It SHOULD NOT be happening at all but it happens all the time. Unfortunately there are no solid statistics on how often it happens, but even ONE death is way too many and the madness needs to stop!
I want to start off by sharing my story.
About 15 years ago I had a lab mix come into my shop for a shavedown. All went well. Dog was well mannered. Easy groom. No issues. Went from our place to the vet clinic for shots and an exam. No issues found at all according to the vet records.
Fast forward three days and I get a call saying he has a sore on his hip and they are taking him to the Emergency Vet clinic. It was seen and treatment prescribed. Several days later I get another phone call saying the dog had a severe thermal burn and it was spreading as tissue died!
Well, I was in shock as to why they were telling me this when I don't have a dryer with heat. I knew this did not happen in my shop. It had to have happened at home or at the vet clinic, but I KNEW that when he left my shop he was fine.
The vets could not give me a definite diagnosis, but the dog was undergoing Burn therapy, including daily scrubbing of necrotic tissue and skin grafts. The vet bill 15 years ago was over $4000.
Long story short, I refused to pay ANY vet bill without proof we had caused the injuries and got sued!
That began my investigations into how dryers work and the most efficient dryers to have in the salon. I spent hours talking to the people at Sahara Dryers and other groomers. I already knew that fans worked better than most other dryers, but this studying made me much more determined than ever to never use a heated dryer.
I have used this knowledge to write numerous articles on this subject and preach heavily on the safety and effectiveness of cool air dryers. I FIRMLY believe that not one pet should ever die from being groomed. There is no reason for animals to die from heat!
I ask every single groomer who still uses cage dryers this question: "Would you leave your dog in the car with the windows rolled up in summer?" You always get a horrified look and an adamant "NO!" and yet many people still use a heated dryer pointed into a closed on three sides cage or vari-kennel. In my eyes there is not difference between the two.
I have done testing with a stand dryer pointed into a cage in my cage bank and watched the temperature rise to over 120 degrees Fahrenheit in less than 5 minutes. Scary to think that in some grooming shops or vet clinics there would have been a dog in that cage!
I have reposted several articles I wrote in the past few years to help educate you on this serious veterinary public health concern.
By the way, the case against me was resolved in my favor. It turns out that the original diagnosis was a vaccine abscess. How that got turned into a thermal burn is beyond me.
However, there is no doubt that many cases of death or serious injury occur monthly in every country around the world, mostly due to people who don't use the equipment carefully and properly.
My experience taught me a lot because I was trying to protect myself. Many people do not have that knowledge, and while common sense tells you to not allow dogs to overheat or to use dryers that are capable of burns, but we all know common sense is not so common any longer.
I do put a fair amount of the responsibility for these dryers causing damage on the manufacturers. They make dryers who get too hot. They put no warning labels on the dryers and there are no owners manuals provided to show you how to safely use the dryers.
If these dryers were made for use on humans there would be a massive recall and warnings on the dryers. Because they are made for pets, there are not. It is sad, but it is factual.
Please take time to read the blogs posted by Mary Oquendo, Daryl Conner, Mellissa Francisco, Barbara Bird and myself. Share them with everyone you know! Pet groomers and pet owners alike need to know the dangers of these tools so that they can be used responsibly and safely and so that owners can ask informed questions to protect their pets.
Melissa Mary Daryl Barbara
The FaceBook page Heated Cage Dryers Can Kill has stories and photos that will help drive this point home. PLEASE! Share this! Let's get the word out to as many people as possible!
If we are vigilant and educate ourselves and others as to what the dangers can be and we can save lives! We are on the front lines, and as such need to make sure we protect as many animals as possible.
This year we will be adding more blog posts and articles from other writers as well. Our genuine hope is to save ONE LIFE! If we did then it is all worth it.