Drying Tips

Stop the Heated Dryer Madness!

I get emails from people around the country quite often about their pets who have been injured, and I always try to assist them in whatever way I can. Sometimes it is a simple accident, like a quicked nail, or a small irritation and I can calm them down and help them feel like it was really not a big deal and they are happy when they fully understand the problem. 

Then there are the rare exceptions, thank goodness, that contact me because of a major, horrific accident, like I detailed in Chloe’s story .

One such person is Bailey’s mom.

I have reprinted her first email to me with her permission and her name withheld. She did give me approval to list her area of Canada. I was shocked to say the least and wanted to share this with all of you and maybe help educate someone in the dangers of heated dryers and in what to do if you suspect a burn. Bailey, below, was burned at the grooming shop by a heated cage dryer 2 weeks ago. She is still dealing with major medical complications. Here is her Mom's email. 

 Oh My Debi,

 I just was fwd'ed your story about poor Chloe's story at the groomer.  We have just experienced almost the same incident here in Prince George, BC , Canada.

 Our dog Bailey, a coc-a-poo, went to the groomers on Aug 24, 2010 when I picked her up at 2:15, the groomer told me that there was a little incident and that she got a small burn....when I looked at her stomach, the whole belly area and the inside of her legs were black and purple. The groomer stated that the dog had a poop in the kennel and as such was sitting at the front of the kennel, obviously too close to the dryer and got burned. The groomer stated that she was in the kennel for about 15 minutes and was alerted to her situation when Bailey was panting really hard. 

 When I picked her up, I noticed that her burn was already oozing in a couple of places, and luckily I proceeded directly to our vet, where she was put on antibiotics and a few days later on pain medication as well. She has not had to be hospitalized up to this point, but we as a family are providing a lot of care for her and really having to work at making sure she is fed and hydrated, as her drive to eat and drink is not there.

 I am attaching a few pictures. Do you know if there are Canadian journals, magazines etc that I can get in touch with to share my story so the word gets out there? Here in BC there does not seem to be any regulations around grooming facilities. I just do not want this to happen to another dog. The groomer that we dealt with refuses to look at the pictures, we have offered a few times and she has declined. She is not wanting to take responsibility and learn from this unfortunate incident. We are very, very upset with the situation and how the groomer is handling it.


(name removed)

Prince George, BC Canada

 I find it absolutely repugnant that a groomer who KNEW the dog was injured failed to seek medical attention for that dog. I really find it horrible that the dryer industry continuously ignores the problem and continues to make dryer that get hot enough to cause this damage. Follow up emails have stated the groomer will not look at the photos and admits no fault in the case. 

Remember the quote from above that reads: "The groomer stated that the dog had a poop in the kennel and as such was sitting at the front of the kennel, obviously too close to the dryer and got burned. The groomer stated that she was in the kennel for about 15 minutes and was alerted to her situation when Bailey was panting really hard". If the dog was indeed left with feces in the kennel it was not acceptable. If you have a dog have an accident clean it up! If the dog was indeed in the kennel for only 15 minutes then that dryer must have been extremely close and extremely HOT to do that kind of damage. 

If this happens in your shop, you are obligated to seek medical attention and to pay medical bills regarding the situation. PERIOD. If you are using heated dryers hanging on kennels, you need to be extremely careful in how hot they are, how long you leave them in place and what type of cage bottoms you have. I have said it before and it bears repeating. NEVER use them on metal pans!  Never use them in covered or solid sided cages, and never use them on high. Those things help make them safer. They are not, however, safe 100% in any case. there are several articles in this blog that discuss how to use them safely.

 Here are the pictures I have so far.



the picture above was taken immediately after she got home, and immediately after seeing the vet.

Immediatley after vet visit


Bailey 3

Bailey 6

In my opinion, this groomer is negligent and should be dealt with accordingly, if for no other reason that she failed to seek immediate medical attention for a condition that was noticeable at pick up. 

I feel the dryer companies are negligent in that they continue to make dryers capable of this type of injury despite numerous burns occuring every year.

