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Things to Think About Before Cage Drying that Pet!

including pets and non-pets

Things to Think About Before Cage Drying that Pet!

Postby admin » Sun May 03, 2015 1:31 pm

http://www.darylconner.com/things-to-th ... -that-pet/
In the pet styling world, there are two basic types of dryers designed to remove moisture from the coats of dogs and cats. There are dryers that have heating elements and those that do not. That seems pretty simple, but in reality it is one hot topic. So hot, in fact, that some consumers and even some legislators want to ban the use of certain types of heated pet dryers. Read on to learn what’s when it’s cool to use heat.

Unheated dryers, such as High Velocity dryers, use just the mechanical action of air blowing on the coat to remove water. These dryers produce air that is warmer than room temperature because of the heat of their motors, but they do not have actual heating elements. There are also cage dryers available that use just air flow with no heating elements to dry dogs.

Dryers with heating elements, much like human hair dryers, combine the mechanical action of moving air with varying degrees of heat to remove water from an animal’s coat. Typically these dryers come in models that are mounted on tall stands, (stand dryers) or a short base (table dryers.) And there are those configured to hang on the front of a cage. However, any type of dryer that directs heated air into a cage can be dangerous. This is because of the simple fact that directing heat into an enclosed environment that contains a living, breathing animal can be a recipe for disaster.

Every year the news media reports cases where pets are injured or killed from developing heat stress or heat exhaustion due to the use of cage dryers. Some other dogs even receive life threatening thermal burns on their skin after being exposed to cage dryers.
The problems may occur when:

The pet has an existing health problem that is aggravated by the warm environment.
The pet is a breed which is prone to overheating (see below for more information.)
The pet is left in the warm, humid environment for too long and is unable to regulate its body temperature.
Temperatures become too warm for the safety of the pet.
This can happen when:

The temperature exceeds safe limits due to dryer design.
The temperature exceeds safe limits due to operator error.
The temperature exceeds safe limits due to lack of proper air circulation within the cage.
The temperature exceeds safe limits due to a malfunction of the equipment.
Keeping in mind that dogs do not cool their bodies as humans do, by perspiring, but rather by panting to bring cool air through their moist mouths and airways, it is obvious that if the air the dog is breathing in is too warm and moist that it can easily become overheated. A normal body temperature for a dog is 100.5 to 102.5. Many dryers designed for use on pets put out air heated to 130 degrees or higher.

So why do groomers use cage dryers at all? We use them because:
A damp dog can become chilled (hypothermic) if it is exposed to cooler than body temperatures over a period of time. In a cool grooming environment, blowing warm air on a damp dog keeps it comfortable until it is time for it to be finish dried on the table. In a busy grooming shop, it makes sense to bathe several dogs and let some become partially dried while waiting to be finish dried. Meanwhile the groomer can be bathing, prepping or finishing other dogs. Cage dryers can be an enormous time saver.
Spending some quiet time in a cage can offer an important rest period during the grooming process for cats, puppies, very nervous dogs and geriatric dogs.

Many groomers have given up using any type of traditional dryer during the time they cage dry pets, opting instead to use fans. The fans provide constant movement of room temperature air over the animal, opening the coat and increasing the rate at which water evaporates. As long as the air in the grooming environment is warm enough to prevent chilling, this can be an excellent option. Other groomers have opted to use only cage dryers without heating elements.

Heated dryers have been used for decades and many well respected groomers continue to use them safely. When the danger of using heat is understood and appreciated by all staff members, dryers are kept in good repair and used judiciously, heated dryers are much like any tool. They can be useful if used properly or dangerous if operated carelessly.

A Dozen Do’s and Don’ts

Dryer Do’s
Do- only use dryers on the warm setting.
Do- only use cage dryers when there is someone there to monitor the pet at all times.
Do- have cage drying procedures in place and familiarize all employees with those procedures.
Do- post signs of heat stress for all employees to see.
Do- consider adding thermometers to all drying cages.
Do- provide drinking water in all drying cages.
Do- use a dehumidifier in the grooming area.
Do- take steps to improve circulation of room air in the grooming area.
Do- make certain that cage dryers are properly maintained.
Do- make certain that timers on cage dryers function properly.
Do- use a high velocity dryer to remove moisture from the coat and to open the coat before cage drying. This will reduce cage drying time and produce a higher quality finish on the coat.
Do- only use cage dryers on cages with good air flow.

