how much exercise does a shih tzu need

How Much Exercise Does a Shih Tzu Need? 2023 Insights

The amount of exercise a shih tzu needs can significantly impact their health and happiness. Explore how much exercise does a shih tzu need and the best ways to incorporate it into their daily routine.


The Importance of Exercise for Shih Tzus

Shih Tzus are a wonderful breed of dog. They are known for their affectionate and friendly nature, making them perfect companions for families with children or seniors living alone. However, as with all animals, exercise is crucial for maintaining their physical and mental well-being.

Exercise helps dogs like Shih Tzus release pent-up energy, maintain a healthy weight, stimulate digestion and circulation, improve joint mobility and flexibility, boost immunity and overall vitality. A sedentary lifestyle can lead to obesity which puts Shih Tzu at risk of several health complications such as heart disease, diabetes mellitus, arthritis among others.

Brief Overview of the Article’s Content

In this article on “How Much Exercise Does a Shih Tzu Need?” we will discuss the various factors that affect your Shih Tzu’s exercise requirements such as age and health status, size and weight as well as energy level and temperament. We will also provide recommendations on daily exercise time for adult Shih Tzus depending on their age group – puppies vs adults – in consideration of the type of activities they enjoy most. Next we’ll provide tips on how to safely prepare your pet before engaging in any physical activity including warming up activities like stretching exercises.

We’ll give you some fun ideas on exercises you could try with your pet while ensuring thier safety during different weather conditions. So let’s dive into the importance that exercise has in keeping Shih Tzus healthy and happy!

Understanding Your Shih Tzu’s Exercise Needs

As a responsible pet parent, it’s crucial to understand your Shih Tzu’s exercise needs. The amount of exercise required by your furry friend will depend on several factors, including age, health status, size and weight, energy level and temperament.

Factors that affect a Shih Tzu’s exercise requirements

Age and health status are two essential factors that determine the amount of physical activity your Shih Tzu should get. Puppies need more rest than adult dogs since they are growing and developing rapidly.

Older dogs may not be as active as young ones due to mobility issues or age-related conditions such as arthritis. The size and weight of your Shih Tzu also play a role in its exercise needs.

Smaller dogs tend to be less active than larger dogs due to their smaller muscle mass. Overweight dogs may also require fewer exercises than those who are at an ideal weight.

Your dog’s energy level and temperament must also be taken into account when determining how much exercise it needs. High-energy dogs require more activity than low-energy ones, while some Shih Tzus may prefer short bursts of activity rather than long walks or runs.

Recommended daily exercise time for adult Shih Tzus

An adult Shih Tzu should get at least 20-30 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise per day. This can include walking, playing fetch or other games in the yard or park, and indoor activities like running up and downstairs or playing with toys.


A 10-15 minute walk twice a day is ideal for an adult Shih Tzu with average energy levels but if your pup has high energy levels then longer walks or more frequent walks may be necessary. You can vary the routes and speed to keep things interesting and prevent boredom.

Playing fetch or other games

If you have a yard, playing fetch is an excellent way to get your Shih Tzu moving while also having fun. Other games that promote physical activity include tug-of-war, hide-and-seek, and chasing bubbles.

Indoor exercises

Dogs can also get exercise indoors with games like hide-and-seek, chasing toys down hallways or up stairs (if it’s safe), and practicing tricks for rewards like treats. Understanding your Shih Tzu’s exercise needs is essential for its overall health and wellbeing. By taking into account the factors that affect your dog’s physical activity requirements and following the recommended daily exercise time guidelines, you can keep your furry friend active, healthy, and happy.

Tips for Exercising Your Shih Tzu Safely

Pre-exercise preparation

Before starting any exercise routine, it is important to prepare your Shih Tzu for physical activity. Start by scheduling a pre-exercise check-up with your veterinarian to ensure that your dog is healthy enough to exercise.

This is especially important if your Shih Tzu has any pre-existing medical conditions that may impact their ability to engage in physical activity. Once you have the green light from your veterinarian, make sure to choose appropriate exercises for your dog’s fitness level and age.

Avoid high-impact activities for senior dogs or those with arthritis or other joint issues. Make sure you have the necessary equipment such as a sturdy leash and comfortable harness before beginning any outdoor exercise routine.

Warm-up activities such as stretching

Just like humans, dogs need warm-up exercises before engaging in physical activity. Before going on a walk or playing fetch, take a few minutes to stretch your Shih Tzu’s muscles. Gentle stretches such as hip rotations, shoulder circles and leg lifts can help prevent injury and increase flexibility.

Another great way to warm up your dog’s muscles is through gentle playtime indoors. Play tug-of-war or gently roll a ball back and forth between you and your dog to get them moving before more intense exercise.

