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How to Dry Your Dog After a Bath (5 Steps)

dog ready for bath

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Dr. Lorna Whittemore Photo

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Dr. Lorna Whittemore

Vet, MRCVS

The information is current and up-to-date in accordance with the latest veterinarian research.

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If your dog needs a bath, drying your dog is part of the process. Letting your dog air dry can lead to musty smells, worse matting, and other problems. It’s possible to use a towel to dry your dog off and be done, but most groomers use blow dryers, and you can too. A handheld blow dryer is safe for your dog to use, if you are careful about the temperature.

Here are five easy steps for going from bath time to dry fur with your dog.divider-dog

The 5 Steps to Dry Your Dog After a Bath:

1. Towel Down

Before you break out the hair dryer, start by getting a good towel. The towel should be absorbent, with microfiber towels working best, and large dogs might need several towels. Don’t dry your dog’s fur by rubbing back and forth—this can be uncomfortable for your dog and tangle the fur. Instead, use the towel like a squeegee. Starting at your dog’s head, squeeze out excess water from the fur a few inches at a time. Squeeze out as much moisture as you can so that your dog is no longer dripping wet.

Dog Bath
Image Credit: Aaron_H, Pixabay

2. Choose the Right Dryer Temperature

In general, it’s airflow and not heat that helps your dog get dry. But temperature is still important because it keeps your dog comfortable. If your dog is already wet, she probably won’t appreciate cool air blowing in her face. But you don’t want to burn her either as dogs have thinner skin than humans. It’s best to start with whatever setting is just warmer than room temperature and be ready to warm it up if your dog starts shivering. If you are going to be blow-drying for a long time, switch briefly to cold air occasionally to avoid overheating your dog and dryer. Take a break if needed.


3. Up the Airflow

Blow dryers are noisy, and many dogs are afraid of them at first. Act excited, and slowly introduce your dog to the dryer. Start with it turned off and then turned on but away from the dog, treat often. When ready to dry you can start on a lower airflow since it’s usually quieter. But over time, you should work up to the highest airflow you can. That’s because the higher the airflow, the faster your dog will get dry. Look for a blow dryer with a higher number of feet per minute or cubic feet per minute to help your dog dry faster. You can use a blow dryer designed for humans, but one built for dogs works even better and is usually quieter.

Image Credit: Jonathan Sebastiao, Unsplash

4. Work from Head to Tail

In general, your dog’s fur runs smoothly away from their head. Working from head to tail helps your dog be more comfortable and helps you dry the fur more smoothly. Move back and forth over a small area at a time, working your way down the dog’s body.

Dog in Bathroom
Image Credit: Zayats Svetlana, Shutterstock

5. Brush Through Long Hair

As you’re working, if your dog has long hair, you might see tangles start to form. Use your fingers to brush through patches of longer hair as you dry so that it comes out smooth and tangle-free. You can also use a brush as you go, keeping your dog’s fur clean and free of tangles by brushing it while drying. Brushing as you dry also helps you to find any mats or spots that you missed while washing.

divider-dog Last Thoughts

Not every dog will tolerate a hair dryer, but many dogs can learn to like the experience. Hair dryers are the best option for drying dogs’ fur because they leave the dog’s coat fluffy and soft while drying quickly. Learning the right technique for drying your dog is important so that the process will be as smooth and effective as possible. Be very careful not to burn your dog and watch closely for any discomfort.


Featured Image Credit: Boryana Manzurova, Shutterstock

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