How Much Exercise Do Chihuahuas Need? [Exercise Plan + Ideas]

Are you wondering how much walking your Chihuahua needs to stay happy and healthy?

Or how much exercise do Chihuahuas need each day?

But when it comes to their exercise needs, it can be a little tricky to know just how much walking they need.

We’ve been there too, with our rescue Chihuahua, Leo.

When we first brought him home, we weren’t sure how much to walk him or if he could handle long walks.

But to our surprise, Leo has turned out to be quite the little athlete!

He walks for an hour a day and even goes on hikes with us.

We’ve learned a lot about Chihuahua exercise needs through our experience with Leo, and we’re excited to share our knowledge with you. 

So, let’s dive in and discover just how much walking your Chihuahua needs along with the benefits of exercise plus the negatives of not giving them enough.

Tan chihuahua wearing a sweater stops to pose with a tilted head during his walk
Leo is striking a pose on his walk!

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How Much Exercise Do Chihuahuas Need?

Chihuahuas need at least 30 minutes of exercise daily to stay healthy. This can be a combination of walking, playing in the yard, and running around.

The amount of time needed varies depending on your pup’s age and activity levels.

Puppies should only exercise 20 minutes or less each day broken up into short spurts.

Too much exercise at such a young age can damage their growth plates, which aren’t fully calcified yet.

Senior dogs might want to exercise less or go at a slower pace as they age, especially if they are leading a more sedentary lifestyle or have joint issues.

How Much Walking Does a Chihuahua Need?

A man walking a chihuahua

Ideally, you should walk an adult Chihuahua twice a day.

Since Chihuahuas are so small, it’s best to break the 30 minutes of daily exercise into two 15-minute walks

This will help your Chihuahua recover between walks while staying healthy and happy.

If you are unable to walk your dog twice a day, one walk is better than nothing.

Unfortunately, saving a super long walk for the end of the week will not cut it.

When we first got our rescue Chihuahua, we were unsure of how much to walk him, so we did 10-15 minute walks then gradually added time.

How Far Can Can You Walk A Chihuahua?

Most Chihuahuas can walk up to two miles without getting tired.

If your Chihuahua is a little older or not as active, start with a half-mile and work your way up to two miles.

It’s important that you don’t push your Chihuahua too hard or they may become exhausted or injured.

Make sure to keep their nails trimmed so that walking doesn’t become painful for them.

Chihuahuas are able to go on hikes and adventures, too! Just don’t forget to offer plenty of water after they’ve exercised, especially if it’s hot outside.

Sample Exercise Plan For Adult Chihuahua

Adult Chihuahuas need at least 30 minutes of exercise a day. Here is a sample exercise plan that you can customize.


  • 15 minute walk
  • 5-10 minutes of indoor play/training (fetch, hide & seek, commands)


  • 15 minute walk
  • 5-10 minutes of outdoor play/exercise (fetch, chase, frisbee, agility)

1-2 days a week:

  • 30 minute to 1 hour walk, hike, swimming, or park visit

Remember, this is just a sample plan and should be adjusted based on your Chihuahua’s individual needs and preferences.

Some Chihuahuas may need more exercise than others, depending on their age, weight, and overall health.

How Much Is Too Much Exercise for a Chihuahua?

Chihuahuas are prone to overexerting themselves without knowing it! They love to run fast and get the zoomies.

While it’s important to make sure your Chihuahua gets enough exercise, you don’t want to overdo it.

a woman is walking a chihuahua on a walking path during sunrise

Signs of overexercising:

Stop and give them a break or carry them for a bit if you notice these signs.

Don’t feel obligated to exercise your dog vigorously every single day. Give them time to recuperate, especially if they’ve had an active day or week.

Here are some tips to avoid overexercising your Chihuahua:

  • Start slowly and gradually increase the intensity and duration of exercise as your dog gets fitter
  • Avoid strenuous exercises, such as running and jumping
  • Take breaks often, especially in hot weather
  • Make sure your dog is hydrated before, during, and after exercise
  • Monitor your dog for signs of fatigue like lagging behind or excessive panting
  • Bring a dog carrier backpack to carry them if they get tired

It’s best to stick with short, frequent walks and to gradually work your way up to longer walks if you choose.

White chihuahua walking with lady where you only see her calves and black sandals

Exercises For Puppy and Senior Chihuahuas

If you own a puppy or senior Chihuahua, they have different exercise requirements than adults.

Puppies need short, frequent walks and socialization while seniors benefit from gentler exercises and mental stimulation to keep their minds sharp.

two tan chihuahuas are playing with a pink ball


  1. Short walks: Puppies have a lot of energy, but their growing bodies are not yet ready for long walks. Short, frequent walks are a great way to get them moving and exploring their surroundings after they’ve had their shots.
  2. Playtime: Puppies love to play, and playtime is an important part of their physical and mental development. Play games like fetch or tug-of-war to help them burn off energy.
  3. Puppy classes: Puppy classes are a great way to socialize your puppy and help them learn basic obedience commands. Many puppy classes also incorporate fun exercises like agility training.
  4. Basic Training: Incorporate brief training sessions into playtime. Teach them basic commands like “sit,” “stay,” and “come.” This not only stimulates their mind but also builds a foundation for obedience.

