Dog vs. Human Treadmills – How Are They Different?

Okay, so maybe you’re thinking – I already have a treadmill at home, do I really have to buy another one for my dog…can’t I just let my dog use my treadmill?

That is a legit question right there. So, let us compare human treadmills and dog treadmills and establish the big differences.

We’ll start by looking into several design factors:

Size and Space

There was this scene in the movie I Am Legend where we see Will Smith’s character running on a treadmill, and his dog was on another one running right next to him. That was cute, right? His dog was a good fit for a human-sized treadmill – but what if you had a bigger dog or maybe your dog was smaller like a Chihuahua for instance? That wouldn’t be a good fit, right?

Small dogs will require smaller treadmills while bigger dogs will need bigger ones – check out the size of doggie tread wheels. A lot of them are better suited for really bigger dogs.

The width of the track of human treadmills will also be challenging for some dogs. Dogs need wider tracks so they can reach and extend, trot, and seemingly float around on their toes.

Control Panel Position

The control panel of human treadmills are located in the front – pretty convenient for human beings who are directly on the contraption. But that isn’t optimal for use when you are training your dog. Dog treadmills have the control panel positioned where it is easily accessible to a dog owner who may need to adjust the speed or maybe stop the treadmill in case there is an actual emergency.

This control panel is particularly important when you’re first training your dog to use a treadmill.

Noise Level

Human treadmills tend to vibrate a lot and make plenty of noise. A treadmill designed for your pet, on the other hand, are designed to be pretty quiet. Remember that a lot of dogs can get frightened by the noises as well as the vibrations coming from human treadmills. Some dog treadmills are even designed to be whisper quiet.

End Cap Design

Human treadmills have large end cap covers. That’s well and good for humans but that’s a terrible design for dogs – it’s an easy place where their paws, hair, tail, or any other body part to get caught. Dog treadmills are designed with smooth end caps to prevent these accidents from happening.


It should be quite obvious that the speed of human treadmills and pet treadmills will be different. Human treadmills may not have a setting that is slow enough for smaller dogs.

Running Area

The length of the running area for a human treadmill fits the size of the stride of many bipeds. That is not exactly the best size for a quadruped though. The belt should be long or short enough to fit a dog’s longest stride.

Side Rails

Dog treadmills are equipped with side rails. These side panels prevent your dog from escaping from either side of the treadmill – a useful training feature. Obviously, this is non-existent in human treadmills.

Treadmill Belt Design

Human treadmills have a small gap on the side of the structure and the belt. This is another recipe for disaster where small doggie paws can get caught and cause injury. You won’t find such gaps in a treadmill designed specifically for pets.

Motor Design

Human treadmills are equipped with huge vent casements. This is the cooling system designed for the motor. That is well and good when it comes to overall design – well, for a human that is. Those large ventilations are bad news for dogs. Air flows into those vents to keep the motor cool. That is a pretty good spot for dog hair, body fluids, and other debris to accumulate. With enough fur and debris in there, your treadmill will eventually malfunction – unfortunately that isn’t covered under the warranty.

Treadmills for dogs have tightly cased vents to prevent anything from getting in. In fact, some treadmills of this type are designed to have the cooling system in a separate area.

The bottom line here is that human treadmills were designed for human use and dog treadmills were designed for use by your furry best friend.

It sounds quite simple, but that is what it comes down to.

Using a human treadmill to keep your dog fit and healthy will only lead to confusion and potentially even injury for your pet. The same can also be true the other way round as well. We often get asked whether humans can use a dog treadmill and we really don’t recommend this, purely for some of the reasons already outlined in this guide.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *