Most dog owners agree that it's not always easy to find the time and energy to take the dog for a walk. There are also instances, such as extreme weather, that prevent dog owners from going outside altogether. If you want to find an alternative to allow your dog to get exercise inside the comfort of your own home, building a "doggy treadmill" is a great solution. Creating a canine treadmill can be completed by either altering a normal human treadmill or building it from scratch with easy-to-find materials.
Obtain a manual treadmill. As of 2010, the going price for a manual treadmill is £65 to £130. You may find a used manual treadmill by searching second-hand stores, thrift shops and garage sales for a fraction of the price. Before purchasing, make sure the treadmill is big enough to accommodate your pet. A manual treadmill will be fine for dogs up to 13.6 Kilogram. For larger and heavier dogs (such as fully grown German Shepards, Labradors and Huskies) you will need to build a customised platform.
Build a platform for a treadmill, if you can't find a manual unit. Cover both sides of a 24-by-60 inch flat piece of plywood and with 1/8 of an inch thick Polyethylene plastic and glue into place. Use a drill and screws to connect a 24 inch by 2 inch in diameter plastic PVC pipe to each end of the platform.
Cover a 26 inch long by 1/2 inch in diameter steel pipe with 1 1/4 of an inch padded foam. The padded foam will cover the pipe like the handlebars on a bicycle. Fit the padded steel pipe into one of the plastic PVC pipes so that the steel pipe protrudes by 1 inch on each end. Repeat this procedure so that you have two identical rollers attached to each end of platform.
Place a 1 1/2 inch ball bearing in each of the ends of the steel tube. Apply pressure with a flat object to fit the bearings snugly into place.
Attach the belt around the platform and rollers. The belt must fit the platform snugly as it will cause too much friction if it is too tight and will slip off if too loose. Wedge a wooden paint mixer (or ruler) in-between the roller and belt to slide into place. Have a friend help you to guide the other end of the belt to the opposite end of the platform using the same process.
Construct a base for the treadmill using 2-by-4s. Use an electric drill and screws to create a wooden frame standing 2 feet tall by 30 inches wide on one end and 3 feet tall by 30 inches wide on the other. Connect the frame with a 64 inch 2-by-4 on each side. The difference in heights between the two ends will create a minor incline for the treadmill.
Use an electric drill and screws to secure a bearing block (metal mount) to each of the four inner corners of the platform. Connect the platform to the base by popping the rollers in between the bearing blocks. The bearings should fit securely into the bearing blocks.
Build a barrier around the treadmill. Dogs are not used to a treadmill like humans, and will need a barrier to prevent them from falling off. Attach two curved metal handrails on both sides of the wooden frame with screws. Drill holes every six inches along the outer edges of the rails and attach a flat sheet of metal mesh with screws to to create walls.
Never leave a dog unattended while exercising on the treadmill.
Tips and warnings
- Never leave a dog unattended while exercising on the treadmill.