How much exercise do Chihuahuas need?
I think of myself as a fairly active person and like to take my Chi everywhere I go. That is why I wondered ‘How much exercise do Chihuahuas need’, because I certainly do not want to over exercise my pet.
Like French bulldogs, do Chihuahuas get overheated? Will they suffer from health issues if you exercise them too much?
Here are all the answers you seek:
How Much Exercise Do Chihuahuas Need?
Chihuahuas are small dogs and, like all small dog breeds such as French bulldogs and Yorkshire terriers, they do well with just 30 minutes of moderate exercise per day.
You can also divide this into two or more sessions of 15 to 20 minutes each.
However, they definitely do need exercise – without exercise, they can get bored and depressed and could even gain significant amount of weight.
Therefore, you must set aside at least 30 minutes each day to exercise your Chi. Walking is the best form of exercise for Chis although I have discussed some other means of exercise for Chihuahuas later in this guide.
How much exercise do Chihuahuas need also depends on their age and health profile.
If your senior dog is showing signs of getting tired or has limited mobility, then please discuss with your vet about how much exercise it needs. Note that even aging dogs need exercise – even if for brief periods, since without exercise, they tend to get depressed.
How Many Times a Day Should You Walk Your Chihuahua?
Walk your Chihuahua daily and it will remain healthy and happy. Since Chihuahuas are small dogs weighing between 3 and 7 lb. (1.5 to 3 kg), they do well with 2 to 3 short walks every day.
Here are some factors that can help you decide how many times a day to walk your Chihuahua:
1. Whether your pet is potty-trained
When we talk about how often to walk a Chihuahua each day, we must speak about its potty training.
I personally feel that a completely potty-trained Chihuahua would need at least 3 walks per day to empty its bladder outdoors.
My Bella does not go potty indoors. I haven’t trained her to go in the balcony or on potty training pads.
That is why she needs 3 small walks each day so she can empty her bladder in the yard. Her morning and evening walks are slightly longer – about 15 minutes each but the one just before bed is a short one – just a quick pee before we settle in for the night.
2. Your Chihuahua’s energy levels
Some Chihuahuas are highly energetic. They need more activity without which they could indulge in naughty and unwanted behavior.
Discuss with your vet if you can take your hyperactive Chi on walks 3 to 4 times a day.
A young Chihuahua puppy is bursting with energy and needs short-though-more-frequent bursts of exercise.
Since you will be training your Chi puppy, its training sessions will also tire it out. Plus, you will be taking your pup out 4-6 times a day for potty training. In between too, your curious and alert Chihuahua will be exploring and studying its world around.
On the other hand, an older or senior Chihuahua aged 10 and over might need shorter or fewer walks especially if it has health issues, aches and pains or limited mobility. Your vet can tell you exactly how many walks your aging pet needs.
4. Your schedule
If you have a busy schedule, naturally it can be tricky setting aside time for so many walks each day. In this case, you can take your pet out once in the morning before leaving for work or arrange for a dog walker to walk your pet at least 2 times a day.
How Far Should You Walk your Chihuahua Every Day?
There is really no way of telling how far you should walk your Chihuahua daily.
The answer depends on your Chi’s comfort. Some days, my Bella is willing to walk several blocks; on others, she will turn back home after just sniffing around the corner.
That is why the best way to know if your dog has had adequate exercise is to time the sessions.
I have a step counter on my wrist- I approximately walk 500-1000 steps in 15 minutes with my Chi, depending on how often she pauses to sniff. You can then schedule 2-3 such walks accordingly.
However, it is also important that you train your dog to walk daily and build stamina and distance each day.
For most Chihuahuas, a gentle 10 to 15 minute walk on leash round the block or at the dog park twice a day is adequate.
How much exercise do Chihuahuas need also depend on their age and overall health. For senior dogs, always check with your vet how far to walk it daily. Do not go too far with a Chihuahua that has joint issues – some dogs may get too tired and might have to be carried home.
How Much is Too Much when It Comes to Exercise for Chihuahua?
Yes, there is such a thing as over-exercising a dog.
If your Chihuahua seems to be tired all the time, while its appetite and overall health seem okay, then it may be that you are over-exercising it.
Other signs of over-exercised Chihuahuas are:
- Mobility issues
- Sleeping all day with lethargy and exhaustion
- Aches and pains
- Reluctance to go out for walks
Remember, your Chihuahua is a small breed dog. You should not over exercise it all of a sudden. For example, if your pet is used to 10-minute walks and you suddenly increase it to 1-hour, then you might be setting it up for injury or medical problems
Stick to two to three 10-15 minute walks per day. And always observe your pet. It should look happy and willing to walk. If your Chi shows resistance – do not force it and cut back.
What are the Benefits of Optimum Exercise for Chihuahua?
Exercising a Chihuahua is beneficial for both dog owner and the pet.
1. Improved overall health
The benefits of regular exercise – mainly walking – is known to reduce cardiovascular diseases and heart-related issues in dogs.
