I know many people worry about the health and welfare of sled dogs during long races like the Iditarod. Here’s an interesting (if you’re a nerd like me) article about how these dogs’ feet can withstand being in snow and ice for nine days, written by the Iditarod’s veterinarians.
A penguin, a sled dog, and a manatee walk into a diner…
Exxon Mobile just announced they are pulling their sponsorship of the Iditarod after this year, citing the economic state of the world right now. PETA is applauding this as an animal rights victory. Race officials, meanwhile, cite the number of volunteer veterinarians who attend to the dogs throughout their journey.
My humble opinion, formed by watching the race from afar, is that the dogs appear to be having a great deal of fun.
When we humans prepare for a marathon, we eat lots of carbs in the days before the race to increase stored muscle energy. But sled dogs have much different metabolic needs. For them, fat content is far more important, with fats making up as much as 60 – 70% of their diets.
How do I know this? Because the Iditarod has launched a new Ask an Iditarod Vet feature, answering all your questions about sled dog health.
I know there are people who think these endurance-based sled dog races are cruel, but these athletic dogs love their jobs and are probably treated better than yours and mine. And it’s not just about racing; I heard today that some of Alaska’s ballots were delivered to their election boards by sled dog!
I just received a newsletter full of news about off-season Iditarod events. If you’re not familiar (do you live under a rock?) the Iditarod is a sled dog race from Anchorage to Nome every year. For 8 – 10 days, mushers live, run, and ride on sleds pulled by a team of dogs through some of the most unfriendly terrain on earth. The race is held to commemorate the important history of sled dogs in the frigid north. The trail follows the route sled dogs took to bring life-saving diphtheria anti-toxin to Nome, on the coast of the Bering Sea, saving countless lives.
Here’s all the news that is news from the Iditarod:
This is your chance to win one of two 2020 Dodge Ram 4×4 Pickup Trucks! Or one of eight $1,000 cash prizes. Ticket price is $100 each and there are only 2,000 tickets available.
Call 1(800) 545-6874 to purchase. Drawing held Sept. 30 on The Iditarod Facebook Live.
You know I love the Iditarod, and one of my goals in life is to see it in person some day, so I hate to report this. However, I know many people have questions about the treatment of the dogs during this grueling race. The Associated Press is reporting (via ESPN) that several dogs tested positive for Tramadol, an opioid paid reiever, after the 2017 race. Continue reading Iditarod Dog Doping Scandal→
It’s the coldest day yet along the race trail, with minus 22 degrees under fair skies. The first three mushers are into Unalakleet, with the remainder of the top five on the way to this checkpoint on the eastern shore of the Bering Sea.