If You Mush Know: All Snuggled In

This month’s question comes from…..

From Mrs. Tarbell’s 3rd grade class:

We read the article about how sled dogs stay warm in their dog houses, but how do they stay warm when they are on the trail racing and stop to sleep?


Text and Photos by: Lynne Witte

Art by: Jon Van Zyle

Sled dogs love to run! But like us, they need to rest. In a race like the Iditarod, many dog teams will run and rest equal hours. For example, they may run for four hours and then rest for four hours. This rest stop may be along the trail or at a checkpoint. Either place, the musher is prepared to care for their dog team by providing straw to make each dog a warm soft bed to snuggle and sleep. Dogs may have been wearing a special dog jacket for wind protection as they run. This jacket is left on a dog to sleep for extra warmth. The musher will have a blanket for each dog that they either carried in their sled bag or sent to each checkpoint in their drop bags.

Sled dogs are a northern breed dog and are able to tolerate the cold. They have a double coat of fur. The undercoat is short and warm. It insulates the dog’s body. Their outer coat is longer and water-resistant, helping prevent the build-up of ice and snow.

Sled dogs can stretch out or curl up on their bed of straw and snuggle under the warm blanket. They wrap their tail around their nose as their breath will warm them. It protects their face from the snow and cold.

Sled dogs love to run, but when it’s time to stop, they have learned the routine to snuggle in and enjoy a good rest!