2015 Results for the Famous Iditarod Dog Sled Race

Each year in Alaska, the worlds most famous dog sled race takes place over the toughest terrain. This year it was held in March, and 30 dog sled teams and their mushers set forth on the sledding race of a lifetime. The results are in and after a long hard race, Dallas Seavey from Willow Alaska came out as the victor.

The 27 year old Seavey was originally born in Virginia, but relocated to Seward when he was just 5 years old. He is a third generation musher, whose father was an Iditarod champion twice – in 2004 and again in 2013. Seavey helped his father in training the sled dogs, and was a Junior Iditarod participant four times before becoming the youngest musher in the history of the race in 2005.

There is more to Seavey then sled dogs and snow. In high school he was a champion wrestler and spent a year training with the US Olympic team but ultimately decided that his heart was with racing sled dogs. He moved with his family in 2009 to Willow in order to properly train and maintain his team of sled dogs. This is now his main occupation, and he races in other competitions, including the Yukon Quest, which he won in 2011. That makes him just one of four mushers in history to have won both Iditarod and the Yukon Quest.

On a personal note, Seavey is married to another Iditarod participant, and together he and his wife Jen are raising 4 year old Annie. They definitely don’t fit the image of a rugged sledding family living in the heart of Alaska. Even during the race, the tough champion was able to maintain his blonde beard with style. Now that is taking your beard grooming tips seriously. Must be a regular reader of OptimusBarba.com.


This is the younger Seavey’s third Iditarod win in four years, beating out his own father in the process. The race is a grueling 1,000 miles long, and the champion was met with overwhelming applause as he crossed the finish line.

Seavey hugged his dogs after the finish, proclaiming that the win is a team effort and their contribution cannot be matched. His prize for first place included a new pick up truck along with $70,000, the largest prize ever earned in the history of the race.

Dallas Seavey and his entire family are an important part of the history of Iditarod. The Seavey name is now on a total of 6 wins, with a bright future still ahead of them.

Advanced Medical Treatments For Sled Dogs

The life of a sled dog is not an easy one spending hours in sub zero temperatures running over rough terrain. Sled dog owners have to take care of their dogs with scheduled visits to the vet, which are usually routine. But what happens when your sled dog is found to have something more serious wrong with him?

When the veterinarian suspects that there is something serious wrong with your sled dog, he will order a series of tests to rule out common conditions. This will include taking samples of blood and getting images of the internal organs using an ultrasound machine.

ultrasoundWhat Does an Ultrasound Machine Show?

The use of ultrasound technology to see inside of living tissue has been a part of medical science for years. Mostly used on humans in the past, veterinarians are now finding that it is a great tool at diagnosing certain diseases in animals.

The procedure is performed by a trained sonographer, who went to a specialized school to not only learn how to use the technology, but how to read the anatomy that it shows.

During ultrasound school a student may turn towards applying these skill towards animals, learning about their internal structures and common diseases. They can than take that knowledge and apply it towards helping animals like sled dogs overcome those diseases.

When Will an Ultrasound Be Prescribed for a Dog?

Veterinarians prefer to use ultrasound imaging because the machine is portable and does not make loud noises that will scare a dog. This is important to consider with animals, who do not understand what is happening or why they are not feeling like themselves.

A vet may order an ultrasound exam if they find any of the following during a routine examine:

  • High White cell counts in the blood work
  • Ongoing vomiting or diarrhea
  • Sudden unexplainable weight loss
  • Infections that do not respond to medication
  • Breaking their house training habits
  • Wet sounds coming from the chest

What Happens During an Ultrasound Exam for a Sled Dog

Parts of the dog’s fur may need to be shaved in order for the ultrasound technician to get a clear picture. A special gel is than applied to the skin that acts as a conductor for the sound waves. What vets and owners like about ultrasound imaging is that unless your sled dog is unusually skittish, there will be no sedation required. Once the exam is done, you will usually be able to take the dog home immediately.

