Puppies are bundles of joy. They are packed with an abundance of energy and curiosity. They love rolling around in dirt, grass, and just about anything!
While all this is wonderful, there is one thing that puppy owners must first and foremost focus on—their puppy’s health. As pet parents, it should be your priority that your puppy is safe and healthy during their developmental phase.
If you recently got home a new pup, you are probably wondering when is the right time for the little one to step into the backyard. Keep reading, and you will find out!
Once your puppy gets their initial dose of vaccination, they are free to go wander in your backyard and discover all the delights of the outside world. Without the vaccination, your puppy is vulnerable to the many foes that may attack their still-developing immune system.
Puppies get temporary antibodies from their mother’s milk. However, in order to properly prepare and protect their immune system, they require a series of vaccinations. Until then, they are vulnerable to viruses and other illnesses from the great outdoors.
Usually, responsible breeders provide their puppies with their first vaccination before putting them up for adoption. However, it is not always the case.
When you adopt a puppy, make sure you find what jabs they have received and what is pending.
First vaccinations are given to puppies who are around four to six weeks old. This is followed by another jab at around eight to ten weeks and a third dose at around 12 to 14 weeks of age.
When you adopt a puppy around six to eight weeks old, it is usually safe for them to explore your backyard, provided they already received their very first jab before they came home.
Your backyard is different from the rest of the outdoor regions. If you want to take your puppy to a dog park, you may want to wait longer than their initial vaccination.
Dog parks see a lot of canine visitors. These pooches could be carrying some viruses or illnesses that could easily be transmitted to your puppy if their immune system is not fully prepared.
Once their final rounds of vaccinations are over, it is considered safe for puppies to venture out into the open. This happens around 16 weeks of age. It can vary depending on your vet’s recommendation.
On completion of the vaccine regimen, it should be safe for your puppy to wander outdoors and socialize with other pooches.
Though you may have to wait to take your eight-week-old puppy to the doggy park, you can allow them to wander around your backyard.
There are mainly two reasons to let a puppy younger than 16 weeks out into your backyard—playtime and toilet duties.
If the weather is mild, even newborn puppies can be given a tour of your backyard, i.e., under supervision and safe in your arms. We will cover more about this later in the article.
Once their tiny legs come into action and they begin wandering around, you can take them out to your backyard for potty training. The trips should be short and closely supervised.
Make sure they are not in contact with feces of other animals. Do not let them wander into another animal’s territory.
As for playtimes, while puppies are energetic, their vulnerability means they do not require long periods of outside playtime. At their age, they need very little exercise.
As long as they explore your backyard under your sharp eyes, it should not be a problem unless recommended otherwise by your vet.
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Your vet is the best person to ask when your puppy can be let outside. In case your little one is not ready for the outdoors, how would you go about toilet training, exercising, and socializing them?
If your young pup cannot go outside, how can you toilet train them? You can toilet train them once they are able to wander on their own legs.
Ideally, your backyard will be fenced and puppy-proofed. Even with a secure fence around, they will need supervision any time they are outside. When toilet training them, use an area where no other animal has had access.
Though it does not completely eliminate the risk of your pup contracting an illness, it somewhat minimizes it.
A puppy-proofed and secure backyard will give your puppy the experience of being outdoors with minimal risk. It will also allow you to potty train them at the earliest.
When your puppy has not gotten all their vaccinations, you cannot take them for walks at the dog park. However, you can utilize certain safe outdoor spaces. These include your backyard, front yard, patios, or anything around the house.
Allowing them out around the house will give your pup the opportunity to explore different surfaces and get a whiff of the great outdoors.
You can set up a playpen in the garden for playtime if there are no confined areas. As long as there are no other animals around them, your puppy can venture outside for a brief period of time.
Reach out to your vet to find out which spots are safe for your puppy to explore.
If your driveway faces the road, you can use that space to give your puppy some people experience. Allow them to set up perch in a dog-free spot and observe traffic, local wildlife, and passers-by.
If other pets in the neighborhood have access to your driveway, make sure your grip on your puppy is strong, especially if there are no fences. For extra precaution, attach a lead to their collar.
You can also give them a social experience from within the four walls of your home. You can start with some background traffic noises at a low volume. Once your puppy gets used to it and relaxes, you can gradually increase the volume.
The training period should be short, and noise levels should never be excessive. Even at the young pre-vaccinated age, it is important that your little pup experience some socialization.
