Puppy Garden Safety: Here's when it's safe to let your adorable new dog explore the garden

Dogs love gardens - but it's important to not let your puppy go exploring too early.Dogs love gardens - but it's important to not let your puppy go exploring too early.
Dogs love gardens - but it's important to not let your puppy go exploring too early.
It’s a case of ‘safety first’ when it comes to allowing your new puppy to get our and about in the garden.

For puppies, their new home is an exciting place to be explored - and especially the garden.

It can be the perfect place for your puppy to get the zoomies, sniff around, and get a feel for the outdoors before they are ready to go outside on walks. 

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But before you open the doors and let your four-legged friend outside, it’s essential that you take the correct safety measures to allow your puppy to explore safely.

To help out Dr Sean McCormack, Head Vet at tails.com, has offered his advice on when it's safe for puppies to go outside and how to make your garden safe. 

Here’s what he had to say.


Before letting your puppy out into the garden - whether that be for toilet training or to enjoy some outdoor exploring - it is important that they have received their first set of vaccinations, at the very least. If you’ve adopted your puppy from a shelter or purchased them from a licensed breeder, they are highly likely to already have had their first set of vaccinations, as they are normally given at 8 weeks of age. The initial vaccinations should provide your puppy with enough of an immune system and protection against picking up any diseases in a private space outside, like in the garden. However, to err on the side of caution, it is best to wait until the second set of vaccinations, which usually occurs around 14-16 weeks. After this, it will be safe for your puppy to explore the garden, start venturing out on small walks and meet other friendly dogs for socialisation. 

Make sure it’s enclosed 

You’ll be surprised how easily your puppy can wiggle through even the smallest of spaces, so it’s best to make sure your garden is fully secure before you let them explore. Things to look out for are any gaps or holes in fences where your puppy could squeeze through. You should also consider whether your wooden or metal gates have any openings due to their design. If you only have access to a shared garden or a front garden that is only surrounded by hedges instead of fencing, it is best to always take your puppy out on a lead. You can always use a long-line lead or flexi lead to offer your puppy more freedom to explore the area. 

Remove any unsafe objects

Our puppies love to explore, and more often than not, get up to no good, which is why it’s important your garden is a safe space. Make sure to remove any heavy or sharp objects that can be easily knocked over if an excited puppy is bounding around, like the gardening equipment: rakes, shovels, shears and lawnmowers. This is not only important for your puppy’s safety and to avoid any accidents, but when you first bring them home, it is usually during their first fear period. Your puppy will be very impressionable at this time, so it’s essential that they can have positive new experiences to prevent them from having any anxiety or fear about particular areas or situations. 

Ensure there are no toxic plants 

While it’s lovely to have a colourful, flower-filled garden, many plants can actually be toxic to our dogs. While they often vary in toxicity, some of the common plants to avoid in your garden with a puppy include Daffodils, Azaleas, Tulips and Rhododendrons.

Use of pet-friendly fertiliser 

When it comes to your lawn, you may find that it starts to brown and die off in some areas if your puppy is frequently using it as their toileting area. If you want to use something to help it regain its healthy, green colour, only opt for a pet-friendly fertiliser and avoid using grass seed. This is because the tiny seeds can get lodged into your puppy’s paws and can cause discomfort, swelling and, in some cases, a trip to the vet for them to be removed. 

Consider weather conditions

Puppies can be particularly sensitive to weather conditions and temperatures, so it’s important to keep this in mind before letting them outside to play. Extremely cold temperatures like snow can be too cold for a puppy’s small body and can also lead to ice burns on their sensitive paw pads. Extremely hot temperatures can cause puppies to pant excessively and struggle to cool themselves down. During very high temperatures, it is best to keep your puppy in a cool and well-ventilated space, only heading out very early morning or late at night for playtime, and quick toilet breaks throughout the day.

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How often should your puppy go outside?

A young puppy will often need a toilet break every 1-2 hours, often after a nap, eating and drinking or an exciting play session. When it comes to letting your four-legged friend outside just for playtime, it’s best to keep them short for around 10-15 minutes throughout the day. You’ll be surprised by how easily your puppy gets tired, even if they seem full of energy and hyper. Much like children, this can often mean they are actually overtired. So, it’s important to put your puppy into their crate for a much-needed nap after playtime.  

Supervise your puppy

For puppies, everything must be sniffed and often picked up in their mouths, as this is their way of exploring. That’s why you should always supervise your puppy when they are in the garden. From sticks to stones, flowers and even wildlife, puppies are very inquisitive, and they haven't yet learnt that the fascinating buzzy bee they are chasing has quite the sting on it.

Use it as an opportunity to teach 

Playtime outside in the garden can also be a really great opportunity for you to bond with your puppy and work on some engagement. This doesn’t have to be an intense training session, it can be simply calling your dog's name and rewarding them with a treat when they engage with you. This is a really great way to help them understand that being outside doesn’t just mean it’s a free-for-all and gets crazed with excitement, but that they still need to listen to you. 



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