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    Pawsitive Energy — Muttluks

    Sled Dog Racing

    Sled Dog Racing

    ‘Tis the season for dog sledding! The most famous and challenging dog sled races, the Yukon Quest and the Iditarod, take place in February and March every year. These races are 1,000 miles long through rugged terrain and extreme winter conditions. A true test of endurance, courage, team work and skill for humans (Mushers) and their dog teams.

    A Musher, the dog sled leader, starts the race with a team of between 12 and 16 dogs. Those dogs all wear, you guessed it, dog boots!

    Dog boots, a subject close to our heart, are required equipment for every team. The Iditarod rules require each Musher to carry a minimum of eight boots (2 sets of boots) per dog for the duration of the race.  A Musher easily goes through several thousand boots in a season for training and racing. The Yukon Quest has a similar requirement of eight boots for each dog and that these boots must be either in the sled or in use when a driver signs out of each checkpoint. Dog Boots are worn during the race to prevent snow balls from forming between the toes and to protect dog paws from injury due to ice shards and abrasion.

    Dogs have a higher body temperature, 100 F (38.06 C) to 102.5 F, (39.17 C), compared to 98.6 F (37C) for humans. A dog’s resting heart rate is in the range of 100 to 102 beats per minute (bpm) compared to 60-100 bpm for humans. This means a dog’s metabolism is higher than that of humans, their blood circulates faster and they burn more calories than humans.

    Because of their higher body temperature snow melts between their webbed toes forming snow balls. Anyone with a dog who has suffered from snow balls between their toes knows how irritating and debilitating it can be, even leading to severe frostbite if left unattended. The use of dog boots prevents the formation of snow balls in between the toes, and enables dogs to run at peak performance in all types of snow conditions.

    Each dog requires about 10,000 to 12,000 calories of meat, salmon and kibble per day to stay healthy and working to the max during the race. In comparison, a professional cyclist riding in the one of the Tour de France’s daily stages (approx. 175K) only consumes 6,000 calories a day, half of what a sled dog requires.  Mushers always feed and care for their dogs before themselves.

    Dog boots and proper care go a long way to help the dogs endure the race conditions. The harsh conditions take their toll on even the hardiest and well cared for dogs. Although a Musher may start the race with a team of as many as 16 dogs, they usually finish the race with far fewer. To win the Yukon Quest, the winning team must finish with at least five dogs when crossing the finish line. Iditarod requires finishing with at least six dogs. 

    Dogs are identified and kept track of via a microchip. Dogs that are fatigued or injured can be dropped at "dog-drop" sites along the race route.  Once the dogs are in Anchorage, the information is checked by the crew who then transport the dogs to the Eagle River Correctional Institute where a group of in-mates care for them until the Mushers handlers arrive to take them home.

    Alaskan or Siberian Huskies are the most common breed of sled dogs. There’s even a school the “Alaska Mushing School” to teach dogs how to be sled dogs.

    It is well accepted that without the Inuit Sled Dog, the Inuit and their ancestors could not have survived in one of the harshest and most unforgiving climates on Earth. In recognition of its vital role, the Inuit Sled Dog was honored in May 2000 as Nunavut’s official mammal, chosen above such northern icons as the polar bear, caribou, musk ox and seal.

    Most of us don’t go to those extremes to enjoy the outdoors with our dogs. For those that do my hat is off to you – once I get back indoors that is. Happy trails everyone.

    To find out more about the sled dog races: visit and

    SafePet Ottawa - A network that supports abused women and their pets

    SafePet Ottawa - A network that supports abused women and their pets

    This month’s Woof Wish spotlights SafePet Ottawa. This caring & dynamic volunteer organization provides support and foster homes for the companion animals of abused women and their children who need to exit from domestic violence to the safety of a local Violence Against Women (VAW) shelters.

