Can Dogs Use Human Treadmills? Is it a Good Training Idea?

Can Dogs Use Human Treadmills? Is it a Good Training Idea?

Last Updated on September, 2022

Lack of sufficient exercise may lead to pet obesity and serious diseases. So, you focus on keeping your dogs active and healthy.

But sometimes, you get busy with work and have no time to take your pooch outside. Then, you may think of using the human treadmill at home.

And you ask yourself, can dogs use human treadmills?

Well, in this article you will learn all about it. So, keep reading to find out more!

Can Dogs Use Human Treadmills?

a dog and human on the treadmill

According to many canine fitness professionals, dogs should only use dog treadmills.

You may be wondering if there’s a thing called a dog treadmill. Yes! They are a thing. Some people may not even have heard of it.

And there are many differences between human treadmills and dog treadmills. You should consider these differences to be cautious about your dog’s safety.

So let’s get down to it!

Human Treadmills vs Dog Treadmills

First, it is better to know the differences between human treadmills and dog treadmills.

Here’s why a human treadmill can be dangerous for your dog.

Human Treadmills Have a Shorter Track Surface

Track surfaces of a human treadmill are more suitable for human’s short gait.

This track can be too small for many dogs. However, it depends on the dog’s size, breed, and natural gait.

The shorter tracks may be okay for small ones but NOT FOR big dogs. 

However, dog treadmills have wider belts along with longer tracks. So, dog treadmills have enough room to manage a dog’s natural gait and longest stride.

These treadmills allow your pup to stretch and extend without restricting their movements.

Limiting your dog’s movement may cause an unnatural gait.

Human Treadmills are Too Fast For Smaller Dogs

The speed settings of a human treadmill are not safe for many dogs. 

Of course, large dogs may enjoy running at a high-speed range. But it is very challenging for small dogs. They will not have a slow enough speed on human treadmills.

Most little dogs prefer to walk in slow speed ranges.

a dog on the treadmill

Dog owners should understand how a little dog can reach the speed of humans. For instance, Pomeranians and Beagles find walking too exhausting at speeds like this.

But you don’t have to worry!

The best dog treadmills have the SAFEST SPEED settings for your pooch.

Human Treadmills Are Louder

Did you know that loud noises are troublesome for dogs?

Dog treadmills use remarkable technologies and motors to reduce noises when dogs run at higher speeds. THANK GOD!

On the other hand, a human treadmill may have loud sounds and vibrations that may make your dog anxious and frightened.

Human Treadmills Are Narrower

Dogs stretch and float more than humans.

Luckily, good dog treadmills are wider. And they provide enough room for your pooch to float back and forth.

Of course, your dog can be COZY there, right?

A more expansive treadmill deck ensures your dog can stretch and extend naturally.

Human Treadmills’ Positioning of Motor Compartment Is Dangerous

Since we humans do not have fur, the location of the ventilation grid and the motor are not an issue for us.

But for dogs, the position of the motor DOES MATTER.

Your pooch’s long coat can get churned by the motor. Also, their hair can enter the ventilation grid. So, there is a high risk of an accident.

a germen shepherd on the treadmill

However, dog treadmills’ motor and ventilation grid are in safer positions with an internal cooling system. Thus, they will not cause the above-mentioned issue.

Human Treadmills Do Not Have Adequate Side Rails

The side rails of most human treadmills are not dog-friendly.

However, quality dog treadmills have safe and robust side panels that allow your dog to have safer training. These panels are helpful for dogs of all sizes.

Human Treadmills’ Gaps Between Belt and Edges Are Hazardous

The gaps between the belt and edges in a human treadmill are noticeable.

While this is okay for humans, it is unsafe for a dog’s paws and claws. 

Your pooch may get trapped in these gaps and damage their paws. This may cause irreparable harm to your loving pet.

But the gaps between a dog treadmill’s running belt and edges are FREE FROM DANGER! 

A quality treadmill for dogs positions the belt near the side rails or edge.

Types of Dog Treadmills

Now let’s look into different types of dog treadmills. Once you understand their characteristics, you can find the most suited treadmill for your pet.

