Fun and Effective Toys and Games to Help Your Shih Tzu Exercise

You love your adorable Shih Tzu and want to keep them healthy and happy. Exercise is an essential component of your furry friend’s well-being, and incorporating fun and stimulating toys and games into their routine can make it all the more enjoyable. But with so many options available, it can be challenging to know where to start. Not to worry – in this article, we’ll explore the best toys and games for exercise with your Shih Tzu, along with some helpful tips on how to choose the right options for them. So let’s dive in and get that tail wagging!

Why Is Exercise Important for Your Shih Tzu?

Why Is Exercise Important For Your Shih Tzu?
Regular exercise for your Shih Tzu is just as important as a healthy diet and proper grooming. Engaging in physical activity with your furry companion can provide numerous benefits that can improve their overall quality of life. In fact, not getting enough exercise can lead to a range of health problems, including obesity, joint pain, and even behavioral issues.

Maintaining an active lifestyle can help keep your Shih Tzu in good shape, both physically and mentally. Regular exercise can help your furry friend maintain a healthy weight and reduce the risk of various health conditions such as obesity, heart disease, and diabetes. It also helps to keep their muscles strong and prevent joint stiffness, making it an essential activity for senior Shih Tzus. Outdoor exercise can expose them to natural light, which helps to regulate their sleep patterns, enhance their immune system and promote good digestion.

Not only does exercise benefit your Shih Tzu’s physical health, but it also helps their mental health. Engaging in physical activity helps to reduce stress, anxiety, and other behavioral issues that can arise from boredom or inactivity. Regular exercise may increase their confidence and positively impact their overall behavior by making them more social, friendly and obedient.

It’s important to note that not all Shih Tzus have the same exercise needs. Factors such as age, weight, and health condition can significantly influence their required activity levels. It’s also crucial to avoid making common exercise mistakes for Shih Tzus such as over-exercising or forcing your dog to participate in activities they don’t enjoy.

Fortunately, there are various ways of incorporating exercise into your Shih Tzu’s routine, whether indoor or outdoor, as per their preferences and needs. Some examples of indoor exercises include hide-and-seek, tug-of-war, and interactive toys, while outdoor activities include walks, runs and fetch. Be sure to read on for a comprehensive list of the best toys and games to exercise with your Shih Tzu.

Remember, before engaging in any new physical activity with your furry friend, always remember to consult your veterinarian for Shih Tzu training tips or specific exercise recommendations that would best suit your pet’s health.

Senior Shih Tzus may require special considerations, which is why it’s crucial to check with your vet first. But with the proper toys, games, and activities, you can ensure that your Shih Tzu is getting the exercise they need to maintain optimal health and happiness.

Physical Health Benefits of Exercise

We all want our furry friends to be happy and healthy, right? Exercise is one of the most important things you can do to achieve that for your Shih Tzu. But besides providing a much-needed outlet for their endless energy, regular physical activity also offers numerous physical health benefits to your pup. Just like in humans, exercise helps to maintain healthy body weight, improves cardiovascular health, aids in digestion, boosts the immune system, and even helps to fight off anxiety and depression in dogs. So let’s dive deeper into the importance of exercise for your Shih Tzu’s physical health! If you want to learn more about why exercise is important for your Shih Tzu, you can check our previous article.

Behavioral Benefits of Exercise

Regular exercise can have a positive impact on the behavior of your Shih Tzu. Let’s take a look at some of the behavioral benefits of exercise for your furry friend.

Behavioral BenefitDescription
Reduces Boredom and Destructive BehaviorWhen your Shih Tzu is inactive, it can lead to boredom and destructive behaviors such as chewing, digging or excessive barking. Regular exercise can help release your dog’s energy and prevent these behaviors from occurring.
Improves Socialization SkillsExercising and playing with other dogs can help improve your Shih Tzu’s socialization skills. This can help your dog become more comfortable around other animals and people, resulting in a happier and more relaxed pet overall.
Eliminates Excess EnergyMany Shih Tzu’s have a lot of energy and without enough outlet to their energy, they can become over excited and hyper-active. Regular exercise helps eliminate this excess energy, leading to a calmer and less anxious pet.
Reduces Anxiety and StressJust like humans, dogs can experience anxiety and stress, but exercise can help reduce these negative feelings. When your Shih Tzu exercises, it releases endorphins which can help reduce stress and anxiety levels.