    The Vital First Step

    SafePet Ottawa provides that vital first step for victims of abuse, a safe haven for their pet. Pets or ‘fur babies’ as they are called are loved by their owners in the same way a mother loves her child. It is the most important positive emotional relationship they have in their life and many often risk their own lives to protect their pet. This cannot be understated, 48% of abused women in Ontario* who should be exiting from situations of domestic violence, delay leaving or don’t leave at all because they fear abuse or death of their pets at the hands of their abuser.

     A Template for Others

    Last March, The Ontario Veterinary Medical Association (OVMA) presented their 2017 honorary membership award to Ayala Sher, a retired Ottawa high school teacher, dog lover and the founder of SafePet Ottawa. Ms Sher is quick to point out that the real award recipients are the SafePet Ottawa team of volunteers. They range from veterinary clinics, fosters and dog behaviourists to ordinary citizens, like yourself.

    The SafePet Ottawa model so impressed the OVMA that they are now considering it as a template for other cities. Many Ontario municipalities have also approached SafePet Ottawa about replicating the network.

     OVMA spokeswoman Melissa Carlaw points out that vets in Ontario have had a protocol, for many years to deal with the pets of women going into shelters. Unfortunately, vets are not set up to care for animals over the long term. It often takes several months before a woman is ready to leave a shelter and veterinarians know that the best place for animals is in a home. 

    Confidential Fostering

    “You can’t help the animal without helping the woman,” Ms Sher says. “We tell people who foster that they’re saving at least two lives. SafePet Ottawa provides necessary veterinary intake and long or short-term fostering for the duration of a woman’s stay in her shelter.”

    Here’s how the SafePet Ottawa works. The community pet fosters in the Ottawa area take-in pets belonging to women who are residents of VAW shelters. The fosters provide pets with food, shelter and appropriate exercise. This support makes it possible for women at risk to stay in safety without worrying about their pets’ well-being.

    Vets, who work with SafePet Ottawa, act as a hub. They provide a neutral location for pet owners to drop-off, pick-up and transfer their pet before entering a VAW shelter. That shelter usually arranges transport for the woman from her current residence to the VAW shelter. The Vet then completes a health exam and administers any needed vaccinations to the animal. Pet’s owner and foster identities are kept strictly confidential for the security and well-being of the pet and volunteers. Once the woman leaves the VAW shelter, she is reunited with her pet(s).

    SafePet Ottawa continues to build a network of caring supportive people and they are always looking for more volunteers. For more information please visit, Facebook

    *1998 OSPCA study

    If you or anyone you know has a Woof Wish story to tell or, needs assistance through the Woof Wish program please contact us at



    In Praise of Big Dogs

    In Praise of Big Dogs

    There’s an old expression, “you can’t judge a book by its cover”, that certainly applies in the canine world, especially when it comes to the size of a dog.

    Dogs come in all shapes and sizes. Many people prefer smaller dogs thinking they’re easier to handle. It’s easy to be seduced by those tiny, purse-sized, cute as a button lap dogs. And yes, big dogs can look imposing, however there is an awful lot to be said and to love about big dog breeds.

    U.S. pet households increasingly prefer smaller dogs, according to a 2012 report on the pet industry*. Small dogs (under 25 lbs.) account for 48%, medium dogs (25-40 lbs.) 32%, with the large dog breeds (40+ lbs.) holding on in second place with 36%.

    Misconceptions About Big Dogs

    There’s a misconception that large breeds need more exercise. While many are great hiking and walking companions, the Great Dane, for example, is quite content to sit around for long periods without much activity. Some of the smaller breeds, in comparison, can be high strung and full of energy. Maybe it’s because smaller breeds are used for retrieving and herding and consequently often need more exercise to burn off their excess energy.  Unlike their diminutive peers, larger dogs don’t have anything to prove. Most of them, especially the giant breeds are calmer, more self-aware and easier to train.

    Real Show Stoppers

    Because they are usually quite easy-going, most large breeds enjoy playing with children. They tend to be good natured and less snippy than smaller breeds. Most of all they are loyal, loving and extremely protective.  There is also something wonderful about walking down the street with a ‘large’ dog. They look elegant with a powerful presence that just can’t be beat. Big breeds are real show stoppers.

