How Are Dogs Trained for the Iditarod?


Over 150 dogs have died during the Iditarod, and so many more have been killed while being forced to train for the death race. Mushers aren’t required to report deaths or injuries outside of the race, so it’s impossible to know how much suffering occurs off the record. Learn about some of the injuries and deaths that were reported while training for the Iditarod race, and find out how you can help stop this cruelty in its tracks:

5 Times Dogs Were Injured or Killed While Training for the Iditarod

1. Dogs Hit by a Snowmachine, Still Forced to Race

A team of dogs forced to race by the 2023 Iditarod “winner,” Ryan Redington, was hit by a snowmachine during training in early 2022. A dog named Wildfire’s leg broke in three places. Despite the injury, Redington forced Wildfire to race in the 2023 Iditarod. The dog was predictably dropped from the race due to “lameness,” along with seven others used by Redington. His remaining dogs were visibly exhausted during the race, and he resorted to dragging them to a checkpoint, as shown in footage acquired by PETA:

2. Dog Dragged to Death; Others Left With Untreated Injuries

A PETA investigation into Iditarod musher Mitch Seavey’s kennel found that when a team of dogs broke free from a sled, one was dragged to death while another was dragged for up to 2.5 miles and left urinating blood. Some animals’ tongues froze to metal harness lines and the skin was torn off, while others’ footpads bled profusely. No veterinarian examined these injuries.

3. Dog Team Hit by Truck During Iditarod Training

A team of dogs forced to race by Jaye Foucher—a musher registered for the 2022 Iditarod at the time—was hit by a truck in January 2022. A dog named Noddy was killed during the accident, others were injured, and one broke loose and went missing.

4. Dog Team Trampled; Moose Killed

In February 2022, it was reported that four dogs—Bill, Bronze, Flash, and Jefe—were severely injured by a moose while being forced to run by first-time Iditarod musher Bridgett Watkins. Watkins reportedly “emptied her gun” into the moose, but the animal survived until Watkins’ friends arrived with larger weapons. Ultimately, the moose was killed, and the dogs sustained injuries that reportedly required emergency surgery. Despite this, Watkins forced the surviving dogs to continue training just days later, allegedly taking the same trail but with a larger weapon.

5. Five Dogs Killed After Two Snowmachine Accidents in One Month

In November 2023, a snowmachine struck dogs from the kennel of notorious Iditarod musher Dallas Seavey. One dog died instantly, and another succumbed to injuries later. Seven dogs were injured, and one ultimately had to have a leg amputated. The “winner” of the Iditarod in 2021, Seavey has a record of animal misuse as long as the Iditarod trail itself. Dogs he has raced have tested positive for opioids, his kennel was accused of killing dogs who were deemed not ideal for racing, and a whistleblower reported finding dying puppies on his property.

Less than a month later, another snowmachine hit dogs from the kennel of Iditarod musher Jim Lanier, killing three and injuring one. Just days after the accident, the surviving dogs were forced to race in the Knik 100, despite having recently experienced the trauma of witnessing the accident.

Take Action: Help Us End the Iditarod

After hearing from PETA and over 40,000 of our supporters, Cue Health made the compassionate decision to stop sponsoring the cruel Iditarod and healthcare company Greenbrook TMS dropped its sponsorship ahead of the 2023 race. Dozens of other companies—including Alaska Airlines, Chrysler, Coca-Cola, ExxonMobil, and Millennium Hotels and Resorts—have also cut ties with it.

No race is worth a dog’s life. Help us urge the few remaining sponsors of the Iditarod to do what’s right and best for dogs by ending their support of the death race.





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