Want your dog to get the exercise he deserves, but can’t handle those long walks yourself? Dog treadmills are here to save the day!
Finding the best dog treadmill for your pooch can be a bit confusing. The best way of going about finding that perfect treadmill for your dog is to think about your dog’s personality.
Not all dog treadmills are good for every dog. For instance, a small dog might be intimidated by a bulky and loud treadmill unit, whereas a smaller treadmill might be too wobbly for a heavier dog.
The key is to understand your dog’s needs first. Today we’re exploring how to find the perfect treadmill for your canine, as well as reviewing some top picks.
Why Purchase a Dog Treadmill?
There are a few good reasons to buy a dog treadmill that’s not only good for your dog, but beneficial for owners as well!
- Makes Sure Your Dog Can Stay Active. The most common reason owners purchase a dog treadmill is because they allow you to provide your dog with physical activity, despite time restraints or physical limitations. If you really want to carefully monitor your dog’s daily exercise, you may want to consider a dog FitBit as well!
- For Dogs Boundless Energy. Dog treadmills are best suited for owners that already take their dogs on long outdoor walks, but still come home with a canine hyped up and full of energy! It’s true that some breeds are simply non-stop, in which case a doggie treadmill can help those high-octane dogs burn off steam.
- Great For Disabled Owners. For a dog owner with disabilities or for an owner who is at an age where walking long distances is a struggle, having a dog treadmill can be a perfect solution. Dog treadmills can lessen the stress of taking your dog for multiple walks throughout the day or for paying for a dog walker (which can really add up).
- Supplemental Exercise for Overweight Dogs. Using a treadmill a few times a week as a supplemental way to exercise can really help take weight off, keep weight off and tire the dog out.
- For Those In Extreme Climates. This is particularly useful when you live in extreme climate areas as well. Sometimes taking the dog for a 20-minute walk when its 5 degrees outside just isn’t the most ideal scenario. Instead of having your dog run around the house to get rid of that extra energy, using the dog treadmill would be a better alternative.
- To Avoid Night Time Walking. Another real world issue dog owners face is the time of day that a dog can be walked. For many owners, evening strolls are the only option, which isn’t a huge issue unless you live in an unsafe area.
We don’t refer to an “unsafe area” just in terms of crime – but also in terms of environment as well. Some locations may have unsmooth surfaces, broken glass, or rocky roads in a rural area. If your walking path is dangerous, a dog treadmill may be a better alternative for your dog’s paws and your safety.
- For Healing After An Injury. If your dog has suffered an injury or is recovering from surgery, walking on a dog treadmill will help the rehabilitation process. It creates more of a controlled environment so that your dog gets the exercise it needs, without running the risk of outside elements re-injuring parts your dog is trying to heal.
So, using a dog treadmill obviously has some practical advantages, but how do you teach a dog how to use it?
Why Human Treadmills Aren’t Ideal For Four-Legged Pals
You might be thinking, “I have a treadmill at home that I barely use, why not walk the dog on that”? Well, that’s a lot easier said than done.
Many dogs are frightened by the mechanical sounds of a treadmill as well as the unusual experience of walking in place. If your dog gets skittish around the vacuum cleaner, chances are high that a human treadmill is going to be worse on your canine’s nerves.
Dog treadmills are designed with specific safety features for dogs, such as raised sides. They also usually run at a lower volume than traditional human treadmills, easing some of the anxiety.
If your dog seems uncertain, don’t force it! You never want to force your dog into a fearful situation, as your dog can develop a phobia. You don’t want your dog freaking out around any machine that moves or makes noise – that certainly would make life harder for both of you!
Forcing your dog to use the treadmill before he is ready and adjusted could sabotage your desire to have him use the dog treadmill in the future.
Teaching Your Dog To Use A Canine Treadmill
Teaching a dog how to use a treadmill is not especially difficult. All you need is a little creativity and patience. Here are a few steps to get your dog moving!
- Turn the treadmill on and just let it run without coaxing your dog to get on. This is just to get the dog used to the sound and site of a working treadmill. Give plenty of praise and treats!
- When you see your dog more comfortable at the site and sound of the treadmill, put treats on the treadmill and encourage your dog to sniff and get on top of it. Place your dog on the unmoving treadmill with it off and give him a reward treat.
- With the dog off of the machine, start the treadmill on a slow speed and place or guide your dog onto the treadmill. Stand in front of the dog using the leash as a guide.
- Give your dog treats as it walks and encourage him.
- When the dog has adjusted to the machine, slowly increase the speed.
Make sure to never leave your dog unattended on any treadmill, especially if a leash is attached.
This video from dog trainer Tyler Muto gives a nice intro on how to treadmill train your dog – try studying his technique.
So, now that it’s clear that teaching a dog how to use a treadmill is not that difficult, what type of treadmill should you buy?
Picking The Right Dog Treadmill For Your Pup!
In order to pick the right treadmill for your dog it’s important to first get in your dog’s head. Think about how your dog interacts, its physical capabilities, age and temperament.
Factor #1: Speed
Speed is an element to consider when shopping for a dog treadmill. For instance, if your dog is a bit older and usually only strolls at an even pace on outdoor walks, then a powerful treadmill with multiple high speeds may not be the best option (or, at the very least, is probably not a feature you need to bother paying extra for).
However, if your dog jumps around and runs and is full of energy, then a single speed treadmill might not cut it – you’ll want to be able to crank up the pace to really wear out your canine!
