Here at Pawsitivity, our first commitment is comfort for every pet client during their grooming appointment. This extends to the important, and often stressful, step that comes between bath and haircut: drying.
We use hand-drying at the spa, which is unusual in the grooming industry because it takes longer than other methods and requires simultaneous brushing. However, we think it’s worth it!
The drying method more typically used in grooming salons is called cage drying. There are two types of cage dryers. The first is an unheated dryer which attaches to a kennel (below). This tends to be stressful for dogs because they are in an enclosed space, but it is not dangerous.
The second type of dryer, called a warmer, is dangerous and can even be fatal. It is a heated box with a Plexiglass front, providing no open airflow (below). In this enclosed space, the air gets hot very quickly, which causes a hazard for overheating or even death, especially for dogs who are small, are brachycephalic, or have breathing problems.
Warmer dryers are expensive and not often used in independently-owned salons. Years ago, major pet retailers like Petco and Petsmart installed warmer dryers in their locations, but they are now often marked “Not For Use”, because multiple dogs have died after being dried in them. We highly recommend that you find a dog grooming salon that does not use warmer dryers.
For a salon like ours that uses no kennel drying at all, there are two types of hands-on drying methods. The first is called a high velocity dryer (below). It has variable speed and is fairly quiet as dryers go. For double-coated dogs, a velocity dryer is necessary for proper grooming because it blows out loose dead hair from the undercoat, which no amount of brushing can completely remove.
The second type of hand dryer is a fluff dryer (below). This device looks like a giant human hair dryer on a stand. It has variable speed and volume, can blow hot or cold air, and is mounted so that the groomer’s hands are free for brushing. The fluff dryer originated in show grooming, and is traditionally used for a crisp finish on curly-coated show dogs to make their hair fluffy and straight. It is also an important element in making hair straight enough for Asian Fusion styles. Fluff drying takes longer than velocity drying, which is reflected in the cost difference for show grooming and Asian Fusion styling versus pet trims.
At Pawsitivity, we always use a fluff dryer for puppies, older dogs, and easily-stressed dogs. Though it takes longer to dry a dog’s coat and requires brushing at the same time to straighten the hair, it is not so stressful as the other drying methods.
Drying is often the most stressful part of the grooming experience, mainly because of the noise (dogs’ ears are far more sensitive than ours!). Many dogs are also anxious about having their faces dried. To help reduce stress and anxiety, we keep cotton balls in our clients’ ears when drying. We also use a Happy Hoodie, a soft fabric band that goes over a dog's ears for stress-relieving compression and sound blocking. And we use CBD oil, Rescue Remedy drops, and Composure treats to help calm extremely anxious dogs.
Our stylists evaluate every dog, case by case, to decide which drying method will work better to keep them calm and happy. We are committed to hand-drying because our goal is always comfort and relaxation for every canine client!