All dogs need to be properly bathed from time to time to get their skin and fur really clean, and to keep the dog comfortable and healthy as well as looking good.
Some dogs are also particularly mucky and apt to get in a mess every time they go out for a walk, which may mean that they need to be spot-cleaned or rinsed off most days, as well as needing more frequent bathing too.
Whether you’re giving your dog a full bath using lots of different products, just washing off grubby areas or rinsing your dog’s coat clean, it is really important to remove all traces of soap from the coat, and to thoroughly dry your dog’s coat so that they don’t get cold or suffer from rubbing or chafing in their skin folds and wrinkles. But getting dog properly dry can be a challenge if their coat is very long or thick.
Giving your dog a quick blast with the hairdryer to get them dried off in a timely manner might seem like the obvious way to do this, and it might be too – but not all dogs react well to hairdryers, and they need to be used with care when you do use them.
In this article, we will look at whether or not you should use a hairdryer on your dog, and the considerations to bear in mind when you do so.
First of all, the noise of the hairdryer might alarm your dog or wind them up, just as many dogs react badly to the sound of the hoover. Some dogs will settle down in time when they get used to hearing the noise regularly, and if your dog is quite happy to sit near you when you’re drying your own hair, this is a good start.
However, if your dog runs away or becomes anxious, using your hairdryer on them might not be a good idea. Exposing your dog to the sound regularly over a period of time can help, but not all dogs will come to accept the sound.
You might also wish to try choosing a quieter hairdryer, or one with a lower tone – if your hairdryer sounds high-pitched or shrill to you, it might be quite unpleasant to your dog’s more sensitive hearing.
Even if your dog largely ignores hairdryer noise, they might not be so calm if the hairdryer is in close quarters to them and moving over their body with a lot of noise, heat, and air movement.
If your dog reacts badly to the hair dryer, they might just need more time and work to get them used to it and more comfortable with it, but the sensations and sounds produced might never really feel good to some dogs, or might frighten them.
Use the hairdryer on a warm or cool setting, and never be tempted to blast your dog with hot air. Even if the temperature feels comfortable to you, it might be too hot for your dog, depending on their heat tolerance, thickness of their coat, and how you handle the dryer.
The dryer setting should feel no more than warm to you when held a few inches from your skin – any more is apt to be too hot. Increase the efficiency of the dryer by turning up the power to generate more air movement, rather than more heat.
Moving around your dog with an electrical lead and a hairdryer needs to be handled with care, to keep your dog from tangling up in the lead and causing an accident, or chewing or biting through the cable.
Keep the cable for the dryer out of reach of your dog, never let them bite or pull on it, and be careful of where you place the dryer down so your dog won’t knock it over or get tangled in the cable.
When we dry our own hair, we tend to move over it in sections and blast the heat at a certain area for a few seconds at a time before moving on when it feels too hot.
However, your dog will be uncomfortable and stressed if you wait for them to fidget and indicate that the heat is too much before you move the dryer, so the best approach is to keep the dryer at least six inches from your dog’s skin, keep it in continual movement, and not to focus too closely or for too long on one spot.
Holding your dog by the lead or tying them up to restrain them is a better idea than allowing them to move around or turn when you’re drying them, but an even better approach is to put your dog in a crate or carrier and dry them using the dryer from outside of the cage.
This helps you to avoid getting too close or making your dog too hot, and restricts your dog from moving around too much. However, crating a dog that is not used to it can cause them stress, as well as the stress of the hairdryer, so monitor your dog’s reactions carefully. Also, keep drying sessions short, and ensure that your dog isn’t overheating.
Also, never use a crate or cage that your dog sleeps in or uses to chill out for this, as they may build up negative associations with it if they don’t take well to drying.