Blow Drying a Dog – Step by Step How to Dry Your Pup in 2022

Every dog owner needs to bathe their pooch occasionally; it’s an essential part of keeping your pup’s coat and skin healthy. It protects them from parasites and makes them smell sweeter, especially if they’ve rolled in something nasty, which in my house is a once a week occurrence.

But what comes after? If your furry friend is anything like mine, they will run around like a mad thing for 30 minutes, shake water everywhere, and soak all the soft furnishings. The solution-Blow drying!

You may think blow drying a dog is easy, but it can be a daunting task.

Some questions often asked are:

  • Can you just grab your own hair dryer?
  • What if your pup is scared of the dryer?
  • What if they have a double-coat?
  • Should you use human hairdryers?

How Do You Dry Your dog?

We have put together this guide to answer these questions and more with some tips and handy hints on how to dry your dog with a blow dryer.

In this guide, we will cover

  • How to blow dry even the toughest coat effectively
  • Why your four-legged friend needs more than a rub down with a towel
  • The different methods-Cage drying or Fluff drying?
  • Is blow-drying your pup safe?
  • What to do if your hound hides when the dryer appears
  • Essential bath time tips

How to Correctly Blow Dry a Dog’s Coat 

Step 1: Towel dry your pet first. Be careful not to hastily rub the towel up and down your dog’s skin, as this can quickly form knots. Instead, place the towel over your pet and gently squeeze the different areas, sponging out the excess water gently. This will help reduce the drying time with the blow dryer, making it easier on your dog’s skin and on your time! 

Step 2: Place the dryer at a safe distance from your pet it’s advisable to start at the hind quarters. Even if it’s not too hot, it could still cause damage to your pup’s skin and fur. To be safe, keep the blow dryer at least six inches from your pet at all times. Also, do not stay on one spot for too long. Instead, move around and return to the wet areas multiple times.

Step 3: Comb through your dog’s fur as you go along. You can either use a pet comb or just your fingers to comb through the fur. This will help you to detect any unseen knots and tangled-up objects. It will also directly help the drying process go faster. And, finally, for nervous mutts, feeling you pet them as you go along can help reduce their stress. 

Step 4: Have a treat ready at hand. Even if your pet is used to bath and dry time now, having something special for them at the end of every salon visit will help make the next time go easier! It is also a great form of training as you need the pet to be still and trust you. 

Having a treat in your pocket will also help keep your dog’s attention instead of them thinking of running off! There’s no need to wrestle them during the towel dry process.

Do You Really Need a Doggie Blow Dryer? 

It is said that dogs should get bathed around once a month. Of course, for dogs who enjoy rolling in mud, swimming in the sea, or just generally making a mess, once a month can be a bit rich.

Washing your furry friend is essential to keep your pet’s coat nice and clean and prevent any bacteria from infecting or irritating their skin.

However, the care doesn’t stop at the wash. The way that you dry your dog is significant, too!

Air drying is possibly the most common home way of drying a dog but sadly comes with a list of risks. First of all, the dog’s fur can quickly become matted if left to air dry. Secondly, your pup will naturally dry quicker on top than they will underneath, which could lead to them getting hot spots. Not to mention the risk of fungus growths and ear infections if you leave your dog slightly damp.

You can always try from our list of top drying jackets for dogs, as they do cover your dog all over and help them air dry naturally.

However, blow drying your dog does reduce many of the risks that come with them being wet and can ensure an easier brush at the end of it!

Can You Use Human Hair Dryers? 

Using human hair dryers on dogs comes with certain risks: 

  • First of all, it will take longer to dry your dog with a human hair dryer than it would with a canine one, as you will need to use it on the coolest setting. This will bore your dog, making it harder to keep them in one place.
  • Secondly, dogs have thinner skin than humans do, and due to the intense heat that comes from human hair dryers, you run the risk of drying out and burning your dog’s skin.

Getting your dog dry is crucial to their well being – but do them another favour – don’t force dryer technology on them that’s built for you!

