Just like human mothers, your dog is going to need a lot of rest in order to recover from the stress of giving birth. But on the other hand, it is important to let them go for walks after having puppies. However, there is a fine line between too much exercise, and not enough.
In this guide I am going to explain how soon you can take your dog for a walk after having puppies with a timeline you can follow yourself. But first, here’s the short and easy answer.
When can you walk your dog after having puppies? Dogs can have a short walk after 24 to 48 hours after having puppies. It should be a short walk of no longer than 15 minutes with no over-exertion. As the puppies get dependent, the walks can become more regular, but within a short distance of the litter.
Now let’s get into a bit more detail, and an actual timeline you can use a guidance with some additional hints and tips.
When can my dog go for a walk after having puppies?
If your dog is expecting a litter or has recently given birth, then you are naturally going to have a lot of questions about the coming months, particularly relating to exercise and walking.
Please Note: The guidance here is generic only and is based on a healthy mother dog who hasn’t had a complicated pregnancy or delivery.
After 24 to 48 hours
After the first day after giving birth, you can take your dog on a short walk to exercise her, but not for too long as she may be anxious about leaving her puppies, even a short time.
The reason I say 24 to 48 hours, is because the mother will need this amount of rest in order to both recover from the labor and, more importantly, to bond with her puppies.
The focus of these early walks should be short and mainly to let her go to the toilet and help get her strength back. The walks shouldn’t be for very long, between 10 to 15 minutes, and you should make sure that someone else is keeping an eye on the puppies while you are out.
Your dog may be anxious or unwilling to leave her puppies, but it is important to encourage her to go outside to go to the toilet as normal. While you are away from the puppies, you can use this opportunity to check her nipples to make sure that there are no problems that could make suckling painful for her, such as chafing, bleeding or sores.
If your dog doesn’t want to go for a walk after having puppies, then don’t force the issue. Forcing her to go for a walk and leaving her puppies this early on can cause major distress and could put the puppies at risk.
Keep an eye on her and the puppies to make sure they are bonding and nursing, which is important as it could be an early sign of puppies having any health issues.
However, I would advise you speak to your vet for confirmation, as exercise after pregnancy can depend on the age of your dog, how the puppies were delivered, how many puppies there were, and the general health of the mother.
Up to 6 weeks after having puppies
Repeat the short walks during this period, but perhaps increase the frequency to a couple of walks a day.
When my aunt’s dog had puppies, she was only allowed to walk and exercise in the garden and yard. That meant she was still within earshot of her litter, and was comfortable in herself exercising this close to them still.
7 to 8 weeks after having puppies
As the puppies grow more independent after the first few weeks, you can begin to increase the length of the walks, as well as allowing your dog to venture out into your back garden or yard more to run around without having to go too far away from the puppies.
At this age, puppies are becoming more independent and can cope with longer periods without their mother in attendance.
But what about before the dog has her puppies? I also created some guidance you can follow on these stages during pregnancy below.
Can I take my pregnant dog for a walk?
When your dog is expecting a litter, you may notice that their behavior begins to change, especially when the due date comes closer.
However, exercise it still very important in order to keep your dog physically and mentally healthy, so what should you do about walking a pregnant dog?
Pregnancy in dogs lasts between 58 and 68 days, around just over 2 months, and walks should be kept regular throughout this time.
While intensive training and exercise is obviously off of the table, to reduce the levels of stress that could damage the unborn puppies, keeping a regular exercise regimen the same as any normal dog is good to keep your dog fit and healthy, keeping their strength up for their labor.
As the pregnancy develops, you may notice your dog’s energy levels decreasing, so aim to shorten the walks as time goes on, fitting in three or four shorter walks a day instead of the usual two longer ones.
Around 10 days to a week before the birth, you may notice your dog being less energetic and wanting to spend more time building a nest in their whelping box, preparing to give birth.
This is when you should make sure to keep an eye on your dog at all times, in case of early delivery or any early signs of complications. If you are worried about your dog as their due date approaches, please contact your vet who will be able to properly talk you through a more personalised delivery timetable based on your own dog’s health, wellbeing and breed.
Handy Hint: To find out more about how to walk your pregnant dog, plus a more detailed timeline and some safe exercises, read this guide to pregnant dog walking.
When to stop exercising a pregnant dog?
