Whilst you might be desperate to take your new French Bulldog puppy outside or to the local park, you need to be aware of how their vaccination injections work, the risks, and when it’s safe to expose the puppy to public places.
I know how tempting it must be to want to get your Frenchie puppy outside to a park or on a walk. It will blow your puppy’s mind once they do. But just hold up a moment… without their injections and immunisation they are at a huge risk of contracting a potentially fatal disease.
So, when is it safe to take a French Bulldog outside for a walk or to the local dog park? Read on for the correct answer plus whether you can take them in your garden or yard safely.
When can French Bulldog puppies go outside? Frenchie puppies can go outside 2 weeks after they have had their last vaccination booster injection. In most cases this will be between 14 and 16 weeks of age. If you take them outdoors before this point, they could contract canine distemper or canine parvovirus, both of which are potentially fatal.
Many Frenchie puppies will have had their last core vaccination by the age of 12 weeks. However, I still don’t recommend you take them outside just yet. Try to stick to the 16 week mark, because this is also the point when their immune system will be a lot stronger than before.
Handy Hint: If you got your Frenchie puppy between the ages of 12 to 16 weeks, please make sure that you get evidence and documentation that they have had all of their vaccination injections before taking them outside on walks.
Why is this important?
All puppies, including French Bulldog puppies, are at risk of various diseases and viruses that can be picked up from other dogs. Frenchie puppies still have very weak immune systems that are yet to properly develop, making them more at risk from viruses including canine parvovirus and canine distemper.
Whilst this might sound like an over-reaction, these two diseases are both potentially fatal. Your Frenchie puppy doesn’t even have to be in contact with a dog to contract either virus. They can also be picked up from shared food, shared space, and other wildlife too.
- Canine parvovirus: This is a highly infectious and potentially fatal disease. The parvovirus attacks a dog’s intestines until they stop working. Dogs cannot then get the nutrients they then need, becoming dehydrated, weak, and in many cases, dying. Read more on BlueCross.org.uk.
- Canine distemper: This is a contagious disease that attacks a dog’s gastrointestinal, nervous, and respiratory systems. It is closely related to the human measles virus, and can cause diarrhoea, seizures, vomiting and possible death. Read more on AVMA.org.
Can I introduce my Frenchie puppy to dogs before 16 weeks of age?
Yes, you can. But you need to make sure that you only let them interact with dog’s which you know have had full vaccinations and injections – plus a good temperament of course!
If you have friends with dogs, and you trust that they have up to date immunisation, then by all means, introduce them to your Frenchie puppy who is still under 16 weeks of age.
However, make sure that this introduction and socialization doesn’t take place in public areas or dog parks. It’s best in the comfort and safety of your own home, garden, or yard.
Socialization is really important, and you might find that your local vets runs classes for young puppies who aren’t yet allowed to go outside. We did this with our own Frenchie Claude, and it set him up really well for training and his adult years.
It can really help you to rear a French Bulldog who is sociable, happy, healthy, and used to other dogs and people.
Where can you walk a French Bulldog puppy before injections?
It’s still a good idea thought to get your Frenchie puppy used to walking on a lead or leash. The sooner you can get them accustomed to it, the easier longer-term puppy training will be.
For example, there is no harm in taking your Frenchie puppy for little practice walks in your garden or yard. As long as you have had no unknown dogs who could carry infections in your own private space, it is absolutely fine to let your puppy go in your own garden before their injections.
If you have another dog in your home, that’s fine providing they are up to date with their immunisations and injections.
It’s important to make sure your puppy is active and exercised from a young age. So, whilst you can’t take a French Bulldog puppy outside to parks or public spaces before their injections, your own garden is fine – providing you are certain it’s safe, fenced off, and free from any risk.
If you want to start practicing, and don’t think you want to take the risk of taking your French Bulldog puppy outside, do some small walks inside your home instead.
What about older female puppies who haven’t been spayed?
If you have a female French Bulldog who hasn’t yet been spayed, then I do not recommend you let her off the leash in a public park. Whilst it’s very rare for a female Frenchie to naturally conceive (read more here) you don’t really want to run the risk.
Most vets recommend that female Frenchies get spayed between the ages of 4 and 9 months of age. Please get it done; it can also change your female Frenchie’s character for the better – you can read more about this in male versus female French Bulldog comparisons.
French Bulldog puppy walking distances
Once you’ve reached the 2-week point after their final injection it’s now safe to take your French Bulldog puppy outside to parks and public places. But how far should you walk them?
There is a general rule of thumb which many Frenchie owners will work to; you should exercise them for 2 minutes for every month of their life.
For example, if you have a 5 month old puppy, 10 minutes of walking should be ample. Of course, see how they react and if they get tired it’s time to go home before this point.
Whilst the advice in this guide to taking your French Bulldog puppy outside might seem a bit too cautious, it’s so important. Young puppies have underdeveloped immune systems so can easily pick up diseases from un-vaccinated dogs.
Keep your young Frenchie puppy at home until they have had all their injections, and even then give it a couple of weeks before taking them outside.