Chihuahuas are tiny dogs with big personalities. They’re known for being loyal, loving and playful companions that can be great family pets.
Their small size makes them perfect for apartment living or anyone who doesn’t have the time to walk around with their pup all day long.
You won’t believe how much love these little guys pack into their tiny bodies! These little dogs need a minimum of 30 minutes of daily exercise but don’t require too much space to run around in. So if you live in an apartment or want a low maintenance dog breed, then this is the breed for you!
This guide will answer the question of how much exercise does a Chihuahua need, plus look at some ways of keeping them entertained that, combined with daily walks, will get those little legs going and ensure good physical health.
Why is Exercise Vital For Your Chihuahua?
Health and Well Being
Ensuring that your Chihuahua enjoys regular, daily exercise is vital to keeping him in good health. Although small dogs don’t need as much physical exercise as larger dogs, energetic and lively breeds like Chihuahuas crave physical and mental stimulation to minimise any destructive behavior.
It’s unfortunately easy to overfeed a small dog breed if they’re not receiving a regular amount of exercise. Weight gain can quickly creep up on Chihuahuas that are used to the life of a couch potato, so playing games and taking them for short walks is essential for maintaining a healthy weight.
High energy dogs like Chihuahuas are often seen as naturally unruly dogs, though this isn’t an entirely fair assumption. Under-stimulated pups are prone to destructive behavior as they’re desperate to release pent up energy.
How Much Exercise Does a Chihuahua Need?
As with any other small dog breed, Chihuahuas benefit from a regular schedule of short walks and indoor play with dog toys.
Two 15 minute walks a day are recommended for adult dogs, one in the morning and one in the evening, with around 30 minutes of play time throughout the day.
Their little legs will struggle over long distances, so if you’re planning on taking your Chihuahua out for a day trip, you should make sure he enjoys regular breaks in the shade. It can be a balancing act to plan his routine at first, but your Chihuahua will benefit from a regular exercise schedule.
Best Types of Exercise for Chihuahuas
The simplest way to a happy and healthy dog is to allow him to release all of his pent up energy in a fun and stimulating way! There are many different ways to get your Chihuahua moving; here are a few of our favourites.
All dog owners know how much our pups love their walks; it’s their opportunity to interact with the world and use their natural instincts to sniff and explore their neighbourhood.
Although lap dogs like Chihuahuas are often content snoozing at home, it’s vital that they enjoy at least 20-30 minutes a day outside the house to burn off a little energy.
Your Chihuahua will benefit from a regular, short walk twice a day and perhaps a visit to a dog park or other dog-friendly places where he can interact with other dogs and enjoy some training time or play with dog toys.
Chihuahuas can often have issues with wearing a conventional collar, as a Chihuahua’s neck is very vulnerable, so it’s best to use a well-fitted body harness when walking your Chihuahua.
Hide and Seek
Mentally stimulating games like hide and seek are a great way to exercise your Chihuahua’s mind and body at the same time.
Although lapdogs have a naturally low prey drive, not all Chihuahuas completely lack this instinct. In fact, many Chihuahuas love the excitement of hunting based games.
Another way to provide this stimulation for your Chihuahua is to engage in play with puzzle toys at home.
Hide food and treats inside your dog’s toys and let them work to find the prize; make sure that the treats aren’t too well hidden!
Agility training is a great way to bond with your dog whilst giving him a proper workout. This type of play is well suited to little dogs, as a decent agility course won’t take up too much room in your home or garden.
Dog sports like agility training help foster a strong connection between owner and pup, as your dog will enjoy following your commands and working as part of your team.
The command and reward structure of activities like this release dopamine in your Chihuahua’s brain, helping him stay mentally and physically fit.
As a very energetic breed, Chihuahuas are often mistaken as disobedient pups by nature. Whilst this can be true for some Chihuahuas, a properly trained dog will be just as well behaved as any other breed.
It’s best to begin this kind of training from a young age to solidify these behaviours as routine for your Chihuahua. Still, provided you are patient with your dog, even older Chihuahuas can benefit from obedience training.
This short video shows how to have fun with obedience training
There isn’t a dog alive that doesn’t love to play fetch with its owner, from toy breeds to bigger dogs. Fetch is a tried and tested way to provide mental and physical stimulation for your pup.
It’s a great way to bond with your dog and fits easily into your daily walks if you have a dog-friendly park near your home.
Couple this activity with chew toys and hide and seek based games and you’ll have a whole daily routine mapped out to keep your Chihuahua happy any healthy. Just be careful, if you’re having fun, that you don’t give your Chihuahua too much exercise!
Can a Chihuahua Have Too Much Exercise?
There is a sweet spot for all breeds of dogs when it comes to their daily exercise. Too much exercise can potentially harm your Chihuahua, as their small body has a small heart and small joints to look after.
So, how much exercise does a Chihuahua need? Generally, an hour’s worth of physical activity is recommended for a dog of this size. Two shorter walks a day, measuring a total of 30 minutes and around 30 minutes of indoor play.
Chew toys and puzzle toys are great for Chihuahuas as they allow your dog to increase his heart rate but don’t cause too much stress on his joints. You can also control the amount of play your dog has with these toys.
How Much Exercise Does a Senior Chihuahua Need?
As your Chihuahua ages, you’ll find him less willing and able to enjoy as much physical activity as he once did. This is the natural cycle of your dog’s life, but it’s crucial that you still provide him with a little daily activity.
Your Chihuahua will enter his senior years at around the age of 10. You should begin to shorten his walks and limit any strenuous activities like agility training and hide and seek at this point in his life.
It’s important to look for any signs of joint pain in your Chihuahua and keep his vet up to date with any changes in his movement or personality.
How Much Exercise Does a Chihuahua Puppy Need?
3-6 Month Chihuahua Puppy
When you first bring your new dog home at eight weeks of age, they will not need any specific exercise time outside of the usual exploring of their new home.
Their tiny little bodies will burn off enough calories by walking around your home alone, and their newly formed joints will need time to grow before experiencing too much strain.
Whilst your Chihuahua is at this vulnerable age, it’s important to keep them away from unsupervised small children, as a Chihuahua puppy is a very delicate little dog!
6-12 Month Puppy Exercise Needs
Pups at this stage can begin to enjoy playing with toys and other puppies, provided they have had their puppy shots and boosters.
About 5-10 minutes of play will be sufficient exercise for a dog of this size, with a few quick walks if your Chihuahua is fully vaccinated.
At 12-18 months old, your Chihuahua can begin to enjoy some of the exercises that he will benefit from in adulthood.
Training your Chihuahua at this stage will provide the opportunity for bonding, and walks can begin to reach 15 minutes in length.
Chihuahuas are quite susceptible to cold weather, so be careful when taking your pup out for walks in wet weather; make sure he’s nice and warm and not too far from home if it’s particularly chilly outside.
Be wary when exercising puppies of any age and be cautious of their joints to avoid any issues in later life.
You should ensure that your Chihuahua gets some physical activity each day, even if it is just a short walk around the block plus 15 minutes of playing at home twice a day.
People often ask us how many walks does a dog need a day and you can find this out on our exercise page.
Keep in mind that this will depend on his age too – older dogs might not be able to handle long walks anymore because of joint pain or other issues related to ageing. Chihuahua puppies should not be over-exercised as it may cause damage to their delicate bones and joints.
Also, keep in mind that there are many ways besides walking to help him stay fit! Mental stimulation is essential for this breed as too much pent up energy can result in unwanted behaviours such as excessive barking and chewing.
We hope this post has helped determine whether your Chihuahua is getting enough exercise and give you some fitness tips for a happy and healthy Chihuahua.