Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

Pet Talk

August 14, 2012

Dog treadmill sales brisk as pets shape up

(Continued)

Treadmills come in a range of sizes and prices.

At LA Dog Works in Los Angeles, owner Andrew Rosenthal has a DogPacer, one of the newest and least expensive on the market at $499, that his Alsatian German shepherd Josh likes to use.

Rosenthal's 24-hour dog care center, which includes boarding, grooming, training, daycare, hydrotherapy, massage therapy and a retail store, also uses a $3,000 Jog A Dog and a $40,000 underwater treadmill.

The most visible difference between a human treadmill and a canine treadmill is the size, because a dog's stride is longer and his body shorter than a human's, said David Ezra, the owner of Las Vegas-based DogPacer. DogPacer plans to release a treadmill for toy dogs in September and the price will be smaller too, Ezra said.

The Pooch Hotel in Los Angeles, owned by Petco Animal Supplies Inc., offers a treadmill to help keep pets in shape. About half the dog population has some kind of weight problem, so it was a no-brainer, said Jason Michal, who runs the hotels as Petco's vice president of pet services and hospitality.

For home use, Pennsylvania-based GoPet has canine treadmills and a treadwheel, which looks like a giant hamster wheel, for small to large breeds, ranging from $475 to $1,225.

Dog trainer April Suhr of Las Vegas believes shelters across the country could make animals more adoptable if the animals used treadmills just two or three days a week.

It's easy for a dog in a shelter to go cage crazy, she said. "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."

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