Staci is a writer living in Atlanta, Georgia. When not writing, she spends most of her time trying to keep up with her four rescue cats and Australian shepherd puppy.
Health Learn About Dogs

When Can Puppies Go Outside?

Aug 23 ·

When can puppies go outside? It’s a question every new owner should know the answer to, for the safety of their puppy. However, the advice can get quite confusing depending on exactly where you want to take your puppy and what age they are.

Here’s the definitive guide to when your new puppy can explore the outdoors, and where exactly you can take them.

When Can Puppies Go Outside?

Generally, puppies can start exploring the great outdoors at around sixteen to eighteen weeks.

Why Can’t They Go Outside Right Away?

The main consideration for the question, “when can puppies go outside?” is their shots.

When they’re around eight weeks old, vets will start giving puppies a series of shots that will protect them against diseases like the infamous parvovirus. Parvovirus is the most dangerous to your puppy, as it can be fatal very fast. It can live on the ground for a very long time, so it can be picked up in high dog-traffic areas, and even just areas where a dog has once walked.

In general, for going outside in high dog-traffic areas, you should wait until your pup is fully vaccinated. If the parvo risk in your area is low, your vet might tell you they can go outside after their first or second round of shots. It’s important to ask them about the risk in your area.

Vets will also give them their rabies shot at around sixteen to eighteen weeks.

When Can Puppies Go Outside? – The Backyard

Generally, it’s okay to let your puppy explore the backyard the first time they get home! This does depend on a few factors though.

You should make sure the yard is enclosed, and away from any other animals. This is because stray dogs could be carrying parvovirus and have left it in your backyard!

Always keep a close eye on them when out there, and leash them if the backyard isn’t enclosed.

I Live In An Apartment: How Do I Potty Train?

If you live in an apartment, potty training can be a bit of a pain considering your puppy can’t be outside in public areas. The best way to handle this is by setting up a designated potty spot, on a balcony if possible but in the apartment if not. You can buy patches of grass to use, so your puppy will remember the texture when you transition them to the outdoors after being vaccinated.

If there’s a low parvo risk in your area, you might be able to pick a potty spot outside and carry them back and forth.

Help: I Took My Puppy Out Before They Were Vaccinated

If it’s your first time owning a dog, you’re going to make some mistakes. It happens! Some people might take their puppy outside before they’re fully vaccinated, because they didn’t realize it could be dangerous.

If you’ve done this and are only now learning it was unsafe, don’t worry. Chances are, your puppy is going to be just fine, as many of the diseases they’re at risk from are quite rare.

However, keep an eye on them. If they start to show symptoms like lethargy, loss of appetite, vomiting, diarrhea, etc., you should call your veterinarian and be completely honest with them.

Other Things To Consider

puppy outside

There are, however, a bunch of other things to consider when taking your puppy outside. Just because they’ve had all their shots doesn’t mean they can go everywhere!

You should only exercise your puppy for five minutes per month of age when they’re young. They might think they can go longer, but they actually might be doing themselves some damage! Keep walks short, even when your dog is fully vaccinated. Save those long hikes for when they’re an adult.

You should also consider the fact that you’ll want to build up their socialization. You don’t want to throw them in a dog park without testing them around one or two dogs first. Also, you don’t want to bring them to lunch at a restaurant when they haven’t been around many people. Start off by observing things at a distance with them, and reward them heavily for being calm. Taking baby steps now will work in your favor when your dog is a little older and behaves beautifully by your side.

Staci is a writer living in Atlanta, Georgia. When not writing, she spends most of her time trying to keep up with her four rescue cats and Australian shepherd puppy.
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