December 17, 2009
| by Stephen Hopkins
Not all reviews can be high-end home electronics and automation gadgets. When the opportunity arose to review the PetVac dander control system, I actually jumped on it because my wife and I have been battling our part chow/part golden retriever Libby’s shedding for over 5 years. Her chow side gives her a dense undercoat while the golden retriever causes that fur to be longer and shed more easily. This combination leads to bi-weekly vacuuming that still doesn’t prevent a thin layer of Libby from covering the house.
The word “PetVac” first led my mind to wonder of some great new way to get the daily Libby deposits off of our carpet, furniture, and bedding. When I opened the box, I realized that was only half of the story. While a velour lint brush attachment was included, which did a decent job with lifting surface shedding from upholstery, it turns out that shed prevention is where the PetVac makes its distinction.
The PetVac system includes two different grooming tools designed to eliminate shedding before it happens, along with an extra long (15’) vacuum hose. That extra-long hose gets the vacuum out of sight, out of ear-shot, and out of mind from your pet. This minimizes fear or skittishness many pets can show towards loud noises or moving objects. Libby is particularly skittish and easily scared, but the extra long cord allowed me to place the vacuum two rooms away and she never flinched from the noise.
The two grooming tools included perform two distinct tasks. The soft grooming brush allows you to suck away loose surface hair that would quickly make its way from your pet to some other surface in your home. Its round shape and short rubber “fingers” help it slide through pet hair with minimal resistance. While it collected plenty of hair from Libby’s coat, it didn’t really pull out anything a normal brushing would have missed. The convenience of the shed being sucked away is nice, but no miracle either.
The included Shed Eliminator takes a much more aggressive approach to shed prevention. Its long metal teeth arranged perpendicular to the path of motion grab deep into your pet’s undercoat, pulling out not only completely detached shed, but loose hairs that may not yet be completely detached from their follicles. If your pet is sensitive to pulling from a brush or sheers, the Shed Eliminator isn’t for you. Libby didn’t mind much on her back and legs, but on her underside and belly (where her coat gets shorter, exposing more skin) the teeth had just a bit too much bite and caused some mild irritation. If the teeth were a bit shorter or a bit less sharp this might not be an issue, but could also prevent it from digging so deep into the dense back hair.
Even with some mild irritation on her belly, Libby didn’t really mind a 20-minute session with the Shed Eliminator. The vacuum canister also got a workout, filling with about as much hair as we get in a vacuuming of our entire house. That workout did, however, decrease the volume seen in later whole-house vacuuming by about 50%.
The Shed Eliminator seemed to be performing as advertised … something worth noting for an “As Seen On TV” product. With some repeat use, practice, and knowledge of your pet’s sensitive areas, you can pretty much eliminate irritation, too.
If you decide to purchase the PetVac system, do it for the Shed Eliminator. The other tools are nice, but nothing revolutionary. The Shed Eliminator does its job surprisingly well and with a bit of practice, can do so with no irritation or annoyance to your pet. PetVac packages range from $20 - $30 + SH and are worth the low point of entry as long as your pet isn’t sensitive to pulling hair.
Stephen Hopkins is chief technology editor for EH Publishing. He writes product reviews, features, and focuses heavily on 3D TV, iPhone and iPad apps, and digital content.