Drying a dog: easier said than done

Those who come from the Belgian region West Flanders are undoubtedly familiar with the expression: "There’s more to it than hair cutting”. This means as much as: it is not all that easy. A quality drying process consists of several steps and proper drying requires a lot of discipline and patience. At Transgroom, we are happy to give you advice on how to optimise your drying process. After washing, it is important to first make sure that the coat is towel dry. Finished? Then it is time to start working with different dryers.


More power to you

The first important step is to blow out as much water as possible from the coat in as short a time as possible. A dog's coat can sometimes absorb a lot of water - it still amazes me every day! Working with a blaster, which is a high-velocity dryer, and blowing out the coat completely is very efficient. To dry properly it is essential to have a good dryer that produces a lot of air. The amount of air per minute that a dryer produces is a decisive factor. A blaster has a powerful motor that blows air into a hose. At the end of that hose is a concentrator nozzle that increases the air speed to give extra power. This makes it easy to blow the water out of the coat. The more cubic metres or feet of air per minute (CFM) the dryer produces, the faster the dog will dry. The wattage of the dryer is less important. Drying with a blaster creates heat. This is air that is warm but certainly not hot. Hot air damages the coat and will certainly not shorten the drying time. Even more so: the dog will be uncomfortable and will experience the drying as unpleasant.

Because a blaster is so powerful, you need a firm grip and good control over the direction of the blow. Are you a less experienced groomer? Then it is often the case that you do not have full control over the blaster yet, resulting in a lot of noise, hairs and products that are flying everywhere or your colleagues getting showered. 😉 If possible, we therefore recommend that you provide a separate washing and drying room in your grooming salon. This will be more pleasant for you, your colleagues and your four-legged customers.

Depending on the type of coat, not only the water gets blown out of the coat, but also the undercoat. This is the case, for example, with woolly coats and dogs that moult or shed. The power of the blaster will blow out the loose undercoat. Your drying technique determines how the coat will look. The more relaxed and structured you blow out the hair, the better your result will be. Take time to do this properly. No doubt you are wondering if there are specific dryers that are ideal for a particular type of coat. The type of dryer plays a role, as does the type of nozzle. If you want to blow dry a long-haired dog using a blaster, it is especially important that you use a flat (rectangular) nozzle to make the hair nice and straight. With long-haired breeds, if you use a round nozzle on your dryer, you will inevitably get hair tangles because you are creating knots in the coat, which is far from the desired result! On the other hand, with short-haired, woolly and voluminous coats it is recommended to use a round nozzle. By doing so, you can blow the coat open, add volume and achieve a better end result. Do you want an optimal result? Then we recommend using a blaster and a stand dryer in combination.


What to do with anxious dogs?

A blower often makes a lot of noise and creates a lot of airflow. Puppies, older dogs and dogs that are not used to a dryer can sometimes react with panic to a high-velocity dryer. The dog's fear is often caused not only by the noise but also by the air produced. Especially when there is a lot of blowing on or around their head, face and ears this can cause panic. By using an Ear Buddy, the ears are closed off and protected, and no air and noise can enter.

In this way, you can keep the anxious dog calm and reduce stress caused by environmental factors. Do certainly not stop drying, as you will feed the panic! And be sure to stay calm yourself. If you remain calm, then the dog knows that he can trust you and he will automatically become calmer too. Does the dog really not allow that you dry his head with a blaster? Then we recommend a dryer on a stand. This kind of dryer has less power, so the dog will be calmer.

Once you have blown out about 80% of the coat with a blaster, it is time for the next step: drying the coat and turning damp hair into dry hair using a standing dryer. Using a stand dryer, you are doing two operations simultaneously, drying and brushing. Target the dryer at one specific area of the coat. Where the dryer blows the hair dry, you brush it out completely. Do this until the coat is dry in that area. Once you have dried and brushed out one part of the coat you can move on to another. By proceeding in this way you can blow open the coat nicely and make it straight and fluffy.


Help, I’m short-handed!

In a busy grooming salon, good time management is crucial. If you are short-handed, a professional cabin dryer is a dream solution. Using a drying cabin for dogs frees up extra time. By using a cabin you can work more efficiently, groom more four-legged clients in a day and increase your profitability! The important thing is that you need to reschedule your daily planning in this case. If you schedule one appointment after another, a cabin dryer will save you little time and will not be profitable. Make sure that the appointments are scheduled faster in succession and that they, where possible, overlap. In the beginning it may take some time to find the best way to work with a cabin dryer, but every highly frequented grooming salon can use one! It saves every groomer a lot of time and stress and is ideal for older dogs, puppies and dogs that have physical difficulties to remain standing.

I myself have postponed the purchase of a cabin dryer for a long time in my grooming salon. At the time, I was not convinced that it would be profitable. In the end, the postponement of my purchase was unjustified. There are still many wild stories going around. Does my dog turn around in it? Can't a dog get burnt? Isn't it frightening for dogs? All these prejudices could not be further from the truth. Most dogs find it super to be dried in a drying cabin and they really enjoy it. To get the best results we recommend to blow out the coat first with a blaster and then let the drying cabin do its work. In the meantime you have your hands free for other dogs!


Structure is key

A cabin dryer helps you to dry the coat evenly. Don't have the possibility, desire or need to buy a drying cabin? Whether you are a professional or a private person, it is important that you are structured throughout the drying process and that you don't miss any spot or place on the coat. Dry every part of the coat, every hair. The most difficult areas to dry are the inside of the legs, the belly, the armpits and under the ears. Make sure you don't lose sight of these parts of the coat and pay enough attention to them. Do you want an optimal drying result? Then you need a lot of discipline, patience, structure and focus. Many students and groomers dry uncontrollably and with insufficient attention, which sometimes results in a lack of efficiency. It is not a question of working as fast as possible, but of working as well as possible. By using the right dryer with the right nozzle in combination with the perfect grooming tools, a lot of patience and good technique, you can create a beautiful result.

Need help? You can always contact our in-house grooming experts for more detailed advice. Wondering how long a dryer lasts and how best to maintain it? More about this in a next blog post! So keep an eye on our website and social media (Facebook and Instagram).

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