|MadSci Network: Physics|
My only thoughts on this are that the rubbing is what warms the animals' paws, and the snow serves as a lubricant so that the rubbing doesn't damage the dog's fur or the persons hands. If you or I rub our hands together they will get much warmer, but before long we'll be rubbing skin off our hands. therefore using the snow, which is handy as a lubricant, just serves to make it easier to rub without hurting the paws or your hand. The heat from the rubbing would evaporate the small amount of moisture in the snow. I have no scientific confirmation for this, but the next time it snows here, I will try this on my dog and see how it works. Experimentation is the best way to test a scientific hypothesis. hope this helps! Rena Faye Norby [note added by MadSci Admininistrator (John Link): As long as we're proposing possible solutions, I'll throw in my 2-cents' worth! Since snow is actually fairly dry, it may be able to absorb, in the air spaces, some of the water from off the animal's fur.]
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