If you are a pet owner, you may have considered getting a dog treadmill.
A dog treadmill can provide your pet with much-needed exercise, especially if you live in an area with limited space. If you are handy, you may be able to build your own dog treadmill.
In this article, resTORbio will provide you with instructions on how to build a dog treadmill DIY.
Overweight Dogs: The Dangers
Obesity is as common in dogs as it is in humans. A 2014 survey by the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention found that over half of all dogs are overweight or obese.
Dogs who weigh 15% more than their normal weight are considered overweight. Dogs who are more than 30% over their normal weight are considered obese.
Dog obesity is very similar to human obesity. Dogs are more likely to eat food than they are to exercise.
Of course, there are other reasons. Obesity is more common in older female dogs who have been spayed. The situation is worse if you don’t exercise enough.
Dogs trained to be fixed more likely to become obese than dogs who have not. This is probably due to a change in their metabolism and hormones. Dog owners who responsibly get their dogs fixed must also ensure that they are getting enough exercise.
Obesity can also be influenced by age. Dogs, like humans, become less active and lose more body mass as they age. A modified diet is necessary. This requires that dog owners consult their veterinarians to devise a plan for their pet’s nutrition.
Many factors can contribute to a lower chance of obesity in dogs. The breed is a significant factor. Breeds like terriers and hounds, spaniels, retrievers, and spaniels are at a lower risk of obesity than other breeds.
Dog Obesity and Health Problems
A fat dog may not be visually appealing, but it’s not the only problem. Other issues can arise.
These issues include:
- High blood pressure
- Heart disease
- Breathing problems
- Orthopedic disorders
- Certain types of cancer
One or more of these health issues may be experienced by an obese dog. They all end in the same thing: an early death.
Exercise is a critical factor in behavioral problems.
A dog that is obese is bored. Unfortunately, dog owners often label their dogs hyperactive, even though it is not the dog’s fault. It’s often the owner’s fault!
Do you have a dog that exhibits any of these undesirable behaviors?
- Wailing or barking to get attention
- Playing with your nails constantly.
- Play too rough
- Destructive scratching, chewing, and/or digging.
- They shouldn’t be able to get into the trash or other places.
- Jumping on counters and furniture when they shouldn’t
If the answer is yes, you should not be asking, “Is my dog hyperactive?”
You should ask yourself, “Am I exercising enough, dog?”
To be clear, hyperactivity does not exist in dogs the way it does in humans. There are steps you should take before your dog is put on medication. Or worse, send her to the “farm upstate”.
I am not a vet. Talk to your veterinarian first to discuss any issues you might be experiencing and the best way to resolve them.
Dogs running on treadmills look like dogs in boots or jackets. As we have seen, treadmills can be a great addition to your dog’s exercise routine.
You need to consider some things when choosing a treadmill, or even if you want to use one. Let’s consider some of these considerations and see if a treadmill for dogs is right for you!
Different Types of Dog Treadmills
Two types of treadmills are available for dogs:
You may have guessed that mechanical treadmills for dogs use a motor. These treadmills are made for dogs and do not have the same problems as human treadmills. These can be purchased from $500 to $5,000 (!!! ).
There are two types of dog-powered treadmills: treadwheels and dog carpet mills. Treadwheels can be described as giant hamster wheels that dogs use to propel themselves. Dog carpet mills can be made using wood, nails and carpet. They usually cost between $300 and $600.
Although the mechanical option is more expensive than nonmotorized dog treadmills (which can be very expensive), it will still be cheaper than the motorized one. Buyers need to ensure that the treadmill will be used enough to justify their purchase.
Limitations of Treadmills For Dogs
Dog treadmills are a great addition to your exercise routine, whether due to the weather or any other factors.
But don’t let it be the only source of exercise for your dog!
You’re probably aware that exercise is not the only thing you do. Your brain is also getting a workout because you have to keep track of everything at once.
Are you a regular at the gym, a group member, or a friend who exercises? You know that social interaction is an integral part of a workout experience.
This is as true for dogs as it is for humans. Dogs need mental stimulation, social interaction, and various smells when exercising.