Dryer Don’ts
Don’t – use cage dryers on the “hot” setting.
Don’t- use heated dryers on high risk animals such as those that are sick, overweight, very old, very young, have breathing problems, chronic health problems or are tranquilized.
Don’t- use cage dryers in metal cages. Metal conducts heat.
Don’t- use cage dryers on enclosed cages such as airline type kennels.
Don’t-use cage dryers on any cage that is draped with towels or has the air flow blocked. Good air flow is a must in drying cages.
Don’t- use cage dryers on brachycephalic (short nosed) animals such as Pugs, Bulldogs, Persian cats.
Don’t- leave a muzzled animal in a cage dryer for any reason.
Don’t- use a table or stand dryer pointed at a cage with the heat on. These dryers are designed to use in an open area and often heat up to higher temperatures (some up to 155F) than cage dryers.
Don’t- leave animals unsupervised in a drying cage.
Don’t- think that a dog suffering heat stress will call attention to itself by barking or behaving in a remarkable manner. See sidebar for signs of heat stress.
Don’t-underestimate the danger heated dryers can present.
Don’t – delay seeking veterinary assistance if you suspect a dog is suffering from heat stress. Immediate treatment is of vital importance.

On internet grooming sites, the topic of safer heated dryers often is brought up.

As consumers, we need to convey our concerns to dryer manufactures. Lower temperature machines, heat sensors that shut off hot dryers and reliable timers are all excellent safety features that could be built in to cage dryers. Chuck Simons, popular grooming educator (Groomers Helper, http://www.chucksimons.com/) wrote on the internet discussion board at www.petgroomer.com, “All kennel dryers should be in plain sight of the groomers, temperatures should not go over 80 degrees, time in the dryer should not go over 15-20 minutes and there should be an automatic shut-off. We need to make these dryers “Stupid Proof”. To increase the time and temperature should take a concentrated effort and procedure so that if a groomer does hurt an animal because they increased the time and temperature they are clearly responsible.”

Recent bills introduced to license pet groomers are often in response to a pet being killed or injured in a cage drying incident. In response to this, one groomer said, “You can’t legislate common sense.” As professional pet groomers, our job is so much more than properly styling pets. We must be constantly vigilant about the safety and well being of the lives that are entrusted to us. In order to do this we must be aware of all potential dangers to dogs and cats in our care.

Chuck Lauritzen, (asst. director ISCC, Garland,TX) wrote on the www.dogster.com forum in 2007, “There may be explanations for accidental occurrences, but the reputations of professional pet stylists/groomers are deteriorating into that of an industry that is replete with incompetence and negligence for which there can be neither excuses nor any acceptable vernacular to dismiss their culpability for the absence of common sense and judicious decisions.”

He continued, “Pet stylists/groomers must be imbued with the character and integrity to be accountable for their actions and the consequences thereof, while also recognizing that their methods and practices demand a critical evaluation of the parameters that will strictly define their continued usage. This prescription is a very subjective interpretation, but it behooves the pet stylists/groomers to endorse and adopt the ethical standards that will govern their conduct and behavior to eradicate the preventable injuries and loss of life that have become a blight upon the reputation and public image of the entire pet styling/grooming profession. Should the pet stylists/groomers be unable to invoke the uncompromising guidelines by which safe, effective and humane methods and practices become the minimal standard of care, then the intrusion of government regulations and the judiciary system into the daily activities of our businesses and our lives is inevitable.”


Heatstroke can lead to death. Heatstroke occurs when the temperature in the environment is higher than the body temperature with little or no air circulation, high humidity and close quarters. Heatstroke happens VERY QUICKLY. Signs include a body temperature of more than 103 degrees, lethargy, heavy breathing, bright red gums and tongue, vomiting and diarrhea. If heatstroke occurs, you should place the pet in a tub of cool water. Do not use cold water as it will constrict the blood vessels and slow down the cooling process. Call the veterinarian for transport instructions.

Hypothermia occurs when you expose the pet to cooler than body temperatures over a period of time. Hypothermia can occur when you place a wet animal in a kennel and dry the pet on a cool setting. Signs include a body temperature of four degrees less than normal, shivering and bluish gums. If hypothermia occurs, take the pet out of the kennel and wrap her with warm towels and call the vet for instructions.
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