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Champion Iditarod Mushers Offer Up Expert Tips to Fuel Any Pet's Daily Adventure


TEWKSBURY, Mass. and ANCHORAGE, Alaska, Dec. 6, 2010 /PRNewswire/ -- Racing over 1,049 miles in the rugged, beautiful Alaskan wilderness, the mushers and dogs competing in the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race are truly high performance athletes at the top of their physical conditioning. The mushers leading the 2011 sled dog teams believe that all dog parents, no matter where they live, also have the ability to fuel their pets' daily adventures, big or small.

HANS GATT ON TRAINING: Hans is a multiple champion in all disciplines of sled dog racing, including sprint, mid-distance, stage, and long distance. In 2010, he finished second in the Iditarod, and hopes to improve on that in 2011. Hans recommends a solid training routine for all dogs right from the start.

"Make the most of your relationship with your dog," Hans says. "Nothing builds bonds between a human and a dog better than activity done together. Dogs want to be your best buddy, and you should treat them as such. That means a lot of things, beginning, of course, with feeding the best food. In training, it means being honest and straightforward. If you ask them to do something, follow through. Don't change your mind because it's not working out. Don't get lazy. Your dog wants to understand, and you build trust by not giving up on them. For instance, if you call them and they do not come, have them on a long line and draw them in. Reward them. Start when they are puppies and it will become easier over time."

ALIY ZIRKLE ON NUTRITION: For Musher Aliy Zirkle, sled dogs are her life and her passion. She enjoys watching puppies grow, learn and eventually become part of a team. Nutrition is a must at all stages of development. "Some dogs think it's fun to steal a snack from the dinner table while you're not looking, but nutrition should always be a top priority," says Aliy, who has two teams participating in this year's Iditarod. "We have always fed our dogs high caliber ingredients. The level of fitness in our dogs can only be compared to that of Olympic athletes. We make sure our canine athletes get all of their nutrition, vitamins and minerals from one source - Eagle PackĀ® Natural Pet Food. Whether it's the Puppy formula for a new addition or the Power formula for very active dogs like ours, Eagle Pack's full line of foods for dogs (and cats, too) give pets the nutrition they need to fuel their daily quests."

ALLEN MOORE ON HEALTH ISSUES: Iditarod veteran and competitor Allen Moore teams with his wife Aliy Zirkle on training and developing healthy dogs -- from puppies to retirees. "Just like any family member, your pet has health needs," says Allen, who has devoted his life to breeding champion Alaskan Huskies. "It is imperative to keep an eye on your pet's health, at a minimum with veterinary appointments. We know our dogs from nose to tail and can recognize when something isn't right. We treat them immediately so they stay in optimal health."

DEEDEE JONROWE ON MENTAL STIMULATION: No wonder she's won the Most Inspirational Musher Award twice - DeeDee Jonrowe is well known for keeping one's mind focused! Just three weeks after completing chemotherapy for breast cancer in 2002, DeeDee competed in the Iditarod and finished 18th. Also a recipient of the Leonhard Seppala Humanitarian Award winner for best dog care, DeeDee certainly has valuable insight to share. "Plan an interesting activity each day for your pets, and make sure you're always changing it up," says DeeDee. "If your dog has been in a crate all day while you've been at work, then she is ready to sniff out her own adventure when you get home in the evening. I take my dogs for group runs, let them explore our property and run them in their harnesses for organized training. Not everyone gets to live in the open space of Alaska like me, so find a dog park or other safe place for your pets to explore. Active dogs need lots of stimulation. Make sure they're getting various types of exercise each day."

MARTIN BUSER ON CONNECTION: Current Iditarod world record holder and four-time Champion, Martin wakes up early each morning to run his pack in formation. Running with dogs is a common American past time. Martin, who is also the proud owner of Happy Trails Kennel, knows the deep bond we humans can have with our pets. "On the trail, mushers have a very deep connection and sense of teamwork with their animals. Everyone should have the same bond with his or her pet. Make sure they get a healthy, natural food like Eagle Pack, which has been the choice of Iditarod competitors for years, and the best attention: hugs, treats, walks and a new adventure daily."

Want to enjoy the Iditarod yourself? Eagle Pack is sponsoring a sweepstakes to send a winner and companion to watch the Iditarod in person this March 2011. Those who wish for a chance to be a part of the tradition and see Eagle Pack's canine Nutrition in Action(TM) may enter to win at www.eaglepack.com/alaska. Entries will be accepted until January 21, 2011.

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Eagle Pack -- Nutrition in Action(TM)
For over 25 years, Eagle Pack, a proud member of the WellPet family of brands, has energized pets everywhere by providing them quality natural nutrition without fillers or artificial preservatives. Eagle Pack pet food delivers the right balance of proteins, fats, carbohydrates and omega fatty acids for results you can see in their shiny coats, bright eyes and energetic spirits. Eagle Pack's naturally tried, trusted and true formulas have been performance-proven with backyard ball catchers, show ring winners and Alaskan sled dog racers too. Pet owners can count on Eagle Pack's nutrient-rich foods to naturally fuel their pet's daily adventures, both big and small. Visit www.eaglepack.com to learn more.

Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race
The Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race (www.iditarod.com), which has been described as the "Last Great Race on Earth," runs from Anchorage, in south central Alaska, to Nome on the western Bering Sea coast. Teams from all walks of life will cover 1,000 miles in hopes of becoming an Official Iditarod Finisher. To date, more people have climbed Mount Everest then have finished the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race. The race celebrates the sled dogs and the mushers who were the primary source for transportation through communities along the Iditarod Trail. The Iditarod covers some of the roughest, most-extreme terrain Mother Nature has to offer. Jagged mountain ranges, frozen rivers, dense forests, desolate tundra and miles of windswept coast test mushers and their dogs against everything wild in the Alaskan frontier.

SOURCE Eagle Pack
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