The Great Debate: Can You Take Your Chihuahua Jogging?

Lisalee Williams of Duluth, Minnesota, was upset enough by something she saw to write a letter to the editor of the local newspaper:

While waiting for the bus I saw a group of joggers go by. There was a woman jogger who was making her small Chihuahua run with them. This was very unacceptable, and it should be considered animal abuse. A dog that small is susceptible to over-exhaustion. It could even die from such intense work as keeping up with adult joggers.

If anyone sees this woman, please inform her this is very dangerous for her pet. Ask any vet and they will tell you Chihuahuas are not meant for such activity.

I understand her distress. I’ve seen this myself and felt pretty bad for the poor creature as he struggled to keep up with his oblivious owner. But after a little research, I discovered that Chihuahua jogging is more prevalent than I thought.

Chihuahua People” seem to think it’s all right, as long as it’s done within reason, and eHow actually has an article “How to Jog with a Chihuahua.” (Helpful hint: Feed him after his run, not before.)

The folks at Dogster are a little more skeptical about the idea, and Arizona Chihuahua Rescue is adamant:

Like too much food, too much exercise isn’t good. You can’t take a Chihuahua jogging with you! If you’re planning more than just a short walk around a short block, leave your pet at home. Chihuahuas get exhausted fast.

But Sasha Brown-Worsham at Petside.com claims her Chihuahua, Rocky, can run 3 to 4 miles at an 8-minute pace:

Brows furrow as we run by, some are amused – “Yo Queiero Taco Bell?” a man recently yelled in our direction – others are horrified. “Are you sure that little dog is okay?” a woman on the bike path asked last week.

Rocky is fine.

He and his twisted, long red leash have been near constant companions on my three-to-four-mile jogs. At my family’s lake house, he runs off leash beside me, darting into the woods, protecting me from dangerous wildlife – foxes, turtles, frogs.

So we’ll have to call this one unresolved. But we’re still pretty sure it’s a bad idea to take your cat for a jog.