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The material on this page is from:
Start Your Own Self-Serve Dog Wash, and How To Trim Your Dog's...Nails! And Why You're Probably Dumber Than Your Dog, both by David A. Grass. It may be used only with permission.


[For more information, see the books listed above.]

I do not recommend high-heat dryers (see caution below). Instead, use forced-air models designed for dogs. These powerful dryers produce a large, high-speed volume of warm air. Some heat (typically around 90-100º F or so at the nozzle in a room-temperature location) is generated by compression and motor heat rather than heating elements.

High-heat dryers can be dangerous!  Every year there are dogs and cats that are seriously injured and killed by improper use of these appliances. You do not want that happening at your facility!

The following covers why dryers with heating elements should be avoided in a self-serve facility. It will also help you explain why you do not provide them, when customers or potential customers ask questions about this:

While professional groomers may use special heated dryers on some dogs in some circumstances, they are not recommended for general drying and should not be used by the average person. Your customers will not be professional groomers, and you will not want to have their pets, or your business, put at risk by providing this type of equipment.

Not only are high-heat dryers not very good for the coat or skin, they also can overheat the animal to the point of causing heat exhaustion or heat stroke. Some states and cities/towns have regulations regarding the use of these dryers in grooming facilities. They are sometimes required to be equipped with timers that automatically shut them off after a certain period of time (e.g., 15 or 30 minutes).

Dogs are not human beings. There are physiological differences that people often forget about or are not aware of. While humans can comfortably dry their hair with high-heat blow dryers, it may not be so comfortable for a dog, and its body may not be able to cool itself enough. This also applies to hot water—while we may find a hot shower or bath quite comfortable and relaxing, a dog can be distressed under the same circumstances.

A dog’s hair is denser and different than ours, and their bodies are not covered with cooling sweat glands and pores as ours are. Moreover, we only dry our hair in one relatively small spot on our heads, while dogs are dried over their entire bodies. Additionally, whereas a dog’s fur protects it from cold, that same fur also insulates it from excessive external heat (remember that even desert-dwelling mammals are covered with fur). Therefore, when too much heat penetrates the fur, the dog’s body may no longer be able to maintain a safe temperature.

How comfortable would we feel after even a few minutes of extremely hot air being blown over our entire bodies on a warm day, or even a cool day? The bodies of people who ignore warnings on hot tubs not to stay in the water too long, can become overheated. And such tubs are cool compared to heated dryers that can put dogs at even greater risk.

There is a common misconception that dogs are dried by the process of evaporation. Evaporation is part of the process, but the major effect of high-volume dryers is that they literally blow water from the fur.

Some individuals insist on drying their pets with blow dryers designed for people, because they believe that major heat is so important to drying. Actually, these appliances dry much slower because the volume of air is vastly insufficient. It is all about quickly moving a great deal of air. High-velocity/volume dryers without heating elements, are both faster and safer than those extremely low-velocity/volume, high-heat units.

Dryers typically come with a long flexible hose and attachments such as a concentrator (for the most powerful air flow to a concentrated area), groomer rake (brush-like end to rake through fur while drying), and air flare (limits tangling of long thin hair by flattening and spreading out the air flow). There are also cage dryer attachments that allow dryer hoses to be attached to cages.

Some dryers have intake filters that should be occasionally replaced as they become dirty. Allowing these to become clogged may reduce the performance and life of the dryer. Regularly remove hair that accumulates on the outside of the intake, as well.

© Copyright, David A. Grass,
Start Your Own Self-Serve Dog Wash, 2001.
How To Trim Your Dog's...Nails! And Why You're Probably Dumber Than Your Dog, 2003. All rights reserved.

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