Can dogs meet other dogs before vaccinations? What to Know

Introducing a New Puppy to Your Own Dogs

If you’re bringing a new puppy into a home with older dogs, make sure your own dogs are up-to-date on their vaccinations and that they haven’t been exposed to potentially unvaccinated dogs. It’s also important to consider the temperament of your adult dog and their potential for aggression. “If your dog has a proven history of appropriate behavior with young puppies, you may be able to introduce them [during] their first couple of days home,” says Thompson. “If you’re not quite sure how things are going to go, use baby gates and exercise pens to protect the puppy and allow you to gauge how your dog is feeling throughout the introduction. When you start to see play solicitation and friendly curiosity, you can start to allow them access without the pens.”

On the other hand, if your older dog isn’t accepting of the new puppy, you’ll need to keep them separated. “You do not want to risk the first introduction going poorly, as first impressions with young puppies are very important,” says Thompson, who also recommends hiring a professional trainer to help handle introductions between a puppy and an older dog with a history of aggressive behavior. “A negative interaction with a strange dog as a puppy can cause lifelong fear in the puppy,” she warns.

Can dogs meet other dogs before vaccinations?

Can dogs meet other dogs before vaccinations?

Interacting with Other Puppies and Dogs

Your puppy can meet and play with other puppies the same age, as long as those other puppies are kept up to date on their vaccinations and haven’t had contact with unvaccinated dogs. It’s best to schedule play dates at your own home, or the home of the other puppy owner, and to avoid public spaces. Similarly, it should be safe for your puppy to meet older dogs of friends and family, provided they’re fully vaccinated, haven’t been exposed to unvaccinated dogs, and are known to be gentle with puppies. But if, for example, your parents’ sweet older dog spends a lot of time at the dog park, keep your puppy away and save introductions for after your pup has completed their vaccinations.

Things to get your puppy used to sniffing

Get your puppy used to different smells such as:

  • perfumes
  • deodorants
  • talcum powder
  • face cream
  • suntan lotion
  • various food items
  • herbs and spices (don’t let your puppy sniff an open pot – they will be able to smell what’s inside with the lid on)
  • packaging from deliveries and post
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