A good dog treadmill will benefit overweight dogs and those in recovery from an injury as a physical therapy option. It's also a great indoor training tool for canine athletes and for pet owners living in urban cities who aren't able to exercise their dogs outdoors.
Treadmill for dogs can also benefit currently healthy dogs. For example, a study published in The Journal of Clinical Investigation (source) demonstrated how dog treadmills improve heart factors, including blood flow. However, treadmills are not an alternative to regular walks or outdoor exercise, and should be used in conjunction with that.
In this article, we'll benefits of treadmills for dogs in detail, when and how were they first used, what veterinarians are saying about this choice of exercise, and review best dog treadmill choices.
|DogTread Premium Small Dog Treadmill||29 Reviews||$499.00||Buy on Amazon|
|GOPET PetRun PR720F Dog Treadmill Indoor...||1 Reviews||$1,004.59||Buy on Amazon|
|dogPACER Minipacer Treadmill||55 Reviews||$524.85||Buy on Amazon|
|GOPET Treadwheel for Small Dogs||14 Reviews||$906.37||Buy on Amazon|
|GOPET Treadmill ToySmall (<88lbs)||$870.99||Buy on Amazon|
Dog Treadmills as Physical Therapy
Treadmill for dogs is not a fad or new invention. Did you know that dog treadmills have been used to exercise dogs as early as the beginning of the 20th century? There are even some of the old studies in PubMed library, like this one from 1954 by Kouwenhoven et al.
These studies analyzed the benefits of dog treadmills, how to ensure a treadmill is good for a specific type of dog and even how to build a dog treadmill yourself. Physical therapists have been using dog treadmills, along with underwater ones, for decades with great results. So it's only apt for pet owners to have one of their own.
How to Teach a Dog to Run on a Treadmill?
It's not difficult. The above study, including many subsequent experiments, show that almost any dog can be taught to run on a treadmill fairly quickly. As long as you know you're pet is in good condition to use it, the process is straight forward and self-explanatory.
“Below 5 mph, most normal dogs can run almost indefinitely.” – study authors
The most effective way to teach a dog how to run on a treadmill is by turning it onto the slowest setting, and letting your dog walk on a treadmill for short periods of time for a few consecutive days.
Start at the minimum speed and keep gradually increasing it until a favorable speed. With some patience, any owner will be able to teach their dog to run on a dog treadmill.
Why Use a Dog Treadmill?
There are many reasons to buy a dog treadmill. It could be used to exercise your pet during inclement weather or for pet owners who don't have time to walk their day everyday. How much more efficient would it be to let your dog get his daily walk in while you were making dinner or catching up on emails for work?
But more importantly, the best treadmill for dogs will be used to exercise overweight dogs and as a tool in canine physical therapy. For example, many veterinary hospitals use a dog treadmill as one of the first tools to get dogs back into their healthy shape:
“We also use a treadmill that was designed specifically for dogs. Animals with weakness or coordination problems may be assisted by use of a mobile hoist or slings.” – Canine Physical Therapists at Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital at Texas A&M University (source)
Moreover, an aquatic or underwater treadmill for dogs may also be used in addition or as an alternative to regular dog treadmills. Unfortunately, underwater dog treadmill is usually not a feasible option for most pet owners due to how it needs to be installed, let alone their expensive cost.
Many veterinary clinics and University canine rehabilitation centers use canine treadmills to help overweight dogs get back in shape too, and see this approach as more effective than just a weight loss diet:
“Exercise sessions at the clinic can include anything from land and underwater treadmills and walking up and down the stairs to playing fetch or just going for walks, depending on the needs and the level of fitness of the patient.” – Kim Knap, VT, canine rehabilitation specialist (source)
The best dog treadmill brands are designed similar to those made for humans. They have a conveyor that moves a large belt. Your dog can walk for miles on this belt without ever having to leave the house. Some manufacturers have even found ways to entice dogs to walk by equipping their dog treadmill with treat baskets and other motivational tools.
The Best Dog Treadmill Choices
1DogTread Treadmill for Dogs
by PetZen / Dog Tread
Max dog weight: 100 lbs
Max tread speed: 7 mph
Dimensions: 89 x 24 x 19 inch
- LCD Console – Program Speed,...
- Recessed Treat Holder –...
- Sturdy, Attractive...
- Natural Running Platform &...
- Space-saving Portable Design...
DogTread (PetZen) has created the DogTread Treadmill that is especially designed for large dogs weighing up to 150 pounds. It has a run area of 75”x17”, weighs 100 pounds and can be programmed for speed (from 0 to 7 mph), distance, and time. It also comes with pre-programmed workouts.
