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Can an Unvaccinated Puppy Be Around Vaccinated Dogs? Vet-Approved Facts

Written by: Grant Piper

Last Updated on February 28, 2024 by Dogster Team

Alaskan Klee Kai Dog Breed

Can an Unvaccinated Puppy Be Around Vaccinated Dogs? Vet-Approved Facts


Dr. Chyrle Bonk Photo


Dr. Chyrle Bonk

DVM (Veterinarian)

The information is current and up-to-date in accordance with the latest veterinarian research.

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Getting a brand-new puppy is an exciting life event. Many people want to show off their new furry friend right away. Bringing puppies out and getting all of that sweet attention and affection is fun and one of the reasons that some people like puppies so much. However, you need to be careful about bringing your puppy around other dogs before they are fully vaccinated. Is it safe to bring an unvaccinated puppy around vaccinated dogs? The answer to that question is technically yes, but it doesn’t necessarily tell the whole story.

Here is everything you need to know about your unvaccinated puppy, including vaccine schedules, diseases to be aware of, and how to best keep them safe before they have all of their vaccines.

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Can an Unvaccinated Puppy Be Around Vaccinated Dogs?

Yes. It is typically considered safe for an unvaccinated puppy to interact with vaccinated dogs that aren’t sick. That means you can introduce your puppy to other dogs in your home right away if the other dogs are fully vaccinated. You can also introduce them to your friends’ dogs if they are fully vaccinated. The other dogs’ vaccines should help protect your puppy from getting sick. But just because you can introduce your puppy to vaccinated dogs before they are fully vaccinated doesn’t mean that you necessarily should.

Socialization and training are important pillars of puppy development, making you want to start introducing them and bringing them out as soon as possible. However, you have to be safe and smart about how you do this in order to protect your puppy. If you don’t need to bring your puppy out and about or around other dogs, you shouldn’t. If you want to start socializing your dog from a young age, you can bring them around vaccinated dogs, but make sure that you do so in a safe and controlled environment.

You should never bring your unvaccinated puppy around any dogs that are showing signs of illness. If one of your dogs in your home is sick, you should quarantine them from the puppy to prevent your young dog from getting sick.

mastiff puppy running in the backyard
Image Credit: ThroughtheGlassEye, Shutterstock

Safe Environments vs. Unsafe Environments

While vaccinated dogs should be safe for your puppy to interact with, not all environments where dogs interact are safe. Safe environments include places that you control. Your house, your yard, or your friend’s house are examples of this. These places do not contain strange or unfamiliar dogs, and you are in charge of the cleanliness of the areas. Safe environments are ones in which unvaccinated dogs are not present and have not been around.

Unsafe environments include places like the dog park, the local sidewalk, parks, beaches, and restaurant patios. These places do not screen for vaccination status, and therefore, without your knowledge, there could be an unvaccinated dog nearby. Even if a place like a dog park is empty, there could have been an unvaccinated or sick dog in the area recently enough to make your dog sick. These uncontrolled environments should be avoided even if you are trying to meet up with dogs that you know are fully vaccinated.

Some facilities, like boarding facilities and daycares, can be considered safe or unsafe depending on their policies. Many times, these types of facilities require dogs to be vaccinated to enter, but they might not screen as well as you would like. However, in most cases, your dog will not be able to enter these types of areas without being vaccinated themselves.

Safe Environments
  • Your home
  • Your yard
  • A responsible friend’s home
  • Veterinarian’s office (with caution)
Unsafe Environments
  • Public dog park
  • Local sidewalk
  • Dog beaches
  • Restaurant patios

When Are Puppies Considered to Be Fully Vaccinated?

Puppies get a series of vaccines starting at 6-8 weeks of age and ending at 16- 20 weeks of age. They will then receive a booster about 1 year later and then every 1-3 years continuing. Your puppy is considered fully protected about two weeks following that last vaccination. So, puppies that complete their series at 18 weeks old, are fully protected at 20 weeks and so on.

Puppy Vaccine
Image Credit: gorillaimages, Shutterstock

Puppy Vaccine Schedule

Age Recommended Vaccinations Optional Vaccinations
6–8 weeks DHPP (vaccines for distemper, adenovirus [hepatitis], parainfluenza, and parvovirus) Bordetella
10–12 weeks DHPP Leptospirosis, Bordetella, Lyme disease, influenza
16–18 weeks DHPP, rabies Leptospirosis, Bordetella, Lyme disease, influenza

Which Diseases Are Dangerous to Puppies?

There are a number of canine diseases that are particularly dangerous to puppies. Their immune systems are not fully developed, and without vaccinations, they aren’t as protected against some truly nasty bugs. Some of the most dangerous diseases to puppies include things like parvo, distemper, and hepatitis which can be potentially fatal. Vaccines help protect puppies against most of these threats, but without up-to-date vaccines, your dog could be at risk.

close up of Olde English Bulldogge puppy
Image Credit: Wirestock Creators, Shutterstock

When in Doubt, Err on the Side of Caution

If you are unsure about letting your puppy interact with unvaccinated or unfamiliar dogs, you should simply stay home. There are a variety of diseases carried by dogs, both vaccinated and unvaccinated, that can affect your puppy. These types of illnesses can affect a young puppy whose immune system is still developing.

It can also be stressful to bring your puppy into unsafe environments, like the dog park, because you don’t know if every other dog is vaccinated. If you are worried, simply wait until your puppy is fully vaccinated before bringing them around other dogs, even vaccinated dogs. It never hurts to be more cautious. As discussed, most puppies will be fully vaccinated by 16-20 weeks of age, which is not too long to wait to protect your puppy, especially if you’re worried about it.

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It can be stressful to bring a young puppy outside, especially if there are other unfamiliar dogs around. Puppies are not fully vaccinated for a few months, and without vaccine protection, they can pick up serious and potentially dangerous diseases. Puppies are susceptible to many diseases that can cause severe health problems and even death. While it is safe for your puppy to interact with fully vaccinated dogs in a safe environment, sometimes it is a better idea to just keep your dog at home until they receive all of their important vaccines.

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Featured Image Credit: iStock / Getty Images/ kali9

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