Factor #2: Protective Sides
Some dog treadmills have walls on each side for safety. While this may be ideal for some dogs, it may stressful and frightening for others.
This really depends on the personality of your dog – some dogs find walls to be too restrictive and imposing, while other pups find the walls add a sense of safety. If your dog is uncomfortable, it will be a real fight to get your dog to use the treadmill repeatedly.
Luckily, many dog treadmills offer the option to remove the side panels when its desired, so you can test out both options and see what your dog prefers.
Factor #3: Sound
Is your dog super skittish and hate loud noises? Then you’ll definitely want to look for a dog treadmill that is low volume. No dog treadmill will be totally silent, but some tend to run at a softer sound than others.
Some Considerations to Before Buying a Dog Treadmill
Dog treadmills are great, but they mainly should be used as a way to get supplementary exercise for your dog – not as your pooch’s only medium for movement.
Dogs primarily need to be walked outside for a number of reasons. Outdoor walks aren’t simply for exercise – they also help your dog:
- Socialize. Dogs are very social animals, just like humans! They need opportunities to engage with other dogs and humans to be happy.
- Stay Engaged & Prevent Boredom. Sitting inside all day is quite the drag. Outdoor walks keep things interesting for your pup and prevent them from getting bored throughout the day (and for dogs, boredom can often result in serious furniture destruction). Puzzle toys are another great way to prevent canine boredom.
- Stimulate Senses. Dogs see the world very differently than us – for them, the outdoors is a rich tapestry of amazing, unique smells that are absolutely fascinating! Don’t deny your pal this unique, exciting experiences that outdoor adventures provide.
Outdoor walks are essential for your dog’s physical and mental wellbeing, so even with a dog treadmill, always make sure to supplement indoor exercise with outdoor time too!
Best Dog Treadmills Reviews
The DogPacer Treadmill is one of the best treadmills for dogs because it can hold heavy dogs up to 180 lbs and can fold away for easy storage!
The motor for this treadmill is designed to remain quiet, so it’s great for nervous pups. You can also program customized running programs with this treadmill, which is a handy feature.
The DogPacer Treadmill only weighs 97 lbs and can be set for speeds from 0.5 – 7.5 MPH.
There are side walls, but they are collapsible depending on your dog’s preference.
The DogPacer Treadmill has a quiet motor and can be folded away for easy storage, which is beneficial for those tight on space. Owners also love the magnetized emergency stop feature, which allows you to clip a safety magnet to your dog’s collar. If your dog falls or stops walking, the magnet breaks off and shuts off the machine. Lastly, this unit is also one of the more affordable dog treadmills on the market.
This treadmill for dogs does take some time to assemble. It also features a 9-degree incline, which may be too steep for older or very heavy dogs.
The PetZen Treadmill For Dogs provides a quiet motor specifically designed to accommodate small breed dogs.
It has a low profile running platform with limited vibrations to simulate running outside.
The PetZen also provides an easy flip-bar incline that can be adjusted as your dog gets used more used to the machine. It also features a convenient area to put training treats in front of the treadmill unit, adding extra incentive for your dog!
This doggie treadmill is designed to not intimate smaller dogs, so it’s great for miniature pooches. The incline is also very easy to adjust, and it doesn’t take up a ton of space. Many owners note that it’s visually appealing and that they don’t mind leaving it out.
Again, this treadmill can be a bit of work to assemble. The weight limit is also only 35 lbs, so it really will only be suitable for small breed dogs.
The GoPet Treadmill is one of the best treadmills for dogs that is heavy, long, and wide.
This treadmill is specifically designed for overweight dogs up to 175 lbs. The unit can go from walking speed to sprint speed very easily, and can be inclined and declined to adjust to your dog’s exercise program.
The low treadmill platform is great because it allows for bigger, older, or heavier dogs get on and off the treadmill easier. It also features a remote control emergency stop, which can help you feel at east regarding your four-legged pal’s safety.
Owners remark that the steel frame is very sturdy and prevent wobbling. Owners also like that while this unit has side walls, the walls are fairly low, which helps your dog not feel restricted.
This unit is fairly large, and may overwhelm small dogs. Since this treadmill holds heavier dogs, the motor sound is a bit louder compared to other units. Also, while the side rails are low and see-through, they cannot be removed. This unit is also considerably pricier than others.
Conclusion: Which Is Our Top Dog Treadmill Pick?
For overall performance and functionality for various size dogs, the DogPacer treadmill seems like a better purchase than the other offers.
In comparing the other treadmills to the DogPacer, the DogPacer looks to do a better job with dogs of various sizes and weights.
The foldable walls and the emergency stop features are important for the comfort and safety of your dog.
The goal is to have the dog exercise for 20-40 minutes, but if your dog feels uncomfortable, it will not cooperate the way you want it to. The ability to remove the walls, stop the machine quickly and customize exercise routines all aid in making the dog comfortable and interested in using the treadmill.
This treadmill is sturdy enough for older and heavier dogs, but still quiet and un-intimidating for smaller dogs. It is also sturdy enough for rehabilitation exercise as well as to just let your pooch run and let off some steam.
All in all, the DogPacer does a wonderful job in allowing your dog to get the exercise it needs, while not taking up too much space in your room.
Have you ever used a dog treadmill before? How did your dog like it? Share your thoughts in the comments!