Proper hydration before and after exercise

Staying hydrated is crucial during exercise for both humans and dogs alike, but it can be especially important for small breeds like Shih Tzus who are prone to dehydration. Make sure that your companion drinks plenty of water before any outdoor adventures, especially on hot days when they may lose fluids more quickly. During the walk or other physical activity, carry extra water in case they need a drink along the way.

Afterward, make sure they drink plenty of water to replace the fluids they lost during exercise. If your Shih Tzu seems disinterested in drinking water, try offering them ice cubes as a refreshing treat.

Checking the weather conditions before outdoor activities

Before heading out for any outdoor activities, make sure to check the weather forecast for your area. Extreme temperatures, whether hot or cold, can negatively impact your dog’s health and ability to exercise. On hot days, it is important to avoid exercising during peak heat hours and instead opt for early morning or late afternoon walks.

During winter months, protect your Shih Tzu from icy sidewalks by outfitting them with protective booties or walking on grass instead of pavement. By following these simple tips for safe exercise with your Shih Tzu, you can help ensure a happy and healthy lifestyle for both you and your furry companion.

Exercises to Avoid with Your Shih Tzu

Shih Tzus are playful and friendly dogs that need regular exercise to maintain their physical and mental health. However, not all exercises are suitable for Shih Tzus, especially those that can put a strain on their delicate frame. As a responsible pet owner, it is critical to recognize the exercises that can cause harm and avoid them at all costs.

Explanation of exercises that are not suitable for your Shih Tzu’s health condition

Shih Tzus have fragile bone structures and can easily sustain injuries if they engage in high-impact activities or exercises that require excessive jumping or running. For example, jogging or running long distances can put unnecessary stress on their joints, which may lead to joint problems such as hip dysplasia or arthritis later in life.

Additionally, activities like agility training may be too strenuous for their small size and could cause serious injuries. Shih Tzus are also prone to respiratory problems due to their short snouts.

Therefore, any exercise that causes them to breathe heavily should be avoided. Overexertion can cause breathing difficulties such as panting or wheezing.

Examples of exercises to avoid such as high impact jumping, running on hard surfaces, etc.

Jumping from heights or onto hard surfaces should be avoided at all costs because of the risk of injury. Shih Tzus have small legs and lightweight bodies; thus they’re vulnerable to fractures if they jump from heights above their comfort level onto hard floors.

Running on hard surfaces like concrete pavements should also be avoided during exercise time because it puts unnecessary pressure on your dog’s bones leading to joint pains such as lower back pain which is common among many breeds including Shih-Tzu. Instead consider grassy areas for walking or running your dog where they will not only get the exercise they need but also reduce the risk of joint injuries.

Avoid any exercise that can cause you to overwork your Shih Tzu. You should be mindful of your dog’s energy levels and limit the amount of exercise they do daily to avoid exhaustion.

Keeping your Shih Tzu healthy and happy is critical to their longevity, so take the time to understand what exercises are suitable for them and what is not. While it’s essential to provide regular exercise for your Shih Tzu, it’s equally important to identify exercises that may cause harm and avoid them.

Ensure you are aware of the risks involved in certain activities, such as high-impact jumping or running on hard surfaces, and adjust accordingly. Exercise is crucial for a healthy lifestyle but should always be moderate and appropriate for each dog’s physical condition.

Fun Activities to Keep Your Shih Tzu Active and Healthy

Agility Training: Exercise for the Mind and Body

Agility training is a fun way to exercise your Shih Tzu while also stimulating their mind. This activity involves setting up an obstacle course, such as jumps, tunnels, and weave poles for your dog to navigate.

Agility training helps develop their coordination, balance, and flexibility. It’s a high-energy activity that will keep your pooch engaged both mentally and physically.

Doggy Dancing: Move Those Hips!

Dancing with your Shih Tzu is not only entertaining but also an excellent form of exercise. Also known as Canine Freestyle or Musical Canine Sports, doggy dancing involves choreographing a routine set to music that you perform together with your furry friend. It’s an excellent way to bond with your dog while keeping them fit and healthy.

Scent Work: Explore Their Natural Instincts

Shih Tzus are known for their keen sense of smell, making scent work an ideal activity for them. The game involves hiding treats or toys around the house or yard for your dog to find using their sense of smell. Not only will this game provide physical exercise as they search around the house or yard, but it also stimulates their mental capabilities.


Regular exercise is vital in keeping your Shih Tzu healthy and happy. As pet owners, we should take responsibility for our pets’ well-being by providing them with proper physical activities that suit their individual needs. By understanding the factors that affect our dogs’ exercise requirements plus tips on how to keep our dogs safe during physical activities, we can provide our furry friends a better quality of life filled with fun activities they’ll enjoy!

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