Like dogs of all breeds, shih tzus require daily exercise. Their physical fitness needs are rather minimal in comparison with many other bigger canines, however. If you have a backyard where your shih tzu goes to the bathroom, one walk around the neighborhood each day will meet his exercise needs. If you don't have a backyard, your pup will need to be walked more often.
Although these fluffy dogs don't require as much exercise as many bigger canines, it's important that they go outdoors for daily walks. Lack of exercise is detrimental to dogs just like it is for people. Exercise is essential for both canine physical and mental health. Going up and down your street briskly should satisfy your shih tzu's daily physical fitness demands. Brief walks are optimal for shih tzus due to their short limbs.
Don't be too surprised if your shih tzu is ever reluctant to get exercise outside, either. These dogs are often big fans of lounging around inside with their favorite human beings. As much as they resist, however, don't give in; exercise is crucial for their well-being.
If your shih tzu seems to be particularly fond of exercise, consider taking him on longer walks or hikes once in a while. Lengthier walks are suitable and pleasurable for more active and energetic shih tzus.
If you live in an apartment building and don't have a backyard for your shih tzu to relieve himself in, you'll need to take him for more frequent walks. However, these outings don't have to be as lengthy as his daily walk for exercise. Dogs generally need to defecate right after meals, at least once per day. The number depends on factors such as fiber intake, portion size and the specific kind of food they consume. Dogs typically need to urinate every eight to 10 hours. Your shih tzu may need to go outside more or less often. Keep track of his bathroom habits and put him on a daily potty schedule.
Other Exercise Options
Outdoor walks aren't the only form of suitable exercise for shih tzus. Although shih tzus definitely appreciate being inside relaxing, they also can be relatively active creatures who thrive on physical activity. Help your pet get the exercise he needs by encouraging playtime in your yard. If you have a secure fenced area on your property, let your shih tzu run around on his own. Just be sure to keep your eye on him the entire time. Outdoor or indoor fetch sessions can also make great forms of exercise for shih tzus.
Short Muzzles and Weather Restrictions
Shih tzus are brachycephalic dogs due to their conspicuously "pushed in" faces. This appearance is a result of their short skull bones. Their pushed in noses occasionally contribute to breathing difficulties. Because of that, they shouldn't be taken outdoors for walks in times of intensely cold or hot weather conditions. When the temperatures outside are high, overheating is a major danger to shih tzus. Very muggy weather can also be problematic. These dogs are simply unable to cool off as rapidly as many other breeds. If you observe any signs of breathing difficulties in your shih tzu during physical activity, consult with your veterinarian.