Types of Blow Dryers for Dogs 


Blasters are dog hair dryers that use a high-velocity jet of air to remove the water from a wet canine’s fur. They are usually a professional groomer’s dog blow dryer of choice as they are quick, come at a relatively low cost, and are highly efficient. 

Due to the high pressure, it is essential to keep the nozzle a fair distance away from your dog not to hurt them. 

Most blasters come with different types of ends to help you adapt the drying to the dog. These include brushes that are perfect for quickly drying long hair and avoiding whip knots, leaving no matted fur. 

Low-Pressure Dryers 

Low-pressure dryers are perfect for easily scared dogs. These dog hair dryers manage to use a strong airflow and generate heat without creating a high-velocity outburst. 

It is suggested not to use the hot option on these driers, as they can burn your dog’s skin faster. 

Although these dryers are a good choice for skittish customers, they aren’t the best for bigger dogs. Due to the lack of high-velocity pressure, they take longer to dry your pup than other dog dryers do. 

Handheld Blow Dryers

Handheld blow dryers are probably the most purchased dog hair dryers for at-home purposes. They are easy to store, easy to use, and easy to clean. When learning how to use a handheld dryer, it is essential to know that they can reach very high temperatures, so always check that it is not too hot for your dog.

They now come in a wide range of prices and are among the most affordable dryers out there.

However, they are not very powerful and will take longer to dry your dog than professional-sized equipment. It’s probably better to look for a dryer with variable heat – keep it on a lower heat and be careful not to get the nozzle close.

Other Equipment To Have on Hand 

  • Towels: Towels are a must even if you are blow-drying your dog. The short steps they will take from the shower to the grooming area will be covered in water if you’re not prepared.
  • Bristle Brush: For dogs with long fur, combing through it as it dries will help prevent any tangled knots from forming. It will also be a nice experience for them – and can help you take out anything you may have missed in the shower, such as tangled grass seeds, for example. Most dogs love a good brush, which is a plus.
  • Conditioning Spray: Again, for dogs with long fur, this product is a must. Tangled knots can form very easily and quickly in your pet’s hair and can be an absolute nightmare to get out! Help your brush out, save your dog from some pain, and save yourself some time by having a conditioning spray on hand.

Is it Safe to Blow Dry a Dog’s Coat? 

Your dog’s coat, or dog’s hair, is very sensitive – it’s a fair question to ask. It is safe to blow dry a dog’s hair, and it is essential for their health! However, when blow-drying a dog’s hair, there are certain things to be cautious of. 

Burning their skin with a hairdryer is easier than you might think and, as you know, is very dangerous. Canines cannot handle the hotness that comes from a human dryer, and you should always test the heat before using it on your pet. 

For bigger canines with long fur, it can be tempting to up the temperature to make it go faster, but you truly will be causing more damage than good. You’ll need dog-specific dryers that operate at safe levels for a pet’s fur and don’t use a heating element- regardless of the size of your dog’s body.

Cage Drying 

Cage drying is pretty much what it sounds like, an alternative to a hair dryer. It involves putting your pet into a small cage to dry them all over without them running away or getting violent with you. It’s much like blow-drying, but some people feel this method is safer.

There is currently a lot of controversy regarding this method of cabinet dryer for dogs. Many believe that putting the mutt in the cage only stresses them out, making it an unpleasant and even scary experience for them.

Instead of being done to help the animal, it suddenly appears as a sort of punishment and even a sort of torture. Cage dryers are, thankfully, becoming fewer and farther between – providing you correctly blow-dry your dog’s coat, there’s no need for a cage.

What is Fluff Drying 

Fluff drying is a drying process that is used to straighten their hair. It helps dogs with curly or frizzy hair achieve an even haircut and gives them a particular style. At the same time it also helps to ensure that you have removed all of the matted and tangled fur from their bodies. 

This drying method requires a few specific tools, including a strong dryer, a metal comb and a brush, a spray bottle of water, and a lot of patience! Stop once you feel slight dampness, as over-drying can cause the hair to become brittle and damaged.

