Last Updated on January 19, 2022 by Griselda M.
Getting a new puppy brings forth an unexpected question for many first-time dog owners – can I take my puppy outside after its first vaccination? How about before it? Other similar questions include when should you start socializing your pup, when is yard time acceptable, when should you start arranging outside potty breaks, and more.
All these questions tend to catch rookie dog owners off guard. So, let’s address them one by one to shed some light on the whole situation. And, of course, there are differences between the various dog breeds but those are minor. In general, we’ll talk about average and large-sized dogs like the Labrador Retriever.
Can I Take My Puppy Outside After Its First Vaccination?
The question of how soon after vaccination can you get your dog outside is largely a question of when can puppies be around other dogs. This is crucial because young unvaccinated pups can both can diseases from other dogs and can, in turn, infect them. Hence why they need to be vaccinated. Additionally, even if you try to make sure not to get your pup into contact with other dogs, the risks for your pup’s health are still there – the outside world just has way too many contaminants, parasites, and diseases for an unvaccinated puppy.
The average recommended period after a first vaccination before a pup can go outside is typically one week. If you need to wait longer because of some unique circumstances, your vet should let you know. So, as the first vaccination is usually administered between the 6th and 8th week (or as soon as you get the puppy), you should be able to start taking your pup out at or soon after the end of its second month.
Can I take my puppy outside before vaccinations?
That’s a No-No – puppies shouldn’t be taken outdoors before they’ve had at least one vaccine. In fact, many experts recommend waiting for several or all vaccination to be complete but that’s not as strong of a rule as far as the overall consensus goes. If you’re wondering, a puppy’s last vaccination is usually done by the 16th week or the end of the 4th month.
However, walking your pup out – even if it’s alone and away from other dogs – before even the first vaccination is a bad idea. Carrying your pup in a pet carrier is obviously an exception as that’s just necessary for vet visits and for rehoming.
When Can Puppies Go Outside Safely?
The first vaccination is the often-cited first point of safety. Ideally, you will wait for more vaccines before you go to the dog park but you should be able to freely explore your fenced yard with a puppy once it’s had one vaccine.
How much time should your puppy spend outside?
At first – only a little. There’s no solid timeframe as every puppy is different. However, most young pups will start getting tired pretty soon. There really isn’t a point in letting them explore an overly large place for that reason too. A small yard or a small section of the yard should be enough for a few minutes before your pup gets tired and overexcited.
When is a puppy ready for the yard?
Again – avoid even the yard if your puppy hasn’t had its first vaccine yet (and at least one week hasn’t passed since the vaccination). Even if you have a clean lawn that’s free of pests and is well-fenced, there are still plenty of contaminants that can affect your pup in a yard.
When to start with the outdoor potty breaks?
A puppy should be ready for outdoor potty breaks as soon as it is ready for going outside at all. By that time you should have already started working on housetraining your pup anyway. So, once the first vaccine is in and the outside world is safe for your pup, you can start doing outdoor potty breaks once every 1-2 hours.
Some breeds are pretty difficult to potty train but others – like the lab – are relatively easy. All you need is a little persistence and patience and your pup should get with the program pretty quick.
Leash and collar – when to bring those into the mix?
Leashes, collars, and harnesses can be introduced as soon as potty training has started. That, and after the first vaccine has been administered. A good leash with a collar or a harness is pretty much a must for potty training anyway.
When to start with active socialization?
For socialization with other dogs, we’d recommend waiting until all vaccine courses have been administered. That is, at least as far as strangers’ dogs in the dog park are concerned. If we’re talking about dogs you know are healthy, socialization with them can start after the first vaccine.
However, it’s still wise to talk it over with your vet first. They will know the exact health condition of your pup and the risks that apply to it. Naturally, you should also let the other dog’s owner know about your pup’s vaccine status as well.
As far as the dog park is concerned – really, just way for all vaccination courses to be done. The risks are not worth it. Besides, a small pup can have plenty of fun in smaller areas near your home anyway.
In Conclusion, Can I Take My Puppy Outside After The First Vaccination?, And What Is The Best Time In general?
Waiting a week after the first vaccine is the first major time barrier for your pup’s dreams of going out. Some vets recommend waiting for all vaccine courses to be passed before dog park visits and socialization start. And we would typically agree with that. But we’d first and foremost recommend that you just talk with your pup’s vet.
Waiting until the 16th week is a bit too much for potty training, however. So, as far as the “Can I take my puppy outside after the first vaccination?” question is concerned, most vets agree that going out in the yard or around the block is acceptable once a week has passed after the first vaccine or around the 2-month mark.
This will get your pup used to the outside world early. It will also get the potty training and leash training out of the way too. So, by the time your puppy is fully vaccinated and ready to mingle with the other dogs, the major part of its early upbringing should be taken care of.