Exercise can also reduce infections by providing your Chihuahua with immunity and boosting its overall health and wellbeing.
2. Prevent obesity
Even a few pounds of weight gain is quickly seen on a small dog like Chihuahua. Moreover, just 1-2 lbs. of excess weight can put immense pressure on your small pet’s joints and cause serious issues like arthritis and worsen its luxating patella.
3. Reduces unwanted behavior
Chihuahuas are known to be a dog breed that barks excessively and often without reason.
By regularly walking your dog, you can reduce this unwanted behavior since your pet expends that excess energy, sleeps better, and also releases feel-good endorphins which prevent these unnecessary issues.
4. Fosters a strong bond between you and your Chi
Regular, scheduled exercise helps foster a loving bond between you and your companion dog. Your Chi looks forward to these walks and having a routine is very important for its mental and physical wellbeing. Also, it will love and appreciate spending quality time with you.
Other than Walking What are Some Good Exercises/Activities for Chihuahua?
The AKC recommends many other activities other than walking to keep dogs mentally and physically fit:
In addition to daily walks round the block, take your Chi on a hiking trail nearby. Your pet will have a wonderful time exploring the new sights and sounds.
2. A game of fetch with the kids
Train your Chihuahua to fetch from an early age. Fetching is a great activity for your Chi’s body and mind. Your pet will love playing fetch with the kids – it is a great bonding exercise for the entire family. Alternate between balls, Frisbees, sticks, rope toys, etc. to keep things interesting.
3. Enroll your pet in obedience school and/or agility sessions
Agility training and obstacle courses for dogs are also a great exercise to keep your Chi sharp and mentally alert as well.
There are many different kinds of agility courses for dogs like flyball, dock diving etc. Your vet could guide you to one in your area.
4. Toys and indoor activities
Remember that even toys and indoor activities can be good exercise for your Chihuahua. They also help stimulate your pet mentally.
Can Chihuahuas Swim? Is Swimming Good for Chihuahuas?
Like most dogs, Chihuahuas might inherently start kicking or ‘doggy paddling’ when they get into the water. However, this does not mean that your Chi is safe and that it can automatically start swimming.
Not all dogs can swim and Chihuahuas, being small dogs, are often frightened of the water.
Having said that, you can always train your Chihuahua to swim – from an early age.
Swimming is a fantastic exercise for Chihuahua. Still, you must never force your Chihuahua to swim. Some Chis love the water and they take to it right away.
Others might be scared by the vastness of the water and could develop that Small Dog Syndrome where they are frightened of anything larger than them.
So assess your pet’s comfort levels. If your dog is afraid, lay off the swimming and look for other exercise/activities for your pet.
If you plan to take your Chihuahua swimming, please use the following safety tips:
1. Use a dog vest
A dog vest will help your little Chihuahua float in the water.
There are brightly colored swimming vests available for dogs – they let you spot your pet quickly even in low light conditions. They also keep your pet afloat and safe.
2. Ease into the process
Start in a small pool or a baby pool. Make sure your Chihuahua is not shaking or afraid and do not force it to get in if it shows reluctance. If it cries or whimpers, take it out of the water.
Later on, as your Chi gets more comfortable with the water, you can introduce it to larger pool, lake, or even take it to the beach.
Keep all swimming sessions short and make sure to dry your pet thoroughly afterwards.
3. Always keep an eye on your pet in the pool
Even if your Chi becomes an expert swimmer, keep an eye on it. Never leave it unsupervised in the pool.
Also read: Can Chihuahuas Live Outside
FAQs on How Much Exercise Do Chihuahuas Need
1. Do Chihuahuas need a lot of exercise?
Being small dogs weighing just 7 lb. or less, most Chis do not need too much exercise. Still, you should try to factor in at least 30 minutes of exercise each day so your small dog can remain physically and mentally fit.
2. Can you take a Chihuahua running?
Yes. Chis can run with their Chihuahua owner. They have an advantage over larger dog breeds in that, running exerts lesser pressure on their joints.
However, early training is a must. Adult Chihuahuas might refuse to run if you suddenly coax them to run. Start training your Chi to run from puppyhood itself.
Note that some vets caution against serious jogging for dogs, especially in hot weather, as it could lead to overheating.
3. How can I exercise my Chihuahua indoors?
You could set up an obstacle course, play hide and seek with it, hide its treats and encourage it to search them, make it chase bubbles, play with rope toys, play fetch, tug-of-war, get the kids to chase and wrestle with it, etc.
4. Why does my Chihuahua stop and refuse to walk?
An aging Chihuahua might refuse to walk when it has a sore back or joint pain. Check with your vet if you suspect these issues. A young dog may be fearful or anxious and might refuse to walk if it is scared of something.
How much exercise do Chihuahuas need?
Most Chihuahuas do well with 30 minutes of exercise daily. You can take your pet out for a gentle walk 2 to 3 times a day – each one lasting about 10-15 minutes.
Older Chihuahuas may not walk too much but you must still exercise them to prevent depression. Discuss with a vet how much exercise your Chi needs exactly.