How to Dry a Dog

Four Methods:Letting Your Dog Air DryDrying Your Dog With a ChamoisDrying Your Dog With a TowelDrying Your Dog With a Blow Dryer

If you have a wet dog, either because you washed the dog or because your dog got him/herself wet somehow, you will want to dry the dog. There are a number of methods to choose from. It all just depends on what suits your environment, time, and the dog's needs. If you have a very fearful dog or one with other serious behavioral issues, you should consult a veterinarian or a dog behavior specialist before attempting to bathe or dry the dog.

Method 1
Letting Your Dog Air Dry

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    Allow the dog to air dry naturally. This is the easiest and most enjoyable way for the dog to dry. After getting wet, the natural reaction of many dogs is to shake from side to side with great vigor to release the water. In less than 4 seconds of shaking, dogs can shake up to 70% of the water from their fur.[1]
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    Stand back and allow the dog to shake the water from his or her fur. It is best to do this outdoors or in a room that you don't mind gets wet. Be prepared for the dog to shake water all over you, as well. Wear clothes you do not mind getting wet.
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    Allow the dog to air dry the rest of the way in location that is comfortable and not too hot or too cold. Outdoors in the sunshine may be most enjoyable for the dog.
    • If you allow the dog to dry outdoors, make sure you provide water and shade for the dog.
    • Dogs prefer natural odors to man made ones, like those found in shampoo, so a recently bathed dog will likely wish to roll in the dirt or mud.[2] Prevent your dog from getting him/herself dirty and smelly by keeping the dog in a place without mud, dirt, or other smelly/rotting materials until the dog is completely dry. A deck or patio outdoors would work well, or a comfortable indoor room.
    • If you bring the dog indoors to dry, the dog may roll around on the carpet. That is a natural reaction, so either allow your dog to enjoy that, or put the dog in a room without carpet if you do not wish the dog to roll on the carpet.[3]

Method 2
Drying Your Dog With a Chamois

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    Use a chamois leather. A chamois leather is a cloth traditionally made from the hide of a chamois, which is a European antelope. Today, chamois leather may also be made from the hides of goats or sheep, or it may be made from synthetic, non-animal material.[4] A chamois leather is ideal for drying off a dog quickly and easily because it is absorbent and soft.
    • You can purchase a chamois online directly from manufacturers or sites such as ebay or Amazon, or you can purchase one at automotive supply stores. Many people use chamois leathers to dry their cars.
    • The natural oils in natural chamois leather will help make your dog's coat shiny.[5]
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    Rub the dog's coat with the chamois. For a dog with long fur, gently press the excess water from the dog's coat before rubbing. You can rub vigorously and quickly, but do not rub too hard.
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    Wring out the chamois. Wring the water out of the chamois leather periodically before continuing to press the water out of the dog's coat. Chamois leather, once wrung out, will feel almost dry and will be able to absorb water again.[6]
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    Be gentle. As you rub, be especially gentle around the dog's chest, neck, ears, and paws.

Method 3
Drying Your Dog With a Towel

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    Towel dry the dog. Towel drying is a little more work than using a chamois leather because the towel will become heavy and soggy when it soaks up the water. Nevertheless, this method works, and you likely already own towels.
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    Have several towels handy. Replace each towel as it becomes wet. The larger the dog, the larger the towels you will need.
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    Rub the dog's coat. Place a soft, absorbent bath towel over the dog's back and gently rub the dog's coat to absorb the water. You can rub quickly and vigorously, but do not rub too hard.[7]
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    Replace the towel. As the towel becomes too wet to absorb any more water from the dog's coat, replace it with a new, dry towel.
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    Dry all parts of the dog. After drying the dog's back, move to its stomach, then its chest, and finally its paws.[8]
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    Be gentle. As you rub, be especially gentle around the dog's chest, neck, ears, and paws.

Method 4
Drying Your Dog With a Blow Dryer

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    Use a hair dryer. This method works best for dogs with very long or thick coats, such as Siberian Huskies, whose double coats take a very long time to dry using the other methods. However, a blow dryer should only be used on a dog who is not afraid of the dryer.[9]
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    Get your dog used to the blow dryer. Before using it on the dog, just turn on the dryer while the dog is in the room, and then gradually work your way up to blowing it on the dog once the dog seems comfortable with the noise. This may take several days to weeks before your dog is comfortable.[10]
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    Blow air on the dog's coat. Use the dryer on the lowest heat setting and on the lowest blowing speed.[11] Never hold the hairdryer directly against or very close to the skin. Always keep the nozzle at least 10 inches away.
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    Keep the dryer moving. Move the dryer quickly back and forth over the dog's coat, avoiding the face and feet. Do not hold the dryer on one spot for more than a few seconds so that you do not burn the dog's skin.[12]
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    Praise your dog. You may also wish to give the dog treats to make getting dried into a positive experience.[13]
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    Know your dog's limits. If your dog is fearful, stop using the dryer and use one of the other methods instead. You want the dog to associate being dried with positive experiences.[14]


  • Brushing your dog during and after using one of the above methods helps the drying process.
  • If you have a long-haired dog, you may wish to purchase a dryer created specifically for dogs. It blows only room-temperature air.[15]
  • Praising your dog throughout the drying process will help your dog like to be dried, no matter which method you choose.


  • Your dog may think that it is playtime when you dry him/her, so be prepared for the dog to roll around and generally start to act silly.[16]
  • Never force a fearful dog to do anything. It can traumatize the dog and possibly lead to you getting injured, for example if your fearful dog bites to get away from the towel or hair dryer. Always be careful to stay within the limits of your dog's comfort zone.[17]

Article Info

Categories: Dog Grooming