Since my recent post on Chloe's horrible burn I have been deluged with mail saying how cage dryers and the technique should be banned. We all need to slow down and take a deep breath.
All cage dryers are not dangerous or bad for dogs. the problems with death or serious injury occur when heated dryers that get too hot for my comfort are used. There are cage dryers that are safe to use and they definately have their place in the grooming world. Without them, many pets would go home wet from grooming shops, or would be stressed from being forced to endure something they do not want to do, and that would mean they were not fully groomed. Banning their use would also significantly raise the prices owners are required to pay to have their dogs groomed because there would be more hands on time required on the larger dogs. the result would also mean less income for groomers, and in some cases more injuries.
Cats for example, in many cases, would be unbathable if we could not se cage dryers in some way. When a cat has had enough, it will HURT whoever or whatever is keeping it from escaping.
There are many different kinds of cage dryers. Many are perfectly safe and will never injure a pet. Others, well, they can and do injure and even kill dogs and cats. We need to learn the safe ways to use cage dryers to be as efficient and as safe as possible.
Let's start with heated cage dryers. Heated cage dryers typically hang on the front of the cage or sit on the floor in front of the cage. When used properly (and we will get to HOW to use them properly in my next post) they are valuable and effective. When used incorrectly they can be deadly.
This dryer by Double K is one of the better cage dryers available. the temperature is the lowest posted on www.petEdge.com of all the cage dryers with the temperatures listed.
Then you have box dryers. Box dryers are generally speaking, a cabinet with enclosed sides and glassed fronts that have heated air blowing through them to dry the dogs. Usually there is a grate on the bottom of the cage to raise the dog and allow for better airflow. They are highly effective, efficient and, when used correctly, safe. They have airflow and thermostatic controls as well as timers.
This photo was provided by Daryl Conner to use with permission. Note how comfortable the dogs are and the added thermostat on the front of the dryer for added safety.
Last but definately not least we have ambiant air dryers, also called "high velocity fans" or "Natural AirVolume Movers". These dryers contain no heating elements and work much like the wind on clothes hanging on a clothesline; they use the ambiant air temperature and moving air to dry dogs. You can see more on this type of drying including a list of products available at http://www.drieaz-pets.com . Many groomers have become creative in the ways they utilize commonly available fans to dry dogs, including myself. Box fans, high velocity fans, stand mounted fans and floor mounted fans work great to move large quantities of air at room temperature for those dogs who cannot be dried fully by hand.
The photos above are from my drying area. We only use ambiant air dryers and fans when cage drying and only use it for slightly damp dogs, like Ginger, who have been mostly dried with our Force Dryer and are unhappy about having their ears or faces done, or large dogs that have too much hair for us to dry completely by hand.
I will cover how to use dryers safely next time, but this gives you an overview of the different types of dryers available for use in the industry.