Can You Recommend a Dog Treadmill For Me?
One of our readers recently asked us to recommend a dog treadmill for her home, as she is located in an area that gets very hot in the summertime and her four-legged friend, an Australian Shepherd, just gets too overheated. Now of course, our expertise is human treadmills, but we did a little research into the topic that will hopefully help all of you looking for indoor exercise options for your pooch.
The one thing we were aware of is that you should never let your dog use your own treadmill, regardless of how slow you set the speed. His paws or tail can get stuck in the space between the belt and the motor, and needless to say that could cause serious injury. A treadmill specifically made for dogs is a much better, safer option for you to consider.
How is a Dog Treadmill Different?
As you are hopefully aware, dogs have four legs and humans have two. 🙂 Humans also stand erect while walking, jogging and running, while dogs are on all fours. So the way we train and our strides are completely different than those of our furry companions.
For starters, the running surface or belts of dog treadmills tend to be longer or shorter than those on a traditional model. On some of the better models for larger dogs you’ll find lengths of 70″ or more. Compare that to the longest traditional treadmills that are 60″ maximum. So you’re getting at least an additional 10″ to accommodate the four-legged stride of a dog. Treadmills for smaller dogs, like Toy breed, might have a 30″ belt, which is plenty of room to accommodate their smaller strides.
Another major difference you’ll find is the side panels, which traditional treadmills do not have. Sometimes it’s just a bar, other times it’s a complete side panel that will keep your dog focused and looking forward, removing distractions that might otherwise take his attention away from his training.
Also, treadmills for dogs tend to be a lot more basic than conventional machines, simply because dogs don’t need certain features and many of the bells and whistles that appeal to us and make us choose one machine over another. There are no hand rails, no fancy consoles with touch screens and internet, mo music, fans, water bottle holders.
The typical dog treadmill will weigh about 80 or 90 pounds…compare that to 300+ pounds of a regular treadmill. So these are very basic machines built solely to provide indoor exercise for your dog.
What are the best ones out there?
There’s a variety of brands out there to choose from, but there are some that are better than others. One of the biggest names is Dog Pacer, maker of the very popular LF 3.1 treadmills as well as the Minipacer. The LF 3.1 is built to accommodate any sized dog, and features a large belt, speeds up to 7.5 mph, 4 incline settings and a basic console with three built in workout programs. It costs around $499 when it’s on sale.
You can see it on sale here and read what buyers had to say about it and also check out the specs and information.
Another good brand for you to consider is DogTread, which offers different models based on your dog’s weight. These dog treadmills are a little more elaborate than the Dog Pacer ones, with treat holders, transportation wheels, remote control, LCD consoles and other advanced features. The Small Dog Tread (up to 30 lbs.) costs around $599, and it goes up from there, with the Extra Large Tread (up to 225 lbs.) costing $1,599.
A third option for you is GoPet, which offers different models based on weight just like DogTread does. Prices range from $560 up to $2000+ for the extra-large breed model. The company also makes a Treadwheel, which is like a giant hamster wheel built for dogs.
You can check out the company’s products here and get specs and reviews from current customers as well.
Treadmills For Dogs – Summary
Whether it is for rehabilitation, agility training or simply because it’s too hot or cold to train outside, a dog treadmill can be one of the most beneficial things you ever buy for your four-legged friend. It provides much needed cardiovascular exercise that he may not be getting, even if you take him to the dog park regularly.
Studies show that over half of dogs are overweight, and lack of sufficient exercise is a major contributor to this. Talk to your vet about getting a dog treadmill, as it can do wonders for your dog’s health.