Sarah Wilson

Dog Expert

Dog Treadmill

Dog Treadmill Use Guidelines with Debbie Gross Saunders


Canine physical therapy and conditioning expert, Debbie Gross Saunders, of, shares her Dog Treadmillguidelines for how to best use a dog treadmill.

Do you like treadmills for dog?

I do like treadmills for dogs. My favorite exercise is good old fashioned walking outside but with time constraints, weather, multiple dogs, not always possible, so I do recommend treadmills. I think they should be a good safe form of exercise.

What dogs can use a treadmill?

Most dog can use a treadmill – as long as they can walk and can coordinate the movement. Very small dogs (under 5 pounds) and large dogs (over 200 pounds) may have a problem fitting on treadmill but should be ok.

What dogs should not use a treadmill?

Dogs with unknown lameness or weakness should not use a treadmill until the problem is identified. If the dog is afraid of the treadmill, they should not be forced to use it.

Should puppies use treadmills?

Loaded question – puppies under the age of 6 months should definitely NOT use the treadmill. There is too much stress placed on the joints. Small or medium breeds may start using the treadmill for short periods of time – ten minutes or less – at six months of age. Care should be taken not to push the dog through a lameness or fatigue. Growth plates need to be respected and in some dogs may not be closed until 30 months of age. So, the easy answer – only when they have reached skeletal maturity and this will vary from 6 to 30 months depending upon breed/size of dog.

What are general “good use” guidelines?

Treadmills are a great form of exercise and I usually consider a half of the time on the treadmill as equal to double an outside walk. For example, ten minutes on treadmill is equal to twenty minute walk outside because they are going continuously on the treadmill. Treadmills can be used every day and the duration can be increased gradually to a goal walk is reached. Land treadmills offer us the ability to ‘listen’ to the dog – if the nails begin to scrape more than a few times or the dog is dragging behind, they are fatiguing and the treadmill session should begin to end. Never walk away and leave the dog unattended on the treadmill – make sure to monitor them.

Interested in Debbie Gross Saunders DVDs on canine conditioning? They are on Amazon here:

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