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How to Keep Your Shih Tzu Active and Healthy?

by Pawsome Tips
How to Keep Your Shih Tzu Active and Healthy

‍Are you looking for how to keep your Shih Tzu active and healthy? Look no further!

In this article, we will explore the exercise essentials for Shih Tzus, giving you all the tips and tricks to ensure your canine companion stays fit and happy.

Regular exercise is vital for the overall well-being of your Shih Tzu, as it helps maintain a healthy weight, strengthens muscles, and promotes mental stimulation. 

From walks in the park to interactive play sessions, we will cover a range of activities that are both enjoyable for your Shih Tzu and beneficial for their physical and mental health. So, to enhance the quality of your Shih Tzu life and create a stronger bond with your furry friend, keep reading to discover the exercise essentials for keeping your Shih Tzu active and healthy.

Importance of Exercise for Shih Tzus

Exercise plays a crucial role in keeping your Shih Tzu healthy and happy. Regular physical activity helps maintain a healthy weight, essential for preventing obesity-related health issues. Additionally, exercise strengthens your Shih Tzu muscles, improves cardiovascular health, and promotes proper digestion. Moreover, exercise provides mental stimulation, preventing boredom and reducing the likelihood of destructive behaviors caused by excess energy.

To reap the benefits of exercise, it is essential to understand the specific exercise needs of Shih Tzus. While they may not require as much exercise as some larger breeds, Shih Tzus still need daily activity to maintain good health. Keeping your Shih Tzu active will ensure they are physically fit and enhance their overall well-being and quality of life. Now that we understand the importance of exercise for Shih Tzus let’s explore the types of exercises suitable for them.

Types of Exercises Suitable for Shih Tzus

Shih Tzus are a small breed known for their playful and affectionate nature. They do not require high-intensity exercises like some larger breeds but still benefit from regular physical activity. Here are some exercises suitable for Shih Tzus:

1. Leisurely Walks

Taking your Shih Tzu for a leisurely walk is a great way to keep them active. Aim for at least two 20-30 minute walks per day. This will provide physical exercise and mental stimulation as your Shih Tzu explores the surroundings and smells.

2. Interactive Play Sessions

Shih Tzus love to play! Engage in interactive play sessions with your furry friend using toys such as balls, squeaky, and puzzle toys. These activities will provide physical exercise and stimulate your Shih Tzu’s mind.

3. Obstacle Courses

Set up a mini obstacle course using cones, tunnels, and low jumps in your backyard or living room. Guiding your Shih Tzu through the course will keep them physically active and mentally engaged.

4. Swimming

Many Shih Tzus enjoy swimming, a low-impact exercise that is easy on their joints. If you can access a safe swimming area, take your Shih Tzu for a swim and watch them have a great time while staying active.

Remember, exercise should be tailored to your Shih Tzu’s age, health condition, and energy levels. Gradually increase the intensity and duration of exercises as your Shih Tzu becomes more physically fit. Creating a workout routine for your Shih Tzu will ensure they receive regular exercise and reap the maximum benefits.

Helena Lopes/pixels

Creating a Workout Routine for Your Shih Tzu

Establishing a workout routine for your Shih Tzu is essential to ensure they get the right amount of exercise regularly. Consider the following factors when creating a workout routine:

1. Age

Younger Shih Tzus have more energy and may require longer exercise sessions. Older Shih Tzus may have lower energy levels and need shorter, more gentle exercises.

2. Health Condition

If your Shih Tzu has health conditions, consult your veterinarian to determine the appropriate exercise routine. Certain health issues may require low-impact exercises or specific modifications.

3. Energy Levels

Observe your Shih Tzu’s energy levels and adjust the intensity and duration of the exercises accordingly. Some Shih Tzus are more energetic and may require additional activity.

4. Consistency

Aim for daily exercise sessions to ensure your Shih Tzu receives consistent physical activity. Consistency is vital to maintaining good health and preventing behavioral issues caused by excess energy.

When creating a workout routine, incorporate different exercises to provide a well-rounded fitness regimen for your Shih Tzu. This will keep them physically fit, prevent boredom, and provide mental stimulation.

Tips for Exercising Your Shih Tzu Safely

While exercise is essential for your Shih Tzu’s well-being, ensuring their safety during physical activity is equally important. Here are some tips to keep in mind when exercising your Shih Tzu:

1. Warm-Up and Cool-Down

Like humans, dogs benefit from a warm-up and cool-down before and after exercise. Start with a gentle walk to warm up your Shih Tzu muscles, and end the exercise session with a short walk to cool down.

