There is little more exciting than a new puppy. Whether it is playing or just generally spending time with them, it’s all great fun. But chances are, you will want to take them into your backyard. Or at least, you are going to want them to do their business outside. But when can you do so? Here is what you should know.
So, when can puppies go in the backyard? Puppies can begin going in the backyard a week after their first round of vaccinations. This is usually when they are 7-8 weeks old. Although to start with, puppies should spend a minimal amount of time in the backyard, at least until they have received their full set of vaccinations.
A puppy should receive their full set of vaccinations by the age of 16 weeks.
After that, they’ll be much safer.
But before then, you need to be very careful and mindful when taking your puppy outside.
Let us now take a closer look at all that is involved with taking a young pup outside in the backyard.
We’ll be covering exactly how to keep them safe along the way, so be sure to keep on reading.
Your puppy’s health could very well depend on it!
Can My Puppy Go In My Yard?
Your puppy should be able to go in your yard so long as they have had their initial first vaccination. Most responsible breeders will ensure their puppies have received this jab before adoption, but not all of them will.
This is why when adopting a puppy, it is essential to understand what they have already had and what is outstanding.
They should be able to advise here, although contacting a vet regarding vaccinations is strongly recommended.
Nevertheless, most puppies will get their first vaccinations as early as 4-6 weeks, with a second dose around 8-10 weeks and a third dose around 12-14 weeks.
And when you consider that a puppy is adopted around the 7-8 weeks mark, they should be safe to go in your backyard from the moment you bring them home.
Within reason, of course.
To begin with, they should not spend long outside; they should be closely monitored, be kept safe, and away from other animals at all times.
When and where you let your puppy go is going to come down to your own circumstances.
And it would be best if you were especially careful of your puppy around other animals. Diseases such as parvo are much more likely in young puppies.
By 16 weeks, your puppy will be much better protected against parvo and other diseases.
Before this point, it’s best to stick to the backyard for brief periods.
Forego the park.
Of course, it depends on where you live and how many animals have access to your backyard.
Rest assured, young puppies do not need a lot of exercises, so brief moments outside for potty breaks is enough.
This leads us conveniently on to the next section…
When To Go In The Yard With Your Puppy
There are two main reasons you would want to take a young puppy outside; to play, and go to the bathroom.
For the most part, you should be able to do so, even when your puppy is younger than 16 weeks of age.
Let us explore each one in further detail:
Its a good idea to teach a puppy to go to the toilet outside, especially while they are young and before habits take hold.
Thankfully, puppies can go to the toilet in the backyard the moment you bring them home.
However, this does not need to be for much time.
Its goes without saying that you should keep them safe during this time too.
You want to ensure they stay away from any places other animals have been, and especially stay well clear of any animal feces.
There are specific playpens on the market that you could use, or you could even construct or corner off a certain area of the yard for your puppy to go.
If you stick to a feeding schedule, take your puppy out regularly, make sure they go in the same spot, and reward your puppy for going to the bathroom outside, you should find that your puppy takes to the process well.
Puppies do not need as much play as you might have initially thought. While energetic, they also are quite vulnerable at a young age.
In the beginning, a puppy will mostly need to sleep and consume high-quality food to grow into the dog that they will ultimately become.
And any exercise, while they are still growing, can be very counter-productive.
It can cause them pain and injury, and in extreme cases, permanent damage.
So you need to be very mindful of playtime with your pup.
Sure, you can take them outside in the yard for a short period of time.
But they shouldn’t be running around a lot.
Nor climbing or jumping off any ledges or areas of height.
Just consider that veterinarians recommended as little as 5 minutes of exercise per month of age.
- 4 Week Old Puppy – 5 minutes
- 8 Week Old Puppy – 10 minutes
- 12 Week Old Puppy – 15 minutes
- 16 Weeks Old Puppy – 20 minutes
And when you split this time up over the course of the entire day, it’s not much playtime outside!
Keeping Your Puppy Safe In Your Backyard
Keeping a puppy safe in a backyard is all about minimizing risk. This will be easier for some yard owners than others; it ultimately comes down to individual circumstances and context!
Nevertheless, there are some practical things any new puppy owner can do to keep their new pup safe.
The best ones include:
Fencing And Safe Puppy Areas
Ensuring you have sufficient, secure fencing around the perimeter of your yard is a must.
Adding additional fencing into a confined area where your puppy can play and roam is even better.
