Our Veterinary Blog
When Can My Puppy Go Outside?
Puppies are very vulnerable when it comes to getting sick, especially before they are vaccinated. As a result, many new puppy owners wonder when it is safe to bring their puppy outside.
It is considered safe for puppies to go outside once they are fully vaccinated. Most dogs will be considered fully vaccinated after their third round of booster shots, which is usually at 16 weeks old. Once your puppy has received their third round of core vaccinations, it is then considered safe to take your puppy to most places.
Here we will be explaining everything that new dog owners need to know about taking their young puppy outside safely. We will also be answering some other commonly asked questions about puppies and their first vaccines. Let’s get into it!
At What Age Can Puppies Go Outside?
Technically, you can take your puppy outside as soon as you bring them home. However, it is best to keep them away from areas where they could get sick until they have been fully vaccinated at around 16 weeks old.
Some places to avoid before then include places where many dogs congregate. This includes off-leash dog parks, dog-friendly parks, and popular walking trails; however, places like your fenced-in backyard should be fine for taking your pup outside.
Can My Puppy Go Outside in My Backyard?
Yes, your puppy should be able to go out into your backyard safely. This is especially true if your backyard is fenced in, and only dogs that you know have access to it. Places like fenced-in backyards are generally safe for young puppies because sick animals are unlikely to leave remnants of disease in these places.
Why Should You Wait to Take Your Puppy to New Places?
Many places are not as safe for young puppies as private backyards. As a result, it is a good idea to avoid most public places until your puppy has been fully vaccinated with their core vaccines. If you do need to take your puppy into a public area such as the veterinarian, picking them up and carrying them will prevent them from coming into contact with harmful pathogens.
Can You Take Your Puppy Outside to Use the Bathroom Before They are Fully Vaccinated?
Yes, you can take your puppy outside to use the bathroom before they are fully vaccinated; however, it is best to only take your puppy out to places that do not get a lot of foot traffic such as your backyard.
What Vaccines Should Your Puppy Have Before Going Outside?
Your puppy should be fully vaccinated with their core vaccines before going to public areas outside. In the United States, these core vaccines include:
- The Rabies Vaccine
- The Parvovirus Vaccine
- The Adenovirus Vaccine
- The Distemper Vaccine
Many veterinarians also recommend that puppies receive additional vaccines such as the Parainfluenza and Bordetella vaccines. These recommended additional vaccines may vary depending on your location.
The good news is that many of these vaccines are combined into one vaccine for your dog. For example, there is often a vaccine that provides immunity for Parvovirus, Adenovirus, and Distemper all at once.
How Many Rounds of Vaccines Should Your Puppy Have Before Going Outside?
Puppies are considered fully vaccinated after their third round of vaccines. This means that they should have at least three rounds of vaccines before going outside into public areas. Most puppies will get their third round of vaccines and be fully vaccinated at 16 weeks of age.
Are Dog Parks Safe for Unvaccinated Puppies?
No, dog parks are not considered safe places for unvaccinated, or not fully vaccinated puppies. This is because many different dogs come in and out of dog parks, and there is no way to ensure that all of those dogs are not carrying potentially harmful pathogens. Even if a dog doesn’t appear to be sick, they could still be carrying a harmful illness.
Additionally, you can not forget that there is a lot of waste in the form of urine and feces at dog parks. Even if all dog owners at the park are cleaning up after their dogs, the remnants could still carry harmful bacteria and viruses.
There is also a risk of puppies becoming infected with parasites. Parasitic infections can be just as life-threatening to puppies as bacterial and viral infections. In addition, parasitic infections will weaken a puppy’s immune system, which makes them more vulnerable to other illnesses.
Can an Unvaccinated Puppy Go on the Grass?
Yes, unvaccinated puppies can go on the grass as long as they are in a safe area. The same goes for puppies that have not been fully vaccinated yet. For example, it should be fine to let your puppy on the grass in your backyard before it has received all of its vaccines.
Can You Walk an Unvaccinated Puppy on the Road?
It is best to wait until your puppy is fully vaccinated with at least their core vaccines before walking them on the street. The same goes for popular parks and walking paths. This is because many other dog owners will likely be walking their dogs in these areas and letting them go to the bathroom there.
While this is totally fine for most adult dogs, puppies have weak immune systems and are still very susceptible to diseases. This is especially true for those that are potentially life-threatening. Since the core vaccines protect dogs from becoming sick with these dangerous illnesses, it is best to wait to walk your puppy on the street until they are fully protected.
How do You Socialize a Puppy Before They are Fully Vaccinated?
Socialization is incredibly important for a puppy’s social development, and many dog experts will tell you that it is best to start socializing your puppy before they are twelve weeks old. The problem is, puppies are not fully vaccinated until they are around 16 weeks old most of the time. Luckily, there are some ways that you can work on socializing your puppy before they are fully vaccinated. Here are some ideas:
- Socializing your puppy with dogs owned by people that you trust and that you know are fully vaccinated.
- Going for rides in the car.
- Introducing your puppy to new objects. (e.g.: the vacuum cleaner, skateboards, etc.)
- Introducing your puppy to new sounds.
- Introducing your puppy to new people that you trust.
Although it is safe to take your puppy outside in private areas such as your backyard, you should wait until they are fully vaccinated before bringing them to public places such as dog parks or walking trails.
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