In order to achieve these behavioral benefits, it’s important to ensure that your Shih Tzu is getting enough physical activity. This can be accomplished through a combination of indoor and outdoor exercise alike. Additionally, it’s important to incorporate games and toys into your exercise routine to keep your Shih Tzu engaged and interested. For more tips on exercising with your Shih Tzu and avoiding common mistakes, check out our article on Shih Tzu Exercise Mistakes to Avoid.

Best Toys for Exercise with Your Shih Tzu

Best Toys For Exercise With Your Shih Tzu
As a Shih Tzu owner, you’re well aware of your furry friend’s playful personality. Not only do these little pups love being around their humans, but they also have a lot of energy to burn. Exercise is crucial for keeping your Shih Tzu healthy and happy. Fortunately, there are a variety of fun toys and games available that can help your pup stay active and entertained. Whether you’re looking for interactive toys to stimulate your pup’s mind or fetch toys to encourage physical activity, there’s an option for every Shih Tzu. Let’s explore some of the best toys and games for exercise with your Shih Tzu. And if you need advice on indoor or outdoor exercise, check out our articles on indoor Shih Tzu exercise and Shih Tzu outdoor exercise. If you’d like to learn more about your Shih Tzu’s exercise needs and how to keep them healthy and active, our article on Shih Tzu exercise needs has everything you need to know. Additionally, our article on Shih Tzu training tips can provide useful ideas for incorporating more exercise into your pup’s training routine.

Interactive Toys

Interactive toys are a great option to exercise your Shih Tzu’s mind and body. These toys are designed to stimulate your pet’s brain and keep them engaged for longer periods. Here are some of the best interactive toys for your Shih Tzu:

KONG Classic Dog ToyThis versatile toy can be filled with treats or peanut butter to encourage your Shih Tzu to play for longer. It’s made of durable rubber that can withstand rough play and is easy to clean.
Outward Hound Hide-A-Squirrel Puzzle ToyThis puzzle toy features a tree trunk and squirrels that your Shih Tzu can play with. The squirrels can be hidden inside the trunk, which will challenge your pet’s problem-solving skills.
SmartyKat Hot Pursuit Cat ToyEven though it’s advertised for cats, this toy can be used for dogs too. It features a spinning wand with a feather and ribbons that will encourage your Shih Tzu to chase the toy around the room.
No Hide ChewsThese chews are a great alternative to rawhide and are made from natural ingredients. They come in different flavors like chicken, beef, and pork and will provide hours of entertainment for your Shih Tzu.
Nina Ottosson Dog Brick Puzzle ToyIf your Shih Tzu loves puzzles, then the Nina Ottosson Dog Brick Puzzle Toy is perfect. It features sliding blocks and compartments where you can hide treats. Your pet will have to figure out how to slide the blocks to get the treats out.

Interactive toys are beneficial for your Shih Tzu’s physical and mental health. They help improve problem-solving skills, reduce boredom, and prevent destructive behavior. As a pet owner, it’s important to provide your Shih Tzu with interactive toys that will keep them mentally stimulated and physically active.

Chew Toys

Chew toys are not only great for your Shih Tzu’s dental health but also for providing exercise and mental stimulation. Here are some of the best chew toys for your furry friend:

KONG Classic Dog ToyNylabone Dura ChewBenebone Real Flavor Dental Chew
The KONG Classic Dog Toy is a must-have for dog owners. Made of durable rubber, this toy can withstand tough chewers, and you can fill it with treats for added stimulation. Plus, it comes in various sizes, so you can find the perfect fit for your Shih Tzu!The Nylabone Dura Chew is a long-lasting chew toy that will keep your Shih Tzu occupied for hours. It’s made of tough nylon and textured to promote dental health. This chew toy comes in various flavors and sizes, making it a favorite among many dog owners.The Benebone Real Flavor Dental Chew is a unique chew toy that is curved to fit your dog’s mouth. It’s made of nylon and infused with real food flavors for added enjoyment. Plus, the ridges and nubs on the toy help clean your Shih Tzu’s teeth.
KONG Classic Dog ToyNylabone Dura ChewBenebone Real Flavor Dental Chew

It’s important to note that chew toys come in various sizes and strengths. Be sure to choose a size appropriate for your Shih Tzu and supervise them while they’re playing to ensure their safety. You don’t want them to accidentally swallow anything or break their teeth! With the right chew toy, your Shih Tzu can have healthy teeth and exercise their jaws without damaging your belongings.

