Hi Boys and Girls,
Several of you have emailed me about dog booties. You’ve wanted to know what they are made of and when they are worn. So this post is for you!
Most dog booties used for dog sledding are made out of a material called Cordura 330. Cordura 330 is a lightweight flexible nylon material. There are other weights of Cordura that are used for tougher trails (like gravel) and for things like backpacks. But for booties on snow and ice, the 330 works just fine.
I bet you’re wondering why a dog would need booties. Ice and snow can pack between the toes and can cause small cuts and discomfort to a dogs paw. The bootie stops this ice packing from happening. Booties protect a dogs paws just like shoes protect your human paws.
Another question that is often asked is: “Do the dogs like wearing the booties?”. I can answer that one. They are not my favorite thing to wear. When my human puts them on my feet, the first thing I want to do is take them off. I’ve tried shaking them and biting at them but they don’t usually come off. They are tighten with a a Velcro closure that’s really sticky and tough. That’s probably a good thing for dogs like me that try to take them off. Once I get running though, I forget I have them on and run the same as I do without them. I do know that I need them and that they keep my feet safe.
I have also been asked how many booties are worn during a race like the Iditarod. That usually depends on trail conditions. I’ve heard mushers take between 1500-3000 booties with them on the trail. The booties are changed when they wear out or fall off. I’ve heard some mushers say that they change the booties every 30-50 miles. Booties are taken off during rest times and feet are massaged and ointment is put on the pads. When a team is ready to start racing again, the booties are put back on.
Hope that answers some of your questions.
Hope you’re enjoying the race.