The DogTread Dog Treadmill is especially designed for dogs and, as such, cannot be compared to treadmills for humans. The former has the appropriate dimension to accommodate a dog’s usual body length, thus longer, while the latter is designed for upright humans. Dogs would have to deal with a shorter treading area when using the human version, and that defeats the whole purpose of being able to stretch their limbs when exercising.
The platform of the DogTread treadmill for dogs is low and slim; it has an incline that can be adjusted with a flip bar to simulate various natural terrains. The slimness is ideal for keeping the dog in place. This is one of the best dog treadmill brands as the mechanism is quieter – a perfect feature for dogs who are known for their keen sense of hearing. This is a durable treadmill which can be adjusted to make the incline more challenging to dogs.
2Petrun pr720f Dog Treadmill
Max dog weight: 130 lbs
Max tread speed: 7.5 mph
Dimensions: 15 x 123 x 74 inch
- For Dogs Up to 132 Pounds....
- Air cylinder Auto-Fold....
- Low running platform. Remote...
- Speed and timer control....
- Speed from0.6 - 7.5 MPH....
When the weather does not look good for walking your dog outside, the GoPet Petrun Treadmill is the next best thing to getting your dog his much-needed workout. With this treadmill, there’s no reason for your dog to mis outs on the daily walk or run. This design is speed-adjustable and available in six sizes. This is ideal for households with several pets weighing up to 132 pounds. The run area measures 52”x16” mounted on a low-profile platform. The speed starts at a warm-up saunter of 0.6 mph to an energetic run of 7.5 mph.
This is one of the best dog treadmill brands as it operates quietly, which is perfect for dogs since they easily get distracted by sounds and noises. It’s long enough to allow a big dog’s longer stride. The control console is easy to operate, while a remote control makes the GoPet Petrun pr720f treadmill for dogs accessible to the pet owner or dog trainer even at a distance. There’s an emergency safety button if a situation arises when the equipment has to be stopped.
The treadmill folds easily and is equipped with dolly wheels for easy storage when not in use. It has a dog chain holder and a horizontal bar at the front from which the dog’s favorite toy can be hung.
Alternative to GoPet PR720F treadmill for dogs:
MFR 061617 GoPet Treadmill (132 lbs max weight) – a similar but older design of the GoPet treadmills for dogs for dogs of the same size as with PR720F. The design may be a better option for some pet owners due to its dimensions and fit dogs and house more appropriately. If the product has been discontinued, you can still order one and get customer support for it from the company.
3 DogPacer Treadmill for Dogs
Max dog weight: 180 lbs
Max tread speed: 7.5 mph
Dimensions: 76.77 x 27.16 x 46.18 inch
- ADJUSTABLE:The treadmill speed...
- MOST AFFORDABLE:The dogPACER...
- COMPUTER FITNESS PROGRAMS:The...
- SMALL-MEDIUM: This dogPACER...
This is our third ranked best dog treadmill brand for pets that travel a lot, because they’re so easy to set up in hotels, gyms, offices or temporary apartments. This treadmill from DogPacer allows your pooch to never skip on the daily workout even when on the go, when the weather is uncooperative or when you’re unfamiliar with the place and it might not be safe to do the usual run. This is a large-sized treadmill designed for dogs weighing up to 180 pounds.
When set up, the DogPacer Treadmill for dogs equipment measures about 77”x27”x46”. It’s compact when folded at just about 42”x22”x8”. The whole thing weighs 79 pounds. The tread area measures 71”x16.5” and has an incline that can be set at a range of 5 to 9 degrees. It operates on a powerful motor and runs at 1.5 HP maximum. The tread speed can be set from 0.5 mph to 7.5 mph.
A unique feature of this treadmill is that its controls are on the side instead of the usual location for consoles which is at the front of the treadmill. The front of the equipment is designated for the dog to safely exit so it does not need step back or turn around which can be a little disorienting. This is a well-designed, durable, and highly-functional treadmill and is actually very cheap compared to most leading dog treadmill brands.
Alternative to DogPacer treadmill for dogs:
Go Pet Petrun Pr700 Treadmill (44 lbs max weight) – A great alternative from GoPet, this dog treadmill is only good for smaller dogs but the design may be a better fit for some pet owners. It has also garnered some very favorable reviews from pet owners, and has one of the best dog treadmill brand companies behind it that are always open for advice on exercise dogs with these devices.
4Treadwheel Treadmill for Small Dogs
Max dog weight: 25 lbs
Max tread speed: n/a
Dimensions: 19 x 42 x 45 inch
- For Dogs up to 25 pounds....
- Training Door Included....
- Free,off-leash exercise so...
- Can be used anytime - even if...
- Provides a physical outlet for...
The GoPet Treadwheel is a great option for an indoor source of exercise. The concept of the Treadwheel encourages off-leash and high-speed running in a limited space, which makes this ideal for small dwellings and apartments. Since this equipment is non-electric, it allows your pet to run at his own pace. This prevents straining beyond what’s natural to the animal and is, therefore, healthier and safer.
