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GoPet PR700 Dog Treadmill for Small Dogs
Although they are no replacement for outdoor activity, treadmills can be a great way to keep dogs fit and entertained and can be extremely beneficial for pooches that are overweight or suffer from certain health conditions.
While there are treadmills made specifically for dogs, finding a dog treadmill in Australia is notoriously difficult. That’s why today’s article will focus on treadmills that both humans and dogs can use (and that you can easily get in Australia).
Are Treadmills Good for Dogs?
Dog treadmills have been used in physical therapy for decades already with great success. While dog hydrotherapy treadmills have been more popular in this area, regular treadmills have been used for ages (at least since the 1950s) in clinical settings when dogs are involved.
More recently, treadmills are proven to be very effective in helping obese dogs get back to a healthy weight (2). Obesity in pets is more common nowadays than ever, but pet parents often fail to realize how serious this problem can be. When dogs are overweight, this can lead to a lot of complicated conditions including orthopaedic problems, diabetes, and even some types of cancer (3). Therefore, if your dog is overweight and a treadmill gets them to work out - go for it.
Moreover, treadmills can be very useful for dogs in many other situations. When you are not able to get out of the house and get your dog as much exercise as they need, getting your pet on the treadmill can be a great way to get excess energy out.
In addition to this, if you like to do a lot of sports and go on physically demanding outings with your dog often, your canine buddy needs to stay in shape as much as you do. A treadmill is a great way to do that for both of you (although not at the same time) on days when you can’t get outside.
Can Dogs Use Human Treadmills?
As we mentioned, treadmills made specifically for dogs are very hard to find in Australia. Luckily, most treadmills made for humans are actually fine for dogs too. In fact, this is why we decided to include a list of treadmills that can be used by both dogs and humans here.
Keep in mind, though, that these treadmills were built for human use, and offer no guarantee that your dog will be able to use them. However, we found, with the right training, almost any dog can get used to a treadmill, and there is not a lot of difference between those made for dogs and those made for humans.
How to Choose a Treadmill for Dogs
There are two important features where treadmills made for dogs and those for people differ. First of all, treadmills made specifically for dogs have safety rails or panels on the sides. While these can play a role in helping the dog feel safer on the treadmill at the beginning, it doesn’t make much difference to dogs who are already used to exercising in this way.
The second difference concerns the running belt. In treadmills made for dogs specifically, the belt is generally wider than on standard treadmills. In dog treadmills, the manufacturers also make sure that there are no gaps at the edge of the belt where the dog's hair or paws could get caught up. With treadmills designed for humans, there are no such guarantees. However, this shouldn’t be a problem. What you can do is look for a treadmill with the widest running belt possible and make sure there are no dangerous spots for the dog.
The running belt should be wide enough for your dog to comfortably walk on it, but what is more important is the length of the treadmill. The running belt should be long enough for the dog to run - and a bit more than that. Keep in mind that if the dog is large, they will require more space than an average human. That is why treadmills made for people are usually fine for small and medium dogs, but if your dog is very large such treadmills might just be too short.
Things to Keep in Mind
PRO TIP: “Treadmills and treadwheels are no substitute for outdoor exercise. When a dog goes for a walk or run, chases a ball in the park, etc., the activity engages his mind and all of his senses.” - Jennifer Coates, DVM for PetMD
That is to say, treadmills are a good way to provide additional exercise to your dog, especially when it’s not possible to spend as much time outside as they need. However, a treadmill is not a substitute for a daily walk. The treadmill could be interesting to the dog at first, but after some time, it becomes just physical exercise - and that is not enough for a dog to live a happy life.
In addition to this, it’s important to keep in mind that walking on a treadmill is generally more exhausting to dogs than walking outdoors. On a real walk, the dog will run and stop when tired or wants to smell something. On a treadmill, it’s constant walking, and the dog will get tired considerably faster. For this reason, it’s best to start with only a couple of minutes on the treadmill at first. (5)
Best Treadmill for Dogs
The GoPet PR700 Dog Treadmill is one of the best dog treadmills ever made (and the only one you can find in Australia). This treadmill is easy to set up, easy for you to control, and easy for dogs to get used to it.
Let’s start with the physical look of this dog walking machine. The profile of this treadmill is low, and it’s easy even for the smallest dogs to get onto it. You will find safety rails on both sides and at the front. There is also a place to attach your dog’s leash at the front in case you would need to.
One of the great things about this treadmill is that the speed is completely adjustable. You can set it to anywhere from 1km to 12km per hour, which means anywhere between a slow walk to a brisk run.
The lowest speed setting is really slow, and this is great for getting the dog used to the treadmill (and for dogs with mobility issues who need gentle exercise). The speed is, of course, controlled by you. This is possible to do manually on the treadmill as well as using a wireless remote control.
One thing to keep in mind about this particular model is that it’s made only for relatively small dogs. The manufacturers say it can take dogs up to approximately up to 20kg). However, the weight is not the most important factor - what you really want to check is whether the treadmill is long enough for your dog to comfortably walk.
The pathway on this one is 70 cm long. In general, you’ll want the treadmill to be at least ⅓ longer than your dog, so this one will fit dogs who are 50 cm long at most.