2. Hydration

Always carry water and a portable bowl to hydrate your Shih Tzu during exercise sessions. Offer water breaks during longer walks or play sessions on hot days.

3. Avoid High Temperatures

Shih Tzus are sensitive to heat, so avoiding exercising them during the hottest parts of the day is essential. Opt for early morning or evening walks when the temperature is more relaxed.

4. Watch for Signs of Overexertion

Watch for signs of overexertion, such as excessive panting, drooling, or lagging. If your Shih Tzu shows any of these signs, take a break and provide them with water.

5. Protective Gear

If engaging in activities like swimming or hiking, consider using a dog life jacket to ensure your Shih Tzu’s safety. Additionally, use a harness instead of a collar to prevent strain on their neck during walks.

By following these tips, you can ensure your Shih Tzu exercises safely and enjoy physical activity without complications.

urinary problems in Shih Tzus
klevers / Shutterstock

Incorporating Mental Stimulation in Your Shih Tzu’s Exercise Regimen

Physical exercise is essential for your Shih Tzu, but mental stimulation is equally important. Engaging your furry friend’s mind through interactive activities can prevent boredom and provide additional benefits. Here are some ways to incorporate mental stimulation into your Shih Tzu’s exercise regimen:

1. Training Sessions

Use exercise time as an opportunity to incorporate training sessions. Teach your Shih Tzu new commands or tricks during walks or play sessions. This will provide mental stimulation while reinforcing obedience.

2. Food Puzzle Toys

Invest in food puzzle toys that require your Shih Tzu to work for their treats. This will keep them mentally engaged and provide a fun challenge during mealtime.

3. Scent Games

Shih Tzus have a keen sense of smell. Play games that involve hiding treats or toys, and let your Shih Tzu use their nose to find them. This will provide mental stimulation and satisfy their instincts.

4. Introduce New Environments

Take your Shih Tzu to different parks or outdoor areas to explore new scents and sights. This will stimulate their senses and provide mental enrichment.

Remember, mental stimulation is just as important as physical exercise for your Shih Tzu’s overall well-being. Incorporating both aspects into their exercise regimen will keep them happy, healthy, and mentally sharp.

Shih Tzu exercise
PicsbyFran / Pixabay

Common Mistakes to Avoid When Exercising Your Shih Tzu

While you may have the best intentions when exercising your Shih Tzu, you must be aware of common mistakes that can hinder their well-being. Avoiding these mistakes will ensure your Shih Tzu gets the most out of their exercise routine. Here are some common mistakes to avoid:

1. Overexercising

While exercise is important, overdoing it can lead to exhaustion or injuries. Pay attention to your Shih Tzu’s energy levels and adjust the intensity and duration of exercises accordingly.

2. Inadequate Warm-Up and Cool-Down

Skipping the warm-up and cool-down can increase the risk of muscle strains or injuries. Always take the time to warm up and cool down your Shih Tzu muscles properly.

3. Ignoring Weather Conditions

Extreme temperatures can be dangerous for your Shih Tzu. Avoid exercising them during excessively hot or cold weather. Opt for indoor exercises or adjust the timing of outdoor activities accordingly.

4. Lack of Variety

Providing a variety of exercises keeps your Shih Tzu mentally stimulated and prevents boredom. Avoid sticking to the same daily routine and introduce new activities to keep things interesting.

5. Neglecting Rest Days

Just like humans, dogs need rest days to allow their bodies to recover. Avoid exercising your Shih Tzu daily and give them regular rest days to prevent fatigue and overexertion.

By being mindful of these common mistakes, you can ensure your Shih Tzu exercise routine is safe, effective, and enjoyable.

Overexercising is one of the common mistakes to avoid when exercising a Shih Tzu
Sam Lion / Pexels

Recommended Toys and Accessories for Exercising Your Shih Tzu

Consider investing in recommended toys and accessories to make exercise sessions more enjoyable for your Shih Tzu. These will provide entertainment and enhance their physical and mental engagement. Here are some recommended toys and accessories for exercising your Shih Tzu:

1. Interactive Treat Toys

These toys require your Shih Tzu to work for treats, providing mental stimulation and entertainment. Examples include treat-dispensing puzzle toys or toys that require your Shih Tzu to manipulate them to release treats.

2. Squeaky Toys

Shih Tzus love the sound of squeaky toys. Incorporate these toys into play sessions to keep your Shih Tzu engaged and excited.

3. Fetch Toys

Invest in small, lightweight fetch toys that are easy for your Shih Tzu to carry and retrieve. Playing fetch will provide physical exercise and mental stimulation.

