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Allowing puppies outdoors | Evening Standard


leaving a new puppy round the home is an exciting time that brings owners plenty of joy. For inexperienced dog owners, however, the learning curve can also be a bit daunting.

Especially when the moment arrives for your pup to explore the outside world for the first time. Here’s what you need to know to make your pet’s initial outdoor experiences as pleasurable as possible.

Be patient with your pooch

If you’re taking ownership of a new puppy, it’s likely that you won’t actually be allowed to bring it home until it’s at least eight weeks of age.

According to the Kennel Club, this is the earliest a young canine should be separated from its mother. Research shows that early separation can disrupt a puppy’s psychological and physiological development.

Once your puppy’s home, you’ll need to wait a bit longer before letting him or her loose on the outside world. Owners are advised that they should wait at least two weeks after a puppy has had its initial vaccinations before letting it out from the surroundings of a new home.

Dogs are usually vaccinated the first time at between the ages of eight and 10 weeks.

According to the RSPCA, vaccinations are vital to protect your dog from nasty canine conditions including distemper, canine parovirus, kennel cough, leptospirosis and parainfluenza.

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just the jab

As well as giving your puppy immunity against potentially fatal infectious diseases, being jabbed also helps prevent your pet from passing on diseases to other animals.

According to insurer PetPlan, the cost of a puppy’s initial vaccinations will normally be in the range of £40 to £60. Follow-up boosters at either six or 12 months of age will typically cost between £30 and £40.

Your vet can advise on the most appropriate course of treatment. Jabs normally take the form of two doses administered between two and four weeks apart.

Note that vaccinations tend not to be covered by pet insurance. Pet cover is still worth considering, however, as taking it out can protect you from expensive vets’ bills if your dog becomes ill or has an accident.

Bearing in mind the above timeline, it means that an owner would be unable to take out his/her puppy to experience its new surroundings for about 12 to 14 weeks after its birth.

Don’t go walkies too soon

There are good reasons to wait before letting a puppy loose outside, especially during the period it remains unvaccinated when it can be vulnerable to potentially fatal diseases.

There are other risks as well. The outside world can be overwhelming for a young dog adjusting to leaving its mother that is also getting used to new indoor surroundings.

Bear in mind also that it is a legal requirement of dog ownership for the animal to be microchipped.

First outside steps

It’s important to introduce the outside world in stages. For example, before taking your puppy for a walk down the road or letting it run free in a park, you should play with it more immediately outside your home. For example, in your garden if you have one. This process will introduce it to a safe, outside space.

Make sure your garden is safe and secure so that the newest canine addition to your household is unable to escape. Regular trips to the garden should also help with your puppy’s toilet training.

Once two weeks have elapsed since its last vaccinations, you can take your puppy for a walk. Keep outings short at first. By meeting people and other dogs outdoors, the aim is that your puppy will learn to socialize and behave in company.

Gradually extend the periods that you spend outside and over time you can enroll your pet in puppy training.

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