A dog treadmill might seem like a lazy way of exercising a dog, but really, there are many reasons why you might need to get your dog to run on a piece of gym equipment. Perhaps weather conditions mean you can’t always get out, or you are recovering from an illness and you have nobody to help walk your dog. Sometimes, dog treadmills are used for extra training or for rehabilitation of a dog after injury. Or maybe, you just like to vary up your dog’s exercise regime with a bit of indoor activity too.
Whatever the reason, you need to make sure you are using the most suitable treadmill for your dog.
Best Dog Treadmill On The Market (2018)
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Dog Treadmill Buying Guide
The size is important for various reasons. You’ll want to make sure that the running space is large enough to allow your pup to run without the risk of falling off the back. Always check the running space dimensions and the manufacturer’s recommendations for dog sizes. The weight restrictions for a dog treadmill also need to be considered to make sure your four legged friend isn’t too heavy for the machine.
The other size factor you might be interested in is whether you can actually fit it in your home. Do you have the space to always have it out, or do you need a model that can be folded up when not in use?
Just like a treadmill made for humans, you should check for features that will enhance the running experience of your pet. An incline option will help to vary the type of exercise your dog gets, making them work different muscles. Likewise, variable speed options will change the workout, not only altering the intensity of a run, but also keep it interesting. If you have an elderly dog that is unlikely to run at high speeds then you will only need a model that has low speed workouts. The same is true at the other end of the spectrum, if you have an energetic pup who can run forever, a higher speed ability might be more suitable.
Why Can’t My Dog Just Use A Regular Human Treadmill?
The noise of a normal treadmill for home use might be too much for your dog. If your pet is noise sensitive, just the sound of the machine running might be enough to put them off even getting on it. Treadmills made for dogs tend to be intentionally made to be much quieter when they are in use for this very reason.
Also, treadmills made specifically for dogs have a longer running area enabling them to run at full gait. They can also have raised sides to guide them and prevent them from falling off.
How Can I Introduce My Dog To A Treadmill?
It is essential that your dog is introduced to a treadmill in a positive and thoughtful way. If you try to rush things, chances are you will make your dog scared of this huge machine. Follow these steps for introducing your pet, if you have a more sensitive dog, slow things down or start again at the beginning. Always follow your dog’s cues and be aware of their body language.
- Let your dog be a part of the whole process, from the moment it comes into the house, let them sniff it and explore the machine. If feasible, allow them to watch you setting it up and switching it on.
- If your dog seems unsure at first, just leave the treadmill out and allow them to approach it on their own terms. Don’t force them on to it, or even in the same room as it if they don’t seem comfortable. It may take a few days, or even longer, for your pup to feel safe and confident that this new intruder means no harm! Don’t feel discouraged and try to rush things.
- The next step is to encourage your dog to come and stand on the machine. You may need to use a leash, and possibly some treats to lure them on. Again, don’t rush this stage, don’t ever force your dog on to it if they show unwilling.
- When you are satisfied that your dog is comfortable around the machine, turn it on. Let it run on the lowest and slowest setting so they can get used to any noises and movements. While the treadmill is in action, feed your dog their favorite treat so that they associate it being switched on with positive rewards. Keep repeating this, every day if need be, until your dog looks excited when you go to switch the treadmill on.
- Once you are happy that your dog is not nervous when your switch the machine on, ask them to get on the treadmill (with it switched off). You might want to use a leash to help, as well as treat them at various stages. Switch the machine on, at the slowest setting and let it run for only a few seconds. Gradually increase the time your dog spends on the treadmill until they are happy to be walking on it. Don’t speed it up until they are comfortably walking on it for long periods of time. If at any time they try to get off, or are showing signs of distress, switch it off, allow them to get off and go and do another fun activity with them. Retry again in a day or two. Don’t ever leave your dog unattended on the treadmill.
Dog Treadmill Safety Tips
- Only purchase well manufactured machines with built in safety features (see treadmill reviews below)
- Follow the set up instructions that come with the treadmill. If you are unsure, call the manufacturer’s helpline.
- Check with your vet before embarking on any treadmill exercise for your dog.
- Follow the above steps ‘How Can I Introduce My Dog To A Treadmill’
- Never ever rush or force your dog on a treadmill.
- Don’t leave your dog unattended on a treadmill.
- Make sure there is plenty of space around the machine, leave adequate space between the back of the treadmill and any walls or objects.
- Run regular checks on the treadmill to ensure it is running well and has no broken parts.
- Don’t leave your dog to run on the treadmill for too long, or at too high a speed.
- Don’t make a treadmill be the only form of exercise or fun your dog has. It is not a replacement for other forms of activity.
- If in doubt, get some 1-2-1 help from a positive dog trainer to help with your dog’s treadmill experience.
Dog Treadmill Reviews
dogPACER LF 3.1 Folding
- For dogs weighing up to 180lbs (large model), 55lbs (mini)
- Top speed 7.5mph
- Belt dimensions 71″ x 16.5″ (large) and 38″ x 16″ (mini)
- 1.5 HP motor
- Foldable for easy storage (large version only)
- Preset Interval programs
- Ability to manually set speed from 0.5mph to 7.5mph
- Incline feature (4.5 degrees)
A really popular choice from dogPacer with a choice of two different sizes, this large one pictured, which is suitable for larger dogs weighing up to 180lbs, and a ‘mini’ version for dogs weighing up to 55lbs.
The larger model is easy to fold away if you don’t have the space to leave it set up all the time. The smaller ‘mini’ model doesn’t fold away but it is smaller and much lighter and so can easily be stored on it’s side when not in use.
The dogPacer treadmill will meet the needs of any size dog with a versatile range of features enabling you to provide a workout tailored for your individual dog’s needs.
Go Pet Petrun Pr700
- Suitable for dogs weighing up to 44lbs
- Wireless remote control operated
- Arrives assembled
- Belt dimensions 28″ x 16″
- Top speed 8mph
- Minimum speed 1mph
The Pr700 from Go Pet is best suited for smaller dogs. The wireless remote control option is useful if you don’t want to stand right next to the machine while your dog is exercising. There are small barriers running alongside the side of the treadmill to prevent your pet falling off the side.
- Different sizes (see below for details)
- Cushioned running surface to protect paws.
- Training door.
- Can be used indoors and outdoors (UV resistant)
- Made in the USA
- No need for electricity
The Treadwheel by Gopet is an interesting alternative to a treadmill. Although it still exercises your dog by making it run, it works in a different way – it is all manually worked – no electricity required! It looks, and works pretty much like, a giant hamster wheel. It only turns when the dog moves to make it go round.
The running surface is padded to ensure paws don’t get worn down and sore.
There are different sizes to cater for all dog breeds and weights; 25lbs, 80lbs, 150lbs.