Desperate to take your puppy outside? Find out when it’s safe for you to take them on their first big adventure into the big, wide world.

A brown puppy explores outside

It’s hardly surprising that you want to take your puppy out to experience the wonders that exist beyond the confines of your home – to meet fellow puppies, break in their lead and be stopped by endless streams of passers-by, all craving the chance of a cuddle with your new best friend. However it is not safe for young, unvaccinated puppies to go outside just yet.

Why can’t I take my puppy to public places?

Due to the dangers of nasty, and potentially fatal, viruses such as canine parvovirus and canine distemper lurking anywhere an infected dog may have been, puppies need to be kept at home until they are fully protected. It might seem overly cautious, but as your puppy’s immune system is still developing, they are highly vulnerable to contracting dangerous illnesses. It’s therefore incredibly important to keep them inside the safety of your property until they are completely vaccinated.

How long do I wait before taking my puppy outside?

Vets recommend waiting until 10-14 days after your puppy’s last vaccination booster – usually at around 14–16 weeks of age – before introducing them to the wonders of local parks, beaches and walking trails.

Don’t resist this time in your puppy’s life – embrace it! Enjoy having your puppy at home all to yourself, and channel your dog’s increasing energy into puppy training and socialisation – which needs to start happening from around eight weeks of age.

Introducing your puppy to other dogs before 16 weeks of age

When puppies are 8-16 weeks old, they are in their critical socialisation period where it is very important for them to be exposed to unfamiliar situations and people so that they can learn to not be afraid of such things. However it will not be safe for your young puppy to interact with any dog that is not up to date with their vaccinations, so what’s a puppy parent to do?

Start by introducing your puppy to known ‘safe’ dogs – dogs that you know have a good temperament and that have been fully vaccinated. It’s best to do this in a safe environment such as your backyard. You can also try socialising your puppy by introducing them to lots of different people and by enrolling them in Petbarn’s puppy school. All puppies in at Puppy School will be at the same, or similar stage in their vaccination program. What your dog learns now will stay with them for life, so if you want a happy, sociable dog who’s friendly with other canines, kids and adults alike, it’s a great time to establish healthy behaviours in this early stage of their development.

Before you know it, your puppy will be exploring the ceaseless wonders of the great outdoors. Don’t forget it’s not just as puppies that our canine mates need proper care and vaccinating – your pal will need to frequent the vet once every six months to stay healthy.