How Much Exercise Does a Shih Tzu Need? The Perfect Balance

Shih Tzu running in the park

It’s no secret that regular exercise is essential for both people and dogs. But when it comes to our four-legged friends, there can be a lot of confusion about how much is too much, how little is enough, and what types of activities are best.

In this blog post, we’ll explore everything you need to know about exercising your Shih Tzu, including the health benefits of exercise, daily requirements for puppies and senior dogs, and tips for indoor and outdoor activities throughout the year.

How much exercise does a Shih Tzu need per day?

As a playful dog, the Shih Tzu breed requires daily exercise to stay healthy and happy. The American Kennel Club recommends at least 20-30 minutes of exercise per day, but this can vary based on the individual dog’s age and activity level.

Of course, shorter walks or playtime sessions throughout the day can add up as well. It’s essential to remember that Shih Tzus are small dogs with naturally low endurance.

That means they may tire easily during long walks or intense exercises, and it’s best to stick to short bursts of activity instead. And although a playful attitude and regular exercise are essential for keeping your Shih Tzu healthy, it’s also crucial to monitor their food intake and provide proper dental care to prevent weight gain and oral issues.

Give your Shih Tzu plenty of playtime each day, but be sure to adjust their exercise routine based on their individual needs and limitations.

Shih Tzu on leash

How much exercise does an older Shih Tzu need?

As dog owners, we need to understand the exercise needs of our furry friends. For older Shih Tzus, moderate daily activity is crucial for maintaining their health and preventing potential joint issues.

Originally bred as palace guards and lapdogs in ancient China, these small dog breeds were not born for intense physical activity. However, they still require regular walks and playtime to maintain muscle tone and keep their joints healthy.

It’s essential to consider your dog’s limitations and adjust accordingly, such as by avoiding overly strenuous activities or limiting duration.

Keeping your older Shih Tzu physically active will promote longevity and help them live a happier healthier life.

How much exercise does a Shih Tzu puppy need?

Shih Tzu puppies, like all puppies, have a seemingly endless supply of energy and can benefit greatly from regular exercise.

However, it’s important to remember that Shih Tzus are a smaller breed and shouldn’t be over-exercised. As a general guideline, Shih Tzu puppies should get at least 30 minutes of exercise per day, broken up into multiple sessions if possible.

This could include walks or games of fetch, but it’s best to avoid high-impact activities such as running until the puppy becomes an adult at around one year old. Always monitor your Shih Tzu puppy for signs of exhaustion or strain, as shorter-snouted breeds can be more susceptible to breathing difficulties during strenuous exercise.

If you have more than one dog, social interaction with their canine siblings can also count as exercise.

Shih Tzu with older dog

The different types of exercise that are best for a Shih Tzu

While Shih Tzus are small and often considered lapdogs, they still need regular exercise to maintain their physical health. The best type of exercise for Shih Tzus is a daily walk, as it helps to keep their muscles strong and their joints flexible.

It’s important not to overdo it with Shih Tzus, as they can be prone to knee and back injuries. In addition to walks, indoor games like fetch or tug-of-war can provide extra exercise for Shih Tzus without putting too much strain on their joints.

Swimming can also be a great low-impact exercise option for Shih Tzus.

The key to Shih Tzu exercise is finding a balance between enough activity to keep them healthy while avoiding overexertion.

Tips for getting your Shih Tzu to exercise

Shih Tzus are notoriously lazy, but exercise is still crucial for their physical and mental well-being. Luckily, there are a few simple ways to encourage your Shih Tzu to get some much-needed exercise.

One option is to have playtime sessions with interactive dog toys in the yard or a nearby park. Rotating between different toys can help keep things fresh and exciting for your Shih Tzu.

Another idea is to plan short walks or hikes where your Shih Tzu can explore new sights and smells while burning off energy.

And don’t forget about mentally stimulating activities, such as puzzle toys or training sessions, which can also contribute to your Shih Tzu’s overall exercise routine.

tired Shih Tzu

Does My Shih Tzu Need Daily Walks?

The short answer is yes, your Shih Tzu needs daily walks. How long and how often will depend on their age, health, and activity level.

Most Shih Tzus generally need at least one moderate walk per day, though some may require two or more depending on their individual needs.