The Slat Mill

Slat mills are dog-powered treadmills that have slats and rollers.

It does not use electricity at all!

This dog treadmill has a low resistance making it EASY for your dog to move. It also allows your pet to control their speed.

This machine uses a harness to attach your pooch to the treadmill. So, there’s less risk of falling!

a Slat Mill on the floor

Running on the slat mill gives your pooch a high-calorie burn exercise. Thus, this is an excellent option to burn off their excess energy.

Don’t you think?

However, it is pricier than the other options available. Also, they are pretty BIGGER and will need a dedicated separate area.

The Carpet Mill

Like the slat mill, carpet mills are also mechanical and dog-powered.

This machine uses a single carpet instead of slats. And it is similar to the carpet of a regular treadmill.

A carpet mill requires some resistance. So, your pooch will need to work more to move the surface.

a dog on the Carpet Mill

Moreover, carpet mills are less expensive and smaller than slat mills.

No wonder why dog owners love this dog treadmill!

Electric Treadmills For Dogs

Electric treadmills for dogs are a great choice if you want your pooch to engage in multiple exercises. For instance, they can engage in walking backward and sidestepping.

An electric treadmill has a control panel where you can change speed limits. It is somewhat similar to a human treadmill.

You can increase and decrease resistance levels according to your pooch’s exercise goals.

a dog on the electric treadmill

Moreover, electric treadmills are foldable and easy for home use

But you should give more attentive supervision since it is human-controlled.

Hydrotherapy Treadmills

Dog owners can use hydrotherapy treadmills for overweight dogs.

These treadmills are underwater. So they can provide significant resistance while reducing the impact on your pooch’s joints.

However, hydrotherapy treadmills are expensive and need constant maintenance.

a dog in the Hydrotherapy Treadmills

How to Train Your Dog to Use a Treadmill?

It is always better to take instructions from your dog’s veterinarian or dog trainer before using a treadmill.

Moreover, you should take some precautions prior to letting your dog walk on a treadmill. And, you have to be more careful if your dog has any health conditions.

To begin with, you have to introduce the treadmill to your pooch slowly. 

Dog owners have to create a positive association when introducing the machine.

This will ensure that your pooch is not scared of the treadmill. The first encounter requires a lot of INTELLIGENCE from your pooch!

So, let’s check out the step-by-step process!

First, you have to teach your pooch to get on and off the treadmill. To do that, you will need a lot of yummy treats.

To begin with, use a treat to lure your pup onto the treadmill. 

But REMEMBER!

If your dog hesitates to get onto the treadmill, DO NOT FORCE THEM! Try again after a few days.

Once they succeed in getting up and standing on the treadmill, you can turn the power on, but your dog has to be off of the treadmill.

Next, you have to make sure that your pooch is comfortable with the sound, scent, and motion. Then turn on the machine and let your dog hear the sound.

Since many dog treadmills are quiet, this step may be effortless.

When they hear the sound, give them a treat. Then, repeat the process by turning the machine on and off.

Well, now you are creating positive associations with the treadmill’s sound.

Then comes the huge step!

Once your dog gets used to the sound, you can lure your pooch onto the machine. 

Start slow with the lowest setting and let your dog walk on the moving deck. Never begin at high speed.

Don’t forget! SLOW PACE first!

This step takes time to build up your pet’s familiarity and confidence in walking on the treadmill.

Make sure to give your pooch a lot of treats to encourage him!

When your pooch gets comfortable and relaxed around the machine, you can gradually increase the speed and duration little by little.

KEEP IN MIND! Exercising in short and multiple sessions a day is a great idea to train your dog using a treadmill.

How to Choose a Dog Treadmill?

a dog on the treadmill

Choosing the best dog treadmill depends on the size and breed of your dog.

So, a treadmill suitable for small dogs may not work for larger ones.

Mentioned below are some points that you should consider when choosing a treadmill for the doggo.

The moving deck of the treadmill should be 2-2.5x the length of your pooch. You can take this measurement from the nose’s tip to the base of the tail.

