Dog Blow Drying

Full Title: Dog Blow Drying

Author: Anita H. Pitts

Date of Publication: April 8, 2017


Research Paper Text:

If you have a wet dog, either because you washed the dog or because your dog got him/herself wet somehow, you will want to dry the dog. There are different types of dryers to choose from. In addition, to choosing the right dryer, provide a safe, calm and nurturing environment.

All dog dryers put out a certain amount of air flow – usually measured in CFM (Cubic feet per minute). CFM is simply a measurement of how much air is being delivered over a certain period of time -in this case, One minute. Think of a box that is 12″ x 12″ x 12″. That would be one cubic foot of air. A blower that gave you 1 CFM would fill that box up in one minute. A dog dryer that delivers 80 CFM would fill up 80 of those boxes in one minute. That’s called air volume. Air volume dries by evaporation. Much like a summer breeze would dry sheets on a clothes line.

The second measurement to look at in a dog dryer is air pressure. This is important in a dog dryer (and this is why a standard hair dryer does not work very well!). Air pressure gets the water out of the fur. The higher velocity a dog dryer has, the faster it will get the water off the dog by penetrating the coats of fur. Usually air pressure is measured in feet per minute (FPM) of air flow. CFM is converted into LPM (Linear Feet per minute) by the design of the blower, hose and nozzle all working together as an engineered set.

If you are drying dogs in a normal temperature room, then there is no need for a dog dryer with an auxiliary heater. The dryer will take in room temperature air and discharge the same or slightly higher air. In most dog dryer designs, the incoming air is directed over the motor thereby cooling it. Therefore, there is a slight temperature rise in the incoming air. This is normally not excessive and is considered safe. While heated air would aid in the drying of the dog, it is strongly recommended that you do not use any dog dryer with an auxiliary heater element. The risk outweighs the reward. A dog left unattended with a heated dog dryer is in danger of hyperthermia (body overheating). Yes, it may take extra time to dry a dog without super-heated air, but the safety of the dog should always come first in a professional salon and for any home grooming.

Hand-Held Dog Dryers

The least expensive “dog dryers” are simply hand held hair dryers made for humans and now labeled as “dog dryers”. Basically these are very low volume (about 10-18 CFM) and very low pressure with some sort of temperature and fan control. Advantages are that they are cheap; disadvantage is that you will be drying a large dog all day and it usually has a heat element that can burn the skin.

Low Pressure Dog Dryer

This is your typical “cage dryer” and, in a similar design, is used to dry carpets. It consists of a large blower wheel developing lots of air flow at a very low pressure. Some of these come with auxiliary heaters and controls. We do not recommend that cage dryers be used with heaters of any kind or fashion. There is too great of a risk of overheating the dog if left unattended. If you keep your location where you are using cage dryers at a comfortable temperature, there really is no need for the cage dryers to have heaters. There are numerous reports of dogs overheating and dying due to heated cage dryers. Do not use heated dryers and do not let your dog be groomed by use of a heated dryer!

High Pressure Dog Dryers

These are sometimes called “forced air” dog dryers and are the most efficient dog dryer for removing water from the outer and inner coat. Most of the forced air dog dryers do not have auxiliary heaters and any forced air dog dryer you may be looking at should not have a heater. The high velocity air flow that these dog dryers produce help in penetrating the thick coats and remove the water efficiently. Care must be given when using these high pressure dog dryers near sensitive parts of the dog (eyes, ears, orifices). Also, be careful not to use high pressure on frail or older dogs around their hearts and kidneys. Always take in consideration the age and condition of the dog before drying the dog. The big advantage of the forced air dog dryers is time-savings.
The variable speed dog dryer can remove the water from the outer and inner coat efficiently with its high velocity and then, simply by dialing down the speed, can act as a low-pressure dryer to gently dry the sensitive parts of the dog. It should be noted that variable speed dog dryers should never be run at a very low speed setting for longer than a few minutes at a time since the motor requires air volume to cool itself. Be sure to specify that the dog dryer have an internal high temperature safety switch (known as a thermal protector) to safeguard the dryer at low temperatures.

Canine’s hear much better than humans do, over four times greater to be precise. The frequencies that dogs hear are much higher and lower than what humans can hear. Because of this, dogs have a difficult time with very loud noises. Sounds that may be acceptable to you can be uncomfortable to a dog. Remember to keep the setting on low air flow especially for first times and protect the ears from the noise of the dryer, with cotton balls. If your pup gets nervous or anxious, you should stop. The goal is to create a positive drying experience.

How does pet massage fit in with drying your dog? First take the role of the pack leader, then ask for permission. Even though the dog may not give it to you, it shows that you can be trusted. As we know, pet massage helps develop trust and relaxes the dog. The dog learns to accept, appreciate and encourage touch. When introducing the dryer to a dog always have one or both hands (use of a hose holder helps) on the dog during drying process. I recommend a forced air dryer, set variable speed on low and find a starting point. Usually anywhere caudal on the dog is best. It may take many drying sessions before the dog will tolerate being dried, especially around the face and paws. Patients, breathing, touch and Buddha smile will go a long way to a successful dog drying. Before long the dog will associate the blow drier with a massage. What dog doesn’t love a pet massage!

Anita H Pitts
Dog Handling by Monika Bernhoffer
Art & Essence of Canine Massage
PetMassage for Dogs by Jonathan Rudinger

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