Any fan of The Dog Whisperer show on National Geographic, will have seen Cesar Millan walk dogs on a normal treadmill, if they can’t get outdoors for adequate exercise. And anyone who owns a dog will know that the daily walk is essential for your dog’s overall health and wellbeing. So if an illness happens to interrupt this important daily activity, what do you do?
Well this is exactly what occurred to Suffolk businesswoman Sammy French, who after an illness had laid her up for several months, and had taken to walking her four dogs on her own exercise treadmill at home, decided to design machine specifically for canines.
Sammy discovered that although the idea of walking her dogs on her usual treadmill was good in theory, in practice it was beset with problems. Firstly the treadmill itself was too large for her dogs, and she quickly realised that she should design a range that included different sizes.
Working with the help of a vet to ensure the treadmills would be suitable for rehabilitating dogs that had been injured — as well as those that simply needed exercise, she took a prototype drawing to a large retailer in the UK to run the idea past them. They loved it and took Sammy’s designs to Shanghai for manufacturing, however Sammy wasn’t included in perfecting the technical specifications and the first product, brought to market in 2005, did not meet her high standards.
Trying to improve the design Sammy battled with the retailer for a year with no success so she flew to Taiwan to personally select a manufacturer.
And so Fit Fur Life was re-born and consequently four variations of the treadmill were launched at Crufts in 2007. The response was overwhelmingly positive but Sammy still needed backing and investment, so she appeared on Dragons’ Den and entrepreneur James Caan took her on.
The rest, as you can see from her website, is history. There are now five versions of the dog treadmill, ranging from small, medium, superior, professional and ultimate. The smallest (£870) is aimed at tiny breeds such as chihuahuas, toy poodles and cocker spaniels, while the Ultimate treadmill (£7,795) is large enough to support a mastiff or great dane.
All the Fit Fur Life treadmills are compact machines that can be easily stored away in your home, and they have the added benefit of being able to incline and decline, therefore allowing your dog to walk up and down hills to build up specific muscle groups. The dog treadmills come with built in mesh and clear sides for full visibility of the animals movement and gait analysis.
For more information visit the Fit Fur Life website.