Why Dog Booties?

                                                             Hello friends,

Musher placing booties on her dog at the McGrath checkpoint.

My favorite questions to answer are about the dogs. Awwwoooooo! Students in Minnesota just learned about the tough pads sled dogs have on their paws. They also learned that these dogs have the adaptation of a special kind of gel made of unsaturated fats in their pads. This gel helps prevent their pads from freezing in the bitter cold. So . . . why booties? If you live in snowy climates, have you ever worn knit gloves outside to play and had snow and ice clump up and get stuck on the gloves between your fingers? This is the same thing that happens to the canines when they run. Snow and ice can get stuck between their toes and on their pads which could cause injuries. This is the reason for the booties. It protects my friends from the snow and ice along the Iditarod Trail. Booties are made from different materials such as fleece and nylon and are fastened with velcro. The mushers have trained themselves pretty well on getting a team of dogs bootied up during the race. When I was on the team, I knew to lift each paw to help them out. 

Rule #16 Mandatory Items states that mushers must have 8 extra booties per dog in their sled. With 14 dogs starting the race times 8 extra booties per dog . . . hmmmmm . . . carry the one . . . hey! I’m a journalist not a mathematician, I guess you’re going to have to figure this out. If you have a question for Zuma, please send an email to askzumadog@gmail.com. Questions will be answered here.

Tail wags,


Helping the musher remove the booties.