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drying cabinets safe?

Are drying cabinets safe?

What are your views on drying cabinets? I’ve read some awful stories in the media. How should they be used, and are they suitable for nervous dogs? Our new rescue Shih Tzu cross is petrified of loud or whirring noises like the vacuum cleaner. I don’t know how she would react if a groomer put her in a drying cabinet.

Stuart Simons advises...

This is an incredibly controversial subject. There have been many, many reports in the media regarding drying cabinets, and none of them have been good. I personally love mine. Here’s why… Pet grooming is an incredibly difficult skill. Once honed, it can be a hugely rewarding and lucrative business but, like any skill, you must learn your craft. If I were a builder, and someone asked me to work a forklift with no training, I wouldn’t have a clue. It would be dangerous. Well, a drying cabinet is a great tool for those who are fully trained and use it properly as a professional piece of equipment.

Drying cabinets have a fan that generates a stream of gentle, warm air, which circulates to encourage hair to dry. The air stream is quite light, and having had reservations myself initially, I decided to get inside a cabinet to see what it was like from the dog’s point of view. I actually found it incredibly relaxing, as do some of our four-legged friends. Cabinets are not an alternative to a blaster, as it would take a very long time for your dog to get completely dry in a cabinet; they are designed to be used in conjunction with another drying method.

In terms of your own dog, a professionally trained and qualified groomer would never put a Shih Tzu in a cabinet. Brachycephalic (short-nosed) dogs should never be put into drying cabinets under any circumstances. The longer a dog’s nose, the more effective their internal cooling system is, but due to the way short-nosed dogs have been bred by humans, they do not have an effective cooling method. A brachycephalic dog would be in danger of heatstroke in a cabinet because they simply cannot cool themselves down. A good drying cabinet should have a built-in thermostat, and the cabinet’s use should be supervised at all times.

I use mine in 10-minute spurts for dogs that are already partially dry. This is just another reason why it’s important to ask about a groomer’s credentials when visiting a salon for the first time. Unqualified usage could result in injury and, at worst, death. You must remember that most equipment in salons has its dangers; it’s just that the drying cabinet has had the most exposure because of people using it unprofessionally.

Used correctly, this piece of equipment can help manage dogs that are frightened of loud blaster noises. When not switched on, my own dogs love it as a day bed – they get in of their own accord to watch me work!