We have enhanced photoacoustic computed tomography with dry acoustic coupling that eliminates water immersion anxiety and wrinkling of the animal and facilitates incorporating complementary modalities and procedures. The dry acoustic coupler is made of a tubular elastic membrane enclosed by a closed transparent water tank. The tubular membrane ensures water-free contact with the animal, and the closed water tank allows pressurization for animal stabilization. The dry coupler was tested using a whole-body small-animal ring-shaped photoacoustic computed tomography system. Dry coupling was found to provide image quality comparable to that of conventional water coupling.