Transporting your puppy and getting them used to new and different situations is incredibly important when they are growing up. Being exposed to new situations, new smells, new sights, new sounds and new emotions is all part of growing up. The sooner they experience a myriad of scenarios, the sooner they will become comfortable and confident with day to day life. Transporting your pet to encourage these situations may be needed so understanding how best to transport your pet is important. And of course, you will need to take them into the vets for their check ups, vaccines, and puppy parties!
Table of contents
- When is it safe to walk my puppy?
- Transporting your puppy using a carrier
- Transporting your puppy in the car
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When is it safe to walk my puppy?
Transporting your puppy by foot is a great idea as both you and them will be able to benefit from the social and physical benefits of getting outdoors and having some exercise. Until your puppy has received both of their initial vaccinations, however, it is more risky to walk them on the ground. Their immune system has not yet had enough time to develop the immune response, the antibodies and memory cells, against some highly fatal and infectious diseases.
It will take a specific amount of time following their second vaccination before this immune response has developed. So your vet will advise you on how long you should wait before walking them outdoors. Because of how diseases are spread, the risk is lower if you can take your puppy for a walk on dry ground away from other dogs rather than on wet ground or in areas where many dogs collect.
After about 2-3 weeks following your second vaccination, your puppy should have developed an immune response
This means you can gradually start walking them outdoors in more popular areas. Your puppy will be able to start interacting and socialising with other dogs at this age too. If your puppy is enjoying socialising with other dogs, you should consider adding the kennel cough vaccination into your annual booster vaccination programme; as kennel cough is a highly infectious disease that can spread by close interactions between any infected dog.
Young dogs will not be able to walk long distances. As your pet grows, they will be able to exercise at a higher intensity for longer. But just like humans, fitness takes time to build up. Puppies’ bones and muscles will not be fully developed. Therefore they should not be pushing their skeleton to its physical limits.
Lead training is very important.
All dogs should wear collars, and harnesses are the preferred method of restraint whilst walking your dog compared to wearing a collar. This is because it is much kinder to their trachea, the wind pipe. So getting your puppy used to the idea early on is a really good start!
Transporting your puppy using a carrier
Placing your puppy in a carrier provides a secure method of transporting your puppy. You should make sure you buy a carrier that is large enough for your pet so they will not outgrow it too quickly. Your carrier should have lots of holes to allow air to move freely in and out of. And it should be easy to clean.
Placing your puppy in this carrier for reasons other than attending the vets will prevent your pet from associating the carrier with coming to the vets. This is useful as you do not want your pet to associate the carrier with feeling poorly. Or they will be extremely reluctant to get into the carrier. And may have an increased level of anxiety and discomfort due to the carrier.
Placing used blankets or toys in the carrier, creating familiar smells will make your puppy feel more at ease.
Transporting your puppy in the car
Whilst transporting your puppy in the car, you should ensure they are not able to distract you. They must be in a separate area of the vehicle to the driver, whether that is on the back seat, or in the boot. Whichever space you use, your puppy should be suitably restrained, using a carrier, crate, a dog guard to screen the boot space, or a seatbelt harness. They should never be restrained by their collar in the car.
Restraining your dog in the car reduces the chance of them being a distraction to the driver on any journey. And prevents escape when you arrive at your destination. In case of accidents, adequate restraint also prevents injury to both the dog and the occupants. The best type of restraint to use will depend on the size of your dog, how often it will be used and, ultimately, what they get on best with.
You also need to ensure your pet has adequate ventilation and that the temperature within the car is not too hot. Dogs should never, ever be left alone in a car. Studies have shown that pets relax better when listening to classical music. So maybe change the driving mix to something relaxing for them!
If it is your pet’s first time travelling in a vehicle, we advise you to take an extra passenger to keep your pet company as they travel. This can help with entertainment as well as them feeling more comfortable. Some dogs may suffer from travel sickness and learning this sooner rather than later about your dog is definitely beneficial! Your vet will be able to prescribe medication to aid your pets travel sickness if it’s severe. But most dogs “grow out of it” as they adapt to being driven.
Finally, on any car journey, ensure your pet has had the opportunity to go to the toilet prior to starting the journey. And break any long journeys up into multiple, shorter journeys.
There are many different methods of transporting your puppy. You should try as many different methods as possible to ensure your pet feels comfortable with as many different transport methods as possible. And as soon as you can, get them out and about! There is a big wide world waiting for them. The sooner they learn about it, the more comfortable and less anxious they’ll be!