© 2017 American Physical Society. A lattice computation of the leading-order hadronic contribution to the muon anomalous magnetic moment can potentially help reduce the error on the Standard Model prediction for this quantity, if sufficient control of all systematic errors affecting such a computation can be achieved. One of these systematic errors is that associated with the extrapolation to the physical pion mass from values on the lattice larger than the physical pion mass. We investigate this extrapolation assuming lattice pion masses in the range of 200 to 400 MeV with the help of two-loop chiral perturbation theory, and we find that such an extrapolation is unlikely to lead to control of this systematic error at the 1% level. This remains true even if various tricks to improve the reliability of the chiral extrapolation employed in the literature are taken into account. In addition, while chiral perturbation theory also predicts the dependence on the pion mass of the leading-order hadronic contribution to the muon anomalous magnetic moment as the chiral limit is approached, this prediction turns out to be of no practical use because the physical pion mass is larger than the muon mass that sets the scale for the onset of this behavior.