How to Keep Your Sled Dog Warm

Taking care of your sled dogs is the most important responsibility a musher has and one of the most important ways to take care of your sled dogs is to keep them warm. Most people assume that since sled dogs have such thick fur that they can stay warm in even the coldest of temperatures but in reality the sled dogs need help staying warm in the cold, just like you or me. Keeping your sled dogs warm is even more important on long trips or races when you and your dogs may spend multiple nights outside when temperatures reach their lowest. Keeping your sled dogs warm during the night is the most difficult because most mushers choose to rest their sled teams at night, meaning that the dogs will not be moving around and burning fat to help keep them warm.

It may sound a bit silly but it is not uncommon for sled dogs to be fitted for special jackets that hug the body and keep heat from escaping. If time allows a musher may even make a special sleeping area out of stray or any other available natural material to help keep the dogs out of the snow while they sleep. Even without a jacket or a warm place to sleep a sled dog can withstand most cold conditions for a significant period of time thanks to their heavy coat of fur and their natural instinct to huddle together to stay warm. Depending on the musher a fire could also be made for cooking and the dogs can use it to stay warm for most of the night. Since humans can’t survive in the cold temperatures that sled dogs are used to a fire is a basic requirement for most mushers in temperatures that are below freezing.

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