Sled dog owners have no reason to worry about the ultrasound exam. This is a perfectly safe procedure, that can be instrumental in diagnosing problems in the sled dog early enough to implement an effective treatment plan.

Do Sled Dogs Really Sing?

Besides being known for their friendly demeanor and strength in the snow, the husky is known as the singing dog. This is true, if you play music around a husky, chances are they are going to start singing along.

Huskies are originally from the northern regions of Alaska, and take their name from the people who brave that area. Lean and strong, these are considered to be the fastest breed in dog sled racing. Since 1852, the Inuit people have been using this speed to travel about their icy terrain.

Friendly and full of energy, generations of sub zero climates have given them a thick double coat and piercing blue eyes. They are also known to have eyes that are two different colors, a trait which is unique to this breed. It is believed that they are ancestors of wild wolves, but domestication by the people of Alaska turned them into tame runners with a fierce loyalty towards their owners.

Years of cross breeding has created many varieties of the beautiful and unique husky, including Siberian Huskies of Russia, and the Greenland dog. It is also believed that the Japanese Husky is a long ago descendant of Alaska.

Besides their speed and strength in the snow, huskies are known for their “talking” and “singing”. Their bark is significantly different from other dog breeds, furthering the belief that they are close cousins with the moon howling wolves.

Sign up for online singing lessons and don’t be surprised if your husky joins in the fun – we recommend checking out the best over at MusicalTrainingHQ.com. These friendly dogs have been known to “sing” to babies along with the radio making them the perfect backup singer for your online singing lessons.


Caring for Huskies

Despite their obvious strength, husky owners go to great lengths to keep them healthy. Long periods of time exposed to the cold makes them susceptible to lung infections and arthritis. Frequent visits to the vet are necessary for an entire team to ensure that each dog is always in shape for an upcoming dog sled race.

If you have opportunity to, visit a Canadian winter sports site and take a leisurely sled ride with a pack of huskies. Their sturdy demeanor in no way matches the grace they possess on snow and ice. This is truly a beautiful breed of animal that has been a long time companion and servant to man.

Yes, Huskies really do sing, and they work hard and play even harder. If you have a crew of huskies, make sure you  appreciate them. And if you are in search of a loving pet, then the husky is the right dog for you.

Getting Ready for a Dog Sled Race – According to One Country Singer You Have to Grow a Beard!

The dog sled season thus far has been an exciting one, with races taking place all across Canada and the world. As usual, there is a lot of talk about huskies and their health and the rigorous training they endure to participate in these races.

With all of that, there is little talk of the mushers, and the endurance they have to have in order to withstand the harsh cold and hard work of controlling the movements of a pack of dogs. Take a look at how they get prepared for the season:

A few years back, famed country singer Craig Morgan was asked to participate in Sweden’s Fjallraven Polar, which is five days and 200 miles across three countries. When asked in interviews how he prepared for the event he would quip “grow a beard” noting that in all of the videos he watched of other races, the men all seemed to not own a beard trimmer.

There is some truth to that, and a reason. Many mushers don’t take beard grooming tips and don’t worry themselves with beard trimmers. For them, the more dense the beard, the warmer the face. In some ways this makes sense. A thick coat of hair works at protecting the husky from the cold, so why wouldn’t the same be true for the racer and his beard?

Facial hair aside, mushers do have to be physically fit if they want to be able to make through an entire race. Endurance is essential, and is gained by exercises like jogging or rowing. This type of exercise pushes your body to its maximum, and increases lung capacity and the strength of the heart.

Strength is necessary too, especially on long races where the team must set up camp in the evenings. Having to put together make-shift tents in the middle of nowhere requires physical strength that is usually achieved by weight lifting. And no, there is no room on those sleds to haul your own family sized tent or a sleeping bag.


The Mushers Diet

Like a beard to warm the face, mushers need a layer of fat to protect the body. Most eat healthy diets, but do not eliminate fats the way other athletes do. Instead, the rely on a diet of healthy fats such as salmon that provide the body with nutrients and help to protect it from the elements. Just think of the typical meal for an Eskimo. A mushers diet is not much different, except they add large doses of fruits, veggies and carbs as well.

