How to Build a Dog Treadmill

Build a dog treadmill to exercise your dog (and you)!

Final design of DIY carpet treadmill
Final design

We originally planned to build a treadmill for Comet, our GSD mix, as an alternate form of exercise for days when the weather was too foul for long walks or bike rides.

Sadly, Comet passed away before we completed the project. Since we were about halfway through, we decided that it would be a shame to leave it uncompleted and that perhaps others could benefit from Stan’s expertise as an engineer.

He applied his AutoCAD skills to create the Dogge Runner.

Designs for the side of your DIY dog treadmill
Alternate design for the sides.

The Dogge Runnetreadmill plans or blueprints include CAD drawings, detailed photos and written instructions. (Scroll down to Ramp & Treadmill Plans).

We found out that we could use this carpet mill ourselves- and that it also worked for Pebble, our Chiweenie!

One of the best features of this design is that you or your dog have manual control of the treadmill, i.e., you can speed up or slow down at will.

Build a Dog Treadmill Tips

  • Be sure the treadmill surface is long enough for your dog. A medium-sized treadmill, like our design, accommodates dogs up to about 85 lbs. 
  • A bigger dog may have trouble going faster than a trot because he or she cannot lengthen their stride to the full extent. 
  • Dog weight should not be an issue if you have an extra-large dog since people up to 180 lbs can use this equipment.
  • Each end needs some type of roller for the smooth operation of the belt.
  • The frame can be made out of metal or wood. 
  • You may be able to get away with just a platform for the dog to run on – in other words, when you build a dog treadmill, the sides may be optional.
  • Here’s some great advice about conditioning your dog using a treadmill.

The History of Dog Treadmills

In days past, dog powered treadmills were used to provide energy to run different types of small equipment. These included butter churns, cream separators, grinding stones, fanning mills, sewing machines and wood lathes.

We suspect they were designed so dogs could go at a slow, steady pace for hours. The treads were usually of a wooden slat design.

Once people had access to lengths of carpet, dog treadmills expanded into carpet mill designs, where dogs run on a rubberized, continuous belt. (This is the type that we built.)

Modern dog-powered treadmills either use slats or a belt and are often motorized. The electric versions tend to be quite expensive because the dog fur needs to be kept out of the motor, which requires additional casing.

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