Iditarod reports first dog death of this year’s race

A man in an orange puffy jacket pushes a dog sled through the downtown streets of Anchorage.
Isaac Teaford at the 2024 Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race ceremonial start on Saturday, March 2, 2024. (Matt Faubion/Alaska Public Media)

A 2-year-old dog in the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race collapsed and died Sunday morning, according to race officials. It is the first dog death of the 2024 race.

In a statement, officials said the dog, named Bog, was on rookie musher Isaac Teaford’s team. At about 9:45 a.m. Sunday, Bog collapsed 200 feet from the Nulato checkpoint, at mile 582 of the 1,000-mile race.

“Iditarod checkers and one Iditarod Veterinarian approached the team and CPR was administered for 20 minutes, but Bog unfortunately did not survive,” the statement says.

The race says a pathologist conducted a necropsy, but the cause of death remained undetermined. Iditarod Veterinarian Stu Nelson said the race will continue to investigate Bog’s death.

“I mean, it’s very unfortunate. And we try to learn everything we can for any future applications that would benefit our dog care protocols,” he said in an interview in Unalakleet on Sunday. “But yeah, it’s very, very sad.”

This was Teaford’s first Iditarod. He’s from Utah, but currently lives in Talkeetna where he runs dogs at five-time Iditarod champion Dallas Seavey’s kennel. A post on Seavey’s official Facebook page in June said Teaford had planned to mush Seavey’s “B team” in this year’s race.

In a brief, second statement Sunday, officials announced that Teaford had dropped out of the race at 2:25 p.m. Sunday in Nulato.

Under race rules, if a dog dies, the musher must voluntarily scratch from the race or they will be withdrawn unless the dog died due to an “unpreventable hazard” like a moose encounter.

That rule was adopted ahead of the 2019 Iditarod. Bog’s death is the first dog death the Iditarod has reported since 2019. That year, Richie Beattie’s dog, Oshi, died two days after crossing the Nome finish line. Veterinarians had noticed Oshi showing signs of pneumonia during post-race checkups. Beattie was withdrawn from the race.

PETA, which has long protested the Iditarod, quickly issued a statement Sunday following the news of Bog’s death, calling for an end to the race

Teaford was one of four mushers to scratch on Sunday. 

Rookie musher Erin Altemus dropped out of the race at 9:38 a.m. in Ruby. Connor McMahon scratched at 4:30 p.m. in Galena. And Deke Naaktgeboren ended his race in Nulato at 8:19 p.m. Race officials said the mushers all scratched “in the best interest” of their teams, and said their dogs were all “in good health.”

Alaska Public Media’s Casey Grove contributed to this report.

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Tegan Hanlon is the digital managing editor at Alaska Public Media. Reach her at or 907-550-8447. Read more about Tegan here.

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