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Dog sledding rant

ashtoreth
February 2nd, 2009, 01:06 PM
this weekend, I went at Quebec city, to relax and enjoy the nice weather, ended up seeing the Carnaval Oficial dog sledding race(Grande Virée) that happens once a year....

I have to admit, even though on 20 ish teams, some were really healthy looking, I was appalled to see others who were not so lucky. One of them caught my attention, he was pretty tall, but so skinny it made my heart weep :( I know some huskies can be skinny/slender, but that whole team were skinny and so underweight..... That particular dog has a wound on the face who was never treated and never got his claw trimmed (at all...) so when he ran, one of the claw was torn off, it bled so much, but the owners didin't seem to give a flying crap about it. I wanted to steal all of them...

I always been fascinated by dog sledding, I even want to do some, but I really want to know before, is that treatment common?

allymack
February 2nd, 2009, 02:43 PM
from what i know about dog slediing ( mind you really not that much ) i dont think that is common at all. i mean a dog never having his nails trimmed( unless your dog doesnt need it) and have it ripped like that :sad:

i can understand them being slender, but not thin, or looking under fed. they are athletes, so they should be slender, but toned. that is sad :sad:

TacoGrl
February 2nd, 2009, 03:32 PM
These dogs are usually well cared for and it kills most of the owners to not be able to race with one when they get sick...I can't see the owners I have met treating one of their dogs like this :eek: Aside form caring for the dogs, they are investments and one has to take care of them to get the money invested back.

Was there not SPCA there? I know they hang around most animal events...

ashtoreth
February 3rd, 2009, 12:35 PM
These dogs are usually well cared for and it kills most of the owners to not be able to race with one when they get sick...I can't see the owners I have met treating one of their dogs like this :eek: Aside form caring for the dogs, they are investments and one has to take care of them to get the money invested back.

Was there not SPCA there? I know they hang around most animal events...

I didint see any, I took the name of the mushers though
I can understand slender, I mean, Titus is very athletic looking, lean muscles and all. But those were just...skin on bones :S

it's seemed to be a small race, 4 dogs only, 6 miles race. Mutts and all, but still, I'll definitely bring the pictures to the SPCA

Gail P
February 3rd, 2009, 11:14 PM
Most mushers take really good care of their dogs and are quite aware of/concerned with bad publicity and public opinion and what effect it can have on our sport. Many mushers are voluntarily inspected to ensure they pass Mush with PRIDE guidelines http://www.mushwithpride.org/

It is however quite common to hear the general public comment on the dogs looking thin. Quite often the average pet owner is used to seeing unfit companion dogs, not hard-working athletes (and by unfit I don't necessarily mean obese, just not dogs that work on a daily basis). If you look at a marathon runner they don't carry any extra fat on them, they are all lean muscle, sometimes even boney looking and it's the same with the dogs. Extra weight is harder on the joints and cardiovascular system and affects stamina. However, that doesn't mean that the dogs are underfed or over worked in most cases. On the sled dog boards I visit there are forums dedicated to food and feeding, health care and injuries, dog yard maintenance etc. plus of course training, equipment etc. Mushers feed very high protein and high fat foods plus supplement with extra meat. The physical appearance of most hard-working sled dogs is not due to lack of food.

The long tonails you mention are unusual though, many mushers trim nails on a weekly basis or even more often. Long nails get broken easier and will rip through booties if they are used. Now nails that wear down to the point of bleeding isn't unheard of, but the dogs don't even notice in a lot of cases. They can bleed a lot and look terrible but the dogs don't even seem to care, they just want to run. The mushers however do care. Again, I have read many, many discussions on what to do if/when this happens. If a dog's nail(s) begin to bleed on the trail, many mushers will use something to seal the tip of the nail, stop the bleeding and booty the dog and often use some kind of absorbant powder in the boot in case of any more bleeding. If the dog is actually sore, they have a sled bag so they can bag the dog and carry them the rest of the way.

Mushers are always talking about things like this, sharing information on care, feeding, training etc. and trying to take the best care they can of their dogs. It costs a lot to keep a kennel of sled dogs so they want their dogs able to perform, not sidelined with injuries. I don't know if you saw some that were the exception or what.

I was at a race in Marmora this weekend and the SPCA was on hand there to check things out.

ashtoreth
February 4th, 2009, 12:36 PM
Oh I know the difference between slim and ...well... malnourished, those were just awful looking, not only we could see the bones and all, but the separation between the ribs and vertebrae were flagrant too :S

OC_Spirit
February 4th, 2009, 01:04 PM
There are bad apples in every dog sport, thats what happens when someone lets competition take too strong of a hold. But its unfair to blanket the whole mushing community because of one or two of them. Also a lot of Huskies are naturally thin, you just cant put any weight on them. My lead dog, if he didnt have as much fur as he does, would fall under this category. He eats the same amount as my other male even though he is 10Lbs lighter and they recieve the same amount of excercise.

ashtoreth
February 4th, 2009, 01:59 PM
i"ve seen the pic on your last post (hope he heals fast btw! :(

but yea, all of their dogs were emaciated, its really hard to see o.0 i took some pics though, but i had a very (disposable) crappy camera, i dont know how they turned