The Best Way of Drying a Dog After a Bath: 9 Top Tips

If you bathe your dog, then it stands to reason you will want to know the best way to dry them. Dogs have 3 hairs to every follicle compared to our one, so drying them thoroughly is not as easy as it sounds especially if you have a long-haired or thick-coated pup.

Drying your dog thoroughly is important. Did you know a dog can shake 70% of the water from its fur in just 4 seconds? That’s a lot of wetness being sprayed over the walls and furniture.

Drying your pet doesn’t just protect your soft furnishings; it stops them from catching a cold, being uncomfortable and getting infections from bacteria which loves to multiply on damp dogs.

Hence the damp dog pong we all know well!

Our 9 Top Tips for drying a dog after a bath are ideal for owners who are unsure what the best way to dry a dog quickly is, how to tackle problem coats, and ensure their dog’s skin remains healthy.

In this article, we will look at

  • Tips for getting your dog as dry as a bone
  • Different methods – towel or dryer
  • What to do if Fido has sensitive skin
  • How to dry thick-coated hounds
  • How to dry a dog fast

So if a quick towel dry is not cutting it, let’s see some of the best ways to tackle a wet dog.

9 Tips for Drying a Dog 

1. Air Drying 

Air drying is the most natural way of getting your pet dry and is OK if you have a short-haired breed like a Jack Russell, but it is not the best for other types of dog’s coat; air drying ensures different parts of your dog’s body will dry at different paces, leaving them with hot spots and running the risk of catching infections or stimulating fungus growth. It also means that your dog is more likely to have matted and tangled fur.

Their paw pads are unlikely to dry at the same speed as everything else, for example – and the best way to prevent ear infections is to make sure you dry them thoroughly. Use a microfiber towel for your dog’s ears and paws if you do air dry.

2. What Towels to Use 

As your dog’s skin is very delicate, it is best to use soft towels. That being said, dogs with long and very long fur will have retained a lot of water during their bath in their coat. With that in mind, you will also want an ultra-absorbent fabric that’s easy for them to wear if necessary. 

As challenging breeds to groom. Sometimes, regular bath towels to dry a dog might not be enough.

3. Blow Drying 

Blow drying is probably the most efficient way of drying your pooch and is the preferred method of professional dog groomers. 

There are multiple different drying machines out there, each with its own speciality. 

When blow-drying a dog, make sure to use a specific pet dryer. Human ones tend to run far too hot for a dog’s sensitive skin unless used in the lowest heat setting. 

4. Conditioning Spray 

Conditioning spray is a fantastic product to have on hand, especially if your pet is prone to developing matted fur. The spray will help you make your way through the various knots with a comb as you continue drying your dog. This will leave their fur silky smooth once they have been thoroughly dried off.

5. Introduce Your Dog Gradually 

Some dogs do not enjoy being dried. Going at your dog with a blow dryer immediately is a surefire way to scare them and make them hate the process.

The best thing to do to keep them calm is to let them discover it gradually. First, approach your dog slowly and let them smell the machine. Then, use a low heating setting at low power to start drying them. 

6. Dogs with Double Coats 

If you are drying a dog with a double coat, then the first thing that you should do is gently pat down your pet with a towel. This will remove some excess water, making the blow dryer’s job far easier and quicker! 

Comb through the dog’s coat with a thick brush to remove any shedding fur during the drying process. 

7. Safety First  

Safety should always be your primary concern for both you and your pet! 

Be careful not to stay for too long in one area, as you risk burning their skin. Most of all, be patient. Rushing the way you dry a dog will only put you and your pet at risk. 

8. Work from Back to Front 

Working back to front is the best way for blow drying a dog or pet – long coat or short. This will give the dog chance to get used to the pressure and the heat from the blow dryer before it reaches the most sensitive part of their body: their head. 

9. Use Circular Motions 

Drying your dog in circular motions is the best way to ensure that you cover all parts of their body, dry your pet evenly and reduce the risk of them being burnt by the heat. 

Leaving the dog hair dryer directed at one specific point on their body will result in their sensitive skin possibly burning.

Do You Need to Dry Your Dogs Coat After Bathing? 

Drying your dog’s coat after bath time should be a priority. The last thing you’ll want is them shaking all over the house, and what’s more, your dog’s fur can get matted.

Taking good care of a dog also means taking care of their fur and their skin. They have very sensitive skin that is prone to all sorts of skin conditions. 

Drying them well after a bath will help you to detect any matted and/or knotted fur, blast away some fur that has shed, and will reduce the risk of their skin becoming irritated and infected. 

Drying Your Dog’s Face

Dry your pup’s head and face with a towel as a hairdryer shouldn’t be used near eyes and ears and if you are blow-drying around the area, make sure to shield these areas.

Is it Ok to Let Your Dog Air Dry?

Many dog owners do let their dogs air dry after bath time, but they ignore the problems that can occur. 

Air drying is slow and inefficient and only suitable if your dog has a short coat. In addition, your dog will not dry evenly, and certain areas such as behind their legs, under their tails, and armpits will likely remain damp for a long time.