Dog treadmills can be used as a supplement for overweight and obese dogs. Although they can’t meet all your dog’s needs, they are a great way to sneak in extra steps.
Can Dogs Use Human Treadmills?
Most of the information I’ve read indicates no. Although many people walk their dogs on treadmills, it can cause anxiety at the beginning for your dog.
The motor is not in a good place on a treadmill. The vent and motor could catch your dog’s fur. It’s similar to how you learned to ride an escalator correctly as a child (and it has haunted your life ever since).
There are also vibrations and noises. While they may not be a problem for you, they can cause anxiety in dogs. Dog treadmills are quieter and more stable than humans.
Side rails are used as safety precautions and a visual guide for humans running. Dog treadmills have the same feature but are placed lower so that they can actually work for your dog.
Track length and width should be considered. Dogs will float more while running, so they’ll move backward, forward and side-to-side as they run. They need a longer and broader track when running on a treadmill for maximum safety.
The gaps between belts and edges can also be affected by floating. There is a larger hole in making the assembly of treadmills easier for humans. Dogs could be seriously injured if a claw gets stuck there.
Speed is the last. For larger dogs, a treadmill can be used. You might have difficulty finding a slow speed to accommodate smaller dogs.
This is not to suggest that you shouldn’t allow your dog to use a treadmill. If you choose to use one, it is vital to be aware that it can pose dangers.
How To Choose A Treadmill For Your Dog
Depending on your goals, there are some features that you need to look for. You want your dog to be active even if you aren’t able to walk it, but you will have the ability to customize their exercise experience with different features.
Knowing what you want will help you estimate how much you will spend. This allows you to save money on your dog treadmill and ensures that you get the best value for your money with features.
Dog treadmills can be set up with an incline, just like human treadmills. Dogs can get a more intense workout by using the treadmill with an incline.
This is especially useful if your dog needs to lose weight. It can also be used for agility training, urban mushing, and cross.
Your dog’s size will determine the length of your treadmill. You’ll need a longer track if your dog is larger than you are.
- Small breeds: 29 inches x 14 inches in length
- Medium breeds: 47 x 17-inch length
- Large+ Breeds: 75 x 17.5″ length
There can be a variation in the size of individual dogs within a particular breed. To ensure you don’t buy something too small, measure them first.
Distance & Time Meters
It won’t be required for daily walking. It will be helpful for people who need a treadmill to train their dog as a sports dog. This feature is especially useful for those who wish to make their dogs marathon-ready.
How To Build Your Dog Treadmill DIY
I previously mentioned dog carpet mills and how to build them. Although there are many great YouTube videos and blogs, I wanted to share some of my thoughts on what you can expect when you create your own.
It will take longer to build one than the one you purchased online. But, you can save tons of money by creating your own dog treadmill!
How to Measure Your Dog
- Laying your dog on her side and extending her back and front legs out as far as possible without harming her is the best way to determine her longest stride.
- This figure should be increased by 20%.
The length of your track will be the result.
- Move her to a standing position and take her chest measurement.
- Multiply your answer by 1.5 to get the final result.
The width of your track will be the result.
- Measure from the floor to the top of her head while still standing.
- To your result, add at least 5 inches.
The height of the frame will be the consequence of your work.
You now have the measurements with which you’ll be working. Let’s get started on the chopping!
Get a piece of plywood that’s the following dimensions:
- The length and width of the measurements you just took.
- 1 / 4 inch thick or thicker is recommended.
To support the track, construct a frame out of 2 x 4s.
- The front and back of your track should be about 5 inches beyond the 2 x 4s. This will provide enough length for the carpet to not fall off and the area for the rollers.
- Add a couple of 2 x 4s across the width of the frame if your dog is obese or overweight. They’ll act as bracing to keep the treadmill in place.
- To keep the frame together and secure the track to the top, use screws or hammer your nails.
- On both sides of the frame, mark a position about three-quarters of the way back.
- Take two 2 x 4s that are the same length as the track and glue them together.
- Nails or screws should be used to secure the 2 x 4s to the outer frame upright.
