Easy DIY Dog Treadmill Project – How To Build Dog Treadmill

A healthy dog is a happy dog – we all know that. Of course, we want our dogs to stay healthy and happy, and there is a way for it: exercise.

It’s not easy to motivate any dog into exercising, especially if the dog is old, overweight, or sick. But what about running?

Read on where we will show you how to build a DIY dog treadmill and help your dog get in shape and stay healthy…

Dangers Of Obesity And Lack Of Exercise

Obesity and lack of exercise are growing problems among dogs today. 

The main reason is not that we just don’t give them the opportunity to exercise enough, but that many dogs are getting into bad habits such as eating too much or just not exercising at all.

A sedentary lifestyle can shorten your dog’s life by two years, and obesity can shorten it by three.

Inactivity in dogs doesn’t just increase the risk of cancer, arthritis, and diabetes, but it also reduces their life expectancy. It also puts a strain on their cardiovascular system, which causes a condition called dilated cardiomyopathy, a fancy term for an enlarged heart that is unable to pump.

Health Problems Of Dog’s Obesity

Much like humans, an obese dog is not a healthy dog. Obesity in dogs can develop into more sinister problems such as:

  • Heart and respiratory problems
  • Shortness of breath and breathing difficulties
  • Cancer and other tumors
  • Diabetes
  • High blood pressure
  • Problems with the kidneys
  • Weak immune system

Unwanted Behaviors Due To Lack Of Exercise

In addition to the list above, your dog is also more likely to engage in bad behaviors such as:

  • Chewing on things
  • Barking at strangers
  • Being destructive
  • Playing rough or being aggressive
  • Trying to escape.

Is your dog showing any signs of the above behaviors? If so, your dog might not be getting enough exercise.

As I said before, it’s not easy to motivate any dog into exercising, especially if they are old, overweight, or sick. But what about running? I mean, all dogs love running, don’t they?

Not really… but you can train them to enjoy it by using the right equipment. And letting your dog run on a treadmill can be the best way!

How To Build A DIY Dog Treadmill At Home

Building a treadmill for your dog doesn’t have to be expensive or time-consuming. You can easily build one yourself with the materials you have at hand or can buy it cheap at your local home store.

black and white dog running with man

A dog treadmill is a perfect way to keep your dog healthy and safe. It gives them a chance to exercise indoors when it’s raining or snowing outside, in the comfort of your home.

You don’t need special tools or a fortune to build the perfect dog treadmill. You only need a little imagination and the following materials:

  • 1-inch plywood boards
  • Nails or drive screws
  • PVC pipe
  • Copper tubing
  • Pierce of carpet
  • 2×4 lumber for the base
  • Treadmill motor (used will do)
  • Treadmill belt (rubber)

Don’t worry if you are not a DIY expert (I’m not either!).

Just follow these seven simple steps to build your DIY dog treadmill.

Step 1: The Basic Frame

  • The first step is to build the basic frame. It includes a headboard, footboard, and two sides.
  • First, cut down your 2×4 lumber into three 24-inch boards for the sides and two 12-inch boards for the headboard and footboard.
  • Gather all of your materials before continuing and start to build by nailing the two 12-inch boards together and then adding the third 24-inch board to it.

Step 2: Floorboard Slats

  • Now we need to create floorboards for the treadmill, so take your plywood and cut 4 boards down into 24-inch pieces. You can use a fine saw or a circular saw to do this.
  • If you don’t have a fine saw, it’s ok because you can also use a simple jigsaw as well, but it might take some time.
  • Just place your plywood board between two pieces of 2×4 lumber and secure them by nailing or screwing the boards together.
  • Then attach the boards to the side beams of your treadmill.

Step 3: The Treadmill Belt

  • The next step is to attach the treadmill belt. It’s best if you decide on the length of the belt before cutting it out.
  • It all depends on how large you want your dog’s treadmill to be.
  • Cut the belt out of high-quality rubber used for automotive purposes, not the cheap kind, because it won’t last long!
  • You can easily buy this type of rubber on Amazon for pretty cheap.
  • Attach the treadmill belt by using some metal clamps or anything that you have around your house that will secure the belt in place.

Step 4: The Motor System

  • The treadmill mechanism is pretty simple, and it will be attached to the headboard of your treadmill.
  • Use the copper tubing to create a loop, by screwing two elbows together and then attaching them to both sides of your plywood headboard.
  • Then attach the motor using wood screws or nails, but make sure it’s safe and secure.
  • You can buy a used treadmill motor from an old treadmill if you have one laying around your house, or even go to a junkyard that sells old treadmills.

Step 5: The Board for the Motor

  • In order to attach the motor to the board, simply use four pieces of 1-inch-thick plywood and attach them to your motor board.
  • You need to create four holes for the screws and make sure they match up with the copper tubing loops.
  • After this, attach a piece of 1×2 lumber on top of these boards and make sure it’s level with the treadmill belt.

