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Dog hamster wheel: how good is this indoor dog exerciser?

curious black french bulldog with a hamster wheel behind him

Dogs are active creatures, everybody knows that. And regular exercising helps them maintain both physical and mental well-being. But for many dog owners, it’s challenging to provide sufficient exercise for their furry companions.

Dog hamster wheels, also known as dog running wheels or dog exercise wheels, provide a solution to this problem.

These indoor exercise devices are designed specifically for dogs to give them the physical and mental stimulation they need. With a dog hamster wheel, dogs can run even in a small apartment or house. As much as they want and anytime they want.

But are dog running wheels truly effective and safe? And how to choose the right one?

In this article, we will explore the topic of dog hamster wheels and discuss the benefits, and potential risks.

What is a dog hamster wheel?

A dog hamster wheel, also known as a dog running wheel, is an indoor exercise device designed specifically for dogs.

It typically consists of a large wheel that dogs can run on, similar to a hamster wheel. The wheel is usually made of metal, plastic, or other durable materials.

Are dog running wheels worth it?

If walking outside often enough is impossible, a dog running wheels can be a great way to provide your dog with regular exercise and mental stimulation.

However, it's important to weigh the potential benefits against the potential risks before deciding to get one.

dog running wheel advantages

  • Regular indoor exercise and mental stimulation
  • Dogs can expend energy in a confined space
  • Can be a good option for dogs with limited mobility or health issues
  • Can help prevent obesity
  • Can help reduce behavioral problems such as destructive chewing or excessive barking

potential risks

  • Can cause injury if the wheel is not properly designed or maintained
  • Your dog might not get used to the wheel and even be afraid of it
  • Dog running wheels can cost quite a lot
  • Take up space in your home, especially models for larger breeds

Are dog running wheels suitable for all breeds?

Dog running wheels are generally suitable for all breeds, but it's important to choose a wheel that is appropriate for your dog.

Also, if your dog is of older age or has any health issues, it's always best to consult with your vet before introducing them to a running wheel.

Considerations for different breeds and sizes

The size of your dog will influence the size of the dog wheel needed. It’s obvious that, for example, a Golden Retriever requires a larger and more durable wheel than a Shih Tzu.

Health and age considerations:

You should think if your dog really needs a treadmill. Not all dogs are equally active, and yours might be as happy and satisfied with simple indoor activities and the number of walks you already have.

Another thing is your dog’s health. For older dogs or canines with health issues (obesity, heart and joint diseases) a training wheel might be dangerous.

Did you know that larger dogs are considered seniors earlier, than their smaller relatives? If not, learn a bit more about dog age and life stages.

In any case, it’s best to consult your veterinarian to know for sure if the dog running wheel is safe for your dog

How to choose a dog running wheel?

When choosing a dog running wheel, consider the following factors:

  • the size of your dog,
  • the quality of the wheel,
  • the safety features it has,
  • and the maintenance required.

dog running wheel size

As we’ve already mentioned, you should choose a wheel size appropriate for your dog. Not too big and, more importantly, not too small.

Measurements should include your dog’s length, height, and weight.

A dog training wheel manufacturer should have a guide on choosing the right model based on these measurements.

durability and surface

The dog training wheel should be made of durable materials and have a non-slip surface. It’s important the surface doesn’t hurt the paws and prevents the dog from slipping while running and getting injured.

safety and locking mechanism

To avoid any injuries, you should pay extra attention to the safety of the dog running wheel:

  • Stability. Don’t forget your dog is going to run on the wheel, so it must stay firm on the ground. A heavy base is mandatory.
  • Mechanism. Choose the “dog-powered” model with a locking mechanism. They are safer and allow dogs to run as fast as they want and to stop whenever they need too.
  • Additional safety features. Some dog running wheels come with a door,

cleaning and maintenance

Most dog running wheels don’t require much maintenance. You should clean the surface regularly and regularly check the safety of the construction.

Can you make a dog hamster wheel yourself?

It is possible to make a dog hamster wheel yourself, but it can be difficult to ensure that it is of good quality and safe for your dog to use. It's generally recommended to purchase a pre-made dog running wheel from a reputable manufacturer.

Dog running wheels vs Dog treadmills

Another popular option on the market is a dog treadmill. You can find a much wider selection of these in the market. Here are the main differences between the two constructions:

Dog running wheel

Dog treadmill

More compact, especially models for small to medium dogs

Take up more space in the room

Doesn’t require electricity

Can be both electrical and dog-powered

Dogs might not like to construction and, therefore, not use it for training

Less frightening, so it’s easier to train your dog to use it

Doesn’t change the position

Inclines can be adjusted to the training and your dog’s needs

Speed is controlled by the dog

Speed can be set in electrical models

Better suited for small to medium-sized breeds

A better solution for larger breeds


Expensive, but cheaper than running wheels

Note, that treadmills are illegal in some US states, as they are often associated with training for dog fighting.

Dog hamster wheels FAQ

is there a hamster wheel for dogs?

Yes, there are hamster wheels designed specifically for dogs, often called dog running wheels or dog exercise wheels, which are larger and sturdier than those made for hamsters.

are exercise wheels good for dogs?

Exercise wheels can be beneficial for dogs as they provide a safe and convenient way for them to get exercise, especially for dogs who may not have access to a yard or who need extra stimulation.

can dogs run on cat wheel?

Small dogs can use cat wheels, but it's important to ensure that the wheel is suitable for the dog's size and weight to avoid injury or discomfort.

can small dogs use an exercise wheel?

Yes, small dogs can benefit from using an exercise wheel, but it's crucial to choose a wheel that is the right size for their breed and weight to prevent injury.

are dog running wheels safe?

Dog running wheels can be safe if they are properly designed and used, with appropriate safety features. You should consult with a veterinarian and supervise your dog on the running wheel to avoid accidents or injuries.