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When can puppies and kittens come out? – Forbes UK advisor

Getting a new puppy or kitten is always an exciting time, whether there are children in your family or not. But exactly when is it safe to take your new pet outside? Find out when the time is right with our guide.

Preparing puppies for the outdoors

If you’re getting a new puppy, in most cases you won’t be able to bring it home until it’s at least eight weeks old. According to the Kennel Club, this is the first time a puppy has been separated from its mother. And research shows that early separation disrupts a puppy’s physiological and psychological development.

But just because you’ve brought your puppy home doesn’t mean it’s safe to take him outside for a walk. To do this, you must wait at least two weeks after your puppy has received his vaccinations.

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Dogs are usually vaccinated between eight and 10 weeks of age. The vaccines take the form of two doses, two to four weeks apart. Your veterinarian will be able to advise you on the most appropriate vaccination course for your pet.

This means that you won’t be able to take your pet outdoors for 12 to 14 weeks from birth, depending on the exact date of his vaccinations and the advice of your vet.

According to the RSPCA, vaccinations are important to protect your pup from nasty diseases like canine distemper, canine parvovirus, kennel cough, leptospirosis, and parainfluenza.

In addition to giving your puppy immunity to potentially fatal infectious diseases, being vaccinated also prevents you from passing these diseases on to other animals.

Why you shouldn’t take your pup out too soon

The main reason not to take puppies outside before they are ready is that until they are vaccinated, they will be vulnerable to life-threatening diseases.

But there are also other risks. The big world can be overwhelming for a puppy who is still adjusting to his new home and is away from his mother. Rushing the process can lead to problems later.

You must ensure that your puppy also has a microchip; it is a legal requirement for dogs.

Your puppy’s first steps outdoors

Before you put your puppy on a leash and take him for a walk down the street or to the park, you should play with him outside in your garden. This will introduce you to an outdoor environment in a safe way.

Make sure your yard is safe and secure so your pup can’t escape. Regular trips to the garden will also help with potty training.

Once your puppy is two weeks past the second vaccination, you can start taking him for walks. Keep them short at first. Ideally, your pup will meet other dogs and people, and learn to socialize.

Once your pup gets used to going outside, you can take him on longer walks and enroll your pet in puppy training.

How much do puppy vaccinations cost?

According to insurer PetPlan, the cost of vaccinations for a puppy typically ranges from £40 to £60, with a booster at six or 12 months of age costing between £30 and £40.

Vaccinations are not covered by pet insurance. However, it’s still worth buying pet insurance, as it can protect you from expensive vet bills later if your dog gets sick or has an accident.

The cost of pet insurance premiums will depend on factors such as the breed of dog, the type of coverage you purchase, and the deductible level chosen, an amount you pay each time you file a claim.

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When can kittens come out?

Letting your kitten out for the first time can be a worrying experience, so it’s vital that both you and your cat are prepared.

It is generally not recommended to separate a kitten from its mother until it is at least eight weeks old. But you must wait until he has received his shots before taking him outdoors.

Although it’s not a legal requirement (unlike dogs), it’s a good idea to microchip your kitty before you let him out. This will increase the chances of it being returned to you if it is lost.

You may also want to neuter him; this can be done from eight weeks of age.

How to vaccinate your kitten

According to animal charity Blue Cross, kittens need a course of two shots to protect them from feline infectious enteritis (which can cause severe vomiting and diarrhea) and feline influenza (also known as cat flu). Both are potentially fatal.

There is also a vaccine that offers protection against the feline leukemia virus that can affect the immune system.

Kittens typically receive their first vaccinations at nine weeks of age and their second at around three months of age.

In theory, you can let cats out a week or two after they’ve been vaccinated. However, Blue Cross recommends waiting until they are five months old.

Let your kitten out for the first time

Kittens are small and vulnerable, so the first trip outside can be unnerving for both of you.

Before you let your kitten out, work on her recovery. Call him by his name in your house and reward him with a treat and a pet when he approaches you. Some experts suggest letting your cat out just before feeding time, so you can entice her to come in with food if necessary.

If you have a garden, let your cat explore it first before going outside. Be sure to cover ponds and remove harmful elements as well as plants that are poisonous to cats. Some cat owners swear that sprinkling some dirty litter around the perimeters of their yard will help their cat establish his territory.

You should supervise the first time your kitten goes outdoors. Stay with them in the yard and be ready to rescue them if they get caught in tight spaces or stuck on trees or fences. Consider getting your kitty a quick-release collar that automatically opens if he gets caught in something.

Installing a cat door and teaching your cat how to use it can give your pet the freedom to come and go as they please.

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How much do kitten vaccinations cost?

According to insurer PetPlan, the cost of a kitten’s vaccinations is typically around £65, with annual boosters costing around £45.

Vaccinations are not covered by pet insurance. However, it’s still worth buying pet insurance, as it can protect you from expensive vet bills later if your cat gets sick or has an accident.

What about older cats?

If you’re adopting an older cat or moving house with your cat, it’s usually a good idea to keep her inside for two to three weeks to give her a chance to adjust before heading out to a strange place.

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