When Can My Puppy Go Outside?

While it’s tempting to scoop up your tiny pup and take them with you everywhere you go, it’s not a very safe move. The immune system of a new puppy is not strong enough to combat the elements of the outside world. You’re probably wondering, “When can I let my puppy go outside?” Keep reading to find out when is the right time to take your pup outside.

How Long Should I Wait Before Taking My Puppy Outside?

Due to potential outdoor biohazards, most vets will advise that pet owners wait until a puppy is at least three months old before taking them outside. Your neighborhood likely has walking trails, grassy areas, and dog parks that you want to take your tiny dog to, but holding off until they’re a bit older may be a better option. If you wait to take your puppy outside after he has had his last core vaccination shot, you should be in the safe zone. This will usually be when your pup is between 14 to 16 weeks of age.  

Others are of the opinion that young puppies should be taken outside earlier to begin the canine socialization process. Some canine behavior experts emphasize a critical socialization period for young puppies. However, postponing socializing your pup until they receive all the necessary vaccines may be the safest bet. In addition, young puppies don’t require as much physical activity as older dogs. Pups can be exercised for five minutes each day per month of age. For example, a puppy that is two months old should only exercise for ten minutes a day. The physical activity requirements of a young pup can be met in the safe confines of your home.

Keeping Your Young Puppy Safe & Healthy

Similar to human babies, young puppies require a lot of sleep and will need to spend most of their time cozied up indoors. Pups under three months of age can sleep for up to 20 hours a day! This doesn’t leave much time for socialization or other activities. Adequate sleep is vital for proper growth and brain development in puppies.

Most puppies are ready to be adopted into a new home when they are eight weeks old. Although they may be ready for a new family, young puppies are still sensitive, growing animals that are not equipped for everything else. Embrace this time at home with your teeny-tiny puppy. In the weeks before taking your dog outside, focus on bonding with your pet and beginning the training process.

Potty Breaks for Young Puppies

Young puppies can start potty training at about four weeks of age. Some breeders will begin potty training a puppy before they are old enough to be adopted. When you bring an eight-week-old dog home, you can start puppy house training by taking him out to go to the bathroom on a regular basis. Since young puppies have tiny bladders, you’ll have to take them out for potty breaks often. Just make sure to keep outdoor bathroom breaks short to avoid contraction of any harmful bacteria or viruses. A young puppy’s immune system is susceptible to a number of diseases from the outside world.

Playtime for Puppies

Your new pup won’t have to stay indoors for his entire life. Although they require substantial sleep, puppies certainly like to play! After initial puppy vaccinations, your dog’s immune system will become stronger. At 16 weeks, your veterinarian will likely approve your pup for some outdoor play and socialization with other pets. Soon enough, your little dog will be able to accompany you on walks to the park without the risk of contracting diseases.

When Can I Set My Puppy On the Ground?

Aside from short potty breaks, avoid setting your puppy on the ground in your backyard or outside your home until they are about 16 weeks old. Be especially cautious if other pets or animals have access to your yard because young puppies are susceptible to contracting illnesses. If you have other pets or an open yard, there’s a chance that an unvaccinated animal have been around the same areas your puppy will explore.

Some private yards and gardens are safe for puppies to wander without the risk of exposure to various illnesses. If you do not have any other pets and are certain that other wild or stray animals do not access the space, you can set your puppy on the ground of your private outdoor area earlier than 16 weeks. However, as mentioned above, puppies should not be taken for walks until they have been fully vaccinated.

Some pet owners are cautious about setting their new puppy on the floor of their veterinary clinic. However, this is likely safe to do as the chances of contracting a disease on the floor of your vet’s office are slim. It’s unlikely that an unvaccinated dog infected the floor with a contagion since the last time he was cleaned. In fact, setting your pet on the floor of your veterinary clinic is an excellent opportunity for your young pup to safely explore a public space and meet new friends.

If you’re still unsure, check with your vet. They’ll be able to tell you whether the floor is safe for your new puppy. Even if you opt to not set your puppy on the ground at your veterinarian’s office, it’s still a great place to begin socialization with people. The veterinary staff will be more than willing to hold your sweet little puppy while you fill out paperwork.

When Can I Take My Puppy for a Walk?

Since young puppies require such little exercise and thrive on substantial sleep, taking them on walks can have adverse effects on their overall health. Pushing their exercise boundaries at such a young age may even cause physical harm to your small pup. The growth plates in a puppy’s long bones won’t fully close until about one year of age, and too much exercise (even just walking) can be harmful to their developing skeletal system.

Of course, the other primary reason to avoid taking a young puppy for walks is to prevent the risk of exposure to diseases. Daily walks through your neighborhood can be dangerous for an undeveloped pup that is not vaccinated. It’s impossible for pet owners to know if every dog they encounter on a walk is up-to-date on their shots. Even dogs who appear healthy may carry viruses. This means they may look and act healthy but still have the disease and can spread it to other dogs.

Many canine diseases can be spread among animals through contact with contaminated objects or surfaces. Unfortunately, this means that if your small dog sniffs something that an infected animal was in contact with just hours before, your unvaccinated pet may become infected.

Why You Should Avoid Taking Your Young Puppy to Public Places

Due to the risk of contracting dangerous and potentially fatal viruses, puppies should be kept safe at home until they are entirely protected through vaccinations. Some pet owners may feel like shielding a pup from the outside world is overly cautious, but it’s vital to play it safe while your little pup’s immune system is still developing. It’s best to avoid taking him to public places until he has received all his initial core shots.

Introducing Your Puppy to Other Dogs & People

In general, it’s a good idea to avoid introducing your puppy to other dogs until about 16 weeks of age. However, it may be safe to arrange playdates with other dogs who you can confirm are vaccina