If your vet gives you the green light, you can take your puppy out to safe locations and interact with people and dogs that are fully vaccinated. Do not make contact with strangers (dogs or people) during this phase.
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Pre-vaccinated puppies can be carried outside to allow them to experience new things. However, this requires a lot of vigilance. You will have to ensure you are holding onto them at all times and keeping them off the ground.
Puppies easily contract illnesses, especially if an infected dog or any other animal was previously in that spot.
If your vet approves, you can carry your puppy to a variety of safe places, so they can experience, smell, and hear new things from relative safety.
Since they are not completely protected, their exposure to other dogs and people should be severely limited.
Early exposure to outdoor experiences is valuable to their developmental phase. It creates a positive link that allows them to become well-mannered dogs. In a puppy’s life, the initial three months are central to their socialization.
You can carry them to the beach or take them for a drive. Keep them at a distance from the environment until they have completed their vaccinations. Expose them safely to as many new situations, sounds, smells, objects, etc., as you can.
It is likely their first outdoor trip can result in overstimulation. In this case, cut the trip short and allow your puppy to calm down. Gradually, this hyper behavior will reduce as they get properly socialized.
Carrying them outdoors is also a wonderful opportunity for pet parents to bond with their new pup. It creates a level of trust and security.
Just make sure your socialization process is positive. A frightening experience that is not positively addressed will result in behavioral issues later on.
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How to Keep Your Puppies Safe in the Backyard
It is important to minimize the risk of harm when letting your puppy explore your backyard. It is preferable to have a quarantine space of sorts to keep them safe.
There are several ways you can make your backyard safe for your pup.
Puppies are highly curious. Their curiosity can be their undoing, especially if there is nothing to confine them to safe areas.
If you have an unfenced yard, you need to create an enclosed puppy-friendly area. Make sure there is secure fencing in your yard. The material for the fence should depend upon your puppy.
Fences need to be the right height to prevent your pup from hopping over them. They should also be made of appropriate material and installed in a way that your pup cannot squeeze through any gaps or dig underneath.
If there is a pool in your backyard, make sure there is pool fencing. Not every dog can swim. A sturdy fence will ensure curiosity does not get the better of your puppy. It will prevent water accidents.
If a fence around the perimeter of your backyard goes against the aesthetics of your house, a nice sturdy playpen will also do the trick. It will allow your puppy to roam in a secure area.
Tall grasses host a lot of unsavory creatures, such as mosquitoes and ticks. To deter these creatures, mow your lawn and keep the grass trimmed. You do not want ticks to hop on to your little pup.
You can deter the parasites by staying regular in your mowing duties. In addition to mowing, make sure your backyard greenery is fed pet-safe fertilizers and other products.
If you are using weed killers, they likely contain harmful chemicals that can prove fatal to your pup in case it gets into their system. Before you make use of such products, ensure they are pet friendly.
Keep the yard clean. Remove sharp implements and harmful chemicals from areas where your puppy can easily find them. You need to protect your pup from its innate curiosity.
Additionally, ensure the plants in the area are pet friendly. Some plants are puppy hazards. Make sure the plants you are growing are not toxic in case of accidental ingestion.
Pick up their poo after they are done with business. Pooches eat just about anything. Keep your backyard clean and tidy from any temptations. It will assist in preventing your pup from developing such undesirable behavior.
Be mindful of the weather. Puppies are sensitive to extreme temperature fluctuations. If the weather is below-freezing temperature, young pups of any breed should not be taken outside.
Older pups can take brief trips to the backyard to finish their business. However, these pups must be bred for cold weather, like St. Bernards or huskies.
In case of extremely hot temperatures, make sure the trips are short and supervised. Puppies are very vulnerable to heat-related problems. Even older dogs can overheat in extreme heat.
Keep them out of direct sunlight. Create a spot for them that is shaded and provide them with water. Whatever you do, do not let your little puppy unsupervised.
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Tiny puppies attract people and trouble. Their innate curiosities and adorable visages are likely to get them into trouble. As a responsible puppy parent, it is your duty to keep your pup safe and healthy.
While exploring the outdoors is a big factor in how well a puppy adapts to their environment, there is a guideline as to when you can allow them to do so. According to this guideline, you can let your puppy being with exploring your backyard once they have had their first jab of vaccination—around six weeks.
Since puppies are so vulnerable, there are several ways to ensure they stay healthy in your backyard. As long as you are vigilant, your puppy should have a safe time exploring the wonderful world in your backyard!