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Basic Standards of Sled Dog Care

The following are basic care standards that we believe are commonly accepted practices among responsible sled dog owners. This list is intended only as a ready reference, not as a replacement for the more complete discussion presented in the full Mush with P.R.I.D.E. Sled Dog Care Guidelines.

  1. Daily Food and Water. Under normal circumstances, all dogs should be adequately fed and watered at least once a day, although certain training and medical conditions may warrant the temporary withholding of food.
  2. Adequate Shelter. All dogs should have adequate shelter from inclement weather. Usually this means a waterproof and windproof house or other shelter as well as shade, sunlight, and a well-drained, easily cleaned kennel surface.
  3. Safe Confinement. Dogs should be securely confined and restricted in a safe manner. Chains and cables used to restrict dogs must be tangle-free and should include a swivel to prevent choking.
  4. Responsible Breeding. Any kennel that includes an intact female dog should have a heat pen capable of confining the female and preventing breeding with loose males.
  5. Exercise. Confinement pens, chains, or cables should be of an adequate size or length to allow each dog to exercise.
  6. Fenced Yards. In places that young children might visit, dog yards should be surrounded by a fence of an adequate height and strength to contain loose dogs and keep children out of the yard.
  7. Daily Scooping. Fecal matter should be cleaned up daily.
  8. Veterinary Attention. Dogs should be dewormed and vaccinated on a regular basis and should receive a regular veterinary checkup.
  9. Socialization. Dogs should be socialized at least to the point of accepting handling from strangers. Special training, secure confinement, and neutering should be considered with overly aggressive dogs.
  10. Quality of Life. The above care standards provide a basic quality of life that all sled dogs deserve. If this care cannot be provided, then another home for the dog should be found. If a dog’s quality of life cannot be maintained due to age, serious infirmity or injury, or other circumstances and another home is not appropriate or an option, the dog deserves to be humanely euthanized by a qualified individual.

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