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There are lots of nice things about rainy weather—but a wet pup isn’t one of them. We know the struggle well: a long-haired or double-coated dog goes for a rainy walk or gets a bath, then spends the next three to six hours making damp spots on the carpet and furniture. Air drying for these pups isn’t usually a good idea, and as for towels . . . well, how many do you have? That’s where a dog blow dryer comes in handy.
You’ve probably seen them out there, either in advertisements or in the hands of your trusty groomer. If you’re like us, you wonder: Are they really worth it? Can they actually cut down on drying time? Would using one scare the pants off your pup? And do the results justify the price?
With some help from dense-furred Rover test pup Enzo, we set out to investigate.
Why Would I Want a Dog Blow Dryer?
Not everyone needs a dog blow dryer. My smooth-haired Doxie gives three massive whole-body wiggles, smooches along the carpet nose-first, and within about twenty minutes, he’s as dry as he was before his bath (though much nicer smelling).
Dog mom Jaimee isn’t so lucky. She lives in Seattle, and when she takes Enzo, a handsome 40-pound cattle dog, on rainy walks, his dense coat soaks up water like a sponge. His dog raincoat isn’t a bad shield, but puddle splashes add up—meaning head, paws, and belly are still liable to be pretty wet. And don’t even get her started on bath time.
Towels are Enzo’s favorite method of drying, but not so much Jaimee’s. It takes a lot of time and super-absorbent cloth to get Enzo from drenched to merely damp, and even then, the results aren’t perfect. Enzo will still leave pup-sized spots on anything that hasn’t been thoroughly blanketed.
“There’s nothing that he loves more than cozying up on the couch after he’s been out in the rain,” Jaimee sighs. “I try to tell him not to get up, but he likes to lay in unpredictable places. Sometimes it’s the couch, sometimes it’s my bed, and I can’t cover everything.”
Jaimee’s experience will sound familiar to parents of long-haired, double-coated, or dense-furred pups.
Air drying is out, not only because it tends to soak your home, but also because in most cases, it isn’t great for your dog. Long hair is susceptible to mats when wet, and tight spaces (like between your dog’s toes or their armpits) can accumulate fungus if left damp for prolonged periods. Skin infections and hot spots can also result.
Toweling is the time-honored solution—but as Jaimee knows, it’s a labor intensive one that might not result in a furniture-ready pup for hours yet. Long-haired dogs need to be rubbed down carefully to prevent matting, and then there’s the giant pile of wet towels that has to be shuttled in and out of the laundry multiple times in a rainy week.
Quick-drying dog sprays, borrowed from the latest developments in human hair care, have made it to the dog world, and some pet parents have had success—but it’s hit or miss.
It all makes a blow dryer that claims to dry your dog completely in no time flat a pretty attractive option.
Can’t I Just Use a Regular Human Blow Dryer on My Dog?
It’s tempting to think your own hair dryer could do double-duty for your pet, but it’s not that simple.
One problem is that human hair dryers typically run a lot hotter than those made specifically for dogs. While you’ll notice right away if your hair dryer is too warm for your scalp, your dog can’t give you a heads-up that things are getting toasty. By the time your pup yelps or pulls away, it might be too late—you’ve already hurt their skin.
Even if you use the “cool” setting on a human hair dryer, you’re not likely to see results as good as a dog-specific model can offer. That’s because dog blow dryers are powerhouses. They’re not really drying your pup by heat so much as blasting the water out of their fur. Those high speeds also have the advantage of ridding your pup of loose fur in their undercoat, making for faster drying and less shedding later. (It’s not a substitute for grooming with a comb—but it’s a nice supplement!)
Last, most dog blow dryers come with some options to keep your pet comfortable, like multiple temperatures, a variety of airflow and noise levels, and nozzles designed for different kinds of fur (or different parts of your pup). It’s why professional groomers like them. But is it actually worth it for your average long-haired-pet parent to have on hand?
Jaimee and Enzo Test the Shelandy Pet Hair Force Dryer
Technically, its full title is the Shelandy 3.2HP Stepless Adjustable Speed Pet Hair Force Dryer Dog Grooming Blower with Heater.
