Dog Treadmill

When we first get our new, sweet little puppy, we promise ourselves to walk them faithfully every single day. But soon, without a treadmill for dogs, that promise gets broken. Why? Because life, and sometimes simply Mother Nature, steps in. We oversleep and don't have time in the morning. It's raining cats and ...well, dogs out and we just don't feel like getting drenched. There are a million excuses not to walk our dogs, and most dog owners have used them at one time or another. Enter the solution: a treadmill for dogs.

Why would anyone buy a dog treadmiDog TreadmillCredit: Wikimedia Commonsll?

Well, presumably, you have a dog. If so, then that dog probably has an abundance of energy, especially if they are a puppy or a younger dog. Dogs with a lot of energy need exercise for a multitude of reasons. First and foremost is the fitness of your dog. Depending upon the breed, you may have a weight control issue with your dog if they are not receiving enough exercise. Secondly, a walked dog is a happy dog. And lastly, your dog is going to find some way to expend their excess energy. Would you prefer them to do that walking on a treadmill, or de-stuffing the cushions of your sofa?

It should be noted here that a dog treadmill is not a total replacement for outside walks. First of all, of course, is the bathroom issue. Second of all is the fact that outside walks for a dog are as much about entertainment and news gathering as it is about exercise. Humans read the newspaper. Dogs read the neighborhood.

I already have a regular treadmill. Can't I just use that for my dog?

It depends on the size of your dog and the size of the treadmill. Keep in mind that a human's gait is far different from a dog's. In general, a dog may need a longer treadmill. Also, regular treadmills are not designed with pet hair in mind. Most of their controls and belts are rather sensitive and can clog up from falling pet hair and stop working properly. Also, most dog treadmills will come with side rails to help keep your dog safe and focused on their walking.

How hard is it to train a dog to walk on a treadmill?

Most dogs take to the treadmill quite readily. It is recommended that you introduce them to walking on the treadmill slowly. Start by having them jump up on the belt to get a treat. Then you can give them a small amount of food on the treadmill, to get them used to standing on it. Once they are used to standing on it, start out by turning the treadmill on a very slow speed, gradually increasing it. At first, you'll only want to walk the dog for a minute or two. Gradually you can increase the time of the walk and the speed. Be sure to allow a slower warming up and cooling down period.

Should I consult a veterinarian before starting my dog on a treadmill?

Absolutely! This is no different from a person starting a new exercise program. You should always check with your doctor (or for a dog, a vet) before starting a new routine.  This includes starting your dog on a dog treadmill walking program.