When you bring home your new addition to the family, you’ll no doubt be very excited about taking them out on new adventures and introducing them to as many people as possible. But when is it safe for your puppy to go on a walk outside? While socialising your new puppy is very important, you must consider the importance of their health and take things slowly.
How Much Exercise Does My Puppy Need?
While you may be keen to take your puppy on long walks, keep in mind that too much exercise can actually harm their physical development, and even worse, make your puppy negatively associate going on walks with discomfort. Puppies have growth plates that keep developing until they are around one year old. For larger breeds, these growth plates take even longer to develop. Do too much exercise and you could harm the growth of these plates, causing damage to the puppy’s skeletal structure.
As a guide, you should aim to do five minutes of exercise per month of your puppy’s age every day. So if your puppy is five months old, they should be doing no more than 25 minutes of exercise each day. Remember also that your puppy needs lots of sleep so they can grow and develop. Some puppies sleep for 20 hours every day, with only four hours left for physical activity. You may be keen on going here, there and everywhere, but your puppy may have other ideas!
The Importance of Vaccinations
Your puppy must have had all of their vaccinations before they begin to take walks outside. These vaccinations are so important because they help protect your puppy against nasty diseases such as canine distemper and parvovirus. From the age of eight weeks, your puppy will need two sets of injections to ensure they are protected. Some puppies may even need a third set of injections, depending on what your vet advises and the breed or medical history of your puppy.
Some breeders hand over puppies to their new owners with some vaccinations already administered. But in any case, you should always make sure you have the correct medical records for your puppy, so that you can give them to your vet.
Walks and Socialisation
Taking your puppy on walks outside is an exciting new adventure for you both. It is important to socialise your puppy and get them used to being outside, so they do not become anxious or frightened of being out and about and meeting others. Make sure to introduce your new puppy to the outside in a place where there is as little risk as possible. Carry them around in your arms, so you can familiarise them with the outside world before letting them walk around it.
You should also take steps to introduce your new puppy to different people and other dogs while they are young, as this will give them confidence and encourage social skills. The more interactions your puppy has with people and other dogs, the less anxious and the happier they will be as they grow and settle into adulthood. Some dog experts believe that puppies should meet at least 100 different people by the time they are around four months old.
The Great Outdoors and Toilet Training
In the early days of ownership, begin by using puppy pads indoors. Then, take your puppy out in your own back garden, to help them learn this new skill. That way, when you do take the leap of taking your pup on their first walk outdoors, they are more prepared for doing their business outside like other dogs.