Cold weather and lack of daylight restrict the amount of time dog owners have available for walking their pets, and dogs that don’t get enough exercise succumb to other health issues. Humans are able to make use of cardiovascular equipment such as treadmills, stair climbers, and elliptical machines. Now, dogs have the option of a treadmill too.
The disabled dog has an even tougher time getting exercise. Mobility issues make it difficult for dogs to go on walks or use treadmills, but there are treadmills available for the disabled dog!
Dry treadmills are utilized by average, healthy dogs much like humans use them. The dog learns to walk on a treadmill by starting at a very low speed to get the animal comfortable with the action then speeding it up to a rate that elevates the dog’s heart rate. These otherwise healthy or able animals benefit from dog treadmills in that their activity level increases despite time and space constraints by the dog owner. This benefits their hearts and lungs and keeps them at a healthy weight.
For the disabled dog, a treadmill allows therapy to proceed with the help of wheelchairs, prosthetics, or human aid. Dogs who need assistance are more easily tended to on a treadmill, but they are also able to be rescued quickly if trouble arises.
A swimming dog benefits from possibly the best exercise a dog can get. The resistance created by the water benefits and works muscles, but the buoyancy of the animal takes stress off of the bones and joints. Additionally, many dogs love to swim, and the bigger problem may be getting them out of the water!
A disabled dog may wish to swim, but without full use of their limbs, they are limited. Certain disabilities may prevent dogs from getting much exercise at all, especially with partial paralysis. Water treadmills change the world for these animals.
A water treadmill is placed in a tank along with the disabled dog, and as the tank is filled, the treadmill is slowly turned on. Once the weight is relieved from the dog, it is able to continue walking on the treadmill with water resistance but also less stress and requirements for supporting its own weight. Voila! A wheelchair bound dog gets to walk again.
Water treadmills have enormous potential for successful dog physical therapy, but dry treadmills are also a great addition to homes where dogs are unable to get outside for a healthy amount of exercise.