9 Best Dog Treadmills To Exercise Your Hound When You're Housebound

by Hillary Swetz
Originally Published: 
Side By Side Of A Beagle Puppy And An Adult German Shepard On A Dog Treadmill
Amazon/Pet Pro Supply Co.

Dog treadmills can be life-changing if your pup ever whines to go for a walk at 5 am on a -10 degree morning. (If you opt to still do the winter walks outside, you might want to at least bundle them up with a dog sweater to keep off the chill). Or maybe the temperature is in the opposite direction — it’s too hot to even play with the doggie pool toys, but your pal is still staring at you with the leash in their mouth. For overweight pooches with a little less energy, they might benefit from a slow feeder bowl, but they’re also prime candidates for a dog treadmill.

Related: 10 Best Indoor Exercise Bikes For A Great At-Home Workout Without The $2000+ Price Tag

Should you get a dog treadmill?

Wondering if a dog treadmill is the best route for your companion? Mindy Tusko, an American Kennel Club certified dog trainer and owner of Pawsitive Results Training, says it depends. “A treadmill is not a replacement [for exercising outside],” she says. “This is just to be used for when you can’t go for a walk. Sporty or athletic dogs might also have higher activity needs, or might need to stay in top athletic condition.”

Treadmills can’t replicate the fun smells and sights on a walk, and they require additional training compared to regular leash walking. However, they are a good supplement if you and your pet are regularly housebound. So if you have a dog with TONS of energy, live somewhere that gets very hot or cold (or lots of snow), have an overweight dog, are rehabbing a dog with an injury, or possibly have a dog that gets anxious and is resistant to other attempts to calm down (check with your vet), you might consider getting your dog on a treadmill.

How do you teach your dog to use a dog treadmill?

“Hire a trainer,” Tusko advises from the get-go. “People think, ‘oh, my dog knows how to walk, of course they can use a treadmill.’ That’s not the case, treadmills move, treadmills make noise, it’s a very different experience for dogs.”

She adds that it’s crucial to “help them get used to [the treadmill], teach them positive associations with the treadmill, teach them how to walk while attached to the long leads for safety, etc.” When it comes to finding a good trainer, Mindy suggests you “look for a trainer that has done treadmill work with their own dog, if possible.” And of course, you’ll also want to supervise your companion at all times.

Can dogs use human treadmills?

“Dogs can use human treadmills,” says Tusko, “but you have to be careful. Human treadmills have much higher speeds, for example. But if it’s used properly, you can use one without a problem.” Be sure to start on the slowest setting then gradually increase the pace to a comfortable trot.

When training a dog to use a human treadmill, another to keep in mind is their stamina. Tusko explains you need to “learn your dog’s endurance level. Take them for a walk, and notice how far they can walk before they start slowing down and wanting to go back home, and how long it took them,” says Tusko. Watch your pup carefully for signs they’re getting tired, then slow the belt immediately (and gradually come to a stop) if they are.

Again, your vet and/or dog trainer will guide you with tips on how to start using a dog treadmill; ask for specific pacing and time recommendations for your individual pooch.

What is the best dog treadmill?

There are a few options out there, but you’ll want to make sure you get one that is the appropriate size for your pal. For four-legged treadmill novices, you may also want to consider getting a unit with blinders on either side, since “these give the dog edges as a sightline so they don’t step off and injure a paw,” Tusko explains. Also, units that are specially designed for dogs don’t typically go as fast as human treadmills, which helps reduce the risk of injury.

If you’re ready to start looking for a canine cardio machine, we’ve canvassed some of the internet’s best deals and offerings on both dog-specific treadmills and human treadmills that can pull double duty.

*Note: For the sake of safety, we recommend speaking with your vet and/or a professional dog trainer before making a purchase.

The Best Dog Treadmills

The Best Human Treadmills For Dogs


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