Step 6: The Running Surface

  • The running surface is what your dog will be walking on, so it’s important to make sure that it’s level and doesn’t wobble.
  • It should be made out of 1-inch thick plywood also, but if you don’t have access to one then you can use MDF board.
  • But remember, the bigger the treadmill, the thicker the plywood should be!

Step 7: The Motor’s Stand

  • All you need to do is cut down 1×4 lumber into three 16-inch pieces and attach them together.
  • Use 2×4 lumber on both sides to make sure it doesn’t move.
  • Now create a hole using a jigsaw for the motor to go through on the 16-inch side.
  • This is where your treadmill belt will go, so make it long enough for the belt to fit inside of it.
  • Place two wheels on top of this stand. This will allow you to maneuver your treadmill easily when needed!
  • That’s all there is to it!

Benefits Of Building A Treadmill For Dog

The benefits of building a treadmill for your dog are numerous.

  • Your pet will get the opportunity to exercise while you’re away.
  • They’ll burn calories and become more fit.
  • It can help them stay healthy, and it can also help them to become more social.
  • Not only will it help your pet stay healthy and active, but you’ll be able to watch them run on the machine from any room in the house.
  • It’s not weather-dependent – they can use it if it’s too hot or wet outside.
  • It provides companionship if you’re alone or gives your pet something to do when you’re busy.
  • If your furry friend has health issues like arthritis, it can help them exercise without stressing their joints.

How Much Exercise Does My Dog Need?

Hopefully, this article has encouraged you to build your dog a treadmill. But how much exercise does your dog really need?

grey dog running on the grass

The length of time spent on dog training varies depending on the breed.

For example, smaller dogs can get by with three 10-minute walks per day, while larger breeds typically require more than that. It’s best to consult with your vet in order to determine how much walking per day is the right amount for your pooch.

Some dogs like to play fetch or even swim, but that’s not always practical. You might want to try agility training if your dog likes challenging themselves. If you’re looking to burn calories yourself, then don’t be afraid to get on the machine with your pooch!

Remember, you can also add other canine exercises to their daily schedule. For example, you could try training them to do tricks or even agility training. With a treadmill for dogs, your pets will always have an outlet for exercise, and it’s a great way to stay active while you’re away or busy.

People Also Ask

Can Dogs Use Human Treadmills?

Dogs may be able to use human treadmills, but they were not designed for dogs.

They don’t have dog-specific features such as side enclosures that would help you keep your pup focused and moving forward on the machine.

Also, people don’t realize how dirty dog treadmills can get. They forget that human treadmills aren’t designed for things such as piles of hair, dust/mud, or even urine which can result in ruined electronics and sensors.

How To Train Your Dog To Use A Treadmill?

This is possible, but it can be challenging!

1. First, allow your dog to run alongside the treadmill as you use it.
2. Then allow your dog to run on the treadmill at its slowest speed. This helps your pup feel safe and comfortable.
3. Next, positive reinforcement is key – praise and treats are good.
4. Every time they step on the treadmill or do a motion – reward them. This makes them happier and reinforces to them that they are doing well.
5. Lastly, once the dog is comfortable on the treadmill, gradually increase the speed and allow for longer periods.

Are Dog Treadmills Worth It?

This is ultimately your decision.

You need to consider all the benefits of pet exercising that come with owning a dog treadmill. They’re a great way to teach your pooch good behavior, they provide canine exercise in all types of weather, and they can help them stay healthy and fit.

It can also be a fun and entertaining way for you and your pet to bond.

How Much Does It Cost To Build A Dog Treadmill?

This depends on what you include and how elaborate your project is. If you use an old treadmill or equipment, it’s likely going to be cheaper than buying new materials and parts.

You can purchase additional equipment such as a dog treadmill mat that will help to protect the flooring and reduce noise. This might increase your spending, but it depends on what you already have and what you decide to buy for the project.

What Are The Best Treadmills For A Dog?

There are many dog treadmills for sale, but it’s important to read reviews and do your homework.

It helps if you are an experienced pet owner because you know what features are most important to you.

For example, look for a treadmill that has the ability to go at very slow speeds as well as fast speeds. On the same aspect, find one that has the ability to adjust incline and decline so you can simulate different path types.

You should also look for a treadmill with an emergency stop button and safety features such as side barriers.


How often do you exercise your dog? What kind of treadmill are you using?

A pet treadmill is a great way for your furry friend to stay healthy and active without stressing your home.

With just a little research and effort, you can build your own DIY dog treadmill for little money. By using only a few materials and following the 7 easy steps above, you’ll have your pet up and running in no time!

If you need some more dog treadmill ideas, then be sure to check out our blog for more information. Also, make sure to like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter!

Photo of author

Lovelia Horn

I’m a certified crazy dog mom, a physical therapist (for hoomans), writer, animal rescuer, and foster home provider. Together with my hubby Ryan, I’ve fostered and helped look for forever homes for over a hundred shelter dogs in the Southern Illinois area. I mostly work with Puppy Rescue 911, Inc., a certified animal rescue organization based out of Chester, IL (home of Popeye!)

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