dog on a treadmill

Can Dogs Use Treadmills? Beneficial or Dangerous?

I’m not sure about you but I’m not the world’s biggest fan of running on a treadmill each morning. I would rather have a coffee and read a good book. However, I understand the importance of exercise especially if you’re recovering from an injury and need to follow some strict physio instructions.

Dog are the same as humans in many ways. I’m sure they would much rather go for a walk in the woods or play chase ball in the backyard. But there are times when a Treadmill can and should be used for dogs.

Can dogs use treadmills? Treadmills are safe for dogs to use, but they will need to be trained to use them safely. This means that you will need to build up the speed on the treadmill gradually, as well as teaching your dog that there is nothing to be worried about. After all, the last thing you want is for your dog to be hopping off in the midst of a treadmill cycle. It will seriously injure them.

Can dogs use treadmills

Is it Safe for Dogs to Use Treadmills?

When you are training your dog to use a treadmill, you will need to teach them commands for getting on and off the apparatus. This will ensure that they are using it safely. If you do not teach the dog these commands, they will get injured. Dogs tend to have a habit of doing the opposite of what you want, after all.

Your dog should never be using the treadmill alone. If your dog is on that treadmill, then make sure that they are leashed and you are with them. This is vital. After all, if your dog gets into trouble, it can’t really hit the ’emergency stop’ button, can it?

In an ideal world, you would purchase a dedicated ‘dog treadmill’. While it is fine for a dog to be able to use a treadmill built for humans, dog treadmills are designed to cater more to the way in which a dog walks.

It isn’t a necessity, but it is going to be the safest possible option for your dog. The only thing you really need to remember is that a dog should not be using a manual treadmill. It isn’t safe for them.

Why Would a Dog Need to Use a Treadmill?

There are plenty of reasons why a dog would need to use a treadmill.

Perhaps the main reason is to aid with the recovery of an injury. We will discuss this more in a short while. However, if your dog has any sort of injury to the joints in their legs, then a treadmill could be a viable treatment throughout the rehabilitation process. It helps to get your dog exercising, without overexerting your pet; strengthening the injured area and building up stamina.

Some people will also use treadmills to help walk their dogs. Now, we would never advocate not taking your dog for an actual walk. You need to do that every single day. You must remember that walks are for so much more than just exercising your dog.

Your dog needs the experience of being outside. They can’t stay cooped up indoors. It isn’t good for their mental health, and it goes against their natural instincts. One reason why many people will use treadmills to walk their dogs is because some people are unable to walk their furry friends the distance that they need to be walked every single day.

This could be due to time constraints, or it could be a disability on the part of the owner. A treadmill can provide a nice ‘top-up’ walk.

Other people will use the treadmill as a source of entertainment for their dogs. Believe it or not, there are some dogs that absolutely love to walk or run on a treadmill. It is stimulating for them, and it is really just another toy. It can really help to burn off any energy they may have!

dog on a treadmill

Are Treadmills Good for Recovery from an Injury?

Absolutely. In fact, this is one of the main reasons why people use treadmills for their dogs.

One of the major benefits of a treadmill is that it ensures even weight distribution. Therefore, if your dog has a leg injury, particularly in their joints, walking on a treadmill can help to speed up their healing. It will help to ensure that your dog is getting the exercise that it needs, while at the same time reducing the risk of further injury.

It is important that you only use a treadmill to help your dog recover from their injury if the vet has given the ‘go-ahead’. If your dog has a particularly serious injury, then the vet may recommend the use of an underwater treadmill.

This will be able to protect the joints of your pet a little bit more, and could really speed up their recovery. However, since this is a rather specialized bit of equipment, is unlikely to be something that you would be using in the comfort of your own home.

How Can You Get a Dog Started with a Treadmill?

It is worth noting that while the answer to the question ‘can dogs use treadmills?’ is a resounding yes, it doesn’t necessarily mean that your dog is going to be a massive fan of them. In fact, we would be surprised if your dog wasn’t a little bit scared the first time it comes into contact with a treadmill.

The key to getting your dog using a treadmill is to ensure that it becomes familiar with it before you switch it on. You need to have a dog that is confident standing and sitting on a non-moving treadmill. You need your dog to know that it is safe. It is important to ensure that your dog is on the leash at all times for maximum effect.

dog on a recovery treadmill
Purpose made recovery treadmills for dogs are used by vets

Once your dog starts to get comfortable with the treadmill, you can switch it on. Start with the slowest speed at first, and encourage your dog to start walking. This is partly why they do need to be on the leash. It will get them into the frame of mind for ‘walking’.

Over time, your dog will start to feel comfortable walking on the treadmill, and you can bump up the speed. Of course, don’t get too fast, particularly with an injured dog. It will scare them.

Honestly, it is that easy. Once you have managed to jump over the first hurdle and encouraged your dog to start walking properly on the treadmill, everything becomes dead simple. The only real issue you will have is ensuring that your dog is not scared. However, they will have you by their side. This should help to alleviate some of their ‘concerns’.

For a full and detailed training programme – read this article

What Type of Treadmill do Dogs Use?

A dog should only be allowed to use an electric treadmill, whether this is a standard walking treadmill or an underwater one.

A manual treadmill should never be used by a dog: This type of treadmill works on the action of the movement of the feet in a walking motion; a dog would be unable to regulate the speed of the walking belt and would likely become extremely frightened and is likely to injure themselves.

How Long Should a Dog Stay on a Treadmill?

How long a dog should spend on a treadmill depends on various factors:

  • Age – an older dog may not have the stamina to spend more than 2 – 5 minutes walking on a treadmill
  • Weight – an obese dog should start with a 5-minute walk, building up to 20 minutes. Weight loss exercises are best done twice a day
  • Type of injury to be rehabilitated – for instance, if it’s the hindlegs that need to be strengthened, start off at a slow speed with the walking belt at a slight incline, building up as the dog gets used to it; they will eventually be expected to walk for up to 20 minutes – however, this should be built up slowly

Final Thoughts – Can Dogs Use Treadmills?

As you can see there are a number of health benefits for a dog to use a treadmill. Ensuring that not only do you know how your dog should use one but also training your dog to use one correctly and safely is key.

Also purchasing the right treadmill for a dog is essential and will aid in their recovery. We like the Dual-Purpose Electric Treadmill from Gravitis which can be found over on Amazon.

Related article: Best Fitness Trackers for Dogs

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