As fourth ranked best dog treadmill brand on the list, GoPet product is delivered pre-assembled and pet owners like that because it frees them from worrying whether the GoPet Treadwheel for dogs was properly installed or not. That way also they’re assured that it’s working just how it’s supposed to do. This particular size is made for small- and toy-breed dogs, but there’s another size for dogs weighing up to 150 pounds, too.
The wheel is made of thick, high-quality plastic, while the base is made of heavy metal. The inner surface of the wheel is padded with a sturdy material to protect your dog’s feet from getting stuck or injured. While this wheel is self-paced, it has an optional brake that can be adjusted to slow down the resulting speed. The resistance provided by this adjustment also increases the energy exerted by the dog to attain a certain pace, thus ensuring optimal workout. There’s no noise emitted as the wheel spins, and that’s a good thing so it does not distract the dog or make it edgy.
Alternative to GoPet Treadwheel ToySmall treadmill for dogs:
GO Pet Treadwheel (60 lbs max weight) – A great alternative to the nonelectrical GoPet wheel is this regular electrical dog treadmill for small dogs up to 30 pounds in weight. The max speed is 5 mph and the dimensions are bigger than the GoPet treadwheel. However, finding this treadmill for dogs may prove to be difficult.
5Petrun Toy/Small Treadmill for Dogs
Max dog weight: 44 lbs
Max tread speed: 7 mph
Dimensions: 15 x 101 x 64 inch
This treadmill from GoPet fills in the gap when you might not be able to give your dog his daily dose of exercise for calorie burning and muscle toning. This is made for dogs weighing not more than 88 pounds. The running area measures 42”x16” and is built on a low platform that’s easy for the dog to climb up and get down from.
GoPet company has conquered the treadmill for dogs niche, and as the fifth best dog treadmill brand is yet another choice from this company. There’s a metal eyelet to hang your dog’s favorite toy from with the PR710. Push-button controls are located on the side for easier speed adjustment by the pet owner or trainer. A remote control is also provided. Speed is adjustable from 0.6 mph to 7.4 mph.
This is exactly what’s needed by dogs that don’t seem to get enough running. With the GoPet Petrun Treadmill for dogs, they can finally quench their thirst for ceaseless action. It’s a very convenient pet accessory especially with its programmable speed and timer controls. This is one of the best dog treadmills because it folds flat for easy storage and portability. The equipment is quite heavy, so it helps that it has dolly wheels for ease in moving.
For households with multiple-sized dogs and pets, this could be the ideal model if the pets vary in size from small to medium. For larger pets, however, it would probably be prudent to measure your dog’s longest stride and compare it with the dimensions of this treadmill’s run area.
Alternative to GoPet PR710 treadmill for dogs:
GoPet Treadmill ToySmall (88 lbs max weight) – Dog owners looking for the best dog treadmill for medium dogs may find this alternative a slightly better option over the PR710, since it can hold dogs up to 90 pounds in weight. The design of the dog treadmill cheap itself is almost identical other than dimensions to allow more room for larger size dogs. The price is also slightly cheaper.
Max dog weight: 175 lbs
Max tread speed: 7.5 mph
Dimensions: 90 x 26 x 22 inch
- A physical outlet for...
- A great source of exercise for...
- Dog exercise equipment when...
- A treadmill for dogs with no...
- Adjustable speed allows for a...
Last on the list of best dog treadmill options is yet another option from GoPet. Having a dependable treadmill, such as this model from GoPet, is like having a reliable backup plan when your dog isn't able to get his exercise outside. This does not replace a good sprint outdoors, but it definitely fills the void created when a run is missed or is cut short due to unavoidable circumstances. An overweight dog simply can’t miss a run, and constraints in space or time don’t justify these lapses.
The GoPet PR725 treadmill for dogs occupies a small space only, measuring 90”x24”x16” and providing a running area of 71”x16”. This small space affords your dog miles and miles of energetic run whenever he or she needs or wants. And, this takes place within the safety of your property at the time most convenient to both of you.
The speed is adjustable from 1 mph to 10 mph through the console and remote controls. The incline can also be increased to provide more challenge and variation. This is one of the best dog treadmills for large dogs because it is suitable for dogs weighing up to 175 pounds and weighs about 137 pounds, unlike many other treadmill for dogs mentioned above.
Alternative to GoPet PR725 treadmill for dogs:
GoPet Treadmill Giant (264 lbs max weight) – Those looking for the best dog treadmill for big dogs and giant breeds will find this as the top option on the market. While it's rare that pet owners may need such a heavy duty dog treadmill, this one can handle the most weight out of all available treadmills for dogs you can find. The design is a little similar to PR725 but feels and looks far more heavy duty, sturdy.