4. Long Leash

A long leash allows your Shih Tzu to explore further during walks while maintaining control. This will provide them with more freedom and mental stimulation.

5. Tug Toys

Shih Tzus enjoy tugging games. Choose sturdy tug toys for small dogs and engage in gentle tug-of-war sessions.

These toys and accessories make exercise sessions more fun and engaging for your Shih Tzu.

Toys for Shih Tzu
Ricardo Argüello / Pexels

Outdoor Activities for Shih Tzus

Taking your Shih Tzu outdoors for exercise provides them with fresh air, new scents, and a change of environment. Here are some outdoor activities suitable for Shih Tzus:

1. Nature Walks

Explore local parks or nature trails with your Shih Tzu. This will provide them with mental stimulation and an opportunity to experience new sights and smells.

2. Dog Parks

If your Shih Tzu is well-socialized and enjoys the company of other dogs, taking them to a dog park can provide physical exercise and socialization opportunities.

3. Hiking

Shih Tzus can handle short hikes on easy trails. Ensure they are on a leash and consider their energy levels and physical abilities when choosing a trail.

4. Agility Classes

If your Shih Tzu enjoys a challenge, consider enrolling them in agility classes. This will provide mental and physical stimulation while building their confidence and obedience.

Always keep your Shih Tzu on a leash during outdoor activities to ensure their safety. Outdoor exercise will keep them physically fit and provide mental enrichment and a change of scenery.

Outdoor activities for Shih Tzus
Helena Lopes / Pexels

Indoor Exercises for Shih Tzus

There may be times when outdoor exercise is not feasible due to weather conditions or other restrictions. In such cases, plenty of indoor exercises will keep your Shih Tzu active and entertained. Here are some indoor exercises suitable for Shih Tzus:

1. Stair Climbing

If you have stairs in your home, encourage your Shih Tzu to climb them. This will provide a good leg workout and elevate their heart rate.

2. Hide and Seek

Hide treats or toys in different areas of your home and encourage your Shih Tzu to find them. This game provides mental stimulation and physical activity.

3. Indoor Fetch

Clear a space in your home and play fetch with a soft toy or lightweight ball. This will provide physical exercise and mental engagement.

4. Tug-of-War

Engage in a gentle game of tug-of-war with a sturdy toy. This will provide a fun and interactive exercise session.

5. Indoor Agility

Set up a mini obstacle course using cushions, boxes, and tunnels. Guide your Shih Tzu through the course, providing mental and physical stimulation.

Indoor exercises are a great way to keep your Shih Tzu active and entertained when outdoor options are limited. Be creative and use the space in your home to engage your furry friend in fun indoor activities.

Indoor activities for shih tzus
Sam Lion / Pexels

Final Thoughts On How to Keep Your Shih Tzu Active and Healthy

Regular exercise is essential for the overall well-being of Shih Tzus. Incorporating various exercises into their routine can keep them physically fit, mentally stimulated, and emotionally content. Remember to tailor the exercise routine to your Shih Tzu’s age, health condition, and energy levels. Create a workout routine that includes a combination of walks, interactive play sessions, mental stimulation activities, and outdoor adventures. Be mindful of safety precautions, avoid common exercise mistakes, and invest in recommended toys and accessories to enhance their exercise experience. Following these exercise essentials ensures your Shih Tzu leads a happy, healthy, and active life.


How much exercise does a Shih Tzu need?

Shih Tzus are a small breed with relatively low exercise requirements. A daily 20-30 minute walk or playtime in a fenced yard is typically sufficient to keep them healthy and happy.

Can I engage in vigorous activities with my Shih Tzu?

While Shih Tzus enjoy playtime, they are not built for intense physical activities. Avoid high-impact exercises that can strain their delicate joints and spine. Stick to gentle play and short walks.

Are indoor activities suitable for Shih Tzus?

Yes, indoor activities like puzzle toys, hide-and-seek, and interactive games can be great for Shih Tzus. These activities help mental stimulation, which is as important as physical exercise for this breed.

How do I know if my Shih Tzu is getting enough exercise?

Please pay attention to their behavior. You’re likely providing enough exercise if they seem content, relaxed, and not displaying excessive restlessness or destructive behavior. Adjust the routine if needed.

Are there any exercise restrictions for Shih Tzus?

Yes, be cautious about extreme temperatures, especially heat, due to their short snouts. Overheating can be dangerous. Additionally, avoid jumping from heights, as Shih Tzus are prone to injuries.

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