Best Treadmills That Both Humans and Dogs Can Use
This treadmill from Everfit is a great option that both you and your dog can use. The treadmill was designed for humans. On one hand, this means it lacks some dog-specific features, such as the safety rails on the sides.
On the other hand, treadmills made for people are generally higher quality and more durable. That makes sense since human treadmills are meant to support much more weight and general wear caused by being used by humans.
This treadmill features a strong frame made of coated steel which makes it stand safely in place. The treadmill belt is almost at ground level so the dog can step right onto it. That is something we really liked.
Another area that is great for dogs is the fact that the walking or running speed is highly adjustable. The lowest speed setting is only 0.8km/h, which is great for dogs that need to start slow. Once you are ready, the speed can be raised up to 12km/h, just like most standard treadmills.
This treadmill also has a simulated turf feature. What it means is that the running surface absorbs shock to a degree, so that running feels just like running outdoors.
Finally, the running belt portion of the treadmill can be folded upwards to save space when not in use. That, together with wheels this treadmill has attached for easier moving, makes the Everfit treadmill a great option for those who are low on space in their homes.
This treadmill from OVICX is another nice option if you want to get your dog to exercise indoors. The streamlined design of this running machine is what makes it a good option for dogs. There are no unnecessary parts, and therefore there are fewer places where your dog’s hair or paws could get caught.
This treadmill looks pretty much just like any standard treadmill. The frame is made of steel and covered with a black powder coating that makes it last and looks nice practically forever. The running belt is close to the floor and there are no large gaps on the sides which is optimal for dogs. It is also wider than on most other treadmills for humans we found - 42 cm.
This OVICX treadmill also comes with all the features you would expect from a good treadmill. The speed is, of course, adjustable. The range is standard - between 1 and 12km/h and these speeds are generally good for dogs too.
This treadmill from Advwin is another great option for smaller dogs - and a stylish one at that. While most other treadmills come only in bleak black, this one comes in pink and white. With a steel white frame, this treadmill will brighten up your interior. And when not in use, it folds up flat so it takes up almost no space when you store it against a wall.
That is all nice, but what matters more is the functionality of the treadmill as a piece of exercise equipment. As always, the speed of this treadmill is adjustable. You can choose a speed anywhere between 1 and 10 km/h.
For a human, 10 km/h can still be a little too slow if you want a good run, but for exercising dogs this speed is totally fine. That is also the reason why this treadmill is cheaper than other models. However, if you are looking for a treadmill specifically for your dog, there is nothing wrong with this one.
The main downside of this treadmill when it comes to dogs is the size of the walking panel. The running belt is only 34 cm wide and 1 meter long. That means that only smaller breeds will be able to use this treadmill comfortably.
Final Thoughts on Dog Exercise Equipment
Treadmills can be a great way to help your dog stay entertained and fit. If you want a treadmill that’s made specifically for dogs, the GoPet PR700 Dog Treadmill for Small Dogs, if your canine companion is on the smaller side. However, treadmills made for humans also work great for dogs, so getting the Everfit 12-Speed Treadmill can be a great way to get some indoor exercise both for you and your dog.
For most dogs, learning to use a treadmill is not too difficult, but it requires patience on your side. Start with small steps. First, teach your dog to simply stand on the treadmill when it’s turned off. Reward successful attempts with treats. Once your dog has a positive association with the treadmill, turn the motor on (without actually running the treadmill) to get the dog used to the sound. Once you see the dog is comfortable with that, you can start with turning the treadmill at a slow speed. Just take it slow and limit treadmill time to short sessions at first and everything should be fine.
This really depends on the individual dog and their temperament. Many dogs get used to the treadmill in as little as a week and start loving it. For others, it’s not so easy, and it could take a couple of weeks. The important thing is not to rush the process.
Dog treadmills are usually wider and sometimes longer than those for humans. This gives the dog more room to stretch and move like they would outside. Dog treadmills also have safety rails on the side and it’s often possible to control them remotely.
- KOUWENHOVEN, W B et al. “A low cost treadmill for experimental animals.” Journal of applied physiology vol. 7,3 (1954): 347-8. doi:10.1152/jappl.19184.108.40.2067
- Chauvet, Anne et al. “Incorporation of exercise, using an underwater treadmill, and active client education into a weight management program for obese dogs.” The Canadian veterinary journal = La revue veterinaire canadienne vol. 52,5 (2011): 491-6.
- Alexander J. German, The Growing Problem of Obesity in Dogs and Cats, The Journal of Nutrition, Volume 136, Issue 7, 1 July 2006, Pages 1940S–1946S, https://doi.org/10.1093/jn/136.7.1940S
- Coates, J. “Treadmills for Dogs - A Good Idea?”. September 19, 2012. PetMD. Retrieved December 28,2020. https://www.petmd.com/blogs/fullyvetted/2012/sept/are_treadmills_for_dogs_a_good_idea-27096
- Lombardi, L. “Use Your Treadmill to Exercise Your Dog”. February 10, 2020. AKC. Retrieved December 28, 2020. https://www.akc.org/expert-advice/health/use-your-treadmill-to-exercise-your-dog/