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Often times when I tell people how many dogs that we have, they are shocked. As you can imagine, it is not cheap to care for and train these amazing canine athletes. There are food bills, vet bills, and all of the expenses that come with racing. Each dog costs approximately $500-$1000 a year to feed and provide medical care for.
For our dog’s food, each dog will eat roughly a pound of kibble a day, and a pound of meat a year. That translates to over 16,000 pounds of kibble a year, and over ten thousand pounds of meat. For our kibble we feed Caribou Creek Gold. This is an extremely high calorie dog food formulated for racing dogs. For the dogs meats they are fed beef, chicken, turkey, beaver, and wild Alaskan Salmon. This extensive diet ensures that all of the dogs get a wide array of their essential nutrients and keeps their meals interesting. Just like humans, the dog’s benefit from supplements as well. They receive psyllium husk fiber, Dr. Karson’s probiotics, bone meal, and joint supplements. This feeding routine ensures our athletes are in top shape from head to toe.
For veterinarian care, our dogs receive the best. We have a vet that visits the kennel for routine vet work such as checkups and keeping everyone current on their vaccines. She can also perform acupuncture, laser therapy, and chiropractic work to keep the dogs feeling great! For more extensive work such as surgeries, we work with the great team at North Pole vet. We take a very well-rounded approach to our dog’s healthcare to make sure that they always feel their best so they can perform their best. We also have 2 full time handlers that live at the kennel to help take care of train the dogs.
For races and training there is tons of supplies that goes into it. In the fall we start training with the 4-wheeler and side by side and then transition to sleds, where we break and groom trails with a snow machine. All of our equipment gets lots of wear and tear! When things start getting icy, we put protective booties on the dogs’ feet. In a typical season we will go through roughly 5,000 booties between training and racing. During colder temps, the dogs will wear jackets to keep warm during runs, and use blankets as well as their straw while resting in checkpoints. For Iditarod, mushers will typically send out roughly 2,000 pounds of food and gear to the various checkpoints that will all be used during the race.
This season, we have roughly 26 race age dogs in training, and ten yearlings. Our plan is to have myself run the Iditarod and Kuskokwim 300. The Kuskokwim 300 is the most competitive mid distance sled dog race in the world. Thousands of people will tune in to follow this race. The Iditarod is the most famous sled dog race in the world, and 100’s of thousands of people tune into follow the mushers and their dogs. By participating in these top events, I can provide great exposure for you as a sponsor.
As you can see, running a competitive kennel, and feeding 45 dogs is very expensive, especially when traveling to races that are off the road system where all the dogs and gear required to race must be flown on a cargo plane to the race start. To run a kennel of this size and run the Iditarod cost’s an upwards of $60,000 per year. Your sponsorship dollars will help offset some of these expenses and ensure that we can keep these canine athletes moving down the trail.