Training With the Dogs

Mushers also must train with the dogs, not solely train the dogs. They need to learn how to predict their movements and build trust and loyalty. It is not uncommon to see mushers in the fall running behind their team of dogs, as they all get their work outs together.

If you are like Craig Martin, and being asked to partake in a race for the first time, the first thing you should do is put the beard trimmer away until after the race. Now start getting in shape with a healthy diet and a healthy dose of well rounded exercise regimes.

Dog Sled Excursions, Weddings and More at Winter Resorts

Winter focused resorts all over Canada have begun to include interesting and exciting activities and amenities in their list of features. In doing so, they have created cold retreats where winter sports lovers can engage in snow fun and frolicking in a tranquil setting.

Dog Sled Excursions

Either by the light of day, or in the early evening, a mix of dogs can take riders on a pleasurable trip through a wooded terrain. Most trips are for around 2 miles and last up to half an hour, although you may make special arrangements for longer excursions if you prefer. While the dogs are not moving at racing speed, you should expect to feel colder than usual, so it is recommended that you dress accordingly.

Sleigh Rides

Another traditional form of winter travel, parks with horse facilities can also offer sleigh rides. With plenty of room in the back, entire families can traverse the land together as two or four horses pull you along. In some cases the park will also equip the sled with wheels for those who wish to take in the sights of a local town as well.


If the retreat is in the mountains, then expect there to be skiing facilities available. Still the most popular of winter sports, skiing is a skill that snow lovers of any age can master. If you are planning on hitting the slopes, call ahead and ask about rentals. In some cases you may have to bring your own boots and skis.

Large Party Accommodations

There has been a growing trend in the winter sport industry towards large parties booking plans together. This has been seen with corporate events, family reunions and even wedding parties. A well known Calgary wedding photographer has spent half a dozen winter weekends at various resorts, taking shots of the bride and groom as they ride off into the sunset in a horse drawn carriage or dog drawn sled. Now prepared for this new trend, Calgary wedding photographers are now experts at framing the bride perfectly against a snowy white background.


Ice Skating

Ice skating is also regaining popularity and can be found indoors or out at most of these winter resorts. Not only for hockey, ice skating is a difficult sport to master, and one that most winter sports lovers long to try at least once.


Perfect for families, tubing allows for an adult and child to experience the thrill of racing down the mountain together. With its soft body and ample seating, there is little risk of a little one being hurt during this type of activity.

Check out local resorts in your area to see what kind of new adventures they are offering. Dog sled excursions, sled riding and even a winter wedding could be awaiting you just on the other side of the mountain.

Dog Sled Racers and Essential Oils For Health Benefits

Maintaining good health in dog sled race breeds is every caring owner’s first priority. As people look to holistic methods of staying healthy, dog owners have begun to realize the potential that could have for their race dogs. One such method that is being explored is the use of essential oils to heal and promote good health.

Medicinal Uses

Essential oils have a wide range of medicinal uses that could be useful for a sled dog. These pups are exposed to the cold, making them susceptible to many infections and diseases. If you see your pup looking down, and scratching at his ear, he could be suffering from an ear infection. Dog sled owners have starting use essential lavender oil mixed with melaleuca and geranium to treat ear infections in their dogs. This has proven to be a great natural cure without the traumatic trip to the vet.

Lavender is also a good antiseptic for wound care for pets. Applied with a cotton ball, you will destroy bacteria and promote healing. Helichrysum can be used if the bleeding is heavy, and frankincense if the infection gets worse. Ginger and rosemary essential oils also work at keeping swelling down.

To support overall health in the dog you can create your own capsules consisting of lavender, lemon and peppermint. This will help to build their immune system and keep them healthy.


For use on pets, essential oils should always be diluted with another benign oil such as coconut. You can also use them in scientifically proven methods such as high quality diffusers that spray only small amounts into the air. Make sure you stay far away from the nose, mouth, eyes and genitals. While most essential oils are perfectly safe, some can be irritating on contact for dogs.



