Vaccinations are vital to ensure your new pup stays healthy. However, it’s important to keep your puppy safe prior to their vaccinations. This includes navigating whether your puppy can meet other dogs before their vaccinations and how to ensure they’re properly socialised if they’re not yet vaccinated.
When is your puppy first able to be vaccinated?
Puppies in Australia should get three sets of vaccinations between the ages of six weeks and 16 weeks. They will likely get their first set at around six to eight weeks old, their second set at 10-12 weeks old and a final set at 14-16 weeks old.
When is it safe to expose your puppy to risks?
Because your puppy’s immune system is still developing, they’re at risk to a number of viruses if they’re unvaccinated. So it’s important to keep them safe and wait until their last vaccination before taking them to explore parks, beaches and the wider world. However, there are other ways to make sure your puppy gets the correct levels of socialising and exercise, without putting their health at risk.
Ways to keep your puppy protected
Although keeping your puppy physically safe is vital, it’s also important they get the proper amount of socialising. Puppies thrive on new experiences and the ages between three and 16 weeks old is a hugely important phase in their development – a time when their influences shape their growth into adulthood. So how can you ensure they get the correct amount of socialising and keep them protected?
Take your puppy outside safely
If you have a safe, enclosed garden or access to an outdoor space, this is the perfect place to give your puppy a gentle walk and exercise when they’re old enough. It’s not generally advised to risk going further afield, but, if you have to take your puppy into areas where other dogs might have been, make sure to carry them. In Australia, your puppy is safe to go on a walk 10 to 14 days after they’ve had their final vaccination. Your vet will also be able to confirm when it’s safe to take your puppy out in the big, wide world.
Socialising your dog safely
You can safely introduce them to friends and family members, as well as exposing them to a variety of new, safe experiences. For example, you could take them on a road trip and get them used to the car or let them experience new surfaces, sounds and smells at a family member’s house. Unfamiliar experiences are crucial to your puppy’s development at this young age. If you’re ready to introduce your puppy to other dogs, you should make sure the dogs are friendly and are up-to-date with their vaccines. It’s also best to make sure the introduction takes place in a safe, familiar environment, like your garden, as this will ensure you can easily monitor the situation. Another way to socialise puppies before vaccinations might be to look at various puppy preschools in Australia. The Australian Veterinary Association advises puppy preschool, generally for pups between the ages of 6-14 weeks, “properly conducted in a clean environment should not pose a risk to a puppy that is yet to receive its full course of vaccinations.” Caring for your puppy before their full set of vaccinations requires patience and planning. However, there’s so much to enjoy about this stage in your puppy’s life. You can find more information about vaccinations and caring for your puppy at the blog page.
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