You might be wondering about the best time to introduce your dog to the great outdoors. It is very common for puppy owners to ask when is it safe for their puppy to go out, explore, and even play with other dogs and puppies.
The concern stems from the risk of a puppy catching an infectious disease before their bodies have developed immunity to it. Puppies can catch infectious diseases such as parvovirus from sick, unvaccinated dogs or from any place a sick dog has visited and shed the virus. Some of these viruses can live in the environment for years. This makes dog parks (and many other places you may want to take your puppy) potentially dangerous to a pet that doesn’t have full immunity.
So, when is it safe for a puppy to go out and interact with other dogs?
The answer is that the best time is right around 16 weeks or older. The rule of thumb is that a puppy should have had at least 2 (and preferably 3) rounds of recommended vaccinations before venturing out. By this time, he has begun developing immunity that will protect him when he’s around other dogs or in areas where other dogs who may have had infectious diseases could have gone. Most vets believe that dogs 16 to 20 weeks of age or older can safely begin these types of interactions.
Remember as well that it is generally considered safe to allow your puppy to play and interact with fully vaccinated adult dogs.
Learn more about the vaccines your young dog needs to be safe by reading our puppy vaccination recommendations.