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When Can Puppies And Kittens Go Outside? – Forbes Advisor UK

Getting a new puppy or a kitten is always an exciting time, whether there are kids in your family or not. But exactly when is it safe to take your new pet outside? Find out when the time is right with our guide.

Prepping puppies for the outdoors

If you are getting a new puppy, in most cases you won’t be able to bring it home until it’s at least eight-weeks-old. According to the Kennel Club, this is the earliest a pup should be separated from its mother. And research shows that early separation disrupts a puppy’s physiological and psychological development.

But, just because you have taken your puppy home, it doesn’t mean it’s safe to take him or her outside for a walk. For this, you should wait until at least two weeks after your puppy has had its vaccinations.

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Dogs are typically vaccinated at between eight and 10-weeks-old. Vaccinations take the form of two doses, about two to four weeks apart. Your vet will be able to advise you on the most appropriate course of vaccinations for your pet.

This means that you won’t be able to take your pet outside for 12 to 14 weeks from its birth, depending on the exact date of its vaccinations and the vet’s advice.

According to the RSPCA, vaccinations are important to protect your pup from nasty diseases including canine distemper, canine parvovirus, kennel cough, leptospirosis and parainfluenza.

As well as giving your puppy immunity against potentially fatal infectious diseases, being vaccinated also prevents them from passing these diseases on to other animals.

Why you shouldn’t take your puppy outside too soon

The main reason for not taking puppies outside before they are ready is because, while they are still unvaccinated, they will be vulnerable to potentially fatal diseases.

But there are other risks too. The big wide world can be overwhelming for a puppy which is still adapting to its new home and being away from its mother. Rushing the process can lead to problems later on.

You should make sure your pup is microchipped too – it’s a legal requirement for dogs.

Your puppy’s first steps outside

Before putting your puppy on a lead and taking it for a walk down the street or to the park, you should play with it outside in your garden. This will introduce it to an outdoor environment in a safe way.

Make sure your garden is safe and secure so your puppy can’t escape. Regular trips to the garden will also help with toilet training.

Once your puppy is two weeks past its second vaccinations you can start taking it out for walks. Keep these short at first. Ideally your puppy will meet other dogs and people, and learn how to socialize.

Once your puppy becomes used to going outside you can take him or her for longer walks and enroll your pet in puppy training.

How much do puppy vaccinations cost?

According to insurer PetPlan, the cost of a puppy’s vaccinations is normally between £40 and £60, with a booster at six or 12 months of age costing £30 to 40.

Vaccinations are not covered by pet insurance. However, pet insurance is still worth buying as it can protect you from expensive vets’ bills later on if your dog becomes ill or has an accident.

The cost of pet insurance premiums will depend on factors such as the breed of dog, the type of cover you buy, and your chosen level of excess – an amount you pay each time you make a claim.

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When can kittens go outside?

Letting your kitten go outside for the first time can be a worrying experience — so it’s vital that both you and your cat are prepared.

It’s generally inadvisable to separate a kitten from its mother until it’s at least eight-weeks-old. But you should wait until it’s had its vaccinations before you let it outdoors.

Although not a legal obligation (unlike with dogs), it’s a good idea to have your kitten microchipped before letting it out. This will increase the chances of it being returned to you if it gets lost.

You might want to get it neutered too — this can be done from about eight-weeks-old.

Getting your kitten vaccinated

According to the Blue Cross animal charity, kittens need a course of two vaccinations to protect them from feline infectious enteritis (which can cause severe vomiting and diarrhoea) and feline influenza (also known as cat flu). Both are potentially fatal.

There is also a vaccination that offers protection from the feline leukemia virus which can affect the immune system.

Kittens typically get their first vaccinations at nine-weeks-old and second set at about three-months-old.

In theory, you can let cats out a week or two after being vaccinated. However, the Blue Cross recommends waiting until they are five-months-old.

Letting your kitten out for the first time

Kittens are small and vulnerable so the first trip outside can be unnerving for both of you.

Before letting your kitten outside, work on its recall. Call its name de ella in your home and reward him or her with a treat and a stroke when they come to you. Some experts suggest letting your cat out just before mealtime, so you can tempt them back inside with food if necessary.

If you have a garden, let your cat explore this first before going out on the street. Make sure you cover any ponds and remove harmful items as well as any plants which are poisonous to cats. Some cat owners swear by sprinkling some soiled litter around the perimeters of your garden — this will help your cat establish its territory.

You should supervise your kitten’s first time outside. Stay with them in the garden and be ready to rescue them if they get trapped in tight spaces or stuck up trees or on fences. Consider getting your kitten a quick-release collar which snaps open automatically if it gets caught on something.

Installing a cat flap, and teaching your cat to use it, can give your pet the freedom to come and go as he or she pleases.

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How much do kittens’ vaccinations cost?

According to insurer PetPlan, the cost of a kitten’s vaccinations is normally about £65, with annual boosters costing about £45.

Vaccinations are not covered by pet insurance. However, pet insurance is still worth buying as it can protect you from expensive vets’ bills later on if your cat becomes ill or has an accident.

What about older cats?

If you adopt an older cat, or you move house with your cat, it’s generally advisable to keep them in for two or three weeks to give them a chance to settle in before going outside in a strange place.

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