As a dog owner, one of the most exciting things is taking your furry friend on long walks and exploring the great outdoors together. The fresh air, exercise, and bonding time that you get to experience with your pup are truly magical. However, it's important to prioritise your dog's health and safety, especially when it comes to when they can go outside.
As much as we want to show off our cute new puppies to the world, it's crucial to prioritise their safety before allowing them to explore the outdoors.
When can I take my puppy outside?
As a responsible dog owner, you want to give your puppy the best start in life, including a healthy and safe introduction to the great outdoors. However, before you can start exploring with your furry friend, it's important to understand when it's safe for your puppy to go outside.
Puppies receive their first vaccination between six and eight weeks of age, with a second vaccination administered two to four weeks later. These vaccinations protect your puppy against diseases such as canine distemper, canine parvovirus, and more. Once your puppy has received their vaccinations, they will still need to wait one week before they can safely go outside. This waiting period is to ensure the vaccines have had time to take effect and provide maximum protection.
From there on, booster vaccinations are recommended to keep your puppy protected throughout their life. According to a PDSA report, 79% of dogs in 2022 received regular booster vaccinations.
Can I socialise my puppy if they can't go outside?
Socialising your puppy is an important part of their development, but what if your puppy hasn't completed their vaccination schedule yet? The good news is that you can still socialise your puppy, even if they can't go outside yet.
According to Blue Cross, socialising your dog can begin before your puppy is vaccinated. Blue Cross advise that your puppy doesn't mix with other dogs with unknown vaccination status; the other dog must be fully up to date with their vaccinations.
It's also important to ensure your puppy is healthy and parasite-free. A visit to the vet can confirm that your puppy is in good health and not carrying any contagious illnesses.
When it comes to introducing your puppy to other vaccinated dogs, it's important to do so in a safe and controlled environment, like inside your home and garden. Start by introducing your puppy to dogs that you know are friendly and well-behaved. Avoid introducing your puppy to large groups of dogs or unfamiliar dogs, as this can be overwhelming and stressful for your puppy.
When your puppy meets another dog, keep a close eye on their body language and behaviour. Allow them to sniff and greet each other, but be ready to intervene if either dog shows signs of discomfort or aggression. Encourage positive interactions by rewarding good behaviour with Skipper's puppy treats and praise.
When can puppies go on their first walk?
Taking your puppy on their first walk is an exciting milestone, but waiting until they are fully protected against common diseases is important. As we mentioned earlier, puppies receive their first vaccination between six and eight weeks of age, with a second vaccination administered two to four weeks later. Once your puppy has received their vaccinations, they will still need to wait for at least one week or, in Vets4Pets recommendation, two weeks before they can safely go outside and are fully protected in public spaces.
After this waiting period, you can start introducing your puppy to the great outdoors. However, it's important to start slowly and gradually increase the duration and distance of your walks. Blue Cross recommend gradually increasing walks as your puppy's "growing bones and joints are easily damaged and some injuries during the early stage of a dog's life can impact them for life." Additionally, it is crucial to understand how to keep your puppy cool in the Summer, especially since your puppy's paws can burn if they walk on hot pavement.
When you take your puppy for a walk, watch their behaviour and body language closely. Allow them to explore their surroundings and sniff around, but be ready to intervene if necessary. Keep your puppy on a leash at all times to prevent them from running off or getting into dangerous situations.
Is it important to get my puppy vaccinated before going out?
It's imperative to get your puppy vaccinated before taking them outside. Puppies are particularly vulnerable to diseases that are commonly found outdoors. RSPCA says the vaccinations protect your puppy against; Canine distemper, Canine parvovirus, Kennel cough, Leptospirosis and Parainfluenza. These diseases can be easily spread through contact with infected animals or their faeces, and they can cause severe illness and even death.
Additionally, puppies that are not fully vaccinated are at risk of developing other health problems, such as respiratory infections and skin conditions. These health issues can be expensive to treat and, more importantly, cause your puppy a great deal of discomfort.
Waiting for your puppy's vaccinations to be complete and the one to two week waiting period is crucial for their health and wellbeing. While taking your puppy outside earlier can be tempting, doing so can risk their health and safety. Remember that prevention is always better than treatment when it comes to your puppy's health.