If you have a sled dog that is unusually active and rowdy, you can put oils such as lavender where he sleeps. Most can also be applied topically as well, especially after a bath. Just be cautious about the facial area.

Mushers main concern is the health of their teams. Looking for natural ways to accomplish this is not only better for the dogs, it is cost effective. Imagine the savings between a vet visit for a common ear infection and applying essential oil drops to the ears three times a day.

Other natural methods for keeping a dog healthy include incorporating organic foods into the diet. Eliminating the chemicals and steroids found in typical food is going to make a huge difference.

The next time you participate in a dog sled race, consider the hard work these loving animals are doing for you. Show your appreciation for that by finding natural essential oils and healthy foods that keep them feeling great.


A Look into the Life of a Typical Sled Dog

Dog sled racing, or mushing, has steadily gained popularity as people look for new ways of staying active and healthy during winter. But what about the dogs? The way in which sled dogs are treated both during races and during down time will surprise you.

The Sled Dog

The typical sled dog is an Alaskan Husky with a full coat of fur. Bred to haul gear during the gold rush, these dogs are now a docile breed with a strong desire to please their owner. Don’t let their loving demeanor fool you though, they are also some of the strongest dogs on the planet, capable of pulling hundreds of pounds of gear through the snow.

Expect the dog to weigh approximately 40 pounds but have the speed of a racehorse. These are energetic dogs and need to be in order to pull those sleds.


There are some sled races that take days to complete. While some may see this as being abusive to the animal, they are taken care of every step of the way. Each day of the race they will run an approximate 125 miles, but get checked along the way by trained veterinarians. Any sign of illness or injury, and the dog is taken out of the race.

Routine Care

The majority of sled dog owners are caring individuals who treat the animals like pets. The dogs are kept in safe and comfortable quarters with plenty of space to expend their energy. Routine visits are made to their veterinarian, who makes sure that they are healthy and up to date on vaccinations.


The diet of the sled dog differs in that it is packed with more protein than what you find in typical dog food products. It is not unusual to find owners who prepare them meals separately. Using quick cooking methods like a deep fryer or grill, these owners prepare chicken and meat for the dogs to consume. If serving food from an oil or oil less deep fat fryer, they will pay careful attention to the oil and the amount of bad fat it contains. Fat is encouraged to help build a coat of fat on the dogs that will protect them from the cold.


During these off times, the sled dogs are encouraged to free play but are also being trained. The training will include lessons on staying together as a team and weight exercises to build strength. It is important to work on these skills often to keep the dogs race ready.

There is no abuse of these animals that are being used to race. This activity has been inbred into them and they are accustomed to the long hours and grueling conditions. The next time you happen upon one of these sled dogs or a team of them, make sure to give them all a well deserved pat on the head.

Are You and Your Dog Ready for Iditarod?

In the Native Indian dialect of Ingalik and Holikachu, Iditarod is the word for distant or distant place. The indigenous Athabaskan tribes of Northwest Alaska also use the term for a city, river, and well known trail. We of course know the word to mean one of the biggest dog sled races on the planet.

The big race is only a few months away, taking place next year on March 7th. Meanwhile the dogs and mushers are busy with their grueling training to prepare for this major dog sled event. if you can’t make this one, there are plenty more around Canada to join or even just watch.

This is indeed a race to be reckoned with, lasting any where from 9 to 15 days. But the winner and his band of sled pullers get to walk away with a $70,000 prize. There are a total of 30 teams expected to place, and with big cash prizes:

  • 2nd place: $58,600
  • 3rd place: $53,900
  • 4th place: $48,400
  • 5th place: $44,300
  • 30th place: $1,900

The cash prizes as you can see will get progressively lower down to 30th place. For those who finish beyond that, there is still a prize of $1,049. Musher who crosses dead last gets the Red Light Award.


With that many number of sled teams, you have to wonder how the dogs are treated. They don’t get time off in the summer, their training is continuous all year round. The best mushers treat the dogs like pets, and take care of them the say way you do your dog at home. There is just more of them to manage for the dog sled team.