As mentioned above, when your dog is expecting a litter you should keep up a normal, light exercise regime of around two to three walks a day. This keeps your dog fit, healthy, occupied and builds up her strength for the oncoming labor.
However, as the due date draws nearer you may notice that your dog has less energy than before or is not as willing to go for walks.
As your dog enters the last few weeks of pregnancy, you should gradually shorten the length of your walks and separate them out into three to four shorter walks instead of the two to three longer walks per day, depending on the size of your dog and their usual level of energy.
For the last three weeks of pregnancy you should limit contact without animals, especially when out on walks. Many dog owners at this point use their back yard for toilet breaks and allowing their dog to gently wander around, rather than taking them outside for walks.
Can my pregnant dog play with other dogs when on walks?
For the main duration of the pregnancy, your dog can happily be among other dogs both in your home and out on walks. However, later on in the pregnancy some dogs can get irritable or aggressive when they are expecting, thanks to their hormonal changes and maternal protective instincts, but shouldn’t have to be separated before this point. However, if this snapping does turn into aggression then it is recommended to separate them to avoid any fights that could cause the unborn puppies any harm.
At around 3 weeks before their due date it is recommended that you separate your pregnant dog from other dogs and animals, both in the household and when out for a walk. This is because of an increased risk of parasite, germs and illnesses that could affect both her health and the health of the unborn puppies.
When the puppies have been born, introduce your other dogs only after the puppies are three weeks old. While the puppies will be stronger against any illnesses your other animals may pass on to them, they are still vulnerable and should only be introduced if your other dogs are fully vaccinated.
And then after your dog has had her puppies and is going for walks, what about the puppies themselves?
Handy Hint: If your dog has had ACL surgery and you are concerned about when to walk them, read this guide to exercising them after surgery.
When can you take your puppy out for a walk?
If you have recently brought a puppy home, you may be wondering how to properly care for it as it grows into a fully adult dog. Puppies are separated from their mother at between 8 and 12 weeks old, having developed enough to become fully independent and be able to be separated without any distress or risk to their health.
It is important to properly socialise your puppy, as this will mean that they are less wary of people and other animals when they become an adult dog, as well as making sure that they are not afraid of the sights, sounds and smells of the outside world.
It is usually recommended to only begin taking your puppy for proper walks outside when they are between 14 and 16 weeks old, and 10 to 14 days after they have received their last vaccination booster.
This means that for at least two weeks after getting your puppy home, you should not be taking them outside for walks as you would an adult dog, as they can be susceptible to illnesses, especially from strange dogs.
If you do not have any other dogs in the household, you should begin to properly socialise your puppy to other dogs when they get to 16 weeks. Introduce them to a dog you know is safe, preferably in a familiar place such as your back garden or enrol them into a puppy school.
Socialising with both humans and dogs means that they are less likely to act up around strangers when they are an adult.
Can I leave my dog alone with her puppies?
For the first couple of weeks after they are born, puppies are unable to regulate their own body temperature, meaning that it is important that they remain close to their mother and one another in order to share body heat.
When taking your dog for a walk after having puppies, make sure that the puppies are able to keep themselves warm by other external heat sources, including the room temperature, blankets and a heat lamp.
However, for at least the first two weeks it is important that you do not leave your dog alone with her puppies for long periods of time. Either yourself, a family member or a dog sitter should keep an eye on them at all times, with some owners even choosing to sleep in the same room as the whelping box just in case.
Both the puppies and the mother are very vulnerable for the first few weeks, with puppies being at risk of quickly developing an illness or even being sat on or squashed by the mother. If you are present with the dogs, you will be able to quickly notice whether something is wrong and be able to quickly intervene.
If you are working full time and are concerned about not being able to properly keep an eye on the litter at all times, speak to your vet who will be able to talk you through the next few weeks and recommend ways to ensure that the puppies are safe and well looked after as they develop. If it is possible to work from home, move your bed and your computer into the same room as the whelping box so that you are in close proximity at all times.
Whilst most of the time you can take your dog for a walk a couple of days after having puppies, every dog is different.
It is vitally important that you speak to your vet about any questions you might have about your dog’s pregnancy, labour and caring for the puppies and the mother after the birth.
They will be able to provide professional advice that takes into account your own dog’s breed, overall health and lifestyle in order to provide the best personalised information and advice.