Selling Drying Solutions
Offering a comprehensive assortment of both towels and pet dryers is the best way to ensure that pet owners have what they need when it is time to dry off a soaking wet pet.
In a toss up between using a dryer or a towel to dry off a wet pet, the right choice can depend on any number of factors. Either way, retailers will want to ensure that pet owners have all the tools they need for effective drying at home, whether after swimming, a walk in the rain or snow, or a bath.
Most pet drying should begin with toweling off moisture. The toweling technique will depend on the breed and coat type of the animal, as well as how they are groomed or styled. For example, with a Beagle one can just keep rubbing and squeezing with towels until the animal is mostly dry. Try using the same technique on an Old English Sheepdog or a Poodle and you’ll have a matted, tangled mess of hair in no time. However, if the OES or Poodle is styled in a fashion that leaves the coat less than about an inch and a half, you can towel and scruffle to your heart’s content.
Dogs with short, sleek hair or shorter haircuts benefit most by the use of towels. Towels use no energy, make no noise that might frighten a pet, and are washable. Towels also do not dry out the hair or skin as heated air may. Even when using a dryer on dogs with thick undercoats, such as some German Shepherds, Pomeranians, Golden Retrievers, Cocker Spaniels and more, using a towel first to remove some of the water will speed the process.
Towels made with cotton or a blend work well, as do those made of microfiber (a closely woven blend of polymers and nylon). They can be purchased at local stores, hotel supply outlets and your pet distributor. Reusable faux chamois towels are popular with some consumers as they can be easily earmarked just for pet use.
For towel customers looking for environmentally friendly products, RayPet offers their Wet Pet Towel. It is a biodegradable reusable towel made of natural fiber that is inexpensive enough to throw away, but sturdy enough to last through many washings. “I think the best feature is the fact they are thin and soft but highly absorbent,” says Wendy Watts, vice president of administration at RayPet. “The towel can be wrung out and reused, rather than having to use multiple bulky cotton towels.”
The soft and gentle microfiber has been used to create innovative answers to pet drying. The Dirty Dog Shammy Towel by Dog Gone Smart Pet Products holds up to 20 times more water, dirt and mud than cotton towels, according to Emily Zampello, director of marketing and branding.
“The Dirty Dog Shammy Towel is also a great solution for dogs who don’t like air dryers, as it can dry the dog just as quickly, and the gentle massage dry will help keep them calm and comfortable.” says Zampello. “The Dirty Dog Shammy towel can be easily merchandised and can hang anywhere in store. Retailers have the ability to merchandise the towel so that it can be touched and analyzed by consumers without damaging the packaging.”
Another super-absorbent microfiber drying product is the Soggy Doggy Super Shammy. “It eliminates the initial wet mess and makes it easy for the dryer or groomer to finish the job quickly,” says Joanna Rein, president of Soggy Doggy. The dogs actually enjoy the rub down from the noodley-fibers, so they’re willing to stand still for the rub.”
Both Dog Gone Smart and Soggy Doggy also produce mats that can be used as an amazingly absorbent crate mat.
Blow It Out
Towels, however, are not the only viable option for drying pets. If a customer’s dog is short haired and is comfortable in a crate, why not dry the animal right there? B-Air’s CUB dryer makes it super easy. With no heating element to risk overheating the pet, it blows room temperature air towards the dog, speeding drying.
Some pets with thick coats will require a dryer that has the same power and quality as would be used in a professional grooming salon. Many are designed to actually blow most of the water off of the dog. While at-home drying should not generally need more than a two-horsepower motor to get the job done, customers with large double-coated dogs may want a three- or even four-horsepower motor. Pet owners will want to make sure to check the amperage that is drawn from the dryer to avoid popping circuit breakers on startup.
Lynne Allen, senior account manager at B-Air, a manufacturer of several types of dryers, suggests also checking to make sure that the dryer is UL or ETL certified for home use. “The ETL or UL Mark is proof of product compliance to North American safety standards, and every day, more and more consumers recognize it on products they purchase as a symbol of safety,” she says.
According to Allen, the most popular of B-Air’s dryers for home use are the CUB mentioned above, and the force-type dryers—Bear Power I (2 HP) and the Bear Power II (4 HP). “The force of the dryer can blow off shedding undercoat unlike a towel that leaves the shedding undercoat intact to shed later on the carpets,” says Allen. “A dryer can make the pet fluffy, dry and free of shedding hair. Force dryers can rid the pet of dirt and debris even on dry animals.”
XPower offers retailers a small hand-held force dryer, the Airrow Pro B-53 (3/4 hp), the B-55 Home Pet Dryer and the two-horsepower dryer B-2 Pro-at-Home Pet Dryer, all with two speeds. “If you sell grooming tools, you are not selling complete unless you are selling dryers,” says John Edmondson, vice president of sales at XPower. “The basis for home grooming is the bath and dry.”
Both manufacturers include different nozzles that allow consumers to make the dryer perform different functions: shedding undercoat, drying long hair without tangling, or providing a gentler air flow for ears and feet. Most force dryers are too powerful to be used on faces or genital areas.
Once the pet is dried with towels or a cage dryer, they still need to be dried all the way to the skin. This can be done with force dryers, but the option of a dryer with heat will speed up the process. Tammy Siert, small animal grooming educator for Andis Company, recommends the handheld Andis EasyClip Quiet Aire Dryer, as it does not get too hot. It is also very quiet, which is great for dogs that do not like unfamiliar noises.
“The more you can towel dry the dog or let it sit and drip dry, the less time it will take you to dry the dog with a dryer,” says Siert. “Bathing and drying dogs is half of the groom, so using the proper products and equipment is very important”
She also recommends Andis’ The Comfort Dry Dryer that has ionic technology that helps dry the coat quicker by breaking up the water molecules, and can be used on its stand for hands-free convenience.
With all this at their disposal, retailers should have no problem guiding consumers in the purchase of just the right equipment to dry their pets quickly and safely.
Carol Visser is a Nationally Certified Master Groomer and Certified Pet Dog Trainer. Formerly a pet product expert for PetEdge, she and her husband Glenn now own Two Canines Pet Services in Montville, Maine, which provides grooming, boarding, training and day care services to Waldo County.