It’s by far the most popular dog blow dryer on Amazon, and at $85.00 (at time of posting), it’s priced solidly in the middle of most dryers of its class. It has a moderate number of bells and whistles—more than simple models, but fewer than the priciest options.
Jaimee’s first thought when it arrived was that it was pretty big—the size of a hefty dustbuster—and looked like something a professional groomer would have. She noted it had a handle for carrying and was reasonably lightweight, with a nice long flexible hose for maneuvering. (Official dimensions are 17.4 x 11.6 x 7.9 inches and 10.3 pounds.)
It also came with a fancy and slightly bewildering array of four different attachment heads, and the picture instructions didn’t offer much guidance.
So Jaimee selected the brush attachment, wondering how Enzo was supposed to enjoy the feeling of the weird plasticky head, and sat them both down, still soaking wet from an evening run, to test it out.
She followed the manufacturer’s instructions (which we heartily second) and gave Enzo some time to check it out and have a good sniff. She also wisely coordinated dinner time with drying time, so her pup was thoroughly distracted.
Then Jaimee turned on the heating button (a switch that generates warm air instead of room-temperature air) and set the air flow to medium-low.
She used the brush along Enzo’s body, starting with his back before moving to his belly. To her surprise, Enzo seemed to like it, weird plastic and all. He didn’t mind the noise, which wasn’t as bad as Jaimee had imagined. At its loudest, it was quieter than her vacuum (which Enzo isn’t a fan of), and she could adjust it further with a knob on the dryer—a nice perk, she thought, since it let you choose exactly how much air and noise you wanted instead of stopping at preset levels.
She switched to the circular attachment when she got to his head, which Enzo thought was less fun than the brush, but he kept his criticisms to himself.
And eight minutes later, Enzo-the-eternally-wet was 90% dry and 100% able to snuggle on the couch—in record time.
Is a Dog Blow Dryer Worth It?
So should you run out and buy a dog blow dryer this minute? Jaimee and Enzo wouldn’t stop you.
It’s worth noting, though, that a dog blow dryer isn’t going to do much about dirt—so you probably can’t forever banish towels from your grooming routine. They’re always going to be the first step after a particularly muddy romp.
Second, there’s no getting around the amount of space a dog hair dryer takes up; they’re not as big as vacuum cleaners, but neither are they something you can easily prop by the door or hang on your coatrack. Apartment-dwellers and those short on storage will want to consider a spot to tuck their spiffy new grooming tool before they buy.
Last, not all pups are able to tolerate a dog hair dryer, no matter how much their human parents would like them to. Today’s dryers are quieter than you’d think, and the low airflow options are a huge plus—but it’s not a shoo-in for your dog’s favorite grooming tool. A good first step is taking your pup to a groomer to see how they react to drying tools, or even trying your own hair dryer (on a very cool setting) to get some basic indicators of how your dog might react.
For pups who can tolerate the sensation, especially long-haired and double-coated breeds, a hair dryer can dramatically cut towel-drying time and overhaul your grooming process in a big way.
We’ve done some (definitely scientific, not at all guess-y) math.
If you live in Seattle like Jaimee and Enzo, you experience an average of 152 rainy days every year. We’re going to assume that on a quarter of those rainy days, you and your pup get happen to get wet while out and about—like properly wet, not just drizzled on. We further estimate that a towel-dried Enzo remains wet for at least three hours, and towel drying takes Jaimee 20 minutes at a minimum. (And we’re not even factoring in bath time.)
So if you’re like Enzo, a dog blow dryer saves you 114+ hours per year of being wet and not allowed on cozy furniture.
If you’re like Jaimee, a dog blow dryer saves you 456+ minutes per year of drying your pup.
In short, if you bathe your pup often, or if you live in a rainy climate where wet walks are a fact of life, a dog blow dryer can be a serious upgrade and time-saver in your grooming routine. Conclusion: worth the splurge.
The Shelandy Pet Hair Force DryerFind on Amazon
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