Shih Tzus exercise needs can be met with a combination of walks and indoor play, so don’t feel like you have to walk them every single day.

The daily walk is not only a good way to release some pent-up energy but is also a good opportunity for training and is great for building your bond with your pup.

How Long Should You Walk a Shih Tzu?

Shih Tzus are a small breed, but they still need regular exercise to maintain their health and prevent behavior problems. Generally speaking, Shih Tzus should be walked at least once a day for at least 20-30 minutes.

Remember that each dog may have different exercise needs, so paying attention to your Shih Tzu’s energy level and adjusting the amount and intensity of walks accordingly is essential.

When my Shih Tzu was younger, I would walk him for 20-30 minutes twice a day. Now that he’s older, I only take him out for 10-15 minutes at a time.

He loves spending time in our fenced backyard, especially on hot days when he could find a shaded area to relax.

Shih Tzu exercising on beach

Exercising your Shih Tzu in the Summer

Summertime means longer days, warmer weather, and plenty of opportunities for outdoor exercise with your Shih Tzu. However, ensuring your furry friend doesn’t overheat during the activity is important.

Shih Tzus have a tendency towards breathing issues, so it’s best to stick to a shorter, brisk pace instead of allowing them to run and play for extended periods in hot weather.

Stick to early morning or evening walks when the temperature is more relaxed, and always bring water and a doggy bowl along for breaks as needed. Daily walks not only provide physical benefits for your Shih Tzu’s muscles and bones, but they also offer mental stimulation. They can help prevent boredom-related behaviors such as excessive barking or chewing.

Just remember to exercise caution in the summer heat and always listen to your dog’s individual needs.

Winter activities for Shih Tzu

As a Shih Tzu owner, wintertime can present some challenges for keeping your furry friend active. However, it’s important to remember that Shih Tzus still have exercise requirements, even in cold weather. Fortunately, there are plenty of indoor and outdoor activities to keep your Shih Tzu physically and mentally engaged.

Indoors, try playing hide-and-seek with treats or teaching new tricks like shaking or rolling over.

Outside, enjoy a walk on cleared sidewalks or paths in moderate temperatures, making sure to protect their paws with paw wax or dog booties if necessary.

If it’s too cold for you, it’s probably too cold for your Shih Tzu, so use your best judgment and keep activity levels low in very cold weather.

And don’t forget about activities like training classes or doggy play dates to provide some social stimulation.

While the options may be limited in the winter months, you can still fulfill your Shih Tzu exercise needs with a bit of creativity and determination.

Shih Tzu exercising in snow

Indoor activities that offer mental stimulation

While Shih Tzus may be small in stature, they have big personalities and a love for play. Mentally stimulating your pet can help them to be more balanced and well-behaved, with fewer behavioral problems.

One way to engage their minds is with scent games. Hide treats around the house and let your dog search for them using their powerful sense of smell.

Another option is puzzle toys that require problem-solving skills to release treats or food. For more advanced pups, try teaching them new tricks or practicing obedience commands with treats as reinforcement.

And when weather prohibits outdoor walks, indoor fetch or tug-of-war can provide physical exercise while mentally stimulating your furry friend.

At What Age Should You Start Exercising Your Shih Tzu?

As with any dog, a Shih Tzu exercise routine should start at an early age. Beginning as early as possible will benefit their physical health and aid in proper socialization and training.

It’s essential to wait until they have completed all their puppy shots to avoid any risks of infection while exercising outside. That being said, just because they start exercising early doesn’t mean it should be intensive or strenuous.

Keep exercise sessions short and low-impact in the early stages, around twenty minutes or less. A gentle walk on leash around the neighborhood or some indoor playtime is all that’s needed at this age.

As they grow older and more robust, they can gradually increase the intensity and duration of their workouts.

Overall, starting your Shih Tzu on an early exercise regimen is vital for their physical and mental development.

Shih Tzu tongue out pexels

In conclusion

Exercise is essential for all dogs, including Shih Tzus. It provides physical and mental benefits that help them to lead happy, healthy lives.

The amount of exercise a Shih Tzu needs depends on their age, weight, and health status. In general, most adult dogs need around thirty minutes of moderate exercise each day.

However, puppies and senior dogs may require different amounts of exercise. It’s important to consult with your veterinarian to develop an appropriate exercise plan for your pet.

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