A fluff dryer is commonly used on dogs that participate in dog shows. 

Breeds that are Commonly Fluff Dried 

These pups all have pet’s hair that will seriously benefit from the fluff drying process.

  • Airedale
  • Shi Tzu
  • Yorkshire Terrier
  • Bedlington Terrier
  • Bichon Frise
  • Cockapoo
  • Afghan Hound
  • Maltese
  • Cocker Spaniel
  • Kerry Blue terrier
  • Old English Sheepdog
  • Poodle
  • Schnauzer

5 Top Tips for Bathing your Dog 

1. Use the Correct Shampoo 

As mentioned, canines have thin and sensitive skin, so never use washing-up liquid or human products on your four-legged friend. These products will irritate and possibly burn your dog’s skin. Instead, invest in products that have been researched and specially made for pets. There is a wide range of affordable shampoos out there that address different needs, depending on the dog.

2. Start Them, Young 

Some puppies grow to fear water or, at the very least, dislike it. Every dog owner has had the experience of or has seen a dog refuse to get bathed, and it can be an absolute nightmare! Starting your puppy off young in the tub will make it easier for you and them throughout their life to accept shower time. Try to make it fun for them by praising them throughout and giving them a treat afterwards. 

3. Protect Your Dog’s Ears

It is essential to protect your dog’s head when you are washing them. Be careful not to get anything in their eyes or ears! If water or a cleaning product enters the ear canal, it can easily cause an ear infection over time. Dog’s ear canals are not shaped the same way as ours and, it is challenging to remove liquid or solid matter, even when they shake their heads. 

4. Have Everything to Hand 

Being prepared for bath time is the best way to ensure an easier scrub-down! Even the best-behaved pooches usually aren’t keen on being in the tub, so it is essential for you to always keep an eye on them. Having to turn around or leave the room for an item or product that you have forgotten is likely to cause a sloppy mess when your dog ultimately jumps out and shakes everywhere! 

5. Rinse Thoroughly 

We cannot stress enough how sensitive your dog’s skin is. Ensuring that you thoroughly rinse your dog after being shampooed is vital, taking out any remaining product. Anything left could make your dog break out in red patches, loose fur, and incessantly scratch themselves. That red and irritated skin could lead to them developing a skin infection, which, as you can imagine, will be extremely painful and expensive! It’s also essential drying a dog after the bath is properly maintained so no lingering water is hanging about around their ears.

Final Thoughts 

As you can see, leaving your dog damp can be dangerous for them in a multitude of ways. 

Nowadays, there’s no need to rely on towel drying, as pet owners everywhere have access to all different kinds of dog grooming kit, including models that are adept at blasting shedding hair, with different heat settings (as well as using cool air for sensitive areas), high speed and even hands-free drying, to suit large breeds and short breeds alike. 

It’s perfectly safe to blow dry your dog’s coat, providing you use a low force dryer with cold air or something that offers air flow designed with dogs in mind. In fact, we highly recommend normal doggy blow-drying over the cage dryer or natural air method time after time.

Dog owners, take note – remember to apply a few key things to make the process easier for everyone: 

  • Use positive reinforcement
  • Take short breaks if needed
  • Keep the dryer hose in constant motion to properly blow-dry and not burn your dog.
  • Do not use the same warm setting on your dog that you would use on your own hair.
  • Use the proper hose attachment for your pup.
  • Don’t forget to dry their hindquarters to avoid hot spots
  • Use your free hand to comb through your dog’s fur

Follow these simple and effective steps, and soon enough, you’ll have a pup ready for Crufts! Your pet’s coat has lots of potentials – time to grab the right hairdryer to ensure you take the best care of it. How do you dry your dog?

Donna Hepburn

Published author, content writer and qualified dog behaviourist I have owned dogs all my life from Boxers, Rottweilers and Akitas, to Staffies and currently a very demanding Frenchie who is harder work than all the others put together.

I had a collar making business for over 10 years and am involved with several doggy charities. I currently live in the northeast and when I am not writing about dogs I enjoy, travelling, cooking and reading.

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