- On both sides of the track, mark another position approximately a foot ahead of the upright 2 x 4s.
- Place two shorter 2 x 4s on these markings in an upright posture, angling them backward until they join with the “inside” of the longer 2 x 4s.
- To act as bracing, secure the shorter 2 x 4s to the frame and the longer 2 x 4s.
- To make a spot to tie your dog’s leash, lay a dowel rod between the two longer 2 x 4s and secure it.
- At each end of the track, measure and cut two sections of PVC pipe to fit the width of the way.
- Inside each piece of PVC pipe, place a 4 x 4 post.
- Inside the PVC pipes, mark the centermost position on each wood end.
- Each indicated point should have a guide hole drilled into it.
- Place the PVC pipes at the frame’s ends, somewhat above the running board. When your dog runs on the carpet, this will prevent it from catching.
- Align the pipe’s center with the frame’s sides and drill holes carefully through the frame.
- As bearings, insert short pieces of copper tubing.
- Long nails should be inserted into the posts inside the PVC pipes through the pilot holes to fasten them while allowing the PVC pipes to spin freely.
1. Measure a length of carpet that:
- Matches the size of your track.
- It is long enough to go around both rollers and the track.
2. Leave some extra carpet length so you can alter it if necessary.
3. Cut the carpet to length, leaving some extra for an overlapping region.
4. Sew the ends together using a heavy-duty fishing line and a curved bag needle.
- Under the frame, place 2 x 4s or cinder blocks for support.
- Ensure that the front is higher than the back.
- Add more 2 x 4s or cinder blocks to the front to create an elevation for a more challenging workout.
How Much Exercise Does My Dog Need?
This is a common question that dog owners will ask. There are many variables involved in determining the answer. The factors that influence the outcome of a dog’s health and longevity are their age, weight, general health, and breed.
There’s also the fact that dogs are not all the same. Each dog is an individual with its own needs.
This section should be considered a guideline, not a recipe. Although I have tried to find the most accurate information online, it is still a good idea to consult your vet before creating an exercise plan for your dog.
Because age impacts your dog’s ability to handle exercise, it is crucial. Dogs that are fully mature need to be able to maintain the breed’s baseline. For puppies, however, it will require more exercise and energy.
Older dogs, usually between 7 and 8 years of age, still require exercise but not as much. It is an excellent idea to reduce their exercise time by 20-30%.
Dogs of normal weight should follow the standard guidelines. However, obese or overweight dogs should reduce the typical amount by 20-30%.
Total mature dogs should be able to 100%, just like weight. Dog owners need to tailor training for older dogs or those with specific conditions. Dogs with hip dysplasia or arthritis will require special attention than dogs in good health.
The breed of a dog is what makes things more concrete. If they are fully mature, most species need at least 60 minutes of exercise each day.
These breeds are bred from working or sporting backgrounds. They are energetic and need a lot to be physically and mentally well.
However, there are exceptions. There are exceptions. Giant breeds, toy breeds, and some types of hounds do not need as much.
This section has been divided by breed groups to give you an idea of the exercise requirements for a mature dog. This is not a model. Before starting any exercise program for your dog, talk to your veterinarian.
Sporting Breed Group
Sporting dogs were initially bred to hunt alongside humans. These dogs are trained to find a game, whether it has been killed on the land or in the water. Many families across the United States love these dogs.
These are some of the portable breeds:
- German Short Hair Pointers
- Golden Retrievers
- Gordon Setters
- Springer Spaniels
They need 60 to 120 minutes of exercise each day.
Working Breed Group
They were created to work. They have been used in farming and drafting and are often referred to as “sled dogs”.
These working breeds are:
They need 60 to 120 minutes of exercise each day.
Herding Breed Group
Herding breeds can be some of the most intelligent and energetic species. They need mental stimulation just as much as they do physical stimulation. As I mentioned in my post on the best hiking dog breeds, these dogs are attractive.
Many owners aren’t ready to take on such intelligent and energetic dogs. I recommend finding a dog that suits your lifestyle. You’ll have to adapt your dog’s lifestyle to yours.
