From the time you bring your new puppy home, you need to think about when and where to take your dog outside. You can probably speak from experience that puppies are a magnet for attention. However, now that you have your own puppy to take care of, you want to know how to keep your puppy safe and healthy. So, when can puppies go outside for the first time? There is no clear cutoff date to take your puppy outside. This article will outline the factors to consider when you can take your puppy outside.
A Puppy’s First Four Months
The first four months in a puppy’s life are crucial in developing their behavioural skills but also in their general health. There are two schools of thought on when it is safe for a puppy to explore the outside world. On the one hand, it is only completely safe for a puppy to roam in public places after full vaccination. On the other hand, waiting for a puppy to have received all its vaccinations can reduce the effectiveness of socialising a puppy with new people and other dogs.
A puppy will receive its first round of vaccinations around 7 weeks. Then around 16 weeks, a puppy will have completed all the necessary shots. However, a puppy’s behaviour around new people and fellow canines are mostly influenced by the puppy’s experiences within the first three months. Clearly, there is a clash between these two-time frames.
There are still ways to ensure that your puppy stays safe and healthy while learning to socialise before 16 weeks. It requires the pet owner to be more careful and creative but it is possible. Read the following tips on how to keep your puppy healthy and slowly socialise them too. For more detailed advice, please speak to your vet.
When can puppies go outside in the garden?
As soon as you’ve brought your puppy home, you can start potty training. Puppies need to go to the bathroom every two hours. If you have an enclosed garden where no other dogs come, your puppy can do its deed in the garden. A puppy’s immune system isn’t fully developed yet so, it is important that no dogs have been in the garden. Even if the dog has already left, a puppy might still be susceptible to any viruses that the passing dog was a carrier of.
Puppies are also sensitive to the climate. Only let your puppy outside when the weather is mild. Don’t take your puppy outside when it is cold, windy or during hot weather. If the climate in your areas isn’t suitable for puppies, purchase a puppy training mat.
The excursions into the garden should only be a few minutes. As soon as the puppies have relieved themselves, take them back inside. Puppies can sleep for 20 hours a day so a five-minute toilet break in the garden is already plenty.
Once your puppy has already started its vaccinations, you could consider introducing them to a dog within the safety of your garden. Choose a well-tempered dog that you are certain is fully vaccinated and isn’t carrying any diseases. Even then, there is still a chance that the adult dog has been in contact with viruses during its walks. Even if the adult dog does not seem sick, he could still be a carrier. In the end, socialising your puppy with other dogs before its fully vaccinated is a careful choice to make.
When can a puppy go outside for walks?
It is difficult to socialise your dog with enough people when only keeping the fluff ball at home. Some pet owners may choose to carry their puppy into public places during the first four months. Emphasis is on the verb ‘carry’. A puppy that isn’t fully vaccinated should not be put on the ground in any public place. There is always the chance that another dog has passed by. Parvovirus is an example of a prevalent dog disease that puppies can contract by very minimal contact, whether direct or indirect, with other dogs.
If you would like to bring your dog to public places, always carry your puppy instead of putting Fido on the leash. Carry your puppy in a specially designed puppy carrier if you would like your hands to be free.
Taking your puppy into a pet-friendly shop is an opportunity to socialise her with people. Customers and staff are bound to want to pet your new little friend.
Be careful with taking your dogs to areas frequented by many dogs. Parks and nature trails are not safe places for your puppy to roll around in. It is impossible to protect your puppy from all the potential health hazards in such places. It is safest to wait until your puppy is fully vaccinated before letting him explore on the ground.
Why Puppies Need to Go Outside
Despite the potential health risks for your puppy, going outside is still important for puppy training. The main reason for puppies to go outside is to socialise them with humans and other dogs. A dog that has been socialised from an early age will have an even temper and is less likely to develop aggression.
Start taking your puppy outside in sanitary places like your own yard first. Here you can get her accustomed to a leash, start potty training and develop its sensory skills. Mental stimulation is just as important for pups. After the first few rounds of vaccinations, you can decide to slowly introduce him other healthy and safe dogs. You can also take your pup into public places without placing him on the ground.
Socialising puppies with humans and other dogs before being fully vaccinated remains a significant personal choice for the pet owners. Choosing either option has its own pros and cons that are best discussed with your vet.
For more information on this topic, we recommend you read the Kennel Clubs guide on taking puppies outside.