Keeping Sled Dogs Healthy |

The Lake Minnetonka Klondike Dog Derby race director talks about his commitment to keeping the sled dogs healthy at this weekend’s race.

EXCELSIOR, Minn. — Bethany Hway is the Race Director of the Lake Minnetonka Klondike Dog Derby.

Sled dog racing is a sport she was born into.

“I sledded before I learned to ride a bike,” says Bethany.

Her dad ran while she was growing up and even raced the Iditarod in Alaska.

Now she’s bringing the sport she loves to Excelsior this weekend.

“We will not compromise on how these dogs are treated,” she says.

Bethany says they’ve written an “Animal Treatment Statement”, have three veterinarians on the race board, and require all mushers (people who ride the sled) to be members of the Mush With organization. PRIDE

“Working with mushers to make sure their dogs are living in humane conditions – that they’re being taken care of,” says Bethany.

This carries over to the race weekend.

On Saturday, a team of around 16 vets and vet techs will see all the dogs compete during a pre-race vet check.

“Each dog will basically have a thorough physique,” ​​Bethany says. “They’re going to listen to their heart, they’re going to check joints, flexibility and hydration.”

RELATED: The Ins and Outs of Sled Dog Racing

RELATED: Indy the Blind Sled Dog Completes the Beargrease 120

RELATED: Gunflint Trail Sled Dog Race

Bethany says it’s in the dog’s DNA to pull.

The mushers guide them with voice commands and don’t use anything like a whip.

“We have a rule against all whips. It’s something you might see in a Hollywood movie,” she says. “It’s banned at every race I know of, so you won’t see that happening this weekend.”

More than 250 dogs are in town ready to take on the 40-mile course, which begins at 10 a.m. Sunday on Water Street in Excelsior.

Bette C. Alvarado