Since the very beginning of the Iditarod race in 1973, few have been crowned with the Iditarod Champion title. 24 unique athletes to be exact. Three of them fed their champion dogs with pet food powered by QRILL Pet.
This is one of the toughest endurance races one can participate in, lasting for more than 8 days in Alaska’s roughest wilderness. Since 2018 and the launching of the QRILL Pet Mushing Team, 3 out 4 titleholders have raced for the team in orange: Joar Ulsom, Thomas Wærner and the five-time Iditarod champion Dallas Seavey.
A true game-changer for pet nutrition
The QRILL Pet Mushing Team is powered by our functional marine ingredient, QRILL Pet that has shown beneficial effects on the top athletic dogs. In an earlier study performed during the Iditarod race, we saw that QRILL Pet had a significant impact on the omega-3 levels in race dogs, both at the beginning and the end of the race. The study also found that there was less muscle damage and 55% less inflammation in dogs on a krill diet.
"My team has been awesome the whole way. It’s been incredible to drive them. Even if you’re doing long 10-hour runs and you stop, they are screaming to go and popping the hook, it’s an amazing dog team. I’ve never had so many good dogs like I have now, you’re just proud when you’re standing on the runners," said a proud Thomas Wærner (2020).
We have seen similar results in other studies, which have shown that the inclusion of krill in dogs' diets can help them to effectively increase and maintain a strong level of omega-3s in their cell membranes.
Dogs are not able to develop essential omega-3 fatty acids by themselves naturally and need to obtain them through their diet. Several studies have shown that omega-3s have positive effects on vital organs such as the heart, liver, kidney, brain, eyes, joints, muscles, skin, and coat.
“Keeping them well fed and happy is key to doing well, it’s not rocket science, they are the stars of the show. The fact that we had no issues, no problems, and Olive and the gang were fit, healthy and nearly as happy as me at the finish posing for photos is proof that their nutrition was spot-on.”
- Joar Ulsom at the finish-line (2018)
The champions and their athletes
Tackling the rough terrain, unpredictable weather, and constant sub-zero temperatures, the mushers’ choices on feed and snacks for their dogs are as important and as varied as their race strategies and sleep patterns. Sliding across the frozen finish line first, the three mushers' choices on dog nutrition, and of course racing strategies, were clearly just right. In order to win a race as rough as this one, nothing can be left to chance and everything must be planned and practiced.
“There are many factors that contribute to a successful race, but one of the most important for me this year was the health of my dog team. Maintaining the nutrition in the dogs really is one of the key factors, to having the success we just had in this race with a dominant win.”
- five time champion Dallas Seavey (2021)
Making an impact
As a brand, QRILL Pet has had an active interest in dog mushing since 2015. The mushing sport gives us the arena we need to explore the benefits of our ingredient on top athletes.
We had a fantastic experience with pilot sponsorship on Thomas Wærner, Sigrid Ekran and Joar Leifseth Ulsom, helping to improve their dogs' overall endurance and well-being.
Now, we see even more proof that we can contribute to great achievements through our support on a nutritional level. The team gives us a platform to further research and develop our products for the needs of these special dogs, so we can continue to improve their well-being and meet their needs during these long endurance races. What works on these highly athletic dogs, will also be beneficial for all dogs in the world.