To keep up with the babes of Hollywood, Uggie the Jack Russell terrier who starred in “The Artist” and “Water for Elephants” is staying in shape by exercising on a treadmill. Believe it or not, this a growing trend for doggy exercise.
At 10-years-old, Uggie requires a light workout at an easy pace. Omar Von Muller, Uggie’s owner and trainer, bought a DogPacer treadmill for Uggie. The treadmill allows Uggie to get in his exercise when going outside just isn’t possibly. Whether it be due to bad weather, a hectic schedule or of course, keeping away from bothersome paparazzi, Uggie is always able to stay in shape.
“It’s important to keep him in shape,” Von Muller said. “If they don’t get their exercise, they get old too fast, just like people.”
It’s not just Uggie and other dog celebrities using treadmills, almost 3 million dogs across America have them. Pet owners with dogs who are high energy, old or overweight are praising the machines.
Right after adopting her rescue dog, Heidi, Heather Chau borrowed a Dog Pacer. Weighing in at 115 pounds, Heidi needed to lose some weight. Thanks to the treadmill and regular workouts, Heidi is now a healthy 80 pounds. Pleased with the borrowed machine, Chau went out and bought her own for Heidi to use all the time.
Chau states the benefits of the dog treadmill are undeniable. Living in Las Vegas, summers are a difficult time to talk dogs outdoors for a walk. In addition, Chau has four dogs that she finds difficult to walk at once. With the treadmill, she can get her dogs to exercise with ease.
“I want to make sure the rest of their lives are the healthiest we can make them. If the treadmill promotes a longer life, then it’s easy to do it each day. Whatever they have been through is in the past. Whatever we can do now to help them lead a healthier, better life is worth it,” Chau said.
With the popularity of treadmills for dogs on the rise, gyms are also popping up. Owner of LA Dog Works, Andrew Rosenthal states that his Alsatian German Shepherd loves going for a trot on the treadmill.
LA Dog Works is a dog care centre, open 24 hours a day. Their services include boarding, grooming, training, day care, hydrotherapy, massage therapy and a retail store. He also has a Jog a Dog and an underwater treadmill.
While the idea is similar to human treadmills, a dog treadmill is slightly different in size to accommodate a dog’s longer stride and shorter body, explains David Ezra, owner of the Las Vegas based DogPacer. The company is planning to expand their treadmill selection to include one for toy dogs.
Pet Hotels are jumping on the opportunity to offer treadmills to their pooch visitors. The Pooch Hotel, owned by Petco Animal Supplies Inc., in Los Angeles features a dog trainer. Jason Michal, vice president of Petco’s pet services and hospitality, explains that with almost half the dog population having some kind of weight issues, including treadmills in their hotels seems like a no-brainer.
The Pennsylvania based company, GoPet, features a range of treadmills and treadwheels for home use. Their line includes products for small to large breeds.
April Suhr, a dog trainer based in Las Vegas, is advocating treadmills be used in shelters. She believes that using treadmills regularly with shelter dogs will make them more adoptable, as it is so easy for them to go cage crazy.
“They pace. They don’t focus. They bark. They won’t eat. They won’t make eye contact.”
The answer is exercise, she said. “It’s why the gym is so good for us when we are stressed out. It puts our endorphins to good use.”
Suhr saw first hand what regular exercise on a treadmill could do for rescue dogs. After using one for rescue dog, Max, she noticed a significant improvement.
“Not only did he calm down, but he was using the treadmill one day when a woman came in, saw him, fell in love with him and adopted him,” she said.
Suhr owns a dog treadmill at home for her three pets, as well as her foster dogs. To give her dogs a sufficient amount of exercise, Suhr believes she would have to spend hours and hours, running for miles to give them enough of a workout. With a treadmill, each of her dogs gets enough exercise in just a few minutes.
Owners like Marie Czarnecki, 73, who are unable to walk their dogs due to their own injury, are extremely excited about canine treadmills.
After seeing a DogPacer at her trainers office, she bought one to use for her shelties, Dee Dee and Sundance.
“Now I take them out with a leash, they get on, I set it and they go twice a day for 10 minutes,” she said. “They run over a mile a day and they do like it.”