Have you ever heard of working out a dog on a treadmill? Unfortunately, most pet parents haven’t.
With pet care ownership growing daily and owners tuning into their canine companion’s needs now more than ever, many pet parents are looking for new ways to fulfill their dog’s recreational activities.
Seeing that most pet owners work full-time jobs, providing various activities outside of daily dog walks can be difficult. And for those “weekend warriors” who overdue it only on the weekends, this option will allow for a healthier balance and fewer aches and pains on Monday morning.
Allow us to introduce the canine treadmill!
What is a Canine Treadmill?
The first treadmill designed specifically for dogs for exercise was patented in 1939 by John R. Richards after seeing similar machines used for farming and domestic chores. By 1952 human treadmills were created and used for stress tests and diagnosing various heart conditions. Today, treadmills for humans and dogs can be found in homes and gyms worldwide.
There are two types of canine treadmills. Motorized, which works by electricity, and non-motorized equipment, called Slatmills, allow dogs to move freely and at their own pace.
What are the Physical Benefits of Treadmill Workouts for Dogs?
The physical benefits for dogs are vast when working out on treadmills, such as aerobic endurance, enhanced strength and stamina, building muscle, preventing obesity, aiding in weight loss, and behavior modification.
Like other forms of activity such as hiking and walking, canine treadmill workouts also offer cardiovascular benefits and aid in a dog’s conditioning by manually stopping and starting the machine and increasing and decreasing the resistance and speed.
What are the Behavioral Benefits of Treadmill Workouts for Dogs?
Dogs are intelligent and are always thinking. Their brains go a mile a minute thinking of the next thing to do, play with, get into, smell, eat, look at – you get it. Therefore, they will likely get into trouble when left to their own devices when not provided amble physical activity.
Behavior Issues and Boredom
Boredom is a big problem for dogs. No matter the breed, dogs were bred specifically for certain duties. Though most do not perform their ancestors’ jobs, they still require daily physical and mental activity to keep them active and healthy.
For most, a simple walk around the block for a potty break just won’t due. Moreover, if left at home while their owners are away, many will find other ways to entertain themselves, such as destroying things, barking insensately, defecating in the house, or worse, self-harm.
Treadmill workouts can nip this in the bud. For most dogs, 20 mins on a treadmill are like a 2-hour run for a human. However, when provided twice a week, this different exercise can help solve boredom issues.
Fear, Anxiety, and Stress
Medical News Today estimates that more than 72.5% of dogs suffer from anxiety.
Negative behaviors included general fear, anxiety, stress, impulsivity or lack of attention, compulsive behaviors, noise sensitivity, aggression, and going to the bathroom in the home.
That’s a staggering percentage, considering the number of dogs who entered new homes during the pandemics. One would assume that by being surrounded by their owners more, the dog’s anxiety wouldn’t be so severe. However, that’s not the case.
With so many puppies being brought home during their prime developmental phase, eight weeks to 20 weeks, many were not exposed to the outside world like they usually would have. Add in their owners being home around the clock; puppies weren’t given the time to be alone, learn to self-soothe when stressed or given enough down time to regroup.
Combine all of the above with a lack of socialization with other dogs, people, and animals, and you now have a dog riddled with anxiety when their routine shifts in the slightest.
Treadmill workouts have proven to help in this department. By offering a new form of physical activity that requires a dog to use its brain, they are not only taken out of their comfort zone but placed in a situation that forces them to think about something other than the scary things they were concentrating on before.
Once the dogs master the treadmill, they have now built their confidence and conquered some of their anxiety. A win, win.
To help prevent fear, anxiety, and stress in dogs, The Packin Method is a certified Fear Free Professional company.
Fear Free Professionals help prevent and alleviate fear, anxiety, and stress in pets by inspiring, educating, and providing pet owners with knowledge and tools to look after their pet’s physical and emotional well-being.
What are the Rehabilitative Benefits of Treadmill Workouts for Dogs?
Canine treadmills are used in rehabilitation often, especially when building muscle and cardiovascular strength after injury or surgery. This low-impact, high-resistance therapy or workout is a great tool to aid in canine rehab.
When used correctly during rehabilitation, the machine can be controlled to slow down its pace and allow the dog to build momentum and endurance.
What are the Benefits of Working Out Your Dog on a Treadmill?
One of the most significant benefits is exercising a dog regardless of weather conditions or location. It’s hard to get your dog out three times a day for walks if you live in the city, it’s raining or snowing outside, or when the summer heat reaches 100 degrees in some states.
Many of these conditions are harmful to our pets, so finding alternative ways to work them out is often at the forefront of pet parents’ minds.
Canine treadmills are becoming a popular option to offer a different kind of exercise for dogs. Especially those breeds to love to run. Great for dogs with high energy levels, working dogs, and obese dogs, a treadmill workout benefits all dogs. When choosing a treadmill workout for your dog, be sure the treadmills are current, provide the proper length for your dog, and allow them to extend their entire body as they move to help decrease the chances of your dog shortening their gait.
Contact us to learn more about The Packin Method’s Treadmill Workouts or to speak with one of the Coaches about how we can help your dogs get started on a fitness routine.