Most of the training for the dogs is conducted on large farms where simulation race exercises are conducted. The dogs are kept inside of the farm limits using a wireless dog fence system to keep them safe. The risk of being lost or hurt is too great to chance a dog getting off of the property. Choosing the best wireless pet control system gives them ultimate protection while still letting them roam free.

The Iditarod headquarters are just outside of Wasilla, where it is common to see visitors being moved about the snowy banks by small dog sledding teams. Those who get the ride are enchanted by the cool crisp atmosphere of Alaska, while the dogs get a bit of exercise and a lot of love and respect. One of the most popular areas to visit is the majestic Lake Lucille, where visitors are invited to skate around or just enjoy the view.

Even if you don’t like dog sledding, you have to appreciate its history and the hard work that the dogs and the mushers put into it. Take a trip to Alaska this March and see for yourself how incredible the entire experience is.


Transportation Turned Sport: Dog Sledding

Dogsledding has not always been a sport. In fact, dog sleds were primarily used as a form of transportation. That was the only way people could get around until modern technology gave us snow mobiles. Now, dogsledding has become more then just a form of transport. It is a full on recreational activity and sport. It is a sport all ages can enjoy.

There are a few basics you need to get started to really enjoy participating in this activity. The most important thing will be dogs of course. You can’t get a sled far without them. Owning and maintaining dogs for sledding can be a challenge alone. Feeding, handling and keeping your dogs well is a full time job. You also need quality winter gear. No matter where you are in the country or even the states conditions will be cold.

Many sledders spend days at a time in the wilderness far from luxuries such as hotels or even their home. Typically winter gear would include gloves, jackets, pants and a tent to help stay warm.  You also have to make sure the dogs can survive any condition as they are truly the driving force behind winning a race. Of course you also need a good sled. A quality sled will get you from point A to B while also helping you transport goods and all of the tools you need to survive.

There are also things to think about beyond just a sled. How do you harness the dogs? How do you store the equipment for the dogs? A harness is the most critical piece of equipment since that is what keeps the dog attached to the sled. You also want to keep a dogs feet protected from the elements so boots also come into play. That is right, just like a human a dog needs to stay protected from the rough terrains you will encounter along the way. There are several types of dog boots for many environments. And of course you will need to keep your dog identified and collared.

Equipment goes beyond the course though. You need to keep your dogs warm and housed all year round so you must factor in shelter suitable for the environment you live in. Even feeding your dogs can be critical in the sport of sledding. Just like a human a dog needs to have energy to keep up with the competition.

With the right equipment, motivation and dedication you to can enjoy the wonderful world of dog sledding.

Traditional Bootleg Sled Races

Traditionally, the bootleg sled dog races take place in a town just outside British Columbia called Kimberley. This beautiful town is the ultimate resort, family and vacation spot. It brings in a lot of families and tourists dollars so it is a prime location for large events.

Kimberley in the summer.

During the winter, typically around February the Bootleg dog sled race is held. This event is held for charity and helps fund families and children so they can take trips to major cities; so they can seek cancer treatment without being overwhelmed by travel expenses. This race is unique because there are many different competition levels.

A sled racer can participate in a six mile, four mile or even two mile race. The two mile race is perfect for a beginning young adult and if you want to really test your skills the six mile race is a great way to do just that; the six mile race is the most challenging by far because it is a looped event which means you race around the six mile track six times.

For many years this race has drawn a lot of people. The motivation to assist families that need help when coping with childhood cancer has been the greatest drive. This competition has always been a hit because of the prizes but, that is not the main drive behind this challenging and positive event. The location for this race is also excellent. Kimberly, British Columbus is a whole world unto itself. Full of resorts, beauty, family actives and diverse slopes. It is the ultimate vacation spot for such a world class competition with an even better cause. Keep an eye out for our future bootleg dog sled races and prizes. Sign up, be a part of the challenge, and while you are at promote a great sport backing an excellent cause.