This length allows dogs to walk and run at their usual gait while eliminating the risks of injury.

Moreover, selecting a dog treadmill with a flat surface is better.

Important Tips for Using a Dog Treadmill

Are you THRILLED to exercise your pooch on a dog treadmill?

If so, check out the below tips for using a dog treadmill.

  • Give your pooch warm-up and cool-down activities before getting them on the treadmill.
  • If your dog is long-backed, you should include core-strengthening exercises along with exercising on the treadmills. This will avoid back injuries.
  • Running at fast speeds for long durations is unsuitable if your puppy is under 15-18 months of age. This is because it can damage your puppy’s growth plates.
  • Your dog’s nails should be short before using a treadmill. 
  • If your pet is a long-haired dog, trim or bring up the hair. This will make sure that dogs will not get stuck with the machine.
  • Avoid attaching dogs with a leash. This may cause injuries and strangulation if the dog tries to jump off.
  • Place your dog’s treadmill in an open area. This will allow them to run on the treadmill without being afraid of running into something.
  • Watch for your pooch’s gait while running or walking on the treadmill. It should be a rhythmic two-beat gait. And your dog should not drag any paw or limb.
  • It is a bad idea to leave them alone on the machine. Always watch your dog when they are on a treadmill.
  • Since outdoor walks are essential to sharpen dogs’ senses, these machines should not replace outside walking routines. 

Advantages and Disadvantages of Training Your Dog on a Treadmill 

If you are interested in exercising your dog on a treadmill, look into the pros and cons of training your dog on a treadmill.

Advantages

  • Dog treadmill exercise improves your pooch’s stamina and overall health.
  • Walking on a dog treadmill allows dogs to reduce joint stress and soreness.
  • They increase your pooch’s muscle tone and endurance.
  • It is an excellent way to relieve stress in high-energy and athletic dogs. By relieving stress, it provides mental enrichment too.
  • Treadmills aid weight loss. Hydrotherapy treadmills reduce over 38% of your dog’s weight from the lower joints.
  • They are an excellent option to exercise indoors during bad weather.
  • Treadmill training provides rehabilitation after injury or surgery.
  • You can analyze your dog’s gait when they walk on the treadmill.
  • If dog owners have disabilities they can use dog treadmills to exercise their pets.

Disadvantages

  • There is a risk of getting sprains and soft tissue injuries if they fall off or over-exercise.
  • Long-haired dogs may get stuck with the treadmill. 
  • Some dogs may get scared of the machine and its noise. 

What Kind of Exercises Does a Dog Get From a Treadmill? 

dogs on the treadmills

Dogs can get a TON OF EXERCISE from a treadmill.

In fact, a dog treadmill is a great way of energy release. Exercising a dog on a treadmill provides a high-intensity, low-impact full-body workout.

These machines allow dogs to get heaps of physical exercise. It is just like a swimming session!

Running on treadmills exercises your dog’s heart and lungs, improving cardiovascular health.

Moreover, most dogs will stay focused and calm while exercising on treadmills. Isn’t that cool?

How to Find if Your Dog is Tired Training on the Treadmill?

a Tired dog on treadmill

You have to ensure your doggo is not over-exercised and too tired.

Here’s how to find out if your dog has become exhausted.

  • You may observe changes in facial expressions when the dog becomes tired.
  • Consider other signs such as foaming at the mouth, increased heart rate, and excessive panting. You should stop the activity if you notice any of these signs.
  • Just like humans, they will experience soreness after exercising. Hence, do not overdo it.
  • After introducing the treadmill, increase the duration of training at intervals. 

FAQs

Conclusion

To be honest, I do not recommend using a human treadmill for your beloved dog because of the reasons we discussed.

However, you can opt for dog treadmills that give excellent exercise for dogs in a safe manner.

But, if you do not feel like buying a dog treadmill, you can try dog-friendly exercises or take lovely long walks instead!

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Author
Thomas
Thomas Villalpando is the main author of IPet Guides. He spends his time reading, training, and working with several Dogs' behaviors. You can find more about him here.

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