An Iditarod pro has been giving his dogs CBD in a bid to support them during this year’s race.
Four-time champion Lance Mackey has revealed he is adding CBD to his dogs’ food alongside other nutritional supplements to keep them going over the course of the 1000-mile race.
The American musher and dog sled racer said he started giving his animals CBD before the 2019 race when he finished in 27th place.
Iditarod race officials have not endorsed CBD, and the event’s head veterinarian Stuart Nelson asked Mackey not to give it to his pets on the grounds of a lack of cannabidiol research. Mackey, however, respectfully declined to follow the guidance.
He added that since no rules have been set on CBD use within the race yet, he plans to continue to use it.
When a reporter asked Nelson about the situation, he said, “So he said he was giving it? I don’t even want to talk about that,” and he then walked away.
Mackey said Nelson warned him of the lack of information surrounding the product, though the musher had only heard positives based on his own research on his nine retired sled dogs.
The dogs, which have nine distinct and separate health issues, apparently all saw an improvement in health after taking the hemp derivative for a period of time.
He said he has also seen results among his active sled dogs, including one that once had a seizure. After putting her on CBD, Mackey says he hasn’t seen a sign of one. “That was enough for me,” he said.
Although many pet owners claim to have seen health improvements in their pets after giving them CBD, medical research on the topic is still very much in its infancy. Some believe CBD has a variety of benefits for animals, including reducing anxiety, stimulating appetite, and reducing seizures.
The only other musher currently known to use CBD is Dennis Kananowicz of Tolson, who is also running in this year’s race which set off on March 7.
“We’re going to have every team in the Iditarod, the Quest, and every middle-distance sprint dog on it before too long,” Mackey said.
He added his dogs currently go through $100 worth of CBD tincture per day, which he gets for free from The High Expedition, a dispensary in Talkeetna, whom he is partnered with.
Mackey helped to develop the CBD product he uses, which is human-grade and given to the dogs twice a day with meals. The formula is branded “PET CBD” and comes with the endorsement that it is “approved” by Lance Mackey.
He said CBD is a “bargain” when compared to the cost of vet bills. “I barely walk into a vet and it’s $350 before I know what’s wrong with my dog,” he added.
It isn’t the first time the musher has used cannabis-related products- Mackey is a cancer survivor who admitted to using marijuana during his championship reign which began in 2007 when the drug was not yet on the banned substances list.
It was added before the 2010 race, a move that Mackey believes was pushed by other racers jealous of his success. He had his fourth straight Iditarod win that same year.
While this year’s race could go on for up to 15 days, the winner was announced Wednesday as Norwegian musher Thomas Waerner – it took him 9 days, 10 hours, 37 minutes, and 47 seconds to cross nearly 1,000 miles of Alaska and reach the finish line.
It is one of the very few events that hasn’t been canceled this year amid the coronavirus breakout, with fans certainly not employing social distancing as they filled bars and hotels to celebrate Waerner’s win.