You’ve brought your new bundle of joy home and they’re settling in well, but you can’t wait to take them for their first walk to see how they react to the big wide world, and, let’s be honest, show them off! It’s also really good for their socialisation, too, so let’s look at what you need to do to keep them safe before they go out of the house for the first time.
If running you’re short on time, though, and just want the main points, then we’ve listed these directly below.
When Can I Walk My Puppy? Key Takeaways
Don’t take your puppy out for walks before they’re fully vaccinated.
Pre-vaccination, don’t let your puppy on the ground outdoors (save for your secured safe space, most often your garden).
Allow five minutes of walking per one month of age once you’ve started walking your puppy.
Don’t let your puppy meet other dogs before they’ve been vaccinated.
Can I Take My 6-Week-Old Puppy Outside?
If you have a back garden that’s secure, clean and free from other unvaccinated dogs, then your puppy can spend time outdoors. You will want to begin toilet training as soon as you can but always make sure they are supervised when outside, and make sure to keep it quick if it’s cold.
You can take your puppy into public places but always carry them and don’t put them on the floor. You could pop them in a satchel bag or carry them in your arms, but hold them tight as they’ll almost definitely try to wiggle their way out when they see other dogs or people.
Can I Take My 8-Week-Old Puppy Outside or for a Walk?
Although your pup can go outside in your safe space at 8 weeks old, there’s still a big question that remains – how soon can you take your puppy for a walk? It all depends on their vaccination status.
When Can You Walk Puppy After Second Vaccination?
It’s really important to wait until your puppy is fully vaccinated before taking them out walking where other dogs have been. Fully vaccinated means a week to two weeks after the second jab in the dog’s primary vaccination course.
Puppies are typically vaccinated at eight and ten weeks (although they can be vaccinated as early as four-six weeks) with the second dose usually being given two to four weeks later. Typically, most puppies will be fully vaccinated at around 16-18 weeks. But as always, it’s best to speak to your vet about the best timings. If your puppy isn’t fully vaccinated before going where other dogs have been, then they could be at risk of contracting parvovirus (more commonly known as parvo) or distemper – both nasty illnesses, and potentially fatal to your pup.
Can My Puppy Get Parvo from My Back Garden?
As long as your outside space is secure and free from unvaccinated dogs, she will not contract parvo or other viruses from your back garden. Unvaccinated dogs (unvaccinated puppies are most at risk) can catch parvovirus from an infected dog, infected dog poo or anything an infected dog has touched such as a dog lead, food bowl, bedding, human hands or clothes.
Can My 9-Week-Old Puppy Be Around Other Dogs?
If you’re sure that the other dog is vaccinated, then your puppy can play with his/her new friend in a safe space, but it may be safer to wait until your dog has had both his/her injections so that they get the benefits and protection of both vaccines.
How Long Should I Walk My Puppy For?
Once your puppy is fully vaccinated, the general rule of thumb is to exercise them for five minutes per month of age. So, if your puppy is 12 weeks old, then they can be walked for 15 minutes per day.
When to Start Walking Your Puppy
You can start walking your puppy after one to two weeks of them being fully vaccinated. This is usually around the 8-week mark. However, make sure you keep a strict eye on them and ask your vet to confirm when they’re allowed out on a walk.
As well as being fully vaccinated and not over walking them, remember that puppies are much less able to regulate their temperature than older dogs and us humans! To protect your puppy from heat stroke, it’s important not to take them out if it’s too hot. It is generally safe in temperatures up to 19°C (68°F), but be careful if it goes even 1°C above that. Make sure you always take fresh water out with you, and you can always cool them down with a doggy-friendly ice-cream!
If the weather gets too cold, then it’s a good idea for your pup to wear a coat and for you to ensure that they’re not out for too long. You can tell if they’re getting cold as they may shiver, slow down or even stop. They may also whine and bark if they are feeling any form of discomfort. Once you have chosen your pup’s outerwear, get them used to wearing it at home for short periods before walking them in it.
Is a Harness or a Collar Better for a Puppy?
As you might have already seen whilst preparing for your new puppy adventure, there’s a wide array of leads, collars and harnesses to choose from, and it’s great fun shopping to see what would suit them best.
Whilst a flat collar is best for everyday wear, a harness can be better for preventing accidents if your puppy was to pull on a lead. Get them used to wearing it for short periods of time from 8-weeks-old, and don’t forget to adjust or upgrade them as they grow bigger.
Hopefully, you'll now feel confident about when your puppy can go outside and when you can safely take them for their first walk.