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Can I use a hairdryer on my dog?

Can I use a hairdryer on my dog?

You just finished giving your dog a bath. You toweled them dry, and then let them go outside. The first thing they do is roll in the grass, undoing all your hard work. One way to prevent this is to dry their hair. This raises the question, can you use a hairdryer on your dog? 

Can I use a hairdryer on my dog?

The short answer is yes, you can use a hairdryer on your dog. There are different types of hairdryers, and they work in different ways. 

Why You Should Dry Your Dog’s Hair

First, let’s look at why you should dry your dog’s hair in the first place. Drying isn’t really a problem for short coated breeds. Just use a dry towel, and their fur is nearly dry. It will then air dry quickly. 

However, if your pooch has long hair or a double coat, you’ll need to dry their hair for a few reasons. The moisture created by wet hair can cause hotspots. These often occur in hot humid weather. 

The combination of warm temperatures and moisture are the perfect breeding ground for bacteria and fungi. These microorganisms will grow on your dog’s skin, creating an infection. This infection appears as a lesion that is red and itchy. Hair loss on the lesion is common as well. 

Preventing your pooch from getting dirty after a bath is another reason to dry their hair. Dogs naturally shake and roll on the ground when they are wet to dry themselves, and remove the strange clean smell on their coat. 

When their hair is dry, they are less likely to roll on the ground. A dry coat will also pick up much less dirt than a damp one. 

Lastly, you may want to dry your dog’s hair for cosmetic reasons. Have you ever had your hair air dry in a way you didn’t like? Whatever the position the hair is in when it drying tends to be the position and shape that it takes when dry. 

This is why women will roll their hair when it’s wet, or put it into braids or a bun. Once the hair is dry, it’s released to reveal beautiful curls or crimps. This same process can cause your dog’s hair to dry in a cowlick or other unattractive position. 

Human Hairdryer

The most well known type of hairdryer to the average human is the type we use on our own head. These hair dryers contain a heating element and a fan. When in use, the hairdryer blows hot air, which dries your hair. 

You can use this type of hairdryer on your dog, but you must use caution when doing so. You’ll learn how to use a human hairdryer in the next section. 

Forced Air or High Velocity Dryer

The most common type of hair dryer designed for dogs is a forced air dryer. Instead of drying the hair with heat, it uses air pressure. As the air hits the hair, the force of the air essentially pushes the moisture out of the hair. 

Cabinet or Cage Dryer

Even dogs with a thin coat can benefit from having their hair dried. However, forced air dryers aren’t appropriate because thin coats do not require the high pressure air that thick coats do. 

Some forced air dryers come with settings that can allow you to use it on dogs with thin coats. However, a cabinet dryer is also ideal for dogs who are scared of hair dryers. It works slower, blowing low pressure air over your dog while they are in their crate. 

This method can take a bit longer, but it doesn’t require constant interaction from you, since your pooch is in their crate. Do not leave it unattended, however. It doesn’t work well for long-haired or double-coated breeds, because the pressure can’t reach all of their fur. 

Standing Dryer

A standing dryer sits on a stand, as the name suggests. This type allows you to style your dog’s hair while it’s drying. If you want to give your dog a specific style, instead of just ensuring their coat is dry, this is a great option. 

It also leaves your hands free, so you can care for their coat, or perform other tasks while they are drying. Just as with the cabinet dryer, you shouldn’t leave your pooch unsupervised while using the dryer. 

How to use a hairdryer on my dog?

How to use a hairdryer on your dog will depend partly on which type you choose to use.

Towel Dry the Right Way

No matter what method you use to dry your dog, it starts with a good towel dry. Many owners make the mistake of rubbing the towel vigorously against their dogs’ fur. This doesn’t work well, and creates tangles that you’ll have to brush out. 

Instead, drape the towel around your dog. Now press and squeeze the area lightly. Think of the way you would dry a stain from the carpet. You would push down on the towel, allowing it to soak up the liquid. You shouldn’t move it back and forth, because it will only cause the stain to spread. 

Work your way around your dog’s coat in this way. If one area of the towel gets wet, move to another area of the towel or get a dry towel. 

