When Is It Safe to Walk a Puppy?
While you want to give your puppy an outlet to let out their energy, certain viruses, such as parvo, are highly contagious and potentially life-threatening for dogs. Most puppies complete their vaccinations by 16 weeks, which is when they should be fine to be exposed to other animals. In the meantime, limit your puppy’s exposure to unfamiliar dogs.
“It’s very important that puppies have had their full series of vaccines especially out in public places,” Dr. Wilson says. “I usually recommend waiting two weeks after their last booster to allow their immune system to fully respond.”
Puppies also aren’t very good at regulating their body temperature, so you need to be mindful of the weather before going outside for a stroll. “If you get a puppy in the summer, make sure you’re not walking them on hot asphalt,” Dr. Wilson says. The same goes for winter weather. Aside from quick potty breaks, try to keep your puppy inside when the temperature drops and make sure they have cozy things to keep them warm.
How Good Is Walking as Exercise?
“A lot of people think of dog walks as an energy release or a way for their pet to let loose,” says Dr. Emily Wilson, DVM, a veterinarian at Fuzzy. “It doesn’t just have to be your dog sniffing bushes and relieving themselves. It can be really interactive.”
Some dogs, especially younger ones, seem to have boundless energy. Exercise, including long walks, can tire them out, leading to a calmer and quieter companion at home.
But what’s essential for dogs is consistency. According to Dr. Wilson, having a routine is “really comforting to the dog and helps them anticipate what the schedule is.” Dogs are better equipped to regulate their emotions when they know what to expect, so that means taking regular walks around the same time each day.
Energetic dog breeds who often need multiple walks a day
However, as we’ve already mentioned, this is only a rough guide to cover these breeds, rather than a hard and fast rule. In reality, individuals from each of these breeds may need more or less exercise daily.
Also, it’s important to ask your vet as well about the frequency and duration of dog walks that are suitable for your individual pup. And – if you’ve got a specific breed in mind – check out our dog breed library for an in-depth look at breed-specific exercise requirements.