When it comes to helping your dog (and you) live longer experts agree exercise tops the list. And let’s face it; we all want our dogs to live longer. Finding activities to condition and exercise your dog indoors – when it is too hot, too cold, too rainy, or you are too busy – is a challenge many dog owners face. One tool that brings many healthy benefits for canines that is quickly gaining popularity is a dog treadmill. But will any treadmill do? Creating a safe & positive indoor dog treadmill training experience for your dog should be top priority.
If your dog’s health, conditioning and safety are important to you, look for these features for your dog treadmill purchase:
The most important feature you should consider for your dog is the running platform or deck. First ask yourself – Will it accommodate my dog’s unique stride? Allow for at least 5-10 inches of extra deck space while your dog is in an extended gait to ensure your dog can change pace without falling off the back or running on the back roller. Long-term use of a short deck can cause issues with your dog’s ligaments and tendons, especially those breeds with predisposition to hip or tendon issues.
A good dog treadmill design ensures the surface has non-slip traction and does not have any gaps between the side-rail and edge of belt. These gaps can become potential hazards for small paws or claws. Warped belts can also slice the side of paws while standing in the gap. There should also be a mechanism for adjusting the belt tension easily should the track shift.
A low profile fence – not a cage – to establish a running boundary and a path for your dog to follow, but does not inhibit or stifle your dogs movement is preferred. It provides for a more open and natural running experience for your dog, yet still outlines a boundary to make the training process easier.
Large end caps that cover the frame at the back of the treadmill can turn into dangerous catch points that have been known to rip paws and claws. Look for a design that incorporates smooth end-caps with no holes that will not likely hurt your dog if they should try to reach and grab while exiting off the back of a moving treadmill.
Leash Binding Attachments:
Never, EVER, tie your dog to ANY treadmill – dog or human. It is important to note that dogs can have off days. You should always be present and in control of the other end of the leash as you will be able to identify the signs of fatigue or stress that are not normal and prevent any unfortunate event.
Dogs are ultra sensitive to sound and vibration. A dog has a hearing frequency of about 40 Hz to 60,000 Hz. The human hearing frequency is pegged at 20 Hz to 20,000 Hz. Choosing a design that minimizes vibration and sound will increase the positive quality of your dog’s Treading experience.
Dog-specific Motor and Electronics:
Dog hair, drool, potty accidents and dirt are bound to happen – ensuring that your treadmill is resistant to these accidents is important for long term use and enjoyment. A good dog-specific design will isolate the motor controller and electronics from the motor compartment. Human treadmills and some dog treadmills do not offer this feature.
The console should not interfere with your dogs workout. Many dogs will drift back on the running platform to avoid overhead objects or those directly in their line of sight. A low-profile integrated console that is easy to use and read; and provides program stats for Speed, Distance and Time will allow for training flexibility and tracking conditioning levels.
Additional features that you may find extremely helpful for enhancing the dog treadmill training experience include Remote Control, Safety Keys, Incline Adjustments, Portability, Weight, and Space-saving design.
Always perform a nose to tail analysis and ensure there are no sharp edges, gaps or holes that can pose risk to your dog.
If you are considering a dog treadmill for your dog and you would like additional information on this topic, please email us at [email protected], call us at 877.563.5151 or visit our website www.dogtread.com