Fetch Toys

Playing fetch is a classic game that dogs of all breeds love. Shih Tzus are no exception! This game can be a great form of cardiovascular exercise for your furry friend. Plus, it helps improve their coordination and muscle strength. Here are some of the best fetch toys for your Shih Tzu:

Fetch ToyDescription
Chuckit! Ultra BallThis high-bouncing ball is perfect for playing fetch in large open areas, such as parks or beaches. It’s made of durable rubber and easy to clean.
KONG FlyerThis soft frisbee is gentle on your Shih Tzu’s teeth and gums. It’s made of rubber that is both flexible and durable.
Nerf Dog Tennis Ball BlasterThis toy allows you to launch tennis balls up to 50 feet away with minimal effort. It’s a great option if you have a large space to play fetch in.
Chuckit! Fumble FetchThis toy is a combination of a football and a fetch toy. It’s easy for your Shih Tzu to grip and carry around.

When choosing a fetch toy for your Shih Tzu, keep in mind their size and play style. Some Shih Tzus prefer smaller toys that they can easily hold in their mouth, while others may prefer larger toys that they can chase after. Additionally, it’s important to choose a toy that is made of safe and durable materials to ensure your pup stays safe during playtime.

Games to Play with Your Shih Tzu for Exercise

Games To Play With Your Shih Tzu For Exercise
Just like humans, dogs need exercise to maintain their physical and mental well-being. Playing games with your Shih Tzu can be a fun and effective way to provide them with the physical activity they need. Not only will your furry friend enjoy spending quality time with you, but they will also benefit from the mental stimulation and physical exercise. In this section, we will explore some of the best games to play with your Shih Tzu for exercise. So grab your dog’s favorite toy and let’s get started!


Tug-of-war is a classic game that can provide a great workout for your Shih Tzu. Not only is it a fun way to spend time with your pet, but it can also help build their strength and endurance.

Here are some tips for playing tug-of-war with your Shih Tzu:

  • Start by choosing a toy that is specifically designed for tug-of-war. A rope toy or a rubber tug toy is a great option.
  • Make sure your Shih Tzu knows the rules before you start playing. Teach them to release the toy when you say “drop it.”
  • Use short, controlled pulls instead of long, jerky motions. This will help prevent injury to your dog’s neck and spine.
  • Be mindful of your dog’s body language. If they seem to be getting tired or frustrated, it’s time to take a break.
  • Always supervise your Shih Tzu when playing tug-of-war to prevent accidents or injuries.

Benefits of Playing Tug-of-War with Your Shih Tzu

Playing tug-of-war with your Shih Tzu can provide a number of benefits, including:

  • Physical exercise: Tug-of-war is a great way to get your Shih Tzu moving and burn off some energy.
  • Mental stimulation: This game can also provide mental stimulation and help prevent boredom in your pet.
  • Bonding: Playing tug-of-war is a fun way to bond with your Shih Tzu and strengthen your relationship.
  • Training: By teaching your dog to release the toy on command, you can also use tug-of-war as a training opportunity.

Remember, tug-of-war can be a great addition to your Shih Tzu’s exercise routine, but it’s important to play safely and responsibly. Always choose appropriate toys and supervise your pet during playtime.


Hide-and-Seek is a fun game that can provide both exercise and mental stimulation for your Shih Tzu. Here’s how to play:

1. Start by finding a good hiding spot – Choose a spot where your Shih Tzu can find you, but it might take a little bit of searching. Make sure it’s safe for your Shih Tzu to reach you, and that there are no hazards or potential dangers in the area.

2. Encourage your Shih Tzu to stay – Ask your Shih Tzu to stay in a designated spot while you go hide. This will give them a chance to use their senses to find you, and also help reinforce their obedience training by requiring them to stay in place until released.

3. Call your Shih Tzu – Once you’re hidden, call your Shih Tzu to come find you. Use an excited tone of voice to encourage them to start searching for you. You can also use a toy or treat to help pique their interest and get them moving.

4. Give hints as needed – If your Shih Tzu is having trouble finding you, give them some hints to help guide them in the right direction. You can use your voice or make noise to help draw their attention to your hiding spot.

5. Reward your Shih Tzu – When your Shih Tzu finds you, make sure to reward them with praise, pets, and treats. This will help reinforce the behavior and encourage them to continue playing games with you in the future.