In addition to vaccinations, there are other precautions you can take to ensure your puppy's safety when they go outside. For example, avoid letting your puppy walk on contaminated ground, such as public parks or areas where other dogs have been. This is because your puppy's immune system is still developing, and they are more susceptible to illnesses and diseases.
Preparing your puppy to go outside
Before taking your puppy on walks outside, it's important to prepare them for the new experiences they'll encounter. Here are some tips to help you prepare your puppy for walks outside:
1. Take them into the garden
Start by taking your puppy into your garden, where they can explore and get used to their surroundings. This will help them feel more comfortable and confident when they venture out into new environments. It is important not to leave your puppy unattended as they may eat flowers or plants that can be poisonous to them.
2. Introduce them to different sounds
You can play different sounds around your puppy to get them accustomed to the noises they might hear outside. This could include the sound of traffic, other dogs barking, or people talking.
3. Introduce new objects
Your puppy may encounter different objects on walks, such as bicycles, joggers, and other animals. To help them feel at ease, gradually introduce them to new objects and reward good behaviour with treats and praise.
4. Socialise them with other dogs
It's important for puppies to learn how to interact with other dogs in a safe and controlled environment. Once your puppy has had all their vaccinations and is ready to go outside, consider taking them to a puppy socialisation class or arranging play dates with other vaccinated puppies. This can help your puppy develop social skills and build positive associations with other dogs. Just make sure to supervise any interactions and intervene if necessary to ensure everyone stays safe and happy.
5. Socialise them with other people
Similarly, puppies need to learn how to interact with people. Introduce your puppy to new people in a controlled environment, such as a puppy training class or a friend's house. It is also important to watch your dog's body language and behaviour.
6. Teach them basic commands
Basic obedience training such as teaching your puppy to sit, stay, and come when called, is essential for keeping your puppy safe on walks. Start by gradually training your puppy, and rewarding good behaviour with some delicious treats and praise. The majority of Skipper's customers have stated that training sessions have become easier with Skipper's training treats because it helps keep their dog's attention. Remember, always be patient and consistent with each training session.
7. Practice leash training
Your puppy will need to be comfortable walking on a leash before they can go outside. Practice leash training indoors and in your garden before venturing out.
8. Increase your puppy's walk over time
Start with short walks around your local area, gradually increasing the length and difficulty of the walks as your puppy gets more confident and comfortable. It's important not to overdo it, as puppies can tire easily and get overwhelmed.
9. Do not overdo it
Puppies have a lot of energy, but it's important not to over-exercise them before they're fully grown. Over-exercising can put unnecessary strain on their joints and muscles, which can lead to long-term health problems.
Frequently Asked Questions
Does my puppy need to be microchipped?
Yes, it is a legal requirement in the UK to microchip your dog. Microchipping your puppy is a permanent form of identification that can't be lost or removed, like a collar or a tag. This means that if your puppy gets lost and is found by someone else, the microchip can be scanned to reveal your contact details and reunite you with your furry friend.
Can I take my 8 week old puppy outside?
As a responsible dog owner, it's important to know when your puppy can safely go outside. Typically, puppies receive their first vaccinations around 8 weeks of age and then a second set of vaccinations 2-4 weeks later. While it's not recommended to take your puppy for walks outside until they've had their second set of vaccinations, your puppy can still explore your garden.
When can puppies go out after their 2nd vaccine shot?
Once your puppy has had their 2nd vaccination, it is recommended to wait a further week until you can finally bring your dog on a walk. However, please listen to the advice of your vet, as each dog is different and may have a longer waiting period.
Is it safe to take your puppy outside?
Taking your puppy outside before they are fully vaccinated can put them at risk of various diseases and infections. It is important to keep in mind that your puppy's immune system is still developing and may not be able to fight off these diseases, which can be fatal for your furry friend.
While it's natural to want to take your puppy out to explore the world, it is crucial to wait until they have received all of their vaccinations before doing so. This will help ensure that your puppy is protected from potential dangers and can stay happy and healthy.