This works great when potty training too.
Ensuring that your puppy learns to go in the same space each time will protect your lawn and help your puppy become much more confident in going.
One other thing to consider here is any dangerous items or areas of your yard.
Do you have any bodies of water, a pool, a pond? If so, your puppy cannot be able to access them.
And if you are unable, or do not want to construct any permanent fencing, consider a playpen.
Some are particularly sturdy and can be moved as and when required.
The below is a favorite among new puppy owners:
- Secure double latch step-through door access, Exercise Pen / Pet Playpen folds flat for convenient storage. suitable for dogs 26 - 40 pounds
- Each panel measures 24"W x 30"H, Exercise Pen / Pet Playpen provides 16 square feet of enclosed area (1.5 meters).
- Includes 8 ground anchors for outdoor use, 8 corner staballizers and 4 thumb-snaps for easy assembly.
- Durable black e-coat finish on the Exercise Pen / Pet Playpen provides long lasting protection against rust and outdoor elements.
- Easy set-up & no tools required for assembly. Exercise Pen includes 1 year manufacturer's warranty.
Keep Your Yard Clean
Puppies are curious and love to explore new things and items.
Some can be very dangerous to them.
So, you will need to keep your yard clean and remove anything that could do them harm.
Rakes, sharp gardening tools, etc., must all be secured away.
Mow Your Lawn
Many parasites, such as fleas, actually live in tall grasses, at least until they find a host to transfer to!
And if they manage to get onto your puppy, then you are both in for one hell of a ride.
So, do all you can to minimize the risk of parasites regularly and routinely mowing your lawn and keeping tall grasses kept short.
At the same time, you need to be very careful of any products you are using to treat your lawn.
Weed killers, for instance, can contain chemicals that will be very harmful to your puppy if ingested.
And we all know dogs like to eat grass.
So keep these out of sight and out of use on any lawn/area your puppy will have access to.
Watch The Sun
Depending on where you live, it can get very hot outside.
Puppies, or any dog for that matter, can quickly overheat.
So, ensure that your puppy is not in any direct sunlight for too much time.
Perhaps consider adding a Parasol or other type of shading.
Be sure to leave out plenty of clean bowls of fresh water too!
Can I Carry My Puppy Outside Before Vaccinations?
You can carry your puppy outside before they have had their vaccinations, so long as you are very careful and keep them off the floor at all times.
Besides, puppies can wriggle, and some can be pretty heavy after a while.
You may be tempted to put them down, even briefly. But this is not a good idea.
Puppies can contract diseases from areas that an infected dog has been.
And there are quite a few diseases out there (most notably Parvovirus, Leptospirosis, and Parainfluenza).
Instead, it would be best if you kept them firmly in your arms.
But it is something that you should look to do.
It enables you to socialize with other people, and it also provides them with experience in the outdoors.
It’s mentally stimulating; they get fresh air, and they can build up their confidence in new settings and circumstances.
You can always get a sling or a blanket to help support them too.
Nevertheless, before a puppy has had their full set of vaccinations, they should be confined to safe areas of your backyard or your arms further afield!
Nothing beats getting a new puppy.
But you do need to be particularly cautious and vigilant at first.
It’s your responsibility to keep your puppy safe, and even enclosed backyards can pose several different risks.
But as long as you plan, stay close, puppy proof your yard, and keep time in the yard to a minimum, you’ll be doing all you can.
In time, once your puppies have received their entire course of vaccinations, it’s a different matter altogether.
Getting them outside is incredibly important; socialization is key to their healthy development, after all.
Besides, it leads to a much better-rounded, well-behaved dog.
Oh, and that’s with a bit of training.
But that’s a subject for another time.
An 8-year-old puppy can go in the backyard so long as they have had their first vaccination, and you are monitoring them closely. They should also not be outside for long and kept away from any items, heights, or areas that could cause them harm.
It is strongly advised not to leave a puppy in the backyard, at least for an extended period. Of course, it depends on the puppy’s age, the style of the backyard, how many times they have been out before, the perceived risks, etc. Nevertheless, it is much more preferable to monitor a puppy while they are in the backyard and only let them out for brief periods.
I am a practiced pet owner with decades of experience owning a number of different pets. I am also the main writer and chief editor here at Pet Educate; a site I created to share everything I’ve learned about pet ownership over the years and my extensive research along the way.