Sometimes it simply gets too cold for people or animals to be outside.
However, that doesn’t mean that dogs have to forgo exercising. The SPCA uses a treadmill to ensure that dogs are able to get their exercise no matter what the weather.
“Ideally, we like them to go out for walks [but] it’s perfect in the winter. When it’s not just cold out but it’s icy out. For the safety of both the animals and our volunteers … it’s easier to walk them inside and we don’t have to risk anyone being hurt outside,” said South Peace SPCA branch manager Wendy Davies.
But how does a person walk a dog on a treadmill in a way that’s safe for both the animal and the person?
“Usually, you actually have the leash on them, the same way as you’re walking them outside. It’s the same kind of situation. You stand up on the edge of the treadmill, the same way you’d be out walking with them. I even find making the motion with your leg, as if you’re walking kind of gets them going,” explained Davies.
However, it’s important to keep in mind that walking a dog on the treadmill isn’t the same as the dog walking outside. There are some unique things to look out for.
“For people who are doing it at home, we recommend that you keep a good close eye on the pads of your dogs feet because the rubber surface can wear on the pad’s of their feet,” noted Davies.
In addition, Davies recommends that the dog be on the treadmill for about 20 minutes and she added that someone should be with the animals at all times.
“Never have a dog on a treadmill without a person with them, monitoring them, making sure they’re safe,”
For the SPCA, this is a method they find works really well for most animals however, it doesn’t work for all dogs.
“Some dogs don’t do well on treadmills. Some really fearful dogs, it’s a little too much for them,” said Davies. “Certainly judge by the personality of the dog on whether or not that’s a acceptable form of exercise.”