Energy Needs of ‘Giant’ Breed Dogs while Resting and Exercising on a Treadmill

The University of Florida College of Veterinary Medicine is currently recruiting large dogs to participate in an exercise study.

Enrollment Status: Currently Enrolling

  • Inclusion Criteria:  Really large (aka ‘giant’) breed dogs, don’t have to be purebred. Weigh more than 100 lbs (45 kg). 2-5 years old for the Danes, 2-8 years old for all others. Example breeds include St Bernard, great Dane, Bernese mountain dog, Irish wolfhound, Newfoundland, and other similar sized dogs. All dogs must be healthy, with no known joint or back problems. Overweight is ok, but NOT obese.  If the dog qualifies on all but weight, we can help with a weight loss plan.
  • Procedures:  Dogs are trained to walk and trot on a treadmill. They will work up to exercising 30-40 minutes/visit at a variety of speeds.  When a dog is comfortable on the treadmill, we train the dog to wear a loose fitting mask so we can measure expired CO2 and O2 as they exercise – a measure of energy usage.  Air flows through the mask, and it’s loose enough for the dog to pant easily.  We are very patient with training.  Even head shy dogs accept the mask!  Each mask is custom made for each dog.
  • Time requirements: The study lasts approximately 4-6 months, with visits twice/week. Your dog can stay all day or a few hours, we are flexible. Days off/vacation are included in the time estimate.  We work at your dog’s pace.
  • Costs: The study will provide a preliminary physical and orthopedic examination ($130). Twice weekly “doggie day care” for 4-5 months ($15-20/day) and Fitness training ($50/session)
  • Contact:  Please contact Karen Scott, PhD,, 352-294-4434 or Dr Richard Hill,, 352-294-4433, University of Florida, College of Veterinary Medicine.  References from happy dogs and owners available upon request. Study Interest Form
  • Principal Investigator: Dr. Richard Hill


Background: The goal of this study is to compare energy usage/needs of different sized dogs. We hypothesize there is a difference due to body size.  Think Dachshund vs St Bernard.  We have worked with small, medium, and large sized dogs.  Now its time for giant sized dogs.


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