Is it Safe for an Unvaccinated Puppy to Play With an Older Dog?

I have a now two-month-old Siberian Husky puppy, that I am anxious to get socialized. I really want her to play with my cousins 3...


I have a now two-month-old Siberian Husky puppy, that I am anxious to get socialized. I really want her to play with my cousins 3 year old dog. Her dog is all up to date on shots. However, is this safe for either of them, until my little girl is vaccinated for the Parvo virus? Also at what age should I have my girl vaccinated for Parvo?


Socializing puppies–especially members of spirited breeds such as Siberian Huskies–is extremely important. Puppies are most easily socialized when they are less than four months old. Puppy vaccination schedules (recommended by reputable organizations such as the American Animal Hospital Association and many veterinary schools) call for puppies to receive parvovirus vaccines every three to four weeks beginning at six – eight weeks of age and ending at 12 – 16 weeks.

In other words, puppies are most easily socialized when they are not yet fully vaccinated against the most dreaded (and most reliably preventable with vaccines) disease of puppyhood.

Any time a a puppy without its full complement of vaccines ventures away from home it will be at risk of contracting parvovirus. Because of this some vets recommend quarantining puppies until their shots are done. I am not one of those vets.

Although there are risks associated with taking your dog out before her puppy shots are complete, there also are risks to keeping her home. Poorly socialized dogs are much more likely to suffer from anxiety disorders, aggressive or fearful behavior, and phobias.

My recommendation is to try to strike a balance. Until she’s had all of her shots, don’t take your dog to the beach (Lake Michigan has great beaches) or to dog parks. But if you have friends or relatives with well-cared-for, healthy dogs, the risk of introducing them to your puppy is minimal.

You mention that your puppy is two months old. She is ready for her first parvo vaccine. Keep her on schedule until she’s fully vaccinated. But I see nothing wrong with her playing with your cousin’s dog.

7 thoughts on “Is it Safe for an Unvaccinated Puppy to Play With an Older Dog?”

  1. Hi there! I have a 10-week-old Lagotto puppy. We have her for one week and she had her first wave of shots.
    First few days we were walking her on the neighbourhood, where other dogs also walk. Then I’ve became really afraid of parvovirus after talking to my mom, which worked in a vet clinic.
    I’m trying to find the right balance.
    My good friends dog played with her once. I learned that he was vaccinated as a puppy but doesn’t get the boosters every year. Is it ok for them to hangout?
    Also, what’s your opinion about walking in the neighbourhood? She was getting pretty good at the leash, and it was a good exercise for her to get her calm at night. Since we stopped walking, we throw the ball in the backyard, but doesn’t seem to be enough for her energy level.
    I’d love to hear your thoughts! Thank you!

  2. Similar question, different scenario: we are traveling a long distance to pick up our new pup. He has his first round of shots. We are planning to stay overnight with friends who have fully vaccinated dogs, but who frequent day care. Is there a risk the vaccinated dog could carry something the puppy could contract wothouht the vaccinated dog showing any signs of infection?

  3. What if it’s 7 weeks old… And the living situation is for now Mexico city. I don’t take her outside, but I have two other dogs one fully finished with shots and the other done with parvo shots but needs the rabies shot. Can the new puppy play with them? Even though they go outside? I have noticed some behavioral issues starting like being separated and she’s barking alot more than before because she more awake and less asleep.

    1. Michaela Conlon

      Hi Jessica!

      Thanks for reaching out. We suggest contacting your vet for more information on your specific question for the puppy.

  4. Destiny Rodriguez

    Hi my name is destiny and I wanted to get a dog that is four months old with no shots what’s the risk in that and will that effect my almost one year old day that is up to date with his shots?

    1. Hi there — Please read this guide to shots for dogs:

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