Senior dogs:

  • Short, gentle walks: Senior dogs may not have the same energy levels as puppies, but they still need regular exercise to maintain their health. Short, gentle walks can help keep them active and improve their mobility.
  • Swimming/hydrotherapy: Swimming or hydrotherapy is a low-impact exercise that can be great for senior dogs, especially those with joint problems or arthritis.
  • Mental Stimulation: Provide puzzle toys or interactive feeders to keep their minds active. This can help prevent cognitive decline.
  • Nose work: Nose work is a fun activity that can help keep your senior dog’s mind sharp. You can hide treats around the house or yard and encourage them to find them using their sense of smell.

What Are the Benefits of Exercising Your Chihuahua?

We know exercising is good for our dogs, but to what extent?

Listed below are some of the many benefits your Chihuahua will get from daily exercises:

1. Maintain Weight

Chihuahuas who get enough exercise are less likely to become obese and suffer from health problems later in life.

Regular physical activity also plays a role in maintaining a healthy stomach size.

Maintaining a healthy weight will also reduce snoring since overweight dogs tend to accumulate more fat around their throat area.

2. Relieve Stress

Exercise also helps relieve stress and anxiety in dogs.

If your Chihuahua is cooped up all day, they will be much more active when you finally take them for a walk.

3. Keep Joints Mobile

Walking your chihuahua helps keep their joints mobile, preventing joint problems as they get older.

This is crucial because Chihuahuas tend to suffer from a knee condition called patellar luxation.

4. Strengthen Muscles and Bones

Exercise also helps to strengthen your Chihuahua’s muscles and bones.

It also keeps their cardiovascular system and heart healthy. This can help them stay active and playful into old age!

5. Mental Stimulation

Pumping blood to the brain through exercise keeps your Chihuahua’s cognitive functions sharp. All that sniffing activates the olfactory bulb, which is responsible for processing smells.

6. Strengthen Your Bond

Exercising together helps strengthen your bond with your dog.

When you take the time to exercise with your pup, they will appreciate it and love you more!

7. Explore and Socialize

Going for walks in new areas will expose your Chihuahua to new sights and smells.

This will keep them curious and keep their mind stimulated.

They will also get to meet new dogs along the way, which builds up their socialization skills.

8. Increase Your Physical Activity

Taking your dog for a walk is a great exercise for you as well!

This study shows dog owners are generally more active than non-owners. I know this is true for us.

When we adopted our dog, we started going for two walks every single day. 

It’s an excellent way to get the heart pumping, release endorphins, and get both of you in a good mood.

Negative Effects of Not Exercising Your Chihuahua

Now that we’ve explained the benefits of exercising your Chihuahua, what happens when they don’t get adequate exercise?

1. Obesity

They may become obese and suffer from health problems later in life.

An overweight dog has a harder time exercising because of the extra weight they’re carrying around.

That extra weight puts a burden on their joints and leads to snoring.

2. Destructive Behaviors

Low physical activity can lead to destructive behaviors.

They might start chewing up items in your house, going potty indoors, licking excessively, or tipping over their water bowl.

Exercise reduces these behaviors and gives your chihuahua a way to release their energy in a healthy way.

3. Barking and Crying

They may start to howl or bark excessively. This is their way of releasing the extra energy they’re storing up.

Chihuahuas who don’t get enough exercise are more likely to become vocal.

This is also a way to get your attention, so maybe they’re trying to tell you they want to go for a walk.

4. Bored or Hyperactive

They may become restless and bored, or even depressed.

Your Chihuahua could start sleeping more and have no motivation to exercise.

On the other hand, little to no exercise can cause a Chihuahua to become hyperactive.

This is because they have a lot of energy so if they don’t get exercised, this can lead to the zoomies or pulling on the leash when you do take them for a walk.

5. Health Issues

They may start developing health problems such as joint problems, respiratory problems, or heart disease.

Exercise is the way to build a healthy heart for your Chihuahua! It’s important to keep their endurance and stamina up.

6. Joint and Bone Problems

Their joints may not stay mobile, leading to joint problems as they get older.

Their muscles and bones may weaken, making them less active and playful as they age.

All of these can be prevented by exercising your Chihuahua regularly!

Don’t be afraid to start slow if your Chihuahua is not used to exercising as long as you begin to make it a habit.

How Can I Exercise a Chihuahua Indoors?

Now that we know how much exercise a Chihuahua needs, how can you make sure your pup gets enough?

If the weather is bad or you don’t have time to go for a walk, there are plenty of other ways to exercise your Chihuahua indoors.

Indoor game ideas:

  • Fetch
  • Tug of war
  • Hide and seek
  • Chase
  • Puzzle toys
  • Obstacle course
  • Stair climbing
  • Interactive treat dispensers
  • Scavenger hunt
  • Indoor doggy playdate
  • Walk around a pet-friendly store
  • Train new tricks

Another great way to get your Chihuahua moving is by setting up a dog agility course in your living room or garage.

This will challenge them mentally and physically. You can buy this agility course or make one yourself using furniture and boxes.

Get even more ideas in our post 26 Fun Games to Play with Your Chihuahua!

What to Do If My Chihuahua Doesn’t Want to Exercise?

If your Chihuahua is not motivated to exercise or is acting lazy, there are a few things you can do to help them get more exercise. 

  • Consult Your Vet: If you notice a sudden or significant decrease in your Chihuahua’s activity level, visit your vet. Health issues or discomfort could be the underlying cause, so it’s essential to rule out any medical concerns.
  • Change Up Activities: Variety can pique your Chihuahua’s interest. Try different indoor games, toys, or activities to see what captures their attention. Rotate their toys to keep things fresh and exciting.
  • Set a Schedule: Establish a consistent exercise schedule. Dogs often thrive with routine, so having set times for play and exercise can help motivate them.
  • Play with Other Dogs: If your Chihuahua enjoys the company of other dogs, arrange playdates with friendly doggy pals or take them to doggy daycare. Social interaction can be a great motivator.
  • Explore New Environments: Take your Chihuahua to new places or environments to explore. A change of scenery can stimulate their curiosity and encourage movement.
  • Include rewards: Use treats and praise to reward your Chihuahua when they engage in physical activity. Positive reinforcement can encourage them to participate in playtime.
  • Interactive toys: Invest in some dog toys that will keep them active, like an automatic fetch toy or an Idig

By switching things up, you can motivate your Chihuahua to get the exercise they need to stay healthy and happy.

Can Chihuahuas Go Swimming?

Chihuahuas can go swimming, but they should not be allowed to swim in deep water since they can easily be swept away.

Some Chihuahuas don’t like swimming because they are afraid of the water.

Make sure your Chihuahua has a life jacket on if you are going to take them swimming and keep an eye on them at all times.

Start out training them to swim in a pool to see if they like it.

If your Chihuahua loves swimming, it’s important to clean their ears after a session.

Just like humans, dogs can also get swimmer’s ear and it could lead to an infection.

Read our post about how and why to clean your Chihuahua’s ears.

How Much Exercise Does a Teacup Chihuahua Need?

A teacup Chihuahua doesn’t need as much exercise as a regular-sized Chihuahua.

A good rule of thumb is to take your teacup Chihuahua for a walk once a day and let them play in the yard.

Teacup chihuahuas can also get exercise by playing fetch.

Just like with regular-sized Chihuahuas, it’s important to keep an eye on your Chihuahua’s behavior and how much exercise they’re getting.

As always, too much exercise can lead to health problems for your teacup Chihuahua.

What Items Do You Need to Walk A Chihuahua?

Walking a Chihuahua doesn’t require too many items, but you’ll want to be prepared. 

The most important items you need are:

If you’d to take the opportunity to do some training on your walks, then a treat bag will come in handy.

Dress for the weather! Chihuahuas are prone to getting cold so it’s important they wear a sweater or even boots if it’s snowy or the pavement is too hot.

Check out our Chihuahua clothing guide for more options!

If you’re going to be taking your chihuahua for a walk in the dark, you’ll also want to have a flashlight or headlamp.

Make sure you have plenty of water & a collapsible travel bowl to keep your pup hydrated on your walks, especially on those hot days.

Tan chihuahua wearing a blue sweater on a walk with grass in his mouth
Leo stopping for some grass on his walk


Now that you know how much walking a Chihuahua needs, it’s important to start implementing a routine. A happy and exercised dog is a good dog.

Two 15-minute walks a day is the ideal amount for most Chihuahuas, but make sure you adjust depending on their age and activity level.

If you can’t get outside for a walk or it’s too hot or cold out, then there are plenty of ways to exercise your Chihuahua indoors such as fetch and hide and seek.

Keep an eye on your Chihuahua’s exercise levels though, as too little exercise can lead to health problems like obesity and destructive behaviors while too much can increase the chance of an injury.


Can You Walk a Chihuahua in the Snow?

Yes, you can walk a Chihuahua in the snow, but make sure they have proper boots to protect their feet. They will also need a coat to keep them warm since Chihuahuas have trouble staying warm.

Can You Take a Chihuahua Jogging?

Yes, Chihuahuas can go jogging, but for short distances. They are not built for long-distance running. 

Can Chihuahuas Be Walked With a Collar?

Chihuahuas can be walked with a collar, but it’s better to use a harness instead to prevent neck injuries such as a collapsed trachea.

Can a Chihuahua Walk 5 Miles?

Chihuahuas can’t walk as far as other breeds. They could walk 5 miles if you slowly train them by going for longer and longer walks each day. However, we recommend against walks farther than two miles unless you are taking frequent breaks. If you’d like to go on long hikes with your pup, it’s best to use a dog carrier backpack.

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