Remember to keep the game safe by avoiding any hazardous areas or objects, and be patient with your Shih Tzu as they learn how to play. With a little bit of practice, Hide-and-Seek can be a fun and healthy way to bond with your furry friend while providing them with both physical and mental exercise.


Playing fetch is a classic game that every dog owner knows about. It’s an excellent way to provide exercise for your Shih Tzu, as well as bonding time with your furry friend. There are several different fetch toys that you can choose from, and it’s crucial to select one that your Shih Tzu will enjoy playing with.

1. Tennis balls: Tennis balls are one of the most popular fetch toys amongst dog owners. They’re small, easy to throw, and lightweight, making them perfect for playing fetch with your Shih Tzu. It’s important to note that some tennis balls are made with abrasive materials that can damage your Shih Tzu’s teeth. Make sure you choose a tennis ball specifically made for dogs.

2. Frisbees: Frisbees are another popular fetch toy that can provide your Shih Tzu with a challenging game. They require your Shih Tzu to jump and catch them mid-air, which provides both mental and physical stimulation. Make sure to choose a frisbee that is made specifically for dogs to ensure safety.

3. Soft plush toys: Soft plush toys can be a great option if your Shih Tzu doesn’t like playing with traditional fetch toys. These toys are typically less bouncy and are easier for your Shih Tzu to grip in their mouth. It’s important to keep in mind that some plush toys can be easily destroyed, so make sure to supervise your Shih Tzu while they play.

4. Rope toys: Rope toys are perfect for tug-of-war and fetch games. They’re sturdy, easy to throw, and can provide both physical and mental exercise for your Shih Tzu. However, it’s important to choose a rope toy that is made with safe materials and avoids any loose threads that your dog can chew and swallow.

Playing fetch is an excellent way to provide exercise and entertainment for your Shih Tzu. Just make sure to choose a fetch toy that is suitable for your dog’s size, age, and play preferences. Also, never leave your Shih Tzu unsupervised when playing with toys to ensure their safety.

How to Choose the Right Toys and Games for Your Shih Tzu

As a loving pet owner, you want to ensure that your Shih Tzu is happy and healthy. Choosing the right toys and games is an essential step in achieving that goal. However, with so many options available, it can be perplexing to decide which toys and games are suitable for your furry friend. In this section, we’ll provide you with some valuable information and tools to help you select the best toys and games for your Shih Tzu. So, let’s dive deep into the process of choosing the most appropriate toys and games that will keep your pet healthy, happy, and entertained!

Consider Your Shih Tzu’s Age and Size

It’s important to consider your Shih Tzu’s age and size when choosing the right toys and games for exercise. Different sizes and age ranges may require different types of toys and activities. To help you choose the best options, we’ve created a handy table below:

Age RangeToy Type
Puppy (0-7 months)Soft plush toys, teething toys, small balls
Adult (8 months-7 years)Chew toys, ropes, interactive toys, larger balls
Senior (7+ years)Gentle chew toys, soft stuffed animals, easy-to-fetch balls

In addition to age range, it’s also important to consider your Shih Tzu’s size. Toys that are too small or too large can be dangerous or difficult for your dog to play with. If you have a smaller Shih Tzu, choose toys that are appropriately sized for their mouth and body. For larger Shih Tzus, choose toys that are durable and can withstand their strength.

By taking into account your Shih Tzu’s age and size, you can ensure that you choose the right toys and games for exercise that will keep them healthy, happy, and entertained.

Think About Your Shih Tzu’s Play Preferences

It’s important to consider your Shih Tzu’s play preferences when choosing toys and games for exercise. Every dog is unique and has different likes and dislikes when it comes to playtime. By taking your Shih Tzu’s preferences into account, you can ensure that the toys and games you select are more likely to keep your furry friend engaged and active.

Here are some questions to ask yourself when thinking about your Shih Tzu’s play preferences:

  • Does my Shih Tzu enjoy playing fetch or tug-of-war?
  • Does my Shih Tzu prefer playing alone or with other dogs or humans?
  • Does my Shih Tzu enjoy puzzles or interactive toys?
  • Does my Shih Tzu like to chew on toys?
  • Does my Shih Tzu prefer toys that make noise or are soft and cuddly?
  • Does my Shih Tzu like to play indoors or outdoors?

By answering these questions, you can get a better idea of what kinds of toys and games your Shih Tzu enjoys the most. For example, if your Shih Tzu loves playing fetch, you might want to choose a variety of fetch toys like balls and frisbees. On the other hand, if your Shih Tzu prefers interactive toys, you could consider puzzle toys that require your dog to problem-solve to get a treat.