This can lead to severe skin irritation and even infections. Moreover, air drying means that your dog has to stay cold and wet for longer, making them far more susceptible to catching a chill. 

Towel Drying Dog After Bath 

The towel dry method is a very common option many pet owners consider; however, it is not the most efficient. 

Towel drying will take longer to dry your dog (even with a large towel), especially if your pet has long hair or a thick coat.

That being said, you can always look at purchasing a dog drying coat with a happy hoodie to cover their head.

But what are the best dog drying coats on the market for your pet?

Using a drying coat will still take some time, but it will be far easier than you rubbing them down! 

Using a Blow Dryer on your Dog’s Coat

Using a blow dryer will dry your dog faster. Using your fingers or a tool to comb through your dog’s hair and loose fur as you do so will save you from a lot of difficult brushing later! You shouldn’t really start brushing until your pet is completely dry, normally. 

You must, however, always use a dog blow dryer and never a human one. Human ones were not made with the same functionality as dog ones, so they will take longer to work on your pets and easily burn their sensitive skin and fur. 

There are plenty of low-cost dog blow dryers out there for different types of pet fur.

Cage Drying 

Cage drying is a drying method that, as the name suggests, involves putting your pet in a cage or enclosed cabinet and blow-drying them through it. 

There are some benefits to this method of drying dogs, but you will need a large grooming area and make sure the dog doesn’t become overheated and has enough ventilation. It’s also rare to find cage dryers suitable for larger breeds. 

Drying a Pup’s Coat 

When drying a puppy’s coat, it is important to be very soft and sensitive with their fur and skin. 

Using a blow dryer on a new puppy immediately may not be the best choice, as the loud noise and heat could scare them and make them increasingly difficult to wash, dry, and groom! 

Get your dog dry by gently dabbing their wet fur with a towel and introducing the dryer to them slowly. 

It should not take you long to get them completely dry as puppies, but it is still essential to do! 

What if Your Dog’S Skin is Sensitive? 

There are a few things that you can do if your pet has delicate skin. 

Use cool or only slightly warm heat on their skin if you are using a dryer. Hot heat, even one that is acceptable by most dogs, could be too harsh on their skin. 

Ideally, to help the drying process go quickly, it would be best to start by lightly dabbing the excess moisture off their fur with a soft towel, helping to sponge the water away. 

The best thing to do when drying dogs that have delicate skin is to be patient and gentle.

Anything that could cause irritation should be avoided, Be sure to dry them all over to make sure that there are no wet patches left, which unattended could cause a lot of harm to their skin. 

This video has some home remedies for dry skin in dogs.

Why Protecting Your Dog’s Ears is Important

Your pet has very sensitive ears, their ear canals are not shaped like ours, and things get stuck in there pretty easily! Water getting stuck in their ears could quickly cause ear infections or worse. 

When washing their heads, try to gently scrub them with your hands and/or a soft sponge. Going straight at it with the showerhead is a no-no here.

The same goes for drying them. Do not blow hot air into their ears and only lightly go over them with a towel, remembering to dry them gently.

How to Dry Thick Fur Before a Grooming Session

If you have a heavy-coated dog like a Puli, drying them can be one of the most daunting tasks. A thick or long coat does take a lot of time and patience. As you can imagine, the air-dry method really does not work well on coats like these.

You should start by going over them with a very absorbent towel. Then, you can get the dryer out and prepare the comb! Thick hair usually means knots and tangled fur. That’s why combing through it while they are being dried and using conditioning spray is an excellent way of maintaining their fur. 


Can I use a blow dryer if my dog has sensitive skin? 

You can use a dryer if your dog has delicate skin; however, you must take precautions. For example, always keep the dryer at least six inches away from your dog’s fur to avoid them getting too hot. With that in mind, never remain for too long on one area, as this could also dry out and irritate their skin. 

How do I dry a fearful dog? 

Take the time to show them all of the tools you are using and start using them on small patches of their fur so they can see what you are doing. If you use a dryer, start it on a low and cool setting and begin towards the dog’s rear end. Remain calm and talk to your pet; they will respond to your energy, too. 

How can I dry my Labrador Retrievers after a bath fast? 

Usually, the fastest way of drying a wet dog is by using a dog dryer. However, this all depends on the size of the dog and the type of fur they have. 

Do not rush the process by setting the dryer at a higher temperature or by viciously rubbing towels over them. This will only irritate their skin and cause them harm. 


Whether you are a professional groomer or not, having the right equipment for your dog’s coat type will help preserve their natural oils, ph balance, and general well-being!

Many dogs do just fine with dog towels on their wet coat (although depending on the size of your dog, you may need a few towels), but it isn’t the only way of getting the job done.

For dripping wet fur, yes, it is best to start with a regular bath towel or a microfibre towel, but you can then move on to the dog hairdryer in some cases. 

Remember to keep it at the lowest heat setting, a reasonable distance away from your dog’s head and skin; if your dog is nervous, consider a Happy Hoodie which shields their head and face.

Skin infections can happen very quickly, so get into those skin folds

Drying your pup is not difficult; you just need to consider their coat type and have some patience.

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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