How We Stay Warm

Hello friends,

Sled dog using long bushy tail to keep nose warm.

My friend Emma from Bismark, ND had a great question for me today. She wonders how we stay warm when it is so cold outside. My K9 friends and I have a few adaptations that help keep us warm in the winter. The first is our 2 layers of fur. We have an undercoat of soft, fine fur that is kind of like wearing a down jacket. Over that is the outer layer, the longer more coarse hairs that help keep us dry. It’s kind of like wearing a raincoat over our down jackets. Another adaptation is the gel in the pads of our feet that doesn’t freeze. I know we wear booties when we race, but that’s not to keep our paws warm, it’s to keep them safe from getting cuts and having snow clump up. Now for the super science stuff. We have countercurrent circulation in our legs where the warm blood in the arteries warms the cool blood in our veins. I’m just a dog so it’s hard for me to explain, but you can find more information about it from past Teacher on the Trail, Kelly Villar, here. Finally, we have long tails so when we bed down at night we can curl up and tuck our noses into the fur of our tails. Awoooooo! Thanks Emma!

The Ceremonial Start of the 50th running of the Iditarod is Saturday, with the restart on Sunday. I’ll keep you posted on how the race progresses.

If you have a question for me, send it to  Look for your answers in future posts.


Tail wags,