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Treadmills Compared


 Why can’t I just use a human treadmill? The answer is you can and some do. But before you do, understand there are many differences between a dog treadmill and a human treadmill. You should understand the differences, so you can make the best decision for your dog.


Human treadmill motors typically are built with a large ventilation encasement that allows airflow to cool the motor.  A good dog treadmill will usually have the motor located in a separate area or tightly enclosed with an internal cooling system. This helps to prevent dog hair and dirt from entering the motor casing which can cause the treadmill to malfunction. Chances are, when you call a repair person to service the human machine dog hair and other bodily fluids are not covered in the warranty under “normal wear and tear”. Even a cleaning kit is not going to take care of all the dog-related happenings that can occur.

Treadmill Belt

Human treadmill belts often have a noticeable built-in gap between the side-rails and the edge of the belt. This can be a great hazard for dogs. Small paws, or claws can easily get caught under the belt. A good dog-specific design will ensure the belt is close to the side-rails or edge to prevent this type of situation from happening. If you choose to use a human treadmill for your dog be vigilant to prevent this accident from happening.

Side Rails

Most noticeably, human treadmills do not offer side rails, which help in the training process. While it is possible to construct one of your own, good dog treadmills will incorporate safe side panels. These side panels should be sturdy. Side rails constructed of wire grids or open railing can be dangerous. Study them closely. During the initial training stages, some dogs will try to find escape routes and the grid or open railing design can catch paws or worse they may try to squeeze through these areas while the belt is moving.

Running Area

Make sure that the treadmill belt has enough room for your dog’s longest stride. For many dogs, a human treadmill running surface is not ideal. For larger dogs, it is very important to purchase a dog treadmill with a belt long enough to accommodate your dogs natural gait and to allow a natural drift that takes place, just like it does when your dog runs outside. The speed is not always constant and a longer belt can prevent injury. For small dogs, the larger belt of a human treadmill can be intimidating. A proper fit can make all the difference in your training and their enjoyment of treading.

End Caps

Many human treadmills are made with large end caps to cover the frame at the back of the treadmill. These turn into a dangerous place to catch and rip paws and claws. Look for a smooth end-cap that is not likely to hurt your dog if they should exit off the back.


The best dog treadmills are very quiet in design compared to a human treadmill. Many dogs are frightened of the vibrations and noise common with human treadmills. A whisper-quiet design is ideal.

Control Panel

Human treadmill control panels are not located in an ideal position when training your dog and do not provide quick and easy access to adjust speed or to stop the treadmill in case of emergency.


If space is a concern and you have a smaller dog – a small dog treadmill can be ideal. The compact design is better suited for apartment or small loft living.

Dog Treadmill Manufacture Comparison Chart