The dog treadmill business is booming. It started out with rehabilitation specialists, then the dog trainers got onto the bandwagon. Now the dog treadmill is becoming more common in the living room of a regular dog owner:
‘Some 3 million dogs across the country were using treadmills in 2010, according to a survey of pet owners by the American Pet Products Association. The group asked about treadmills for the first time in its 2011/2012 survey because the machines were selling so briskly, APPA President Bob Vetere said.
It may look like the dog is going nowhere. But pet owners with fat, old or misbehaving dogs say they measure the benefits of canine treadmills in pounds, years and sleep.’
So should you buy your dog a treadmill?
Well, that depends on what you are buying it for and if the answer is ‘To replace the daily walk’ then it’s a definite ‘No, No, No’ from me!
You see, dog need exercise. But not the monotonous rhythmic exercise of a treadmill. When you take your dog for a walk you are not just moving her muscles around – there is a host of other benefits including environmental enrichment and socialisation.
My fear is that for many people the treadmill option will become the easy way out. If so, the dog’s quality of life will definitely diminish.
For those of you who swear to continue going on daily ‘walkies’ and have an overweight dog (and $1,000 or so to spare) there may be a genuine benefit in purchasing a treadmill. But please, please don’t buy it for the wrong reasons.