When you’re exercising your dog, you often ask yourself, “Can dogs use human treadmills?”
Maybe if a dog were big and tall, it would look okay on a human treadmill.
But imagine if it were a Maltese or a Poodle, it would look kind of silly, wouldn’t it?
When your local vet suggests that your dog needs to exercise because of obesity, you have two options to consider: walk them at a certain amount of time every day or get a treadmill for dogs and humans.
If you don’t have space to exercise your dog outside of your house, then you should consider getting a treadmill for your beloved pet.
Related: dog treadmill training tips: 3 genius approaches to match your style
Can dogs use human treadmills?
The answer for most veterinarians is “yes. dogs can use a human treadmill.”
However, there are factors to consider when you allow your dog to train in your treadmill.
Most dogs are capable of training using an electric treadmill— both underwater and walking treadmill (but never using a manual treadmill design).
It’s essential to monitor your pet while they do the walking and don’t ever leave them alone.
Make sure your dog can handle your given exercise routine and ask for your vet’s approval first.
In this article, we will answer the questions: “can dogs use human treadmills?“ and “how safe is a human treadmill for a dog?”
We will also discuss the pros and cons of dog treadmills and human treadmills, and what you can do to help train your dog even with limited space.
Dog Treadmill vs Human Treadmill
You may be wondering what is the difference between a dog treadmill and a human treadmill?
Consider the factors to look out for, the right steps in starting your dog’s training, and the pros and cons of these two different options.
Here are our opinions about dog treadmill vs human treadmill and some differences to consider:
Human treadmills have shorter track surface than dog treadmills
Generally, human treadmills were created to match human’s short gait, hence the shorter track surface of their treadmill.
Humans only have two legs, so they don’t need stretch beyond a certain length.
This short track length could be excellent for smaller dogs but a big no-no for larger dogs.
A dog-specific treadmill has a running belt that you build long enough to cater and handle a dog’s natural gait and the longer stride.
With this spec, dogs have enough room to fall behind.
Letting your dog exercise on an inconsistent length will generally constrict your dog’s movement with shortened stride and can result in unnatural gait.
Even worse, your big dogs could have potential joint problems in the future.
Human treadmills slowest setting is too fast for smaller dogs
Another issue with the human treadmill is that it’s speedy for smaller-sized pets.
If your human treadmill has magically developed a slow pace that suits your little dog, setting to the lowest speed might cause it to crash.
Remember, the smaller the dog, the shorter the stride. One human stride is equal to over ten paces from teacup dogs.
Therefore, you should consider the speed before you let your dog run on the treadmill. Walking should be a healthy activity for your dog, not torture.
Dog treadmills are quieter than human treadmills
Well-designed dog treadmills are made to be very quiet compared to human treadmills.
Dog treadmills use specific motors, technologies, and materials that can reduce the level of shakiness and noise when dogs run at a high-speed range.
The reason for the quieter design is because a lot of dogs are scared of the sound and vibrations mostly typical in human treadmills.
Exercises should be a peaceful and fun experience for your dog, not cause them trauma due to noises and fear.
Dog treadmills tend to be wider than human treadmills
A fuller leg room for dogs to float back and forth and trot side to side naturally can encourage your dogs to stretch and extend.
The human treadmills were designed to be narrow and restrict body movements at some point.
Machine design differences between both treadmills
The technology, size, and speed of the treadmill are essential considerations, but these are not the only differences.
Here are some of the other design differences of the dog treadmills and human treadmills:
- The human treadmills’ motors were designed to have proper ventilation systems to allow the flow of air and help cool down the engine. However, a dog’s treadmill usually separates their motor or enclosed them with an internal cooling system to prevent dog dirt and hair from entering.
- Human treadmills expose the gap between both sides of the machine and its belt’s edge, which is perfectly fine for humans. This design could be dangerous for a dog’s claw of paws. Dog treadmills usually enclose its belt to the machine’s edge or side rail for maximum security.
- Human treadmills don’t have side rails which can be useful when training a dog to use it. Well-designed dog treadmills usually have sturdy and safe side panels.
- The large caps at the end of human treadmills are hazardous for dog’s paw as it can easily get ripped when caught. This function can mostly cause irreparable harm to your beloved dog.
How to safely train your dog using a treadmill
Whether you decide to train your dog using a human treadmill or invest in a well-designed dog treadmill, it is vital to know the precautions of training your dog to use the treadmill.
Here are some quick steps that can be useful:
- To start your dog to walk the treadmill, teach your dog with their leash first.
- Next is slow it down first and have your dog get accustomed to the treadmill’s scent, noise, sound, and motion. This gradual introduction is to ensure your dog will not get frightened when you start your training.
- When your treadmill is turned off, have your dog get in and out its track and repeat it until they get accustomed to it. Using a leash or harness when you do this is advisable.
- When the dog is comfortable enough around the machine, start the track while encouraging your dog to face and slowly walk towards you.
- Giving your dog treats can be helpful when getting started. Making sure you reward them when they do a good job will encourage them to try harder.
- The first few attempts will be a lot easier if two people assist in the dog’s training.
Advantages and Disadvantages of training your dog on a treadmill
If you’re still on the fence about using a treadmill as opposed to walking your dog around the park, we’ve highlighted the pros and cons for you.
Here are some of the advantages and disadvantages of using a treadmill for your dog’s training:
- When using a walking treadmill, the dog’s weight can be distributed evenly to reduce some of the joint’s stress.
- With an underwater treadmill, you reduce over 38% of your dog’s weight from the lower joints like the ankles and wrists.
- A healthier dog weight can also increase your dog’s stamina.
- There could be injuries when your dog falls off the tracks or gets overworked. The dog could get sprained or have soft tissue injuries.
- Long-haired dogs are prone to get stuck with the machine. The dog’s hair should be brought up or trimmer so it won’t get caught in the motor or treads.
- Remember that not every dog will want or enjoy using the treadmill. Your pet could be afraid of the sound of the machine or have these health conditions that prevent increased exercise. Supervision is critical at all times.
How to find out if your dog is tired and done for the day
If you’re using a treadmill for training, you need to make sure that the dog doesn’t become burnt out. You have to check if your pet is already too tired.
Here are some ways to know when you need to stop the treadmill:
- If you happen to know your dog well, you will notice a change in its facial expressions when they begin to tire.
- Other factors and signs will be foaming at the mouth, increasing heart rate, and how fast your dog pants.
- When the foam starts to show at the mouth, stop the exercise immediately.
- Be aware of the room’s temperature and how it can affect your dog’s workout.
- When in doubt, stop the exercise to play it safe. Always put your dog’s safety first.
- Dogs will also experience soreness in the muscle after exercising, the same as humans. Slowly start and build up their treadmill, walking time gradually. Don’t overdo it at once.
While most people don’t bother with buying dog treadmills and opt for human treadmills, we don’t encourage it because of the many reasons discussed above— most notably for bigger dogs.
The most important thing is to keep your dog in shape and keeping them safe in the process.