Dogs Chained, Suffering, Dying: End the Iditarod

The Iditarod in Alaska is known as a long-distance dog-sled race, but there’s one big problem: The dogs don’t consent to participating in it. They’re forced to run about 1,000 miles from Anchorage to Nome in dangerous conditions in less than two weeks.

It’s been reported that at least 15 dogs died in the first Iditarod race, and the number has only gone up since then. Three dogs died in this year’s race, which ended earlier this month. Other dogs barely make it out alive. 😱🐶

Dogs deserve fulfilling lives with loving fams—not isolation, cruelty, suffering, and death for the Iditarod. Here are nine reasons why the race is a deadly nightmare for dogs:

1. Dog deaths are so common that the official rules call some of them an “unpreventable hazard.”

PETA-owned image for the Iditarod AA from

Since it kicked off in 1973, the Iditarod has killed more than 150 dogs—five died in 2017 alone. 😭 In the last decade, dogs have died from asphyxiation, heart attacks, freezing, having too much fluid in their lungs, being hit by a vehicle, and acute aspiration pneumonia, caused by inhaling their own vomit. 🤢

2. Dogs who don’t die on the trail are left permanently scarred.

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Here’s a super-scary stat: According to the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine, over 80% of the dogs who finish the Iditarod get persistent lung damage. 😨 A study in the Journal of Veterinary Internal Medicine showed that dogs forced to do endurance racing had a 61% higher rate of stomach erosions or ulcers. Plus, a paper in Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise found that dogs used in sled races suffered from an airway condition similar to “ski asthma” even after four months of rest. 😷

3. There’s no retirement plan.

PETA-owned image for the Iditarod AA from
A dog is chained up at a facility run by Joe Redington Jr., the son of Iditarod founder Joe Redington.

Breeders of dogs used in sledding have straight-up said that “surplus” dogs are killed. 😰 The animals may be killed if they’re not fast or fit enough to compete or if they don’t meet certain standards for looks—like if they have white paw pads. 🤔 Dogs who finish the race but aren’t seen as useful anymore may be shot, drowned, or abandoned to starve.

4. Dogs’ misery doesn’t end with the race.

A PETA eyewitness who worked at two dog kennels owned by ex-Iditarod champs found a ton of neglect and suffering there. Workers didn’t provide dogs with veterinary care for their painful injuries, kept them constantly chained in the bitter cold with only boxes or plastic barrels for “shelter,” and forced them to run even when they were exhausted and dehydrated. 😠

5. Dogs pull mushers’ sleds up to 100 miles per day.

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During the Iditarod, dogs are expected to run about 1,000 miles in less than two weeks, and the rules only require 40 hours of rest throughout the entire race. 😫 Dogs aren’t even allowed to take shelter during any part of the event except to receive vet exams or treatment.

6. Up to half the dogs who start the Iditarod don’t finish.

PETA-owned image for the Iditarod AA from

Injured, sick, and exhausted dogs are often “dropped” at checkpoints—but by rule, only dogs who start the race can finish. This rule leaves the remaining dogs to pull even more weight. 😒

7. Dogs wouldn’t choose to run in this arctic nightmare.

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The #1 reason dogs get “dropped” from the Iditarod is orthopedic (bone, muscle, tendon, and joint) injuries. It’s clear that no dog of any breed can handle this grueling race across ice and through wind, snowstorms, and below-freezing temps. 🥶 Even when they wear booties, many dogs still get bruised, cut, or swollen feet.

8. Thousands of dogs are bred each year for sled racing.

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At a kennel run by 2017 Iditarod champion Mitch Seavey, dogs are chained up with only a plastic barrel for shelter.

Only a few hundred dogs raised for the race will make the cut to compete, but many more will be kept tethered and chained for most of their lives—some with only flimsy plastic crates for shelter. 🥺

9. Many dogs have died at breeding compounds.

This dog lives at a kennel run by 2017 Iditarod champion Mitch Seavey.

Some of the dogs bred for sledding have frozen to death, while others have died after eating rocks—which they prob did because of the intense frustration of spending years on a chain. 😢 😢 😢

How You Can Help These Dogs

PETA-owned image for the Iditarod AA from

You can help countless dogs avoid the Iditarod nightmare—please urge Liberty Media/GCI to stop sponsoring this deadly race. 🙅 Let’s make this the last year the Iditarod takes place! 🙌 🐶 ❤️

Text peta2 to 30933 for ways to help animals, tips on compassionate living, and more!

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