We have to do something to stop this madness! Banning cage dryers is not an option nor do I think it is a good idea, but I do think that dryers with safety switches, mandatory ten minute timers, and heat regulators that prevent them from putting out that much heat in the first place are all valid ideas that the industry has so far ignored. 

How many more dogs have to suffer like Chloe and Bailey before this stops? Please do your part and make sure that IF you are using a heated cage dryer make sure you understand how it works and be safe about it! In my opinion, a cage dryer should have no heating element. I know not everyone agrees with me, but there is truly no reason for using a heated dryer on a dog in a cage. This is one of the things lacking in our industry. Safety controls on the manufacture of our equipment! Add to that we lack EDUCATION on how to use the equipment safely and correctly.

Until groomers start accepting responsibility for accidents and using equipment safely and in a way that makes sense, these types of accidents will continue to happen. Sadly there is no way to explain to a parent or a pet that is injured or one that has died as a result of groomer negligence, that nothing is being done to stop it from happening again. I am doing everything I can to spread the word. PLEASE spread the word yourself to everyone you know.


From the bottom UP!

I much prefer to dry dogs 100% by hand but that is not always possible, Sometimes, either because of time constraints or doggie constraints (a dog that doesnt tolerate drying well) I have to use cage dryers. 

I never use a heated dryer. Don't even own one one. I use box fans, high velocity fans and floor dryers, like the DriEze blue dryer. 

I also use wire crates with grated bottoms. Usually its not an issue and the dogs are easily dried using this method. The air circulates around the dog due to the grate and it makes drying efficient and safe. But then there are the ones that like to wad up in a ball prventing the air from circulating around their feet, legs and undersides making it all but impossible to dry them efficiently.

And do I have a solution for that? Yep! I do!

101_1337 (2)

I have a 6 pack cage bank that has grates in the floors of each kennel. I put a floor dryer underneath it and point it UP into the cage above. Simple. I use something behind it to keep it from rocking backwards or falling down, and it works great. 

Now, of course you have to be careful NOT to put another dog underneath the open bottomed cage (common sense) and I always try to trim nails before using a great to prevent accidents, but this method is safe when used as directed. 



 As you can see from the video clips, the air from underneath lifts the coat as it dries, adding fluff, and is soft enough to not cause tangles or distress to the dog. I have a box fan on the side of the crate adding airflow to the dog to assist with the face and the top part that might not be dry enough.

This method really works well and cuts down on drying time drastically. The hardest part is figuring out how to keep the dryer angled so that you dont find the dryer pointing at the ceiling. We use a plant stand on rollers to accomplish that.

Kermit and Katie (my models) seem to really enjoy the soft air flowing around them. Katie cannot stand up due to bad knees and being about 10 pounds overweight and Kermit was just getting a fast bath and brush so we were saving time.

I also use box fans as cage dryers for general every day use (faces, ears, dogs that stress) and the way we do it is simple. I use grooming loops to hang them from my wire crates. I bought grates for the bottom of my wire crates and keep a towel underneath the grate for pee accidents. I use wire crates, not a cage bank or vari kennels because the wire allows for more airflow and faster drying.


You can adjust them to where they are blowing DOWNWARD for drop coats or full coats, move them to the front or side, or even use two or th ree on a dog if needed. They offer soft, gentle airflow and fast drying with no stress or heat. 


You can see the large Sahara dryer on the side. It creates a vortex of airflow. THe two bottom cages have grates as well and that allows for v entilation underneath the dogs, but the air starts to circulate in the room with that fan on. It will warm up the air with its motor so I keep a thermometer on the wall and check it often. HOwever, that dryer and a couple of box fans in a closed room (with heat and AC of course) creat a wind tunnel of sorts and dogs just sat in the cages without thefans will be able to dry effectively with a little lift if th eir ears or faces are just a tad damp.


To keep hair out of the fans I wrote this blog post recently Box Fan Maintenence

We use a towel underneath dogs that are not being dried from underneath, and pads once they are dry. The cages in this room double for barker cages. Barkers go behind closed doors. 

I am ultra careful making sure dogs cannot get to cords. In the above photo the dog COULD have possibly gotten to the cord the way it was placed but I did this strictly for photo purposes and took it down immediately after the photo was taken.

Hope this helps someone out!