When it comes to owning a toy dog breed like a Chihuahua, it’s only natural to question how much exercise they need. Besides, it’s often natural to assume they do not need much. But is this general assumption okay? Do they need walking and regular activity? Or can it be detrimental? Here is all you need to know.
So, how much exercise does a Chihuahua need? Chihuahuas need at least 30 minutes of exercise per day. Experts recommend splitting the 30 minutes into two smaller 15-minute short walks. As they are so small, they expend a lot of energy keeping up with your longer stride. For every mile you walk, they will walk at least 2. This is why they only need two short bursts of exercise per day.
Even though they are small dogs with a reputation for being carried everywhere, Chihuahuas are not just an accessory.
This breed still needs as much training, attention, and mental stimulation as any other dog.
And when it comes to exercise – their requirements do differ.
As you will see if you keep reading.
You’ll learn everything you need to know about exercising your Chihuahua.
How Far Should A Chihuahua Walk Daily
The average adult Chihuahua should get around 30 minutes of walking per day. That should be given over the course of the day, preferably via two or even three shorter walks. Although puppy chihuahuas may only need 5-10 minutes of exercise per day.
This is a “how long is a piece of string?” question.
So much depends on the age of your dog, the weather, their nature, and their individual stamina.
So, you should envision walking 30 minutes a day.
Perhaps start with 15 minutes and monitor their reaction, taking care to watch for overexertion.
But, you do have to work your way up to this.
You should only begin walking your Chihuahua when they are between 4 and 8 months old.
At this age, it’s definitely better to take them for two short walks of 10 to 15 minutes each, instead of one long one.
When they reach eight months old, you can lengthen the walks to approximately 20 minutes with at least one break to rest and hydrate.
From 1 year old, if they are in good health, your Chihuahua must get at least one 30-minute walk per day.
This breed has a tendency towards hyperactivity and, if left alone during the day, will have a lot of pent-up energy.
If they don’t get enough exercise, your dog will exhibit destructive behavior such as chewing.
Chihuahuas of 9 years and older are considered senior dogs.
As they age, they will gradually slow down, and their exercise may need to be scaled back.
A Chihuahua can live anywhere between 12 and 20 years, so whether they should be considered senior or not depends on how well they are aging, as well as their overall health.
Walking your dog should be used as training time, as well as socialization.
Although it can be tempting to keep them as lapdogs, they must have exposure to as many new people, places, and dogs as possible.
It’s a good idea to take your Chihuahua to dog-friendly places, as this will impact their behavior in the long term.
They may become anxious and possibly aggressive if they are not comfortable encountering new stimuli on a regular basis.
A Chihuahua’s behavior is directly linked to the amount of exercise it gets.
If you give your dog plenty of exercise and mental stimulation, then you will find them to be happy and well-behaved.
However, you should follow certain restrictions because of their size.
Can You Walk A Chihuahua Too Much?
It is possible to walk a chihuahua too much, even by providing what may be considered an appropriate amount of exercise for other larger or more active dog breeds.
When walking your dog, you need to make sure they don’t wear themselves out.
This is especially important when they are puppies, as too much exercise is not good for any dog when they are young.
Their growth plates are not fully developed yet, so the chances of them hurting themselves are higher than that of adult dogs.
Chihuahuas, in particular, should not get too much exercise, as a connection has been drawn between too much activity and elbow dysplasia.
Exercising puppies is a balancing act.
Although it can harm them to get too much exercise, allowing your puppy to be active is vital.
They are high-energy dogs, so Chihuahuas need an outlet to release that energy.
A good foundation with proper diet and exercise helps develop their muscles and will ensure good physical health when they are older.
Chihuahua puppies should not be taken for walks until they have had all their shots.
Until this time, playing games with them and giving them a safe area to run around in will be enough exercise for them.
Trauma is a leading cause of death with Chihuahuas, so be careful when they interact with other dogs or small children.
To prevent any injury to your dog while walking, be sure to use a harness and a long lead instead of a standard collar and leash.
Chihuahuas naturally pull away when you walk them as they are so inquisitive.
A normal collar may cause damage to their fragile neck when they strain against it.
Can I Take My Chihuahua Jogging?
It would be best if you did not take your chihuahua jogging. Their small stature means that they get tired very quickly, so this breed can quickly overexert themselves and even injure themselves by going at a faster pace.
Chihuahuas are such tiny dogs that they need to take many small steps to keep up with your single step.
A simple walk requires a lot of energy from your dog, which is why 30 minutes should be the maximum length of time they are exercised in one go.
Chihuahuas can’t keep up with you when you jog, so if you want a jogging companion, you’d need a much more active breed – like a border collie, husky or vizsla, for instance.
There are a few things you need to be aware of when deciding on the form and duration of your Chihuahua’s exercise regime.
If they don’t want to go for walks, it is usually because they sense that you are not motivated to walk them.
They will mimic your enthusiasm, so the more you enjoy the walk, the more eager they will be to go with you.
If you live in a cold climate, you need to be aware that your Chihuahua can get very cold very quickly, which is why you see so many Chihuahuas in jerseys.
If it is cold outside, take the extra precaution of wrapping them up in protective clothing before taking them for a walk.
On the other hand, if you live in a hot climate, you need to be aware of the temperature of the pavement, as their paws can burn easily.
As today’s world is so busy and moves so fast, there may be good reasons why you cannot walk your Chihuahua.
For example, you may be elderly or disabled, or it may be snowing.
Whatever the reason, don’t allow your Chihuahua to be inactive.
They are prone to obesity, so proper exercise and food portion control are vital.
Other options for exercising your dog are discussed below.
Other Exercise Activities For Chihuahuas
There are many different activities that you can engage in with your Chihuahua.
They are highly intelligent and are fully capable of competing in agility, obedience, and other dog sports.
Chihuahuas also enjoy activities such as swimming and playing outdoors (which should be supervised).
Hiding a toy or a treat for them to find is a great game to play indoors with your dog.
Until they understand the game, you may have to lead them to it, but they will learn quickly.
You can make this game increasingly difficult by hiding the treat in locations that are hard to find.
This game may seem like forcing your Chihuahua to work but seeking is a lot of fun for dogs as well as being mentally stimulating.
If you have a partner or roommate at home, you can try a game known as “come when called.”
As the name suggests, you stand apart and call you Chihuahua, so they keep running from one of you to the other.
Give them a treat when they come to you.
Keep them motivated.
As the game progresses, stand further and further apart.
Making your dog run down a landing way or in a strip of the yard is ideal, as, after all, this is meant for exercise as well as fun.
You can purchase motorized toys, such as the iFetch or iDig.
The iFetch launches mini tennis balls, keeping your Chihuahua occupied.
The iDig has a number of flaps in a sturdy base.
You place a toy or a treat in one of the flaps, and your Chihuahua will have to dig through the material to find it.
Toys like these are perfect if you have to leave your dog home alone or are unable to play with them and want to make sure they stay entertained.
Chihuahuas make wonderful apartment dogs – and for very good reason.
They love being with people, and their exercise and grooming needs are minimal.
Nevertheless, this does not mean you cannot or should not walk them.
They do need to keep active.
In fact, it’s essential for their health and emotional wellbeing.
It just needs to be provided in a safe, structured, and relative amount.
And if you keep up with their exercise, make sure they are not overfed, and do all you can to support their needs – you should have a happy, healthy Chihuahua who will make an excellent companion for many years to come.
I am a practiced pet owner with decades of experience owning a number of different pets. I am also the main writer and chief editor here at Pet Educate; a site I created to share everything I’ve learned about pet ownership over the years and my extensive research along the way.