How to Dry Your Dog: The Basics

How to Dry Your Dog: The Basics


There are various challenges involved in grooming a dog, from getting them to sit still for a bath, to making sure they don’t run rampant around the house when covered in suds. One of the most problematic tasks for many owners, is figuring out how to dry their dog.

If your pup has a relatively short coat, you might not have too much trouble in this area. The shorter the coat, the easier it will be for the dog to simply dry off naturally. Unfortunately, if your dog has a slightly shaggier coat, it’s much easier for water to get trapped in the fur.

Here’s what you need to know about drying your dog (the easy way).

Getting Started: Preparing your Pup

The first step in safely drying a dog, is getting them comfortable. Bath time can be a bit of a stressful experience for some dogs. If your pup is already a little anxious after being doused with water and shampoo, throwing a towel over them too quickly might not be the best idea.

With that in mind, assess the situation. Do you need to pet your dog a little and give them a few moments of soothing talk before you start rubbing at them with a towel? Sometimes, the easiest option is to wait for your dog to be settled, then wrap them up in a towel for a few seconds without doing anything.

If you have the right towel, the material will start absorbing the moisture, and you can use the cuddle moment to reassure and relax your dog. If your dog is nervous, this will also give you an insight into what kind of drying process you should consider. The last thing you want is to turn a hairdryer on an already anxious pup, as many are afraid of the noise.

Choosing your Drying Method

There are various ways to get your dog dry and cosy after a bath, or even a quick run through the rain. The drying method you choose will usually depend on a number of factors, including:

  • How your dog got wet: If your dog is soaked through from a bath, they’ll need a lot more of a thorough drying process. If they’re just a little damp from some rain, you can usually let your dog air dry instead.
  • Your dog’s breed and coat type: If your dog has ultra-long fur, or is a particularly large pup, then you might need to start off with a towel dry, and progress to a blow dryer. While the best towels will soak up a lot of moisture, a blow-dryer can help finish the job.
  • Your pooch’s preference: If your dog always gets panicked when it hears the sound of a hairdryer, it’s probably best to avoid taking that route. Your dog will show you what he or she is comfortable with over time. Forcing your pup into experiences they don’t like will only cause discomfort and fear.

The Initial Drying Process: Technique

If you have a dog with a short-haired coat, you’ll usually be able to dry him with a towel and call it a day. Some ultra-short-hair dog coats will simply dry on their own, so you can keep the after-bath stress to a minimum.

Alternatively, if you have a dog with a longer coat, you’ll probably need to start by towel-drying, and then consider using a blow dryer afterwards.

Start by wrapping your pooch up in a towel that’s large enough to cover their whole body. This will help to stop them from accidentally scratching you if they’re nervous. Plus, it keeps them warm while they’re getting nice and dry. A dog drying bag is sometimes the best option, as it completely wraps your dog, without causing any discomfort.

The towel you choose will need to be particularly absorbent to do a good job. Make sure you opt for a material like microfibre to soak up the moisture, and give your dog a luxury, comfortable experience.

Rather than rubbing your dog vigorously with the towel once he or she is wrapped up, simply pat the dog dry. Press the towel carefully into their fur, then run a brush through the coat and apply the towel again. This will help to avoid knots. If your dog is large, or has a lot of fur, you might need multiple towels on-hand.

Do You Need to Blow-Dry Your Dog?

After soaking up as much of the moisture as you can with a towel, the next stage is deciding whether you need to blow-dry your dog. Blow drying can give your dog a better appearance over all, as it helps to ensure the fur is as dry as possible. Blow drying also gets rid of moisture faster, so your dog’s coat is less likely to attract all kinds of dirt and debris while they’re playing.

If your dog has long fur, blow-drying can even minimize the wet dog smell, and reduce the chances of your dog getting all your furniture, or his own bed wet.

You’ll still need to towel-dry your pup if you plan to blow dry them, as blow-drying your dog’s fur when it’s still extremely wet increases your risk of mats and tangles. Once your dog is dry enough to get the blow dryer, remember:

  • Use the right settings: Use a warm setting (not too hot), on the low-speed setting to begin with, until you know your dog feels comfortable. After that, you can turn the airflow up a little. The faster the airflow, the quicker your pet’s coat will dry.
  • Use cool air sometimes: If you have a button on your hairdryer for cool air, use it intermittently to help avoid overheating your pet. Just be careful not to do this for too long, as it can end up making your dog too chilly.
  • Brush your dog’s coat as you go: Brushing your dog’s coat as you dry their hair will help to speed up the process. It’s also a great way to check for any matts and knots.

Need help getting prepped for your next dog drying session? Stock up with a Paws and Presto towel and drying bag.