Human Hair Dryer

If you want to use your own hairdryer on your pooch, you’ll need to do so carefully. When drying your own hair, you move the hairdryer when it starts getting hot. Your pooch can’t use words to tell you things are heating up. Instead, you may not realize there’s a problem until they get burned and begin to whine. 

Keep the hairdryer a few inches away from your dog’s fur. Be sure to move the dryer frequently so the heat doesn’t concentrate in one spot. Keep the temperature setting on low. 

In addition to the risks of burning your pet, too much hot air can dry out their skin. A low heat setting paired with the fan on high should do the job. If you turn up the heat, be sure to keep the dryer moving to avoid drying their skin. You should also use this method sparingly. Once every 2 weeks or once a month won’t harm your dog. However, if you are bathing them once a week or  more, you’ll need to go a different route. 

Forced Air Dryers

Forced air dryers don’t rely on heat, but that doesn’t mean they don’t come with the option. Some groomers recommend using a forced air dryer on a warm air setting. After all, you don’t want cold air blowing on you when you are wet from a shower. Why would your pooch?  

Warm air can be comforting and pleasant for your dog. Use a low heat setting. You can also use cool air intermittently to keep your dog’s skin and fur from overheating. 

Don’t Overdry

Some groomers recommend getting your dog’s hair completely dry. However, many say that it’s not necessary. Some even believe it can damage your dog’s coat. The general consensus is that you should get your dog’s hair almost dry, and let it complete drying indoors by airdrying. 

Brush While Drying

This can be difficult with handheld dryers, but it is possible. You can also stop for a moment to brush your dog’s hair, and then resume drying. This keeps your dog’s hair where you want it, and prevents mats from occurring. 

How do I desensitize my dog with a hair dryer?

Some dogs are scared of hairdryers. Others are simply nervous and unsure,  especially if it’s their first time. The good news is that you can desensitize your pooch to the hairdryer. It just requires some time, patience, and treats. 

Start Slow

It’s best to introduce your dog to the dryer before you give them a bath. In fact, do so a few days before you will need to use it to dry their hair. Turn the dryer on the lowest setting. 

Allow your dog to see and hear it run before you aim it at them. If they seem calm and comfortable, you can allow the air to hit them. 

Watch for signs of distress. If they seem nervous or upset, move the dryer away from them immediately. 

Use Treats 

Offer your dog a treat while the hair dryer is running. If they tolerate it, allow the air to hit them while they enjoy their favorite treat. This will help them see it as a positive experience. 

Don’t Push 

The key to desensitizing your dog is to avoid a very negative experience. This is why you want to move the dryer away at any sign of distress. Dogs have a strong associative memory. This means they will remember the dryer, and associate it with a positive or negative experience. Keep the interaction positive, and they will soon learn to love the hairdryer. 

How can I dry my dog fast?

There are a few ways to dry your dog, and not all of them involve a hairdryer. Which is right for you will depend on your dog and the situation. 

Air Dry

Air drying isn’t ideal for dogs with thick coats, but it’s a fine option for thin coated pooches. You can also allow your dog to sit in the sun, preferably indoors, so they don’t get dirty. The heat from the sun will dry their hair more quickly than it would otherwise dry. 

Towel Dry

Towel drying is another method you can use to dry your dog. It’s not the fastest, but it is faster than air drying. 

To use this method, you’ll need to be sure the towel is dry. Once it gets wet, grab a fresh towel. You can also use microfiber towels, which have a greater absorbency. You can purchase these especially for dogs, but the ones you use to wash your car will also work well. 

Hair Dryer

Hair dryers are a tried and true way to dry your dog’s hair quickly. Just be careful when using heat on your dog’s coat. 

Human hair dryers and forced air dryers are the most common types used by pet owners. The other types are usually used by groomers. They are typically more expensive, and are designed for professional use. 

Quick Dry Spray

Quick dry spray works by changing the tension of the water in the hair. This makes it easier to remove the water. The easiest way to think of it is the spray helps the water to slide off the hair, which allows it to dry faster. 

Groomers and pet owners say that the spray can decrease drying time by 50% when used before using a hair dryer.