When the weather is warm and the azaleas are blooming, you are eager to start socializing your puppy by taking him to the park or down by the river where you can both work off all that excess energy.
Warning…don’t do it! In the spring more people are outside which means more dogs. Also, disease can be transferred more easily in warm weather. If your puppy has not been fully immunized, public places may represent a serious health threat. Do not take your puppy to a public park or anywhere other dogs are allowed. This includes the groomer, pet stores, walking paths, or sidewalks.
A puppy receives immunities for common diseases while he is nursing because his mother’s milk contains antibodies, which keep him safe, until he is weaned. Shortly after weaning, however, he loses his ability to fight these diseases. That is when vaccinations should start.
However, even though your puppy may have had his first series of shots, he is still not safe from some dangerous diseases. When you take the puppy to the vet, keep him in your lap or his carrier, and do not let him near other animals in the waiting area. Many people believe that the only certain way to prevent diseases in puppies up to three months is to keep them isolation and strictly avoid any public areas that might be contaminated.
Below is a list of the more common diseases or other dangers your puppy might be exposed to in public places:
The most dangerous infectious disease is the parvovirus. Parvo can be
fatal, and it is a particular problem because it survives a long time in
the environment. Symptoms include vomiting, diarrhea, loss of appetite,
and lack of energy. There is also the danger of severe dehydration.
Distemper - Next on the most serious list of diseases is distemper which can also be fatal. Symptoms include fever, runny nose and eyes, coughing, and lack of appetite.
Worms - There is always the possibility of contracting heartworms which are carried by mosquitoes, as well as other types of intestinal parasites like tapeworms or hookworms.
Miscellaneous - Allergies are not prevalent in puppies, but insect bites, bee stings and spider bites can be a problem.
Cars - Always keep your puppy on a leash…never allow him to run loose. He could dart in front of car before you could catch him.
Unfortunately, keeping a puppy isolated from other dogs to keep it healthy conflicts with the desire to socialize a young puppy. What do you do? One vet I talked to advised that you can let your puppy play with other puppies as long as they have been vaccinated. Also, you can take your puppy for short walks in the neighborhood.
Give your new puppy lots of love and attention, and when he is fully immunized, then he can go out into the world and make friends.