Dog dryer terms & tips to know before you buy
We have more than 10 models of dryers available, each with different features and benefits. To help you compare dryers, and understand what the terms mean, have a read of these dryer FAQ's before you buy...
Understanding the issues with heat
A dryer's heater adds to the air temperature. Meaning if the dryer heats to 20 degrees, and the air temperature in your salon is already 20 degrees, you’re heating the air to 40 degrees.
Heat does contribute to drying, although air force does most of the work, literally blasting the water off the coat, but heat also helps the dog’s comfort. Too hot however can result in burns or even be fatal.
Advice will vary so you need to judge for yourself based on the dog and the environment at the time, however it can be best to keep heat low or off unless the ambient temperature is cold. Even velocity dryers often have heaters, but in summer, or once warmed up, can be used with the heater off.
With most dryers, the air flows over the motor, and becomes warmer than room temperature the longer the dryer runs (even with the heater switched off). The heater switch allows you to start with the heater on, then when the motor warms up, you can switch the heater off.
What the dryer terms mean
Dryer manufacturers use different terms, making comparing dryer performance difficult between brands. Here are the most commonly used measurements and what they tell you:
This means cubic feet per minute. In other words, how many cubes measuring one foot by one foot by one foot (that’s a cube about 30cm on each side), can the dryer fill with air in one minute? A human hairdryer might be around 10 to 20 CFM versus a velocity dryer which can get to over 300 CFM. In-between are your stand / fluff dryers.
This measures air speed in feet per minute. It tells you how many feet the air the dryer forces out, can travel in one minute. One foot is just over 30cms. A forced air or velocity dryer will have the highest FPM versus a hand-held dryer or cage dryer at the lower end.
This is metres per second, another way to measure air speed, or how many metres the air travels in one second. One metre is 100 cms.
How to get the coat straight
For dogs with naturally curly or wavy coats, getting that coat straight before clipping and scissoring results in a smooth, even groom and helps avoid clipper blade tracks. Trying to work on a coat that’s still curly or wavy can extend finishing time significantly trying to even up your groom, so straightening the coat also saves a lot of time.
Slower methods like cage or kennel drying isn’t ideal for curly or wavy coats as the curls will set as the coat slowly dries. The same can apply to longer, drop-coat breeds.
Instead, soak up excess water then dry the coat with a velocity dryer as soon as you can. Focus on the curliest areas first. You can line brush to help the straightening process but if doing so with a velocity dryer, avoid staying in one place too long for the dog’s health and comfort.
Dry the coat from base to tip. For some coat types you'll want to dry with the direction of the coat to get it to lay flat. Others you'll want to dry against the direction the coat grows to ‘fluff’ or lift the coat as you dry to creative volume (such as wool coats).
For longer coats try different nozzles or no nozzle, and different distances away from the dog, until the coat does not ‘whip’ while drying, otherwise this can cause nasty knots and mats. A dryer can also be used to blow out knots.
For curlier coats – wool and oodle coats for example – drying can be completed using a stand or fluff dryer while line-brushing. Fluffing the coat is typically done with heat combined with a gentler air flow which helps straighten, add volume and texture, or ‘fluff’ the coat. Brush from base to tip, section by section, with or against the direction of the coat depending on coat type.
You can use a bath towel to soak up initial excess water before you dry, however may prefer a chamois type towel. Whatever type of towel you choose, avoid rubbing the coat dry, which can cause knots and tangles, and also frizz the coat, making it harder to dry straight.
A chamois towel (typically a synthetic chamois) is small but 'sucks up' a surprisingly large volume of water. You then twist / wring the water out, and do the next section. One small chamois can do the work of multiple full-size towels. We stock chamois towels
Changing air speed
Dryers tend to have two ways to control air speed, pre-set levels (like the Vortex 5), or an adjustable dial (like Shernbao dryers, and the Vortex Dual Pro).
Dial adjustment allows more exact control over air speed and less change for the dog to cope with when you change between settings. Even with a dryer with preset speeds, air pressure can be changed just by changing nozzle types, or using no nozzle. Longer nozzles with smaller openings focus the air for stronger air flow. A spade or wider nozzle creates softer air flow. Softest of all is no nozzle.
Tips to speed up dry time
The proper dryer for the coat and task at hand makes the biggest difference in dry time, and therefore how many clients you can groom a day. Even a very large, double, thick-coated dog can be dry in 20 minutes with the right dryer.
Squeaky clean dries faster
Keep in mind the cleaner the coat the faster it dries. A thorough rinse-out is required to leave no shampoo or conditioner residue in the coat. Dirt, oil or grease left in the coat slows down drying time. As does too much conditioner, or the wrong type of conditioner. Dilutable, lighter conditioners will help speed up dry time. Keep in mind conditioner's job is to retain moisture, so when a more moisturising, heavier conditioner is required, that will slow down dry time.
Try a 'dirty coat' shampoo
Even if a dog's coat is just a little oily, but not overly dirty, a degreasing shampoo can help. Look for one made for dirty or oily coats, like Bio-Groom So Dirty or Pet Head Dirty Talk, to help speed up dry time after the bath. Consider a second (or third) shampoo rinse if needed to get the coat (literally) squeaky clean.
If multiple dogs are in the salon at the same time, dry the curlier coated dogs first to speed up time required for straightening. Catching the coat before it starts to air dry helps avoid the curl setting in.
Towel on table
Putting a towel or towels on the table helps dry the feet while you dry the body, catches excess water blasted off the coat by the dryer, and reduces noise from the dryer air hitting the hard surface of the table.
Humidity & air temperature
Also keep humidity in mind. We live in a relatively humid country in NZ. Keeping the air dry helps speed up dry time. The drier the air, the faster a coat dries. Warm air holds more moisture than cold air and helps increase evaporation. Too cold or too hot and drying time increases, so do what you can do to keep your salon dry and at a comfortable temperature. Around 20 to 25 degrees is an ideal level for the right balance of maximum dry time while still being comfortable. Unless necessary, using a dryer with the heat off will help keep the air temperature at an ideal level for faster dry times (when the ambient air temperature is already 20+).