According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, a small dog is considered senior at age 7, larger dogs are considered seniors at age 6. Senior pets need regular exercise not only to stay healthy and at a healthy weight, but also to keep senior pets from developing health problems like arthritis and hip dysplasia. Treadmills designed specifically for pets are a great tool for senior dogs because regular exercise can help stave off several health conditions that are common in senior dogs, like diabetes, heart disease, increased blood pressure, difficulty breathing, decreased liver function, digestive problems and heat intolerance.
Although regular outdoor exercise is preferred to indoor treadmill use, a dog treadmill can be a great supplement to exercising your dog especially when weather conditions may preclude you from taking your furry friend outside.
Some dogs can use human treadmills, but it is safer and more ideal to use a treadmill that is specifically designed for pets. There are built in safety features that are designed specifically for dogs. Some include side rails or fences attached to help keep your pet on the machine. Dog treadmills also have a special belt that will prevent your pet from getting his paws or nails caught.
A key consideration when selecting a treadmill for your dog is that it should be long enough to accommodate your dog. Larger breed dogs will require a larger treadmill and the belt should be as long as the length of your dog’s back while in the down position.
Before you can successfully walk your dog on a treadmill, it is important that you train the dog how to use it properly. Desensitizing your dog starts will getting him comfortable just being on the machine when it is not in motion. Then once they are used to getting on and off the machine when it is not running, then slowly acclimate your dog to the machine while it is running. Have him get on the treadmill and turn it on to the lowest possible setting and speed. Treats can be used to help guide your pet to walking on the treadmill. Slowly increase the speed until your dog is walking at a steady pace.
The first few times you use a dog treadmill, do so for just a few minutes at a time. Be sure to offer plenty of treats to reward your dog for a job well done. You should always stay with your dog while they are on the treadmill and closely monitor your senior pet for any signs of distress, such as panting, lagging or if he appears tired – stop the treadmill and let him get off.
Never leave your dog unattended on a treadmill and you should not tether your dog to the treadmill; always hang on to his leash so you can have more control or let go if need be.
If you are in the market for a dog treadmill, we’ve compiled a list of several worth considering. Should you order anything from our website, a portion of the sale will benefit the Elderly Pet Organization.
Treadmills for Large Dogs
The dogPACER’s onboard computer has preset exercise programs built in for your dog or you can create your own programs to suit your pet’s training needs. The LF 3.1 is also very safe and stable. The side panels help minimize distractions while exercising and their break-away steel design was made with safety in mind should the dog slip or fall.
Dog treadmills are a way for owners to provide their dog with exercise even when the weather is bad or it is inconvenient to go out for a walk.
The PR725 features an Air Step Incline system so you and increase or decrease the incline to change the run’s difficulty. A metal enclosure acts as a visual cue to help your dog run straight, and also helps to keep your dog from falling off of the sides of the treadmill. This dog treadmill is designed for the largest dog breeds and is perfect for owners who do not have the running space these dogs require. This is particularly valuable for large dogs living in apartments or in geographies with rainy or cold weather.
Treadmills for Small Dogs
The dogPACER™ MiniPacer dog treadmill was designed with careful precision. It can hold small to medium sized dogs from 1 to 55lbs and it has patented folding technology making it extremely light, compact, and portable. The dogPACER’s onboard computer has preset exercise programs built in for your dog or you can create your own programs to suit your pet’s training needs. The LF 3.1 is also very safe and stable. The side panels help minimize distractions while exercising and their break-away steel design was made with safety in mind should the dog slip or fall.
Recommended for dogs up to 30 pounds.
- LCD Console – Program Speed, Distance and Time for each workout. Red Safety Start and Stop is easy to identify. Included remote control provides additional training versatility.
- Recessed Treat Holder – Provides a convenient way to dispense and hold treats during the initial stages of training. NOT FOR WATER, TREATS ONLY.
- Sturdy, Attractive Dog-Friendly Design – The DogTread is equipped with a whisper-quiet motor and is free of any holes, meshes or seams where a dog might get small paws caught.
- Natural Running Platform & Manual Incline Options – Low training fence provides a more comfortable and positive experience while the Flip-bar Incline increases training intensity as needed to simulate outdoor terrain.
- Space-saving Portable Design – Securely rests on its nose for convenient storage. Transportation wheels makes it easy move the DogTread to any location.
You can get some great prices on dog treadmills at Pet Pro Supply, plus for orders over $99 you get FREE shipping.