There are many reasons why dog owners might want to get a treadmill for their dog, giving your pup extra heap of exercise at home is only one of the benefits. To help you find the best dog treadmill, we cover what you need to consider, and we also listed our top picks below.
Benefits of a Dog Treadmill?
- Losing weight
If you have an overweight dog it can cause many health problems. While diet is important (please talk to a vet), you should also give your dog more physical activity. If you use a treadmill for your dog this is easy as you can squeeze in a 20 min treadmill session at home at any time. Also, over time you can increase the speed and with that the exercise level for your pup.
- Rehabilitation from an injury or surgery
Here you really need to consult with your vet to come up with a rehabilitation program that works for your dog. But a treadmill can really help restore your dog’s mobility after being hurt.
- High energy dog
Some dogs have extremely high energy, and it can be difficult for their owners to keep up with walks, runs and playtime to keep your dog happy and satisfied. Bored dogs whose energy needs are not met, often show destructive behavior. To avoid your pup being unhappy while also giving you the opportunity to not go for a run every day with them, you can let them run and get out some of that extra energy by walking your dog on the treadmill.
- Harsh weather
If you live in an area where winters or summers are extremely harsh, it might not be ideal for your dog to walk in the extreme heat or cold for long periods of time. With a treadmill you have a great way to give your dog still good exercise while the weather is bad.
Things to Consider Before You Buy a Dog Treadmill
While treadmills offer great benefits, we do not recommend getting a treadmill and expect to never take your doggie out anymore. They still need to go on regular walks even if they can possibly be shorter with treadmill sessions at home.
- Dogs need to do their business – pee and poop. You won’t want to have them stop on the treadmill or after the session and do their business inside.
- Doggies like to use their senses. They want to sniff, hear, and see things outside. This kind of stimulation cannot be replicated on a treadmill.
- Another essential part for dogs is socialization. Your dog will still want to meet and greet other humans and dogs on the street or in a dog park. (By the way, dog parks are a great spot if your dog is high energy and it’s difficult for you to keep up with their needs by walking, running, playing)
- Being able to move freely and make decisions such as stopping or exploring is also not able to be replicated on a treadmill. A treadmill is very repetitive, doesn’t give any freedom in movements, and is not much fun for longer times.
NEVER leave your dog unattended on a treadmill, even with a leash or protective walls.
Can I Use a Human Treadmill?
A dog treadmill is designed for dogs and offer features that help keep them safe and happy. While it is a convenient thought to combine an exercise machine for you as well as your dog, it is not the best idea and can be dangerous for your little pup.
- Your dog’s paws or hair could get stuck on the sides of a human treadmill
- Your dog might get scared by the loud sounds of human treadmills
Dog Treadmill Features to Consider
Size & Weight Limits
There are different sized dog treadmills and you’ll have to make sure to look at the measurements and also measure and weigh your dog. For a big dogs, you need a longer running platform length than for a small dogs.
Protective Side Panels
It can be frightening to think of your pup getting stuck on the sides of treadmills. While you shouldn’t have the speed set so high that your dog is not comfortable, it is also a possibility that your dog might just try to run off the treadmill. Here protective walls can be very beneficial.
Keep in mind that some dogs might feel stressed with walls close around him and in a way trapped. You’ll have to slowly try to get them used to both the treadmill itself as well as the walls next to him. If he seems very scared and uncomfortable, a lot of dog treadmills with side panels offer the ability to remove them.
Depending on what your goals are for your doggie, you might want different speed features. Some treadmills have only one set speed while other may have multiple different speed settings that you can adjust.
If you want your high energy dog to get fast runs in, you probably want to be able to test different speed levels and see what your pup likes best.
If your dog needs rehabilitation from injury or needs to lose weight, it is best to stick to a treadmill with only one slower speed level or a treadmill that has slow as well as higher levels for when your dog is getting in better shape.
A great benefit of dog treadmills over human ones is that usually they will be less loud, making it more suitable for dogs. A lot of pups don’t like loud noises like a vacuum cleaner. If this is the case, make sure to try to opt for a treadmill for dogs with a low sound.
Getting Your Dog Used To The Treadmill
- Let your dog smell the treadmill and place treats on it to get him used to the new equipment.
- Without your dog on the treadmill, turn it on. Let your dog get used to the sound it makes and give him treats.
- Keep the first sessions short and make them longer over time once your dog has adjusted and is comfortable with it.
- On low speed, help your dog carefully on the treadmill.
- Give your dog treats and praise as he is walking.
- Stand in front of the treadmill so he sees you and walks towards you.
- If you see your dog stopping or pulling to the side, try to get your dog focused on you in front of him.
- If your dog gets uncomfortable or scared, end the session and try again later.
- After a couple of successful walks, you can try to slowly increase the speed level to where your dog is comfortable.
Our Top Picks For The Best Dog Treadmill
While dogPACER is one of the best and also the most popular option, we also wanted to mention some other options available: