sprays have a wide spray range to cover a greater amount of surface area.  While this may make cleaning easier, it also increases the chance that these chemicals could spread into the air and be inhaled by you and your pet.  New allergen-free varieties, like Endust Free, have a more narrow spray area that reduces mist.  Allergen dusting sprays also should be fragrance free, as strong fragrances can trigger allergic reactions in humans and pets.

Sprinkle Baking Soda on Carpets & Rugs
An unfortunate side affect of dog allergies is dog odors.  No matter how often we shampoo Elsie, we find that within days she gets a little musty smelling.  This smell has a way of attaching itself to her dog bedding and our rugs and carpets.

Before I learned about allergies and cleaning products, I used to sprinkle carpet cleaners or use fabric sprays on our rugs to eliminate odors.  Then, I learned that the chemicals and perfumes in these products could actually be contributing to her problems – and also her odors.

Now, the only product I use on our carpets is Arm & Hammer baking soda.  Baking soda neutralizes odors by regulating pH, keeping a substance neither too acidic, nor too alkaline.  Baking soda contains natural ingredients for odor fighting, which means it contains no fragrances or dyes.

Since sometimes the baking soda comes out of the box too quickly, I’ll put it in container with a lid for sprinkling – such as an old spice or parmesan cheese container.  Just clean out the empty container, fill it with baking soda, and you’re ready to start sprinkling over your carpets.

Use Perfume & Dye-free Laundry Detergent & Dryer Sheets
Although some people love the fresh scent that laundry detergent and dryer sheets give their clothing, allergy sufferers often find that the perfumes and softening agents bother their skin and make it hard to breath.  Our favorite brand of laundry detergent is Tide Free & Gentle. It comes in both a liquid and powder form.

Consider washing your bedding and your dog’s bedding with laundry detergents designed specifically for allergy sufferers.  These products contain no dyes or perfumes.  When you wash your dog’s bedding, I’d suggest eliminating dryer sheets altogether.  Your dog won’t mind if there is a little static cling and you won’t have to worry about any of the softening agents bothering your dog’s skin.

Stop Using Commercial Air Fresheners
There continues to be much debate about whether air fresheners contain toxic chemicals that work as indoor pollutants in your home.  In a 2008 University of Washington study of top-selling laundry products and air fresheners, it was discovered that these products threw several different chemicals into the air. Each product contained at least one chemical deemed as toxic under federal law.

Since there is too much unknown about the affects of these chemicals on humans and pets, it would be best to avoid regular use of air fresheners in your home.  Here are some more natural alternatives:

  • Kill odors at the source.  Rather than trying to cover up odors with perfumes, it’s ideal to figure out what the smell is coming from and to eliminate it. If the smell is your dog, then frequent baths are necessary. You’ll also want wash their bedding each week and use baking soda on carpets and rugs when vacuuming.
  • Simmer cinnamon.  A great way to scent your home with little expense is to simmer a few cinnamon sticks in water on your stove.
  • Use essential oils.  Essential oils are an excellent way to naturally scent your home.  You can create your own room sprays or opt to use a diffuser or light bulb ring.  Due to the potency of these oils, you need to be careful to not ingest the oils or rub them directly onto your or your dog’s skin.  Read all directions when working with essential oils.

These are just a few suggestions on how you can eliminate the use of dye and perfume laden cleaning products.  The key is finding more natural methods to clean and remove odors at their source.

Dog Allergy Causes. Air Fresheners and Cleaning Products.

Cleaning ProductsAs you clean you home to eliminate dust and other allergens, you could be causing more harm than good.  Perfumes and chemicals found in air fresheners and cleaning products can often trigger allergic reactions in sensitive dogs.

Many cleaning products today, like dust cleaners, and bathroom and kitchen cleaners, come in aerosol cans or sprays which make it easier to cover large surfaces.  Unfortunately, these sprays are also good at sending chemicals into the air, which can then be inhaled by you and your pets.

Laundry detergents and dryer sheets also contain dyes and perfumes which can harm allergy-prone dogs.  These chemicals can be particularly bothersome if you wash your dog’s bedding – since your pup will be lying directly on these allergen-rich fabrics.

If your dog is itchy year round, particularly after a house cleaning session, you may want to consider changing your cleaning products to those which are more allergy-friendly.  We’ll discuss more allergy-safe cleaning options in our Allergy Treatments section.