When Can Puppies Go Outside?
Sunny days! Green grass! Puppies running and rolling around in the dandelions! Sounds perfect, right? It absolutely does, except for one thing—your pup's health.
Growing puppies go through various stages on their path to adulthood. They first open their eyes at about two weeks old, get their first teeth at about three weeks, and start walking around four weeks. And once they're walking around (and flopping and climbing and running and skidding), it's time to get them outside for some fun, right? Well, maybe not quite yet. Let's explore why.
When can puppies go outside?
Before you load your puppy in a Lookout Pet Carrier and head to the nearest dog park, it's important to realize there are several different doggy-specific viruses that can be transmitted from one pooch to another, similar to the way common colds can pass between humans. Trouble is, your young puppy hasn't developed the immunity needed to protect his body. He gets an initial dose of antibodies from his mother's milk, but these are temporary.1 For full health protection, puppies need a series of vaccinations and boosters to prepare their immune system fully, so they are ready in case of exposure to viruses. Until that happens, your puppy may pick up an illness if he goes outdoors. So, be sure you contact your veterinarian for the recommended vaccinations for your puppy.
The Short Answer: Around 16 Weeks
So, when can puppies go outside? The short answer is, after their final rounds of vaccines are completed, at about 16 weeks of age or whenever your pup's veterinarian suggests. Once the vaccine regimen is complete, your puppy should be ready for adventures in the great outdoors and ready to socialize with other dogs safely. Great! Running, playing, chasing toys—here we come!
The Long Answer: Maybe Sooner
The short answer is 16 weeks, but the long answer is maybe sooner, with restrictions. About two weeks after the first set of vaccinations, you might try walking your puppy in safe locations where viruses are unlikely to thrive—particularly on paved, concrete walkways. Ask your veterinarian for her advice on safe spots to take your puppy outside.
Bike rides are a fantastic way to explore the outdoors with your puppy. The K&H Travel Bike Basket is a fun way to take your puppy out on a pleasant day—and his paws will never touch the ground! The bike basket includes a front bicycle mount and pockets to carry all the essentials. There's a dual leash design to keep your puppy safe and secure as the wind blows through his fur. If it's a little too windy, add the Travel Bike Basket Hood.
Beaches are also recommended and fun to explore for both you and your pup. This way, you can help your puppy work on his important social skills even before he's fully protected by the vaccines. Pack the Elevated Cozy Cot to use when your pup needs to relax on the beach. The elevated bed frame collapses for easy storage and is perfect for a road trip.
So even before 16 weeks, your pup could be out and about in safer locations like these, interacting with new people (family and friends) and also meeting other “puppy-safe" dogs (perhaps your friends' dogs) that are fully up-to-date on their vaccinations and won't pose a health threat to your still-vulnerable puppy. Try to avoid contact with unknown dogs during this time.2 You might also consider picking up and carrying your puppy if needed, such as when you go in and out of the veterinarian's office.3
Obviously your puppy will need to go outdoors during the all-important house-training time. If you have a yard (preferably fenced) and can “quarantine" a space that is just for your puppy, this shouldn't present a problem.
Of course, he'll spend plenty of time indoors during this period as well. Puppies need their sleep, after all! To help him make the transition from his mother to your home, you might consider a Mother's Heartbeat Heated Puppy Pet Bed with Bone Pillow. This heated dog bed will remind him of his litter's warmth, and the heartbeat pillow helps reduce stress and anxiety.
It might take a few extra precautions and a little time, but keeping your puppy safe is well worth it. And before long, your puppy will be ready to go outside and start exploring the world. Adventures await—have fun!
1. Ward, Ernest. VCA Hospitals. “Breeding for Dog Owners—Caring for Mother and Puppies After Weaning," https://vcahospitals.com/know-your-pet/breeding-for-dog-owners---caring-for-mother-and-puppies-after-weaning
2. Wooten, Sarah. PetMD. “When Can a Puppy Go Outside?" 18 January 2019, https://www.petmd.com/news/view/when-can-puppy-go-outside-37926
3. Eaklor, Brandy. Own The Yard. “When Can Puppies Go In The Backyard?" 26 October, 2019, https://www.owntheyard.com/when-can-puppies-go-in-yard/