Treadmills for Dogs? Yep, It's a Thing!
Exercise is just as important for your dog as it is for you. However, lack of time or even the hot Arizona temps can make it difficult to get outdoors and satisfy all of your dog’s workout needs. In times like this, a treadmill can be the perfect solution.
Benefits of Treadmill Time
A treadmill for your dog might sound silly, but it has some really great benefits! Treadmill time:
- Gives your dog the ability to exercise regardless of weather conditions
- Aids in training, conditioning, or rehabilitation
- Helps decrease boredom
- Curbs destructive behavior that often results from boredom
- Provides additional exercise that can improve movement and overall well-being
Treadmills for Dogs
You could consider a dog treadmill, which is specifically designed for canines. Dog treadmills have pet-friendly features such as:
- A special belt that won’t catch your dog’s paws or nails.
- Side rails that help keep your pooch from falling off
- Protective casing to keep flying fur out of the motor (which can cause it to overheat)
- Various sizes, making it easy to find that perfect fit
- Quieter mechanisms
With that said, dog treadmills can be very pricey and purchasing one might not be in the budget, especially if you already have a personal treadmill. They also take up a lot of space.
Do Dog Treadmills Differ From Human Treadmills?
The short answer is yes. However, we often recommend to our customers that they use their “people treadmills” for their dogs. As long as you take the proper precautions by putting the treadmill in a corner, next to a wall with the front of the treadmill against another wall. This creates barriers for your dog, leaving only one open side when using the treadmill with your dog.
When teaching your pooch how to walk on the treadmill, it helps if one person sits in front of the treadmill, while another person holds the dog’s leash from the side. The person located in front of the treadmill should encourage the dog, and even give small treats, so the pup can eat it while walking.
If you don’t have a treadmill of any kind and can’t (or don’t want to) buy one, many pet facilities, such as Central Pet, have treadmill time that can be purchased.
Important Safety Tips
As with any kind of exercise, it’s important to practice safety. Some things to consider include:
- Never leave your dog unattended while on a treadmill
- Never tie your dog to the treadmill
- Allow your dog to warm up prior to exercise and cool down afterwards
- Avoid letting your dog exercise right after a meal (prevents an upset stomach)
- Limit the water intake before exercise (prevents piddles on the machine)
- Ease your dog into treadmill exercise (it may take a few tries to adjust and get comfortable)
- Set an easy pace and gradually increase when your dog is ready
Supplement, Don’t Replace
Don’t look at treadmill exercise as an alternative to regular outdoor walks or runs. From the sights and smells to the feel of fresh air on your face, exercising outside gives an element of freedom and stimulation that indoor exercising just can’t replicate.
Although a treadmill can exercise your dog, it isn’t quite the same as taking an actual walk together. Going for a walk is a great way to bond with your dog while also reinforcing you as the master. Walks also introduce your dog to new people, pets, and environments--none of which can come from solely exercising indoors on a treadmill.
In a nutshell, treadmills are not meant to replace outdoor adventures. They are meant to be a supplemental tool to help fill in the voids when outdoor exercise isn’t doable.