Are Doggie Treadmills a Good Idea?
The idea has received lots of love, a bit of hate and its fair share of chuckles. But are doggie treadmills a good idea? Let’s take a look at the cold, hard facts.
Healthy Body, Healthy Mind, Happy Dog
We all know how good exercise is for us - study after study shows the benefits of regular exercise when it comes to staving off illness, improving brain health and boosting mood. Exercise is one of the simplest and most effective tools in our health optimising toolbox. Guess what? Those same benefits apply to our dogs, too. Daily exercise not only helps keep those extra pounds off your dog, the stimulation and activity helps prevent destructive behaviours like chewing from becoming a problem.
Why Does Your Dog Need a Treadmill?
Though we may have good intentions and plan to take our canine companions for long, rambling walks every day, let’s be honest. Life can get in the way. Terrible weather or extra hours at work meeting a big deadline can make it really tough to squeeze in the amount of exercise your dog needs.
A treadmill can be the perfect solution on those days when you have to stay late at the office or when the weather doesn’t let you get outside. For dogs who need to lose a few pounds, a treadmill makes it easy to control and track exactly how much exercise your pooch is getting. Some dogs just need to burn off a lot of energy. For these feisty canines, a treadmill can save everyone’s sanity.
How Much Exercise is Right for Your Dog?
Well, that depends. Certain breeds, like the working dogs, have particularly high energy levels, older dogs will start to slow down and young puppies shouldn’t over-exercise. No single exercise program will suit every dog, so know your breed’s requirements, talk to other owners of similar dogs and consult with your vet if you aren’t sure what your dog needs or can handle.
How to Choose a Canine Treadmill
Treadmills vary in sophistication. Some models can be adjusted not just for speed but also incline. Some have walls, which can help nervous dogs feel a little more comfortable while they are on the track. Others feature a food bowl in front in case Rover needs any extra motivation to keep moving. Don’t overdo it on the snacks, of course! As with any purchase you make for your pooch, make sure you invest in a treadmill that is appropriate in size for your dog’s comfort and safety. For super-fit dogs, make sure you buy a treadmill that can go fast enough to be effective.
Consider these Doggie Treadmill Design Options
Other features to think about are whether the treadmill offers pre-programmed exercise options and whether or not it folds away for easy storage. Though most treadmills need to be plugged in, there are even designs that look a bit like over-sized hamster wheels. Paw-powered, the advantage to these contraptions is that your dog can hop on board at any time and take herself for a run. Keep in mind, though, that not all dogs appreciate the self-powered design (it can be a little intimidating, especially if you rush the training process) and some dogs are simply not interested enough in working out to spontaneously use this type of workout machine.
Getting Started with a Dog Treadmill
No matter which design you eventually settle on, be sensible when introducing your dog to the treadmill. Start slow and easy and build up to a vigorous workout. Watch the blog for a future post on training your dog to use a treadmill. And, just because you have a treadmill (and your dog is happy to use it) that doesn’t mean you should hang up the leash and forget about the dog park. Nothing beats a walk in the great outdoors. The mental stimulation, socialisation, and fun factor can’t be matched, no matter how great your treadmill might be. But as a supplement to traditional exercise, treadmills are a great option for your dog.
We Love Our Doggie Treadmill
Here at Rawmate, the canine members of the pack love their treadmill. You can check out photos of our treadmill in action here on Instagram. Does your dog use a treadmill? We’d love to see a photo! Post a picture on Instagram and use the hashtag #rawmatefit