Remember: Just like humans, dogs can get bored with the same toys and games. Don’t be afraid to mix things up and introduce new toys or games to keep your Shih Tzu engaged and excited to play.

Ensure the Toy or Game is Safe for Your Shih Tzu

Keeping your Shih Tzu safe during playtime is crucial. Here are some tips on how to ensure the toy or game you choose is safe for your furry friend:

  • Inspect the Toy: Before giving the toy to your Shih Tzu, make sure it is free of any small or easily detachable parts that your dog could swallow or choke on. Also, check for sharp edges or loose threads that may cause harm to your pet.
  • Choose Durable Materials: The durability of the toy is also important. Choose toys made of sturdy and non-toxic materials that can withstand the wear and tear of your Shih Tzu’s playtime.
  • Avoid Toxic Materials: Some materials used in toys or games can be toxic to your Shih Tzu. Avoid toys with chemicals, such as lead or phthalates. Also, keep in mind that some dogs are allergic to certain materials, such as latex or rubber.
  • Supervise Playtime: It’s important to always supervise your Shih Tzu’s playtime with toys or games. Watch out for any signs of damage or wear and tear in the toy and replace it immediately if needed. Also, keep an eye on your dog’s behavior during playtime to prevent any accidents or injuries.

By following these tips, you can ensure your Shih Tzu stays safe and enjoys playtime with their chosen toy or game.


In conclusion, it’s clear that exercise is incredibly important for the physical and behavioral health of your Shih Tzu. The benefits of exercise range from weight management to reducing anxiety and boredom. By providing your furry friend with plenty of opportunities for exercise, you can help them live a longer and happier life.

Choosing the right toys and games for your Shih Tzu is key to ensuring they get the most out of their exercise routine. Interactive toys, chew toys, and fetch toys can all provide different types of stimulation and engagement for your furry friend. Additionally, games like tug-of-war, hide-and-seek, and fetch can make exercise feel like a fun bonding experience for both you and your Shih Tzu.

As you choose the right toys and games for your Shih Tzu, be sure to consider factors such as their age, size, and play preferences. It’s important to choose toys that are safe and appropriate for their individual needs and abilities.

Whether you’re playing with interactive toys or going for a walk around the block, making exercise a regular part of your Shih Tzu’s routine is a great way to keep them happy, healthy, and engaged. So don’t hesitate to break out the toys and get moving with your furry friend!

Frequently Asked Questions

Can all Shih Tzus engage in vigorous exercise?

No, not all Shih Tzus can engage in vigorous exercise. If your Shih Tzu has any underlying health conditions, consult with your veterinarian before starting an exercise routine.

What are the benefits of exercising with my Shih Tzu?

Exercising with your Shih Tzu can help maintain their physical health and improve their behavior. It can also improve your bond with your furry friend.

How much exercise does a Shih Tzu need?

Shih Tzus require at least 30 minutes of exercise per day. However, ensure that your routine is tailored to your dog’s age and physical abilities.

Can Shih Tzus swim?

Yes, Shih Tzus can swim. However, some may not be strong swimmers, so ensure that you monitor them while in the water and use a life jacket if necessary.

Can my Shih Tzu play with tennis balls?

Yes, Shih Tzus can play with tennis balls, but ensure they are not a choking hazard and that your dog does not ingest the fuzz off the ball.

What are some interactive toys for Shih Tzus?

Some interactive toys for Shih Tzus include puzzle feeders, treat-dispensing balls, and tug ropes.

Can I use a laser pointer as a toy for my Shih Tzu?

No, using a laser pointer as a toy for your Shih Tzu is not recommended as it can cause obsessive-compulsive behavior and anxiety.

Should I let my Shih Tzu win when playing tug-of-war?

No, it’s best not to let your Shih Tzu win every time when playing tug-of-war as it reinforces dominant behavior. Instead, use the opportunity to train and teach them to release the toy calmly.

Is it safe for my Shih Tzu to play with stuffed animals?

It depends on the toy’s quality and construction. Choose stuffed animals with no small parts that can be chewed off and ingested. Also, supervise your dog while they play with the toy.

What should I do if my Shih Tzu loses interest in a toy?

If your Shih Tzu loses interest in a toy, switch it out with another or try a different type of toy. This keeps playtime exciting and engaging for your furry friend.


Britta Thygesen

Britta Thygesen

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

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