    There are over 60 breeds of big, large dogs. If you’re considering one as a pet, here’s a list of the biggest and the most popular dog breeds.

    10 Most Popular Big Dog Breeds








    Labrador Retriever, German Shepherd, Golden Retriever, Standard Poodle, Great Dane, Mastiff, Collie, German Shorthaired Pointer, St. Bernard and the Irish Wolfhound.

    14 Largest Dog Breeds








    Tibetan Mastiff, Neapolitan Mastiff, Cane Corso, The Bull Mastiff, Great Dane, Mastiff, Dogue de Bordeaux, Leonberger, Bernese Mountain Dog, Newfoundlander, Great Pyrenees, Black Russian Terrier, Irish Wolfhound and Scottish Deerhound.

    Finding Cool Stuff for Big Dogs

    There’s only one draw-back to having a big dog companion – it’s hard to find really great, big dog stuff. Most retail stores cater to smaller sizes.  Big breeds have always found Muttluks a welcome place to shop. Muttluks has the biggest dog boots and coats on the market. Original Fleece-Lined or All-Weather Muttluks dog boots range in size from Itty Bitty to XXL in a variety of colours. Muttluks Belted Coat is available from size 8 to 38! That’s BIG! Most Great Danes will fit a 30, 34 or 38 coat. Muttluks has big dogs covered!


    Sources: * APPA, **Modern Dog

    Woof Wish Champion - Sarah Broderick

    Woof Wish Champion - Sarah Broderick

    Sarah Broderick and The Gift of Titan.

    Muttluks is pleased to introduce Sarah Broderick and Titan, her six-year old Golden Retriever. Based in Anacortes, Washington, Sarah and Titan are in the Woof Wish spotlight this month.

    Sarah, who is now retired, evaluated, trained and matched service dogs to their people. As Sarah put it, “providing a highly trained dog for a person with a disability was a very rewarding experience.”

     Sarah says her own service dog Titan is a ‘shining light for me’. Titan has been a great comfort and aid for Sarah who suffers from debilitating panic attacks. It is because of Titan that Sarah can work, leave her home and basically participate in life. With Titan by her side Sarah continues to provide therapeutic care and visitations through Love on a Leash and Pet Partners, two national therapy dog organizations. She is also a co-founder of Dogs on Call in her home town of Anacortes. DOC is a “club” of like-minded volunteers who participate in numerous therapy dog programs in the county, visiting nursing homes, schools, and cancer patients.

    One story she told was particularly worth mentioning. “We worked with two speech therapists and two autistic boys. The goal was to help the boys communicate clearly. That was accomplished by giving Titan commands and having him perform tricks. Titan would only do the activity if he could understand the boys. After four years, the boys turned 16 and went on to work with an adult speech therapist but they had Titan spinning and bowing and picking up all sorts of objects! They even introduced him to staff in the halls of the hospital.”

    “There are endless things dogs can do and Titan and I only reach a few people in need of love and comfort but those moments are precious. Titan wears two important hats as both a service dog and a therapy dog. I tell him how great he is but I don’t know if he understands. I do know that because of him my life is better! Titan’s light shines brighter every day for me. I am so lucky to have the gift of Titan.”

    If you or anyone you know has a Woof Wish story to tell or is in need of assistance through the Woof Wish program please contact us at

    Presidential Paws

    Presidential Paws

    PM Trudeau gives Muttluks as gift to President Obama's First Dogs.

    After 22 years of making dog boots, it never ceases to amaze me where Muttluks show up. In March 2016 I was surprised to find the Toronto media at our door inquiring about the Muttluks that were gifted by Prime Minister Trudeau to President Obama for the First Dogs, Sunny and Bo.

    The All Weather Muttluks were gifted as a Canadian icon, like maple syrup and we were most grateful. Muttluks has done many things and been many places but they have never been presented to a head of state, until now.

    I would agree that Muttluks are as Canadian as maple syrup and over the years we've worked hard to keep Muttluks a truly Canadian product.

    Muttluks – As Canadian as maple syrup eh!