These are some of the herding breeds:
- Border Collies
- Cattle dogs
- German Shepherds
They need 60 to 120 minutes of exercise each day.
Terrier & Vermin Breed Group
Some people may be surprised that these dogs weren’t always considered lap dogs. These dogs were bred to hunt small game, such as rodents. Terriers and vermin breeds, like the herding breeds, are intelligent and require mental exercise and physical activity.
Vermin and Terrier breeds include:
- All the terriers
- Pinschers (excluding Dobermans)
They need 60 to 90 minutes of exercise each day.
Scent Hounds Breed Group
These dogs are very similar to the sporting breeds. These dogs are popular among hunters who use their strong sense of smell to hunt prey. This breed is known for “thinking with the nose”.
There are many scent hound breeds:
- Basset Hounds
- Blood Hounds (more moderate energy)
They need 60 to 90 minutes of exercise each day.
Some breeds require less exercise than the ones I have listed. They can be either medium- or low-energy.
There are also other breeds:
- Brachycephalic breeds such as bulldogs or pugs are known to be brachycephalic.
- Toy and small breeds such as Chihuahuas (or as I like to refer to them, “bait of real dogs”)
- Greyhounds and Whippets are sighthounds.
- Giant breeds such as Saint Bernards and Great Danes are available.
These breeds need at most 60 minutes of exercise each day. Some of them may find that even that is too much.
What is my point?
Dogs need to exercise at least 60 minutes per day. 120 minutes (or more) is better. Many people can’t do this. Even exercise for breeds that require less can take up a lot of your time.
You have to take care of basic human survival, such as cooking, sleeping, and using the toilet. This takes up much of our time, and we must go to bed tomorrow to do it again. There are also factors such as the weather that can keep you from getting outside.
Your dog could wear a pair of doggy boots and a rain jacket. You will have to spend more time trying to get them on and off.
There are also physical limitations. Some people may not be able to walk their dogs outside. Some people with disabilities may have restrictions on the exercise that they offer their dogs.
You want to give your dog some extra exercise. You want something that allows your dog to move around while doing chores or other household duties. Dog treadmills are the solution.
How to Teach Your Dog to Use A Treadmill
It is not difficult to train your dog to use the treadmill. Before turning it on, you want to get your dog used to the treadmill.
First, build the treadmill. Then place it in its proper position. Pippa Elliott, MRCVS, says that a dog treadmill should not be directed towards a wall. She’ll mistakenly think she’s going on a run or walk into a wall if she does.
Allow your dog to get used to the treadmill. Do not turn the treadmill on yet. It can easily scare her. First, let her sniff it and then explore it for a few days.
You can help her build positive associations with the treadmill and give her treats or meals. Place a water bowl and toys nearby.
Place treats on the treadmill to lure her. It’s not safe to turn the treadmill on. To familiarize her, use commands such as “Get on” You should reward her with lots of treats!
Turn it On
- Turn the treadmill down to its slowest speed and start running. This assumes that the treadmill supports your weight.
- Allow your dog to take in the sights, smell, and feel the emotions. If she is willing to join you on the track, encourage her.
- Give plenty of treats.
- Keep going until she is comfortable walking on her own.
How to Get Your Dog to Walk on Its Own on The Treadmill
- Before you let your dog go on the treadmill, put her on a leash.
- Place the treadmill at its lowest setting.
- If your dog is not able to adapt quickly, encourage your dog to continue walking.
- Keep going for 30 seconds to one minute until she is comfortable.
- If she is anxious or unhappy, you should end the session. You should watch out for signs of discomfort such as tucked hair or bigger eyes than usual.
- Once she is comfortable, you can build up to longer sessions: Start with 2-3 minutes. Then move on to 5 minutes. Gradually increase the time to 20-30 minutes.
- To lose extra weight or increase your energy, you may want to increase the intensity. You can experiment with different speeds to find out what she can handle. Be careful not to do too many things at once!
It will likely take you longer than I have indicated. Be patient! Give your dog lots of love and treats. Soon, they’ll be running on the new treadmill!
Watch this video to see how to train the dog on the treadmill: