As our beloved Shih Tzu companions age, it becomes increasingly important to ensure they receive the proper exercise and physical activity to maintain their overall health and well-being. Regular exercise not only helps keep their bodies in shape but also provides mental stimulation and bonding opportunities with their owners. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explore various senior Shih Tzu exercise tips to help your furry friend stay active and enjoy their golden years to the fullest.

The Importance of Exercise for Senior Shih Tzus

Exercise plays a crucial role in the lives of senior Shih Tzus, offering numerous benefits that contribute to their overall quality of life. Regular physical activity can help:

Maintain Healthy Weight

As dogs age, their metabolism slows down, making it easier for them to gain weight. Exercise helps burn calories and maintain a healthy weight, reducing the risk of obesity-related health issues.

Improve Mobility and Flexibility

Gentle exercises can help keep joints and muscles flexible, reducing stiffness and improving mobility, which is essential for senior dogs prone to arthritis or other age-related conditions.

Preparing for Exercise

Before starting any exercise routine with your senior Shih Tzu, it’s essential to consult with your veterinarian. They can assess your dog’s overall health and provide guidance on the appropriate level and type of exercise suitable for their age and physical condition.

Warm-up and Cool-down

Just like humans, dogs need to warm up before exercise and cool down afterward. A gentle walk or light stretching can help prepare their muscles and prevent injury.


Ensure your senior Shih Tzu has access to fresh water before, during, and after exercise to prevent dehydration, especially in warm weather.

Proper Equipment

Invest in a comfortable, well-fitting harness or leash to ensure your dog’s safety and comfort during walks or other outdoor activities.

Low-Impact Exercises for Senior Shih Tzus

Senior Shih Tzus may have limitations due to age-related conditions, such as arthritis or joint issues. Low-impact exercises are gentle on their bodies and can help maintain their fitness levels without causing undue stress or injury.


Short, frequent walks are an excellent low-impact exercise for senior Shih Tzus. Start with shorter distances and gradually increase as your dog’s stamina improves. Vary the routes to keep them mentally stimulated.


Swimming is a great low-impact exercise that provides a full-body workout without putting excessive strain on joints. It’s also a refreshing activity for hot summer days.

Indoor Activities

For days when outdoor exercise is not feasible, indoor activities like playing fetch or hide-and-seek can provide mental and physical stimulation for your senior Shih Tzu.

Strengthening Exercises

As dogs age, they may experience muscle loss and weakness. Incorporating gentle strengthening exercises into their routine can help maintain their muscle tone and balance.

Stair Climbing

Supervised stair climbing is an excellent way to build strength in your senior Shih Tzu’s hind legs. Start with a few steps and gradually increase as they become more comfortable.

Balance Exercises

Simple balance exercises, such as having your dog stand on a wobble board or cushion, can help improve their stability and coordination.

Resistance Training

Using lightweight doggy backpacks or resistance bands can provide a gentle resistance workout, helping to build and maintain muscle strength.

Mental Stimulation

Exercise isn’t just about physical activity; it’s also essential to provide mental stimulation for your senior Shih Tzu. Engaging their minds can help keep them alert and active, preventing cognitive decline.

Nose Work

Nose work activities, such as hiding treats around the house or yard, can provide a fun and mentally stimulating exercise for your senior Shih Tzu.

Puzzle Toys

Interactive puzzle toys that dispense treats or kibble can keep your dog’s mind engaged and challenged while also providing a rewarding experience.


Continuing to train your senior Shih Tzu with simple commands or tricks can help keep their minds sharp and strengthen the bond between you and your furry companion.

Safety Considerations

When exercising with your senior Shih Tzu, it’s crucial to prioritize their safety and well-being. Here are some important considerations:

Heat and Cold

Extreme temperatures can be dangerous for senior dogs. Avoid exercising during the hottest or coldest parts of the day, and ensure they have access to shade and water.


Choose safe and level surfaces for walking or running to prevent slips, falls, or injuries. Avoid rough terrain or steep inclines that may be too challenging for your senior dog.


Pay close attention to your senior Shih Tzu’s body language and signs of fatigue. Stop and rest if they appear tired or uncomfortable to prevent overexertion.

Looking for more tips on caring for your senior Shih Tzu? Check out our articles on Shih Tzu training tips, house training tips, potty training tips, apartment potty training tips, and general potty training to ensure your furry friend stays happy and healthy in their golden years!


Providing regular exercise and physical activity is essential for maintaining the health and well-being of your senior Shih Tzu. By incorporating low-impact exercises, strengthening activities, and mental stimulation into their routine, you can help ensure they enjoy their golden years to the fullest. Remember to consult with your veterinarian and prioritize your dog’s safety and comfort throughout their exercise regimen. With patience, love, and the right approach, you can create a fulfilling and enjoyable exercise experience for both you and your beloved senior Shih Tzu companion.

Britta Thygesen

Britta Thygesen

A passionate dog owner and a full-time certified dog trainer. Aspires to make DogCareHacks a go